Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Recap: Endless 8 Part 4

I can telegraph this start now. Kyon is watching a ball game he's not interested in. I've reached the halfway point of this, and the channel uploader said that we're free to skip to Part 8. I appreciate the offer, but I intend to see this through. I made it through Bakugan and Code Geass R2, I can make it through this.

It's mentioned that there are cheers on the field. When I started watching this episode; I noticed a person that didn't think this arc was as bad as people said; that they actually enjoyed seeing all the little details in each episode, despite the fact that it was the same exact outline every time. I told the person to talk to their doctor and get the dosage of whatever they're taking raised. I know I'll need to.

A person on the copy I'm using to write this episode has told me, in response to my quip, that this arc is clever and has great details; not mind-numbingly awful and unappreciated by stupid people. Ok, time for another reason why I consider Azumanga Daioh a better anime: each episode was never the same thing twice. It had so many memorable scenes, each unique in their own way. Making cosmetic changes to the episodes and keeping the plot largely the same is not the same as coming up with new ideas or implementing old ones in new ways. I also found Azumanga Daioh a lot funnier, since there was never an episode that I didn't laugh once. I have watched all of the original series and three of the Endless 8, and I have not even smiled. Even though the uploader gives you the chance to skip to episode 8, I intend to see this through.

Even Kyon is catching on! I cannot believe people can call ANYTHING about this smart! They also praised its unique method of time travel! Here's an idea! Go watch Groundhog Day! It's one of the greatest comedies of all time with that same premise, and this is clearly trying to be that, and failing miserably!

Kyon wonders how he knew about the bike. I wonder how anyone can like this when I've heard scads of others say they hate it; often to the point where they vowed to never watch the series again. Since these recaps are doing well, I may also recap the movie, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya sometime, but not this year.

Kyon mentions summer is almost over. I know,and I'm getting ready to go back to school.

I am really starting to hate this theme song.

Kyon arrives at the station, only this time he's wearing a hat. I am still wearing my dirty and worn-out Pok mon BW Ash hat writing this.

Haruhi tells her to show some motivation.

Once again, they're going to the pool. It simply boggles the mind how people could enjoy this arc. Someone told me to watch the original series in broadcast order, skip this arc, then watch the movie, and it will be mind-blowing. Instead, I got 3 episodes in on broadcast before I gave up and watched chronological order instead,

The only factor I am lending praise to is the attention to detail. I cannot praise the story or the characters in any way.

Of course, Kyon and Koizumi point out how abnormal Haruhi is.

Koizumi once again brings up his paranoia.

Kyon once again brings up his quote that it would be better to call it a communal pool than a public pool. Synonyms, Kyon.

Kyon, much like the audience, knows this is when the two new brigade members show up.

Kyon asks if he's gained precognitive powers. No, you've merely caught on that Haruhi is putting everyone through this nonsense to dick with them. One of the people that I argued with claimed that this arc shows different outcomes of the same event and how time travel could work. No, it shows people TALKING about those things, while only making cosmetic changes and slight rewrites while keeping the same general plot outline. They're not the same thing!

They're at the restaurant, and Haruhi has the list of what they're doing for the next two weeks. I know what I will be doing: watching Azumanga Daioh and FLCL again. Those people that thought this arc was clever are thankfully outnumberedthreefold, myself included, by those that agree it's a piece of shit.

I notice that apart from the clothes, another one of the cosmetic change is the beverages they order. If you like this arc, and Haruhi Suzumiya, I simply cannot convince you you're wrong. Me, I am getting increasingly apathetic toward her; taking this arc with one drink after another and writing it under a bad case of hay fever.

Mikuru wants to go goldfish scooping again. Saw that coming from Kansas. I also notice that Kyon is possibly looking for a way out. I think that Haruhi may very well be the anime version of the Master from Manos.

Haruhi again asks where a Bon festival or fireworks show is occurring. Yuki is just casually drinking her drink. I think Yuki may be my favorite female here. Much like Rei from Evangelion, she has silver hair, a neutral look, and a wonderfully stoic attitude towards Haruhi's shenanigans.

Seriously, go check her example at TV Tropes' Rei Ayanami Expy page. A fun fact: Hideki Anno created Rei as a satire of the anime fandom's ideal woman; in order to make a statement at what their culture is like. It didn't go as planned, as the fandom loved Rei; and her image unintentionally created the moe character type. It helped that Rei had plenty of scenes that were intentionally sexy. I even included her in my Top 13 anime women.

They start tomorrow, and Haruhi says not to forget the goldfish scooping. I will honestly be trying to forget a lot of this bilge, by finishing Escaflowne and Evangelion and watching Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star again.

Once again, Kyon will pay. So will I.

Kyon talks to Yuki again. It's clear Kyon knows what's going on, but is trying to get the others to admit it on their own. In response to that person calling me stupid for not enjoying this arc: stupid people generally don't have the writing proficiency, initiative, or analytical skills

Kyon asks himself why she talked to Yuki. I don't know. Why am I so excited for Pok mon Origins when I still enjoy the current Pok mon anime and don't find it as bad as people say? Why is it so hard to watch One Piece with my computer battery and internet connection problems? Why does YouTube constantly change its interface instead of picking one and sticking with it for a while? Why are there people that enjoy this arc?

Thankfully, it just cuts to the next morning with Kyon going to see Haruhi.

It's the Yukata shopping again.

You know how this goes:

Kyon realizes he's been there before. I notice that since my brother is seeing his father in North Dakota, I've been feeling like that too; and not just because I'm dealing with what will likely be another addition to my worst anime list.

It's the masks again, and Yuki wants one. The usual: toku heroes, video game characters, and ones of traditional Japanese icons. Next!

Haruhi has the takoyaki, Mikuru has another candy apple, and Yuki is wearing the mask on the opposite side of her head. ... I'm sorry! I simply do not believe slight cosmetic changes to the art while barely touching the script are sufficient justification for calling this arc "clever" or "interesting!" Here are words I would use to describe it! "Infuriating!" "Bewildering!" "Cretinous!" "Hapless!" "Inscrutable!" And I'M stupid for not liking it? Don't even bother! English was my best subject throughout school and continues to be so in college! I have written articles outside this blog that got printed in the newspapers of my high school and both the colleges I've attended! I will be going back to continue my education with a major in journalism, so I may one day get a job in writing about this sort of thing when the day comes that I finally have to give this blog up! Do not start with me, youwill not win!

It's OK. It wasn't meant for you.

(sighs) OK. So, we have now reached the halfway point of this episode, and this arc. You can do it, Steven.

There's the summer homework question again.

Of course, Haruhi says she did hers in three days. I notice that Kyon looks angry when Haruhi answers that; rather than merely surprised when she answered before. I will admit that Kyoto Animation at least made sure the arc was well-drawn and well-animated even if the story wouldn't pass for a hentai, much less a high school slice of life anime.

Haruhi again mentions that if you get that out of the way, you can have fun. I agree. Once I'm finished with this, I'm going to spend the next few weeks and months on writing recaps about anime I enjoy, or at least have something unique to criticize.

Kyon asks why heaven is so unfair. Somehow, I get the feeling Kyon means the other place; the one I've been likening this experience to.

The next day, it's cicada catching time again. Also, it's time for me to have another large drink of Pepsi. Wow. I've been drinking so many of their products through this arc that I may consider buying stock in the company when I'm finished.

Kyon once again uses the Pandora's box comparison. I think it's fitting, given how many people wanted to storm Kyoto Animation for this.

Once again, they're wearing frog suits for their part time jobs. I know the music I choose for when this scene comes up in this arc is often tenuously-related at best,

Kyon likens taking off his hot mask to Gundam Virtue taking off its armor. I know what I'm about to type is a stereotypical statement; but I find the various anime of Gundam to be smarter than this. Don't get me wrong, I like slice of life anime fine, but let me put it this way: making statements about the premise in universe without actually showing how they could be implemented is not actually smart, but merely TRYING to be. I've been watching Gundam Wing in between watching this to write about it, and it has shown the horrors of war, the extreme things the characters are willing to do to accomplish their goals, the power struggles on both sides; and clashing ideals all around. That actually IS smart. Let me tell you, once I'm done with this, it will be some time before I watch and write a recap on Disappearance, and I will definitely look into watching other Gundam series when I'm done with Gundam Wing (with the possible exception of SEED Destiny, which I've heard is the nadir of the franchise; though I may look into it if there's material for recaps).

Once again, the pay is the suits. This time, Kyon looks somewhere in between mad as Hell at Haruhi and about to die of a heatstroke. Combining the two emotions he went through in previous episodes. THAT'S sound justification for calling this arc clever? Perhaps if they were to talk more about the stuff they're going through and show more acknowledgement of the fact they're in this loop, then THAT would be clever. That's how Groundhog Day did it, and this arc is clearly aspiring to be that.

Once again, the phone rings with Kyon in bed. You know what would be clever? Not answering it, putting it on vibrate, waiting out the ringing, or throwing the damn thing out the window! In Groundhog Day, when Bill Murray's character got sick of waking up to "I Got You Babe", each time the loop repeated, he did something different to the clock each time once he caught on!

He does reject the call, but it ends up ringing again.

Of course, it's Mikuru again. I'm putting my Reebok-clad foot down right now. This arc is not clever. You consider it clever. You believe it's clever. Saying otherwise is just whatever substance you're consuming while you're watching it talking.

Mikuru is having another complete emotional breakdown.

Koizumi tells Kyon to come right away.

At the station, Mikuru is now haggard as a vagrant, with her hair a mess and her state of dress far more sloppy. She says she still can't go back to the future.

They skipped Koizumi's explanation this time, and Kyon again thinks what Koizumi said is crazy. I agree. Regarding explanations about time travel, Koizumi's theory isa load of bunk. Even if I was to consider what he said credible, his delivery would still make it impossible to swallow. Koizumi is no Emmett "Doc" Brown.

The others have also caught on to what's going on. Time to get right to it.

To top it off, Koizumi knows what everyone else already does: this whole mess is Haruhi's fault. Kyon's expression is one that the fans as a whole made (in spite of my mention of these people that praised this arc, they are few and far in between. The general consensus is that most people hate it.).

Kyon asks again if Haruhi regrets something. No, I'm quite certain sociopaths aren't capable of feeling regret. They definitely can't feel empathy, as Haruhi has proven.

Kyon then asks what to do. Well, in Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's character eventually becomes suicidal from repeating the loop, killing himself in multiple ways each time it resets (Note: In my life, I have suffered from depression at times, and have had occasions where I've attempted suicide; and have been hospitalized for the condition. I am currently seeing a therapist and am taking medication for the condition. If you suffer from depression, I encourage you to seek help from friends, family, and trained professionals.).

Kyon remarks that Koizumi seems very cheerful. I get the feeling he's trying to hide his pain.

Kyon asks if other people in the world feel this. Although Koizumi denies it, I believe that yes; there are people that feel like this. I'm feeling it right now, having indoctrinated myself to a routine to get through this arc;

They also say that Haruhi doesn't feel this at all, and it would be bad if she did. Since she's a sociopath, I think that she would indeed cause the apocalypse if she found it funny. She's Harley Quinn without the clown makeup, pure and simple.

Once again, Yuki's the one to talk to about the whole thing. Why is Haruhi the title character? I get the feeling I'd actually like this franchise if Yuki was the female lead. Even better, I love characters like Kyon, so I would definitely love an anime and media franchise called The Amazing Kyon.

Anyway, Yuki says that the loop has now repeated for 15,513 times. I also notice in this screencap that a cicada appears to be dying at Kyon's feet. This may represent his statement about cicadas not living long earlier, but I think it's because Kyoto Animation made it this way so it would be easier to dub this scene for foreign markets; like how Death Note often focused on L's feet or other inanimate objects to make foreign dubs easier. Another fun fact: in Full Metal Panic, L can be seen riding on a bicycle, as Kyoto Animation was one of the studios considered to adapt Death Note into an anime. They ultimately weren't chosen.

And the whole scene where Yuki explains the times each outcome happened is shot like this, either with the camera focused on something else or pulled away so we can't see their faces; so there are no mouth flaps to write dialogue around.

Now comes the statement which was the catalyst for most of my ranting in this recap. It's the part where Yuki says each time something did or didn't happen in the loop. This was the biggest way they justified this arc as interesting. However they said they showed it. ... No. No. No!

What they showed is a general role rehearsal of the same outline of events, with just minor changes to the clothes they wore and the objects they interacted with! Yuki is merely TELLING us each time an event did or didn't happen! There is a difference! There is a reason that the most important rule of making a visual form of art is "show, don't tell!"

Of course, Kyon stops her! When you actually watch this, and take the time to look at the premise; the argument that this arc is clever completely falls apart! Even Kyon realizes it! That does it! I'm getting through this right now!

Kyon buys a drink to reflect on what she said. I am taking a huge swig of my drink right now.

Kyon then asks what it's like to experience that frame of time over and over. Well, when there are people that actually like this arc in the face of scads of hate for it; I think it's horrendous!

Time for stargazing again. Haruhi still wonders if there's Martians

Haruhi and Mikuru fall asleep, Koizumi suggests embracing her, and Kyon says no.

It's the batting center again. Yuki knew about the loop, and didn't say anything because she could only observe.

Kyon runs through all the events, ending on seeing movies. You know what this needs? Joel, Mike, Servo, and Crow mocking it. I know I've linked to a lot of MST3K jokes and episodes to get through this, and will be watching them to detox from it.

Space has warped, and time is now bendable!

They're back at the restaurant, finished with their list. Now Haruhi is wearing a red shirt and overalls.


She asks if there's anything else they want to do. They say nothing, and Haruhi says they're finished.

Kyon of course says that Haruhi still isn't satisfied. She never will be. Even if she did invoke her ability to end all life as we know it, I doubt it would satisfy her.

Kyon knows that if she leaves, the loop will start again.

No, all Kyon does is have a flashback and wonder if there's a clue in what she said. No! You think? And here's another bombshell: The Dark Knight was a really popular movie!

Once again, Kyon has not started his homework on the last day of summer.

Rather than get in bed, Kyon has drawn a plane in his notebook, like the one in the movie they saw.

"Endless 8 Part 4" is the worst one of these episodes I've dealt with so far. Fitting, as one of the first things you learn about Japanese culture is that the number 4 is a bad omen. The story outline has become absolutely banal as it enters the second half. In spite of what this arc's defenders say, minor tweaks to the animation is not the same as actually trying to rewrite the story or write a new one from scratch. However, I wish to thank the people who posited this belief to me, one of which outright called me stupid for not being entertained by the suffering of characters not named Haruhi. Without them, I would not have had the confidence to continue watching this arc and pick apart their arguments and this episode in response. Now I can continue with this, thanks to their misguided enjoyment. See you space cowboy.
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