The Computer Club interrupts Mikuru’s tea ceremony and challenges the SOS-dan to a battle in their PC game “Day of Sagittarius III”. Haruhi hears his challenge from down the hall and dropkicks him upside the head. If the Computer Club wins, they regain the desktop they lost in the extortion incident, way back in ep. 3. Haruhi puts up Nagato,and then Mikuru as a prize, but Kyon tells her that she should bet herself if anybody will be at stake. She backs down but accepts that if SOS-dan wins, they get four more computers. Kyon asks everyone to play honestly and not to cheat using an “cosmic, future, or ESP” stuff. Remember those words.
About the game, it’s a 5v5 online space battle sim and can be easily explained. Every player is allocated 15,000 spaceships at the start. You begin with a small field of vision around your own ship and expand it by sending out scout units and burning off the “fog of war”. Each player’s main ship looks different on the outside and different staffs on the inside. Haruhi has aliens, Mikuru has cute pink cats,
Esper Koizumi has henohenomoheji-faced men (wiki link), Yuki has other Yukis, and Kyon has…well, the thing is…we never actually see his crew. Knowing Kyon though, they are probably just ordinary humans, but that’s something I still would want to see for consistency.
Haruhi’s team finds out through practice over the next week that the learning curve is steep (because Haruhi keeps charging in!) for everyone except for Nagato, who seems to be having fun. It’s kind of hard to tell if she never really smiles but I suppose it’s in the eyes. It’s game day and Haruhi is still confident as ever. SOS-dan soon gets attacked from the side and it looks like it’ll be a massacre until Nagato’s scouts finally report back. They are really spread out, providing everybody a much better view of the battlefield.
When Kyon tries to tell her to stop cheating, she informs him that the Computer Club’s been cheating from the start as their “fog of war” was turned off. She further stipulates that she is not disobeying his instructions and simply wants to apply “alterations” using the current Earth technology to level the playing field. Yeah, Kyon, nothing “cosmic, future, or ESP” was involved. She finishes typing all of her programs save for one “Enter” keypress and looks at Kyon for approval. He nods his head and the tide is quickly – and heavily – turns in SOS-dan’s favor.
After the match, the Computer Club Prez that Nagato was the superhacker mastermind and asks her if she’d like to participate in some of his club’s activities. Like an overprotective mother, Haruhi says she can’t but Kyon butts in (like an allowing father?) and tells Yuki to do what she wants. The final shot is of her “typing” on her book.
Nagato shows more character development in this episode. She was confronted with technology that is most definitely archaic whenever she’s from. (Get it? ’cause she’s from the future. Yeah.) And yet, over five days, she went from very slow touch-typing to crazy fast keyboard mashing. Kyon was surprised when she used the “micromanagement” strategy from the back of the manual. God, RTFM, Kyon! Anyway, she still has a problem with taking things literally (see ep 8 re: “Don’t open the door for anyone.”), but this time it was in a good way.
Haruhi wins for most genki this episode with the Computer Club Prez a close second, powered by his thirst for revenge. I mean, she kicked someone in the head! If they make a fighting game based on this show, that has to be one of her moves. She just made me laugh with her “throw caution to the wind” battle attitude. I felt it added some needed energy to the somewhat dramatic battle. Yuki’s frantic typing also contributed to the slowly building tension. The ships themselves were looking good (if you look closely, you can read “SOS SPACE FORCE” on the sides of Haruhi Fleet), and the explosions looked pretty good, too.
The one thing that bugged me was the seconds counter in the taskbar clock. I know that this is artistic license for dramatic effect but, as far as I know, you need third-party software (like Clock Tray Skins) to do this in Windows XP. I tried messing around in Regional Settings but couldn’t get it to show up. Maybe it’s standard in countries like Japan where 24-hour time is used. For those wondering why this is so, here is an explanation from a Microsoft developer of why the Windows taskbar clock has had no seconds by default since Win95. Turns out it was to save memory back in the days when the minimum specs for a PC included 4 megs of RAM. The standard memory size now is 512 MB/1 GB, so why CAN’T we do it now as a built-in feature? ARGH!
Also, I believe this is the first episode where Yuki read left-to-right. I checked the previous episodes and in most of them, she was reading right-to-left. Couldn’t find an instance of reading in episode 8, though.
Just a note: I was wrong about last episode being the first one to have a sponsor. I checked and a couple of the others did too. I regret the error.
Next week: “Live Alive” (pronounced like “a real LIVE monster”)
Haruhi Episode #12/Kyon episode #12
It’s finally here, the Cultural Festival! I’m looking forward to seeing students’ reactions to “Adventures of Mikuru-run” as well as Tsuruya getting back in the mix. Does anybody else think that Haruhi and Tsuruya would make a good comedy duo? Also, both episode counts coincide for just this one episode so it’s going to be something special. Tanigawa thinks it’ll be awesome.