Episode 15, "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody"
Synopsis: Haruhi is excited to participate in Tanabata activities, much to the chagrin of Kyon. After the SOS Brigade write wishes to hang on a bamboo shrub, Haruhi sinks into melancholy. Mikuru asks to meet Kyon after the club meeting, where she asks him to come with her to the Tanabata of three years prior via time travel. It's there that Kyon meets with a younger Haruhi, helping her draw strange symbols on her middle school's grounds. To return to the present, Kyon and Mikuru enlist the help of Yuki, who freezes them in time as three years pass. When they return, Kyon is concerned about any further time travelling adventures.
Wow, it's been so long since a new episode of this show's been out! (Yet, I still haven't collected the entire first season as of yet.) It's so good to see Haruhi, Kyon, Mikuru, Yuki, and Itsuki back together after all this time. In addition, it means hearing their voices again and seeing Kyoto Animation's excellent animation and detailed art for the series. It's like reuniting with an old friend.
So, this episode covers a short story in the third book which later has implications in the fourth book, which will be the bulk of the the new episodes premiering this season. It's very important to pay attention to what you see now and remember what you've seen before, because it all fits together like a puzzle. For instance, it seems that meeting Kyon in the past is what spurred Haruhi to go to North High to begin with, though she apparently forgot about him (it was dark when they met and he gave his name as "John Smith"). Seeing a younger, but still just as brash, Haruhi was pretty entertaining. She was easily able to boss Kyon into making the writings that Tanaguchi told Kyon about in the beginning of the first season.
I, for one, detest time travel stories, because of the inherit flaws in time travel logic. For instance, one cannot prevent a past event from occuring, since it has already occured. Any attempt at preventing that past even will be met with failure, because if you could prevent it, it would have already not happened. Likewise, there's no need to fulfill a requirement in the past, because in the past, it's already been fulfilled. No matter what you do will result in the same thing. However, in the case of this show, as with my favorite video game, Chrono Trigger, it's probably best not to think too hard about it, and just enjoy the ride.
I'm really looking forward to seeing more of the new episodes in the future. It's too bad it'll be a few more weeks before the next brand new one.
3.5 out of 5