Enjoying Endless Eight (Yeah I went there)

haruhi s2 06 something is strange

This is not an endorsement of the second and currently airing season of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu. It doesn’t say here that this show is good, and that anyone is missing out. Rather, I agree with Pontifus when he says [->]

All the weight/meaning in the world means nothing if you find the experience regrettable or a waste.

So I am not apologizing for the currently airing second season of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu. I will entertain no such folly, never mind the delicious Macross references. What I am saying is that I have pierced the barrier of boredom with my drill of personal enjoyment, and I’ll tell you how I did it. Consider it or not at your leisure. The main problem of the Endless 8 arc is that every episode after the third one is a copy of the same show essentially. From the archives I retreive two posts:

  1. Towards a Quantification of Love for Animu Part 1: the Rewatchability Ratio
  2. Towards a Quantification of Love for Animo Part 2: the Value of Rewatchability Through the Lens of Eternal Recurrence

Both posts by mechafetish, where he looked into our common behavior of rewatching shows we like. The first post measured a show’s subjective rewatchability ratio. Using the tools in that post, I would give this current season 2/6 (current episode count) = 0.33. This does not account for the recency bias; this ratio, as subjective as it is, may not hold over time with me, since I gave the clearly superior first season a 2/13 = .15 (the one with Lost my music, and Haruhi & Kyon’s preview leading to that episode: “LISTEN TO MY SONG! BOMBAAA!”). The second post, references the idea of eternal recurrence proposed by Friedrich Nietchzche as presented by Milan Kundera in his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Mechafetish says,

This behavior fundamentally alters the way I derive utility from anime I watch. Generally, I tend to have fonder memories of anime that provide me with rewatchable moments simply because I generate more utility per minute due to selective rewatching. For example, I actually love Brain Powered (an anime generally agreed upon to be atrocious) because of exactly 2 moments in the later episodes that I watched more than all the episodes of the entire series combined.

Crappy anime, but with rewatchable moments. I felt that I was onto something here. There was almost this independentutility in rewatching a particular moment that is distinguished from the show, but not apart from it. The context is still decisive in appreciating such moments, but this enjoyment does influence one’s affinity for the show that made them. So this comprises the first part of the premise of my enjoying Endless 8. The second part is very much related, otou-san put it thusly,

Re-watching anime, like any visual entertainment, can give you new perspective on it just from the plain and simple value of seeing things again. We tend to see plot, character development, and visuals the first time around (and considering anime means watching with subtitles for most of us, even the visuals can be secondary at times). But that second viewing can reveal details of reference, symbolism, and detail. If you only watched The Holy Mountain or, yeah I’ll say it, FLCL just once, you missed something.

otou-sanWelcome Back or: what color are your glasses now?

While never close to insane levels of rewatching the way mechafetish does, I rewatch anime and reread manga a lot. And yes, I often feel that I discover new things every time I see the same show again.

haruhi s2 06 free cicadas

The way I ended up enjoying Endless 8 episodes 4, 5, and 6 is that I related to them as rewatch adventures for episode 3.

But episode 3 was just a few weeks ago, it’s too soon for an appreciative (as opposed to a data-mining for articles) rewatch. Yes, that is true. It was a solid wall that would’ve stopped my enjoyment frozen. But it didn’t. It was a wall? I smashed right through it. The difference is, that there are definite, obvious, subtle and new things to discover, not only because I missed them the first time, but rather there were changes by design.

Maybe this only works because I don’t have the best short-term memory, maybe I find the episodes interesting because I skipped chunks of it. I’m not the biggest fan of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu, but I like it; and I wasn’t enjoying myself at all watching the same episode over and over again. Until, I realized how often I do this for singular episodes of other shows (list does not include the constant rotation of random episodes from the Macross franchise):

  • Martian Successor Nadesico 19, where I found this gem of a line, “Nadesico: Do You Remonstrate Love?”
  • Eureka SeveN 26 (and 48), mid-air declarations of love in the throes of air battles [->]
  • Lucky Star 06, Tsukasa soliloquy with a seashell (among other things)
  • Turn A Gundam 50, the epilogue that kills me every time (featuring “Tsuki no Mayu” full version)
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann 27

Now, I’m not saying the Endless 8 recursion of the 3rd episode deserves a place on this list, but as for the episode itself – there was much to enjoy within it. It’s the recursion that bothered me, not the content it is based on. So basically, I found a way to enjoy this (and it’s not like I’m jumping up and down screaming how awesome it is, that happened in episode 02 during Kyon’s ‘Kakizaki Requiem’ with matching Itano Circus).

haruhi s2 06 enjoying repetitive circular motion

So this is how I inadvertently found myself enjoying episode 06 after I thought I’d given up after episode 05. Take this as you will. I just happen to think that ‘who enjoys, wins.’

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in analysis, fanboy, moments in anime and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Enjoying Endless Eight (Yeah I went there)

  1. Cuchlann says:

    I guess I’m the only person enjoying the time loop storyline without mental gymnastics? Sigh.

  2. Pingback: Endless Eight in Getting the Format All Wrong « Lower Mid-Table

  3. Baka-Raptor says:

    I won’t judge a mystery until it’s solved. End of story.

    By the way, you need to watch Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. I searched your site for Higurashi and only found “Higurashi no Eden.” Seriously…

    • sadakups says:

      Higurashi no Eden… sounds like the title of a cross-over parody series where Selecao #9 gets killed over and over only to regain his memories in the next world.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Well I fucked up didn’t I?

      mechafetish has that show archived I think so I’ll definitely check it out.

      • sadakups says:

        Well, you’re talking to a Higurashi fan so that goes without saying that you should check the series out. Unless you’re squeamish for little girls killing each other then you’ll probably stay away. But amidst the violence, gore and mindfucking Higurashi is known for, that’s only the surface. Once you get to both seasons, everything makes sense.

        And after which, you can check out its spiritual successor, which is Umineko.

  4. animekritik says:

    I enjoyed the first 2. After that, I kept watching without enjoyment. I lose. Someone made a great comment the other day: would you buy the DVD for this arc? Gee!!!

    You even got directors apologizing..

    http://www.moetron.com/2009/07/19/haruhi-endless-eight-arc-director-yamamoto-yutaka-apology/

    • ghostlightning says:

      Yes, even if I was a DVD collector (I am not, since original DVDs are not available for mass consumption here in the Philippines) I would have trouble justifying this purchase, especially in relation to other shows I would really collect.

      Watching the video, I was at first put off by the director sort of throwing the production staff under the bus, but I suppose by taking responsibility, as a person who left the production voluntarily makes up for it.

      • animekritik says:

        Oh, it rubbed me the wrong way a bit too, but it’s clear he felt really really strongly that it was all a bad idea and he just had to let it gush out.

  5. sadakups says:

    Know what, I don’t really care anymore. Fans and fantards spew all the Haruhate and the sarcasm and I admit it’s entertainment for me right there.

    I will only care when they start animating the fourth book.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Sadakups is tsundere for haruhi, Kawaii desu~

      • sadakups says:

        Did you just call me tsundere and kawaii in the same sentence? Those words don’t fit a guy who looks like Itazu-kun (a.k.a. Pantsu) from Eden of the East.

        • ghostlightning says:

          It’s the behavior, not the image. If you’re so determined to shatter the idea then go for it =P

  6. gloval says:

    Ahh, just what I expected from you. And the use of the earlier discussion on Rewatchability was a simple but effective touch.

    I assume you do know the OMGWTFBBQWIN!!11 significance of Kyon doing his Itano Circus on a bike using toy rockets, right? And the Macross Frontier and Gundam 00 references are evidence that the time loop happened in the August of 2008, ohohoho. My only gripe is why the Macross references have to be in an infamous arc.

    By the way, what are your thoughts on the showing of TMoHS in TV5?

    • ghostlightning says:

      But it wasn’t a Gundam 00 reference was it? I had thought it an Eva unit 00 refrence. What is it really?

      So what I’m saying is no, I don’t know about the

      [...] the OMGWTFBBQWIN!!11 significance of Kyon doing his Itano Circus on a bike using toy rockets, right? And the Macross Frontier and Gundam 00 references are evidence that the time loop happened in the August of 2008, ohohoho.

      Re TV05, I doubt that the otaku nuances and references will survive.

      • sadakups says:

        I pity the local VAs whose noses reportedly “bled” during the dubbing, and local Harutards are laying the Haruhate on them. I think they’re just fine (I’m not a Haruhist so I couldn’t care less if they screw up the dubbing or not).

        Heck, TV5 shown Azumanga Daioh. That show had a truckload of Japanese references.

      • gloval says:

        LOL, mea culpa, I admit to my ignorance about the Unit 00.

        The bike and toy rockets thing have been mentioned in your entry about the Itano Circus where you quoted from Macross Memories. It’s basically how Ichiro Itano developed his Circus.

        Ahaha otaku nuances were utterly destroyed when the characters (especially Kyon and Yuki) sounded significantly different for comfort, and then there’s the translations. At least that’s what I saw in Episode 00. Such a shame since I consider their ToraDora dub decent enough.

  7. gaguri says:

    It’s nice to see people still enjoying Haruhi. They are luckier than I, and I won’t express any rage that’s boiling inside me here because that’s just going to get ugly ^_^b

    I guess expectations played big part in my frustration. Had this been your everyday novel to anime adaptation, then maybe my response would’ve been something like: “oh that’s interesting. they kinda failed royally but it’s nice to see them try new things”. But because I enjoyed Haruhi 1st season so much, it just saddens me to see half the season’s length has been thrown away for a short gimmicky story, when there are much better stories in the novel to be animated. I can’t help but think that KyoAni or Kadokawa (or whoever, i dont care…) knew the fanbase was going to watch/buy dvd anyway, so they went this direction…

    Anyway, I agree with what Yamamoto-san said. This really shouldn’t have gone further than 2 episodes. The novel played out in one-episode fashion, where Kyon had his sense of deja vu, before knowing everything, then finally breaking the cycle. All in one loop. I suppose second episode was necessary to express things that weren’t in the novel, but really, 6 episodes aren’t needed to tell what is, for me, a mundane filler throw away story, and it is alsmot impossible for me to look at endless eight in a positive light, not an ounce of it.

    /end rage with great restraint

  8. Peter says:

    I really liked this book too. My book True Love Is Not Common; http://www.eloquentbooks.com/TrueLoveIsNotCommon.html, has similar main characters. I grew up reading this author since high school. Hope that one day my book will reach many people as this author. While writing this book, I did a lot of research on this topic, and events that are affecting our lives today.

    • coburn says:

      But is Haruhi spam? I think True Love is Not Common would be a better title for this arc than Endless Eight.

  9. coburn says:

    I’m beginning to think that I’m enjoying/notragingat Endless Eight on account of K-On. It fills the pointless repetitive gap so naturally. That said, and thinking of the fun I had rewatching Haruhi S1, I think for me rewatches have often been more about re-living shows as slice-of-life, rather than returning to the very best moments. i.e. I’d generally watch the whole series, and even enjoy the boring bits.

    Anyway, what stood out to me in this post was probably your not being a big fan of series 1, since, as gaguri says, high expectations make for irritation. Seems like the key to extracting pleasure from this thing is some kind of meditative state of distance, although, like animekritik, I’ve begun to suffer from diminishing returns in terms of my aesthetic appreciation. Still, I’d go so far as to say that Endless Eight is really quite good if you’re chilled out about it.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Yes, I’m not a big fan of S1 (I mean I LOVE it; but not in the sense I’m a Haruhiist or a fanboy), and so I didn’t have gaguri’s and perhaps ak’s crippling expectations. That said, I am a big fan of the Macross Franchise, and I didn’t have tremendous expectations for Macross Frontier. My being a fan was such that I was so thankful that a Macross show finally arrived. Some fervent loyalists of the franchise were disgusted by it. I love it.

      I’m not willing to declare this season ‘good’ at all, but indeed I’m finding more and more ways to enjoy myself with it. Watch out!

      Regarding re-living shows as slice-of-life, that perfectly describes/explains how Lucky Star has never left my anime viewing rotation.

    • lelangir says:

      Yeah, I started getting into anime last winter, during Clannad and Kimikiss, so I missed all the Haruhi hype, thus prohibiting the formation of any nascent inner Kyoani fanboy that may have otherwise crystallized. Thank g—Haruhi?

  10. Peter says:

    Thanks Cobum. I think it will work better that way. True Love Is Not Common, I think it sounds great.

  11. drmchsr0 says:

    From a business point of view, Endless 8 is actually very, very stupid.

    Then again, I usually blame Bandai (I assume Bandi owns pretty much the whole animu industry in Japan) for everything. So my opinion counts for nothing.

  12. X10A_Freedom says:

    I’m just sitting back until I find out over at Animesuki when they conclude this arc. I just have better things to than re-watching the same (rather average) episode 5 times! Haruhi is on the backburner for me just like Hayate no Gotoku – I only watch the Hina-related episodes!

    Finding a way to enjoy Endless Eight is quite a feat indeed though. :P

    • ghostlightning says:

      Well, it wasn’t like I tried very hard. The tools were lying on the workshop floor so to speak. That said, I already put in the time to dl and watch the episodes, to not enjoy them will just compound the waste.

  13. Pingback: Haruhi Suzumiya: Feeling SHAFTed yet? @ Mega Megane Moé

  14. omisyth says:

    Now I just listen to it in the background while browsing. It’s become that tedious. I derive no enjoyment from this.

  15. Pingback: On Enjoying Works You Don’t Like and liking works you didn’t enjoy « We Remember Love

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