The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya – Talking Shamisen! Yes!

I’ve been waiting for talking Shamisen ever since I knew The Sigh of… was being animated. And the long-awaited return of talking Shamisen was only the beginning of what may be my favorite episode of the season.

Talking ShamisenKyon's sister and Shamisen

The scene in which Shamisen is talking to Kyon while simultaneously trying to hang onto Nagato’s shoulders was the best scene of the season – equally cute, funny, weird and endearing – which is the Haruhi style I enjoy. Only Haruhi would create not only a talking cat, but a talking cat with an interest in philosophy and perhaps anarchic intents to destroy the very foundations of human speech. It’s a shame Haruhi misses all the good stuff.

Mikuru speaks liesNagato speaks lies

The other major development in this episode, was the different viewpoints the Koizumi, Mikuru and Nagato factions seem to have.

Koizumi believes Haruhi created the world and has the ability to change the way the world works. If she wants all pigeons to be white, she can make it so. If she wants all cats to talk, she can make it so.

Mikuru believes that while Haruhi has the ability to change the present, all the anomalies existed before Haruhi, and that she can’t change the way the whole world works. So making Shamisen talk, doesn’t necessarily mean all cats will start talking.

Nagato meanwhile says there’s no guarantees that anything Koizumi or Asahina say is actually true, and that Kyon can’t prove either of them or even Nagato true, because Nagato herself may not be telling the truth… Gee, way to obfuscate the picture Nagato.

I, personally, am in the Koizumi camp. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of incentive for Koizumi to lie about becoming an esper three years ago. If that wasn’t the case, it’d be just as easy for him to adopt Mikuru’s way of thinking. Also, since Mikuru has no way of explaining what happened three years earlier due to the time earthquake, I’m less inclined to believe her until she has a reasonable explanation for the strange rift or gap in time. Not to mention, until I see any evidence of competence from Mikuru, I wouldn’t trust a word out of her moe blob mouth.

Either way, these were interesting scenes, but I don’t recall the difference in factions playing a major part in the subsequent stories.

Nagato bites Mikuru againHaruhi bops Kyon

Other than that, we see additional Nagato biting scenes, more Haruhi bopping (sans the Kyon melodrama) and the finale to the movie. Kyon’s method of reverting the world back to normal? Well, if you saw the Adventures of Asahina Mikuru, you’d probably recall the disclaimer that Kyon forces Haruhi to say at the end of the movie. Yup, there’s nothing like a little legalese to knock you out of your fantasy world and back into reality.

Kyon and Haruhi aloneFUZAKENNA HARUHI!

And the episode ends with a potential date!? Well… not quite. But the Kyon x Haruhi shippers do get tossed a bone. I think they’d be an interesting couple, but it’s clear the level-headed and grounded Haruhi would have difficulty dealing with Kyon’s flighty fantasies of their friends being espers, aliens and time travelers. HA! If it were only that easy… I do wish we got to see more Kyon and Haruhi scenes. You rarely see just the two of them actually talking to each other or doing things together. Usually, it’s just Kyon talking to himself, or reacting to Haruhi doing things to other people.

Anyway, this is it for an otherwise lackluster second season of Haruhi. I’m convinced that I might’ve thought this season to be typical Haruhi brilliant if they’d replaced Endless Eight with an arc that fans actually cared about (whether or not it was Disappearance, there’s plenty of other arcs I would’ve liked to see animated), but E8 changed everything. Either way, I’ll hold my thoughts on the season for my recap post, which’ll come once I see that the next episode is indeed a rerun.

17 Replies to “The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya – Talking Shamisen! Yes!”

  1. Easily the best episode of the new Haruhi series. Pace, comedic bits, world warping conversations, and a heaping dose of irony, everything we knew Haruhi Suzumiya was capable of, but only got at the very end. Who knows how long the franchise is going to be dragged out, but it isn’t hard to forsee when we collectively look back on this season, KyoAni/Kadokawa would’ve done well to regard the idiom, “less is more.”

    1. Yep, I definitely agree with you. The conspiracy theories, the weird happenings, hearing Nagato’s and Koizumi’s BGMs, this episode felt like I was watching the first season again.

  2. Really though, I think they could have done better. This episode is alittle dark, and many points are vague. It also seems like they were building up in Sigh part 1-4 then in 5 they just rushed to finnish the story. They left parts out and made many parts much more complicated than nessecary.

    BTW, I am totally hating Koizumi in this episode. I mean come on! He is totally ruining the mood! I know Koizumi is more of a darker element to the story, but that scene with him and Kyon totally over-did it. No need for so many shadows over the face either, than you very much.

    And there is something off with Nagato’s scene with Kyon. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I didn’t like it.

    1. Well, Koizumi’s role is to ruin the mood, no? 😉 I dunno, I thought that was a pretty cool scene though.

      I get what you’re saying about Nagato’s scene. It felt a little like she was telling Kyon not to trust Mikuru or Koizumi, when I think she was more just trying to state the reality – that Kyon can’t prove anything they say.

  3. Nagato certainly enjoys feasting on Mikuru, eh? 😀

    Something I didn’t notice in this episode until your particular choice of screenshots made it stand out for me… I really liked Haruhi’s look in the restaurant scene there. Pink skirt with white hoodie is a nice combo for her.

    I agree with your take on the season as a whole. Like yourself, I find that Endless Eight took what could have been a season of typical Haruhi brilliance and turned it into a somewhat lacklustre season. Sighs in and of itself, though, is the best anime arc I’ve watched in a long time. 🙂
    .-= Triple_R´s last blog ..Haruhi 2008 Episode 14 (The FINALE!) Review. =-.

  4. So that’s it then for god knows how many years! I felt the same as most, if it wasn’t for the E8 thing then this would have been equal to the first season. Sigh was interesting but ultimatly didn’t move anything forward (are to spend the entire story in the first year??)

    So the biggest question is this, has E8 ruined any chances of them commissioning a 3rd season? Or will they get a free get out of jail card? Will have to watch this space….

  5. I’m revved for this one. The drama of the previous episode was too bitter for my taste, and seemed like the low point of the season. E8 was brilliant. I adore E8. Not because it was interesting or pleasant to experience — my pleasure is not that important — but because it was a consumate act of audience engagement in the process of delivering the story. E8 made me a part of the story being told by KyoAni in a way that no other piece of mass media in history has managed to accomplish — at least, not since the death (??) of Andy Kaufman. I only wish they had the audacity (and budget) to broadcast 15,526 permutations of those 14 days before closure. I would leave a note in my will for my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren to be sure to tune in for the culmination.

  6. Definitely agree about the cat. I also liked the scene with him ‘normal’ and Kyon’s imouto. 😉 Too bad I can’t have a cat at home, my mother’s got an allergy.

    Also, I enjoyed Mikuru’s seyuu… She played fabulous.

    But I’d say out of the whole Sighs arc, the scene where Kyon almost hits Haruhi is the best. I know that all in all Haruhi maybe deserves it, but at the same time I pitied her so much… Kyon’s her main important person after all.
    .-= Gargron´s last blog ..When you just can’t not smile =-.

  7. Hmmm… I seem to remember many more episodes on the episode list I had. It was on my youtube and got erased but Im sure there was more…

    And all of them were (supposedly) after the first season chronologically-wise

  8. The talking Shamisen is no doubt the highlight of the plot. That kinda took my by surprise as well. What made my laugh my arse off was the reaction of Kyon’s face to Shamisen when he first answered his question about canned cat food or dried sardines :p

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