Well this was a surprise. The first season of Haruhi has been replaying in Japan for some time, and while there have been magazine hints at a new season, there’s been nothing blatently advertised from Kyoto Animation that new episodes that follow the Haruhi novels would start airing. While this episode is mixed in chronologically with the season one episodes, I’m going to label it as “season 2” since I’m pretty sure the new episodes will be put on their own DVD apart from the first season.
It’s been about three years since Haruhi aired and it felt odd watching new material after so long. For some reason Kyon’s voice took some getting used to again, but his hyperspeed inner monologues and sarcasm got me back. Mikuru’s still kinda meh for me, Yuki’s all powerful as usual, and Itsuki didn’t have much to do this episode but things should get more interesting as new episodes air. The plot focused on Kyon’s time travel with Mikuru three years into the past where they meet a chibi Haruhi on the eve of Tanbata, a night where wishes are said to be granted. Kyon helps Haruhi write a message on the schoolyard and turns out to be the reason why Haruhi comes to his high school. There’s also appearances by Adult Mikuru and Past Yuki that round things out. The only thing that pissed me off was the ending animation, mostly because a nerve is pinched in my neck and all the flashing shit wasn’t helping my migraine. Anyhow, the best thing to do is watch the episode for yourself and get back into the groove of the series, but watch season one first if you haven’t yet. I also have some thoughts that revolve around the Haruhi novels, but for spoilers’ sake I’ll put them after the cut:
I read translations of most of the novels a couple of years ago, and I’m eager to see how far Kyoto will get into the material. I noticed that I spent more time focusing on what Yuki and Kyon were doing this episode than Mikuru, and I think that’s because what you see in the characters’ interactions in the anime changes so much in the novels. Mikuru states that she’s just a gopher for the higher ups in the future, and in the novels Kyon kinda starts losing trust with her after being yanked around one too many times. If my memory serves me right and it’s not too far along in the novels, we should also see an arc where the SOS Brigade never came together and Ryoko appears again.
Watching the novel material in the anime helps me take a second analysis at what this series may be about. For a long time, I’ve been on the side that Kyon is actually “God” and not Haruhi. It just seems like Haruhi is the loudmouthed pawn that sets things in motion, but Kyon is unconsciously making the decisions. In the novels, Haruhi kind of fades into the background as a character after a while, and you get a lot more exposition on the other four characters. Anyhow, in this new episode Haruhi from three years in the past makes a chalk drawing on the schoolyard (with Kyon’s help) that ends up being in the same alien language that Yuki uses, and it reads, “I am here”. What I question is whether or not this was a product of Kyon or Haruhi. Kyon had already seen that message on the tanbata wish slip, and he’s the one who physically wrote it out on the schoolyard. To me it seems like a chicken/egg situation: did Kyon write it because Haruhi knew it or did Haruhi know it because Kyon knew it? It all depends if Haruhi is just some extension of Kyon. We’ve already seen through this episode that Kyon affected how Haruhi would be in her future high school life, so who’s to say he couldn’t have done something even earlier that we just haven’t seen yet? Oh well, all this is just speculation that may not even have a proper footing so I’ll just await the new episodes and hope that more novels are published.