Episode 28, "The Sighs of Haruhi Suzumiya (Part 5)"
Synopsis: Haruhi decides to use a cat behind Yuki's apartment for the movie. After a day of shooting, Kyon and the others discover the cat can talk, but discourage it from doing so. Deciding that Haruhi's imagination is running wild and causing reality to change, they decide it's necessary to get Haruhi to admit the contents of the movie are fictional. The next day, Mikuru tells Kyon that her group's interpretation of Haruhi is different from Itsuki's group. Yuki tells Kyon that her own assertions would be impossible for him to confirm. As strange things continue to occur, Itsuki meets with Kyon to discuss the different views between the groups and asking for Kyon's help to contain Haruhi's power. Filming ends, and Haruhi and Kyon stay in the clubhouse over night to edit it together. They fall asleep and wake up the next morning, the movie mysteriously finished. In the end, it turns out that Kyon convinced Haruhi to do a disclaimer at the end of the movie that denounces the events as ficticious. Everything returns to normal.
It's episodes like this that remind me of why I like the Haruhi Suzumiya series. Clever wit, strange happenings, and shrouded character motivations. This is probably one of the best episodes of the anime, along with the previous episode, and it's taken me a while to gather my thoughts about it because I loved it so much. Allow me to count the ways.
Well, first, we have all the abnormal happenings. This episode sees the official debut of Shamisen, a male Calico who can talk, because Haruhi desires such a creature for her film. Of course, she never hears it talk because Kyon and the others keep it in check, but it was pretty close, since Haruhi was talking to an onlooker when it occured during recording. I like the various reactions to the cat's talking and Kyon's conversation with it regarding language.
You also had extinct birds, guys from the Middle Ages, water cannons, and strange starry skies. Haruhi's imagination was working on overtime. You sort of feel bad for her not noticing that these things were actually occuring, at least until you realize she's plenty satisfied just thinking them up, at least for now. Unfortunately for Kyon and the others, it still causes problems. In other words, even if Haruhi isn't depressed, her imagination is still troublesome.
I'm not sure what Mikuru was talking about, as far as her differences in opinion to Itsuki's, but it's clear that her group has a different view of Haruhi, as does Yuki's. So far, we've been seeing Haruhi's behavior through the lense of Itsuki's explanations, because he's the most vocal about his theories. If he's serious about all the battles being waged behind the scenes, there's certainly much more revolving around Haruhi than meets the eye. He may also be right about Mikuru purposely getitng close to Kyon, though he claims he's "kidding". Itsuki isn't really someone Kyon necessarily trusts, but Kyon always listens to his theories, regardless, and seems to take them to mean something. With Mikuru, he's likely to trust her based on appearances, but I don't think he necessarily believes everything she says, either. Yuki seems to be the most dependable, but of course, her own reasoning is difficult to comprehend, if it can be at all. It's these different interpretations that make the story interesting.
While the solution to the problem seems sort of overly simple, it's pretty fitting, because Haruhi does only think on the level of a girl her age, albeit perhaps a little differently than most, and the problem itself, while complicated, stemmed from something rather innocuous, Haruhi's desire to make the movie.
The ending scene is actually from the prologue of the book the past five episodes have been adapted from, from where the first book left off with Kyon prepared to tell Haruhi about what was really going on. Not surprisingly, Haruhi refuses to believe such things would simply appear around her, which is probably why Itsuki, Mikuru, and Yuki can pass as normal, because it's unreasonable that their eccentricities could be chalked up to their true nature. I like that they put it here, because it sort of brings the second season full circle.
An excellent episode. And barring the Endless Eight fiasco, the second season wasn't that bad. However, I can't just pretend those episodes didn't happen. Because of this, the second season will always be marred.
4.5 out of 5