Final Thoughts on Endless Eight
While I’m a bit late writing about it, now that the Endless Eight story arc of the new season of Haruhi is officially over, and has moved on to new material, I fell I can finally comment on it. Endless Eight was one of those things fans either loved or hated. Some thought it was genius, others retarded. Some even expressed their hatred violently. However, this mixed reaction that divided the fan base really says a lot about otaku and how easily manipulated we are.
I personally liked Endless Eight. It reminded me a lot of the first season of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Just like you know that shit is going to hit the fan every time a new arc starts in Higurashi, you know that every episode of Endless Eight is going to end with Kyon unable to figure out how to escape the endless loop. As I was watching it, even though I knew that each episode was not going to end the arc, some part of me held out hope that it still would, making it a pleasantly masochistic experience.
However, the most interesting part about this arc was how much it toyed with fans. Like the main theme of Endless Eight, the entire presentation of Haruhi season 2 has been about false hope. The announcement of a rebroadcast enraged a lot of fans, myself included. When the second season actually started, people started making all these theories about the schedule for the rest of the season. These hopes were dashed when Endless Eight kept dragging on and on. Some held out hope for it ending in 3 episodes. Once it passed 6, some gave up on the series altogether. Once the arc ended, some were fearful of a recap 9th episode or something else along those lines.
If you think about it, 8 episodes makes some sense because of the title. The only thing that stopped us from accepting that early on was that completely remaking the same thing 8 times in a row sounds completely absurd. This absurd approach to a common story is what made it unique. I would even go as far as to say that this is the most original idea in anime in a long time. Giving a repeating premise allowed for the seiyuu and director the opportunity to play around with their respective jobs. Differences in the delivery such as when Kyon says “Three days!” in English add another layer of depth. I’m actually curious as to whether each episode had a different director, since the direction varied greatly between episodes.
A fellow anime blogger compared watching Endless Eight to rewatching favorite episodes. I completely agree with this. I don’t know how many times I’ve rewatched Lucky Star with varying levels of sobriety. The first season of Haruhi demanded at least one rewatch in chronological order to get a full understanding. I feel that Endless Eight was almost making fun of fans who choose to rewatch by forcing them to rewatch.
On the whole, I really enjoyed the Endless Eight story arc. I recently explained it to a friend who had only seen a little bit of the first season of Haruhi, and he felt that the creators were approaching this series like art. Art is a very accurate way to describe Endless Eight. Each episode was repetitive, yet unique. Enraging yet entertaining. My only concern is how the DVD sales are going to fare. Are fans hardcore enough to buy 4 DVDs of the same stuff. I predict that while sales will be good, the total sales for season 2 will be nowhere near those of the first. Fans inherently want complete collections so they will either buy all of them or none at all, and I’m pretty sure a good number of fans were lost.
Sorry for the lack of posts. I’ve been busy with work and went back to Los Angeles last weekend. This season is still good. Kanamemo and Saki are still stupid fun. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is slow, but probably wouldn’t be as reaslistic if it moved faster. Spice and Wolf II suffers some pacing issues, but this is negated by the sexy alchemist who has been appearing lately. Aoi Hana is meandering around and Fumi is starting to piss me off. Umineko is finally getting to the fucking point, but I’m still not crazy about it. Bakemonogatari is now my second favorite SHAFT show after Maria Holic. And Canaan is still the last show I watch out of all the new ones. I still don’t know why I’m not liking it that much. As for old shows, I started watching Macross Frontier and am still watching Honey and Clover, although the latter is starting to meander and is getting a bit frustrating because of that. Not sure what I’ll write about next. I’ve been meaning to do a comparison of Figma and Revoltech for some time now, so maybe I’ll finally get around to writing that. Have a good weekend.