First, I’ll admit that I’m giddy as a school girl to see a new episode of Haruhi. For those who haven’t seen the first season: PLEASE watch season 1 before touching this episode. It does help. And watch it in broadcast order first. With that out of the way, I’m glad to present you with another round of First Glance.

The staff at KyoAni apparently decided to slip a new episode in halfway through a rerun of season one, which is fantastic. Ever since I finished the first season, I’ve been waiting for more.  Clannad and Lucky Star were alright, and I’m happy that K-On is going on now too, but Haruhi is priority one. Now that I’ve disclosed my personal bias on this matter onto the review.

This season starts with the episode “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody” so my best guess is that this season will draw from The Disappearance (or Vanishment depending on your translation) of Suzumiya Haruhi.

Spoiler Inside SelectShow
The episode takes place on July 7th, during the Tanabata festival. Haruhi, Kyon, Yuki, Itsuki and Mikuru all write their wishes for what they want to happen in 16 and 25 years (the distance in light years to Vega and Altair). After they write their wishes, Haruhi comes to realize that 16 years is a long time to wait and she turns a bit, well…melancholy.

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16 years? Poor Haruhi; that's a lifetime away!

Asahina asks Kyon to accompany her 3 years into the past (though still July 7th) where they encounter adult Mikuru who sends Kyon and the sleeping Mikuru to find Haruhi in middle school. Little Haruhi is busy breaking into her school to write a message on the school grounds. Remember Taniguchi’s story from season 1 about Haruhi’s weird drawing? It turns out she actually recruited Kyon into doing the work for her. (Remember again, how Haruhi thought she and Kyon had met once before? Kyon just didn’t know it yet.) Once Haruhi, always Haruhi, eh?

Haruhi has been demanding from a young age, apparently.
Haruhi has been demanding from a young age, apparently.

After the work is done, Haruhi questions Kyon about espers, aliens, time travelers and North High. With his answers, Kyon sews the seeds of his own destruction, as they undoubtedly pique Haruhi’s interest into going to North High 3 years later. After all is said and done, Haruhi leaves without so much as a thanks, and Asahina finally wakes up, realizing she can’t go back to the present as she’s lost her TPDD time travel device. Luckily, Yuki is already waiting in standby mode in her apartment and she sends Mikuru and Kyon to bed (much to their embarassment) and freezes time in the room for 3 years so that they wake back up in the present. When you consider the situations where she’s had to use them,Yuki’s abilities are quite impressive…and a little scary. So, in the end, everyone ends up back in the present and Haruhi doesn’t know the difference; so, everyone lives to see another day. [/spoiler]

Asahina asleep in the park. Good thing Kyon's a nice guy.
Asahina asleep in the park. Good thing Kyon's a nice guy.
The Brigade Leader In Training
The Brigade Leader In Training
Asahina gets embarassed so easily.
Asahina gets embarassed so easily.

The animation quality is pretty good, but I did notice some points where the speaking animations were not as well synced as they could be.  That’s probably my biggest complaint about the show to this point. Otherwise, the character designs have held true since season one, and it was great to hear all the voice actors working together again. The background music in the club room was cute, and the other music fit quite well. There was no opening song shows with this episode, but they did show the ending song, “Tomare!” with Aya Hirano on lead. It’s not as catchy as Hare Hare Yukai, but it’s good. I enjoyed it, and the ending animation was definitely above average. If you’re a Haruhi fan, you’ll be as happy as I was to see this new episode. If you aren’t, go watch season one already!

Ratings:

Story: ★★★★★★★★★☆
Characters: ★★★★★★★★★★
Art: ★★★★★★★★☆☆
Music: ★★★★★★★★☆☆
Intangibles: ★★★★★★★★★★

Final Glance: A. I can’t wait to see the rest of the episodes this season.

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