[Image courtesy of 5-y.2-d.jp]
The anime that started off with a home movie with poor production values ends with an episode that has some of the highest of the show. It’s two outs in the ninth inning and Kyon, with the existence of the universe as he knows it at stake, is down to his last strike. Under the pressure, he manages to pull a Michael Young and win it for
the American League his dimension. (For those who didn’t watch the MLB All-Star game Tuesday night, you non-baseball fans, Young hit a 2-run triple to put the AL in the lead for good.)
The whole conversation between Taniguchi and Kyon was a good way to start the episode off with some humor in order to lift people from the semi-downer that was last episode. Taniguchi giving Yuki Nagato an A- rating and his version of “Kyon-on-Yuki action” were good on their own but the manga-style speech bubbles just made it that much better.
This episode most exhibited the contrast between Haruhi’s rationality and her desires. When Kyon stands up to her demanding he leave while she changes in the club room, she pushes him out and implies a sense of self-“privacy”. She is afraid when she finds out she’s trapped in the school and somewhat unhappy that Kyon is there. However, when she’s waltzing the halls alone she can be seen smirking so her sense of adventure isn’t entirely missing.
Now, when she sees the Celestial, she goes wide-eyed and becomes excited. Desire takes over for the rest of the “closed space” ride they’re on and it’s quickly filling the glass of balance to the rim. Damn, that’s one badly written metaphor. Anyway, Kyon mans up and assert his “voice of reason” status by listing the things and people he likes in this dimension. The “ponytails turn me on” line was cheesy as hell but I felt it was necessary to Kyon to say to put Haruhi in a state of shock long enough to plant one.
Kyon picked the worst time to be playing around with Mikuru because he knew Haruhi was a melacholic mood, especially after last episode. She punishes Mikuru by sulkingly braiding her hair and putting it into buns and punishes Kyon by…glaring and not talking to him. “Urge to scrap this universe RISING…”
The romantic relationship between Mikuru and Kyon pretty much ends in this episode, although I’m sure many fanfictioners and shippers will continue it for years to come. The series (at least to me) presented it as an “innnocent but forbidden love” with Kyon thinking about her in different costumes and Mikuru subconsciously teasing him. Mikuru’s message via the Esper Telegram Service to Kyon was “I’m sorry”. I’m glad Kyon could still have some fun making Mikuru nervous about her “star mole”.
Was this a good final episode? I think it was very well handled even though I knew that the world wasn’t going to end because of the previous episodes. When I was watching it a second time and trawling for screenshots, I noticed all the different camera shots and techniques and felt I was looking at a strange independent short film. The climax seemed full of itself with choral BGM and “repeated square vision” but at the end, I had a smile on my face. Personally, I don’t think that there needs to be a second season and they shouldn’t since there was an epilogue and you can’t go back after you’ve done an epilogue.
Unfortunately, it seems that a distinct Original Soundtrack release is unlikely, as each of the 7 Limited Edition DVDs will have a bonus mini-soundtrack/radio CD packaged in. Hopefully somebody composes all the pieces into a stitched-together “unofficial” soundtrack release after the seventh disc (ep 14) streets on January 26, 2007. C’mon, Lantis! Gimme a break! I will not spend over $360 to import special edition region 2 DVDs in order to get radio stuff I can neither understand nor dance to, a postcard I’d look at twice, and 2-3 tracks.
By the way, if anyone actually does get the R2 Deluxe sets as they come out, could you hook me up 320kbps rips as they trickle out? I’d be ever thankful because this series had some fine BGM, IMHO.
This episode featured the first appearance chronologically for Imouto (Kyon’s sister) even though her first aired appearance was in Kyon’s duffel bag in episode 6. The brother-sister gurgling shot was cute, so I had to include it.
Oh snap, Kyon knows how to utilize the hidden folder feature in Windows XP! Maybe that’s why Nagato had a tiny smile on her face…
And, in case you were wondering, no, ponytails don’t turn me on. I prefer loose, unrestricted hair.