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Pavane for Nagato Yuki: Remarks on the musical score in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

“We should always remember that sensitiveness and emotion constitute the real content of a work of art.” — Maurice Ravel

Composed by Maurice Ravel in 1899 and published in 1900, Pavane for a Dead Princess is a widely-known impressionist piece for its simple, yet moving attributes that drew inspiration from the Renaissance Pavane, a form of slow dance that became popular in the 16th century. Despite its curious title, Ravel stated that, rather than any sort of dead princess, the title was merely for show, and that the song was intended to evoke imagery of and nostalgia for Spanish customs. In other words, it would be the sort of song that a young princess might dance to. Ravel disliked the song for sounding unimaginative, but the song quickly picked up in popularity, and an orchestral version was performed in 1911: the inclusion of horns led audiences to find immense beauty in the song’s simplicity. Pavane for a Dead Princess is used as Yuki’s main theme in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan for several reasons. Viewers familiar with music would have picked it up when the first of the anime’s trailers began playing, but there has not been a satisfactory explanation as to why the decision was made to choose Pavane for a Dead Princess as Yuki’s main motif. In choosing Pavane for a Dead Princess to act as Yuki’s theme, Jun’ichi Wada and Tatsuya Kato craft a very specific atmosphere in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan to characterise Yuki, as well as her relationships with Kyon and the others around her. Music lends substantial meaning to scenes, expressing emotions that cannot be readily illustrated through dialogue, and consequently, using Pavane for a Dead Princess entails using the emotions conveyed in the song to emphasise a particular atmosphere in the anime.

  • That this post was published on a December 18 is no coincidence: the date appears to hold some sort of significance in and out of the Haruhi universe. Today, the website was altered to display an error message, and later, a bookmark representing Kyon’s means of restoring the universe. While the novelty has long worn off, it’s not surprising to see that there still remains interest in the franchise. On that note, I will step in at some point in the future to provide my insights onto why it’s unlikely that The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi will receive a third season.

Ravel lamented that performers played through Pavane for a Dead Princess much too slowly, suggesting that the song is supposed to be more nostalgic than saddening. The variant heard in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, then, depicts Yuki as someone who’s not inclined to rush, who does things at her own pace. As the first episode begins, under the pink light of the evening sun, Yuki has dozed off when Ryouko comes to wake her for their literature club meeting. She’s very shy and hesitant around Kyon; this is mirrored in the song, which initially begins with two hand-horns in G and sounds as though the waters are being tested. As Pavane for a Dead Princess continues, flutes and oboes join in, and after the main theme is reiterated, strings and harps begin playing, as well. The song gradually transitions from pianissimo to fortissimo, becoming bolder and having a richer sound, but the tempo remains quite consistent throughout Pavane for a Dead Princess: though it is subtly forceful in parts, the song never becomes abrupt. This is mirrored in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan: Yuki, though becoming increasingly forward in expressing her feelings for Kyon, becomes bolder, but she never pushes things too aggressively or demandingly, preferring to do things at her own pace. Consequently, Pavane for a Dead Princess is intended to illustrate the different facets of Yuki’s state of mind concerning Kyon: she’s filled with a sense of longing and wistfulness, and although over time, she becomes more comfortable with expressing these feelings, she does so slowly. So, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is intended to be depict a love story that progresses one step at a time, in spite of the spirited intervention from Yuki and Kyon’s friends.

  • While the section above aims to provide an reasonably detailed answer into why the choice of music is suited for The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, the remainder of this post deals with The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan OST as a whole. Following its predecessor, the soundtrack was released in an unusual fashion, mirroring the eccentricities of Haruhi. From a marketing standpoint, it makes sense, since it follows that fans of the series willing to buy physical BD volumes would also likely wish to buy the soundtrack, although it does leave out individuals who merely wish to purchase the soundtrack on its own.

There are, of course, other songs in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan that merit discussion: the soundtrack has been included on each volume of the Blu-Ray Disks, each of which cost 6980 yen (75.73 CAD). I’ve got the track listings (plus their English translations for the songs) for the soundtracks for each volume up to and including volume five: each of the soundtracks consists of an assortment of instrumental background pieces used in the anime itself, as well as a pair of drama songs.

Volume One (Released June 26, 2015)

  1. “Naki Oujo no Tame no Pavane” (Pavane for a Dead Princess)
  2. Nagato no Omoi (Nagato’s Feelings)
  3. Koi no Kirakira (Sparkling Love)
  4. Tsuzuku Nichijou (Continuing Daily)
  5. Tsumari Sore wa (In other words, that’s it)
  6. Toritome no nai Hanashi (Rambling Story)
  7. Merry Christmas!
  8. Tsuruya-san no Shinken Shoubu (Tsuruya’s serious contest)
  9. Asakura-san no Osekkyou (Asakura’s lecture)
  10. Radio “Kitakou Bungeibu Radio Shibu”
  11. Drama “Christmas to Ieba Turkey!”

Volume Two (Released July 31, 2015)

  1. “Naki Oujo no Tame no Pavane” Kangengaku Version (Pavane for a Dead Princess, Orchestral Version)
  2. Nagato no Pinch? (Nagato’s in a pinch?)
  3. Nagato no Fuan (Nagato’s Anxiety)
  4. Dokidoki Harahara (Pounding Suspense)
  5. Kyon no Yasashisa (Kyon’s Kindness)
  6. Haruhi no Tsuyosa (Haruhi’s Strength)
  7. Sou, Sore! (So, that’s it!)
  8. Bouken no Tobira (Door of Adventure)
  9. Koi no Tobira (Door of Love)
  10. Radio “Kitakou Bungeibu Radio Shibu” ~Digest 02~
  11. Drama “Suzumiya Haruhi no Nimotsu”

Volume Three (Released August 28, 2015)

  1. “Yuki wa Odotteiru” Piano Version (Dancing in the snow)
  2. “Tsuki no Hikari” Kangengaku Version (Moonlight, orchestral version)
  3. “Yuki wa Odotteiru” Kangengaku Version (Dancing in the snow, orchestral version)
  4. “Naki Oujo no Tame no Pavane” Keiongaku Arrange Version (Pavane for a Dead Princess, light music version)
  5. Bungeibu no Nichijou (Another day at the literature club)
  6. The Haruhi
  7. Nagato no Omoi (Tsuyosa) (Nagano’s feelings, Strength)
  8. Radio “Kitakou Bungeibu Radio Shibu” ~Digest 03~
  9. Drama “Suzumiya Haruhi no Shinnyuusei Kanyuu Sakusen”

Volume Four (Released September 25, 2015)

  1. Tanoshii Bungeibu (A fun literature club)
  2. Tabi no Motarasu Mono (Things to bring on the trip)
  3. Tabi no Yoru (Night of the trip)
  4. Minna, Yaru wa yo! (I do, everyone!)
  5. Joshi dake no Himitsu (The girls’ secrets)
  6. Nagato no Omoi (Yasashisa) (Nagato’s feelings, tenderness)
  7. Radio “Kitakou Bungeibu Radio Shibu” ~Digest 04~
  8. Drama “Pillow Talk”

Volume Five (Released October 30, 2015)

  1. Yozora (Night sky)
  2. Yureru Koigokoro (I love swinging)
  3. Shoushitsu (Disappearance)
  4. Katai Kuuki (Rigid atmosphere)
  5. Aru (Ushinawareta) (It’s lost)
  6. Ichizu na Koigokoro (A steady, loving heart)
  7. Kagayaku Yozora (Sparkling night sky)
  8. Radio “Kitakou Bungeibu Radio Shibu” ~Digest 05~
  9. Drama “Nagato Yuki chan no Gal Game

  • On the whole, I’m loving the soundtrack, and I’m looking forwards to listening to the remainder of the pieces, especially now that the remaining volumes will deal with the Disappearance arc and Kyon’s gradual coming to terms with his feelings for Yuki. Tomorrow, regular programming will resume.

In general, the best pieces are those with a slow orchestral component; they tie in with the more emotional moments as Yuki and Kyon struggle to properly express their feelings for one another (or look within for the means and courage to do so). There are lighter songs with a faster tempo used for comedic moments within the anime, and some variants of the songs from The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi do make a return. Together, they add a reasonable amount diversity to the soundtrack to augment the different scenes within the anime. Curiously enough, I predicted that The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan would necessitate such a soundtrack, given that the manga exuded the very sense of nostalgia and wistfulness that is captured by Pavane for a Dead Princess, and this proved to be appropriate given The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan’s intended direction, enhancing the emotional tenor of all the moments to bring to life each chapter in the manga. The soundtrack’s remained quite inaccessible for the present, although those who stray off the beaten trail in search for an opportunity to listen will not find themselves disappointed. At present, three more volumes of the soundtrack await release, and I will return at some point in the near future to provide the translations for those songs, as well.

An Unfinished Summer Vacation: The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan OAD Review and Reflection

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness? — John Steinbeck

Titled “終われない夏休み” (Owarenai Natsuyasumi, which I’ve translated as “An Unfinished Summer Vacation”), The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan OAD follows Yuki, Kyon and the others in previously unseen footage of their summer vacation, including an outing to the local water park (where Haruhi and Kyon openly engage one another in a competition for summer fruits), attending a summer festival, stargazing, fishing at the river and cicada hunting. These events soon return to those covered in the manga’s fifth volume, where Kyon realises that these activities clashes with his summer assignments, which he has not started yet. After bringing this up with Haruhi, everyone agrees to help Kyon finish these assignments at his place. What starts out as a work period quickly devolves, and Kyon winds up with minimal progress, forcing him to ask for Yuki’s help (contrasting the manga, which has Yuki and Nagato spend a bit of time after they both take a quick break from studying to visit the local convenience store). This whole concept has been explored previously in the infamous “Endless Eight” arc (which was a consequence of an unexpected change in the requirements that led to The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi being adapted as a movie); in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, this is mercifully limited to only one special episode that was released quite separately of the regular TV series.

This bonus episode was quite fun to watch because it was able to bring back all of the characters together, letting them bounce off one another over the languid period of summer vacation. Unbound by the focus that the manga had, this OAD returns to the carefree feel that was seen in The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. The end result is a more concise, smarter interpretation of Endless Eight that follows through with Kyon’s desire to get his homework done; the OAD depicts Kyon as being quite unsuccessful here, and he eventually resorts to Yuki in helping him finish before classes start again, subtly reminding the viewers that in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Kyon and Yuki share a much stronger, closer relationship than they did in The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. On the whole, while the bonus episode proved entertaining, it’s not particularly consequential as far as contributions to the plot present in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, showing limited character development. So, there isn’t any further progress with respect to Kyon and Yuki’s relationship. While disappointing for some, there is a silver lining: this OAD has not done anything to spoil the manga or introduce any inconsistencies into any future adaptations.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I’m honestly not sure how this OAD even managed to get its own talk, or how I’m somehow managing to find the time to write out said talk about it: this is a full-sized post with the usual twenty images, accompanied by commentary. This one was rushed out in the space of 90 minutes.

  • A glance at the archives shows that I did not have very many images of Haruhi, Yuki, Mikuru, Ryouko or Tsuruya in their swimsuits, so I suppose the first bit of justification for a full post here is to make up for that particular shortcoming in previous posts.

  • I’ve gone through the mangas again to make sure, and it appears that the events in the first half of this OAD are not seen within the manga. This first half is done in the spirits of an aimless summer day, which was the focus of the infamous Endless Eight arc. However, as mentioned in one of this blog’s most-read posts, I did master Endless Eight: any anime fan worth their salt understands that watching Endless Eight is a matter of patience, and attentiveness.

  • Consequently, I feel that the vitriol directed at KyoAni was unwarranted: documentation (whose links have long expired owing to the way Livedoor works) finds that the circumstances were outside of their control, and in spite of this setback, KyoAni nonetheless did their best to make each of the Endless Eight episodes slightly different to keep things as fresh as was possible. Here, Nagato, Ryouko and Tsuruya react after Kyon’s mouthing off at Haruhi earns him a swift kick to the back, knocking him into the pool.

  • Haruhi’s presence definitely livens up The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan (and I freely admit I’m a fan of the view in this here screenshot), and even though she’s not the female lead, her actions and influence does help drive the plot forwards. With that being said, she’s never an overpowering presence in comparison to her Melancholy incarnation: she’s rather more similar to her Disappearance incarnation, and I liked the latter a great deal more than the former.

  • When I say Endless Eight could be bested by a combination of patience and attentiveness, I refer to accepting that the arc requires eight episodes (around three hours and twelve minutes) to complete, and that each episode is subtly different from the others. Thus, knowing what’s ahead can turn Endless Eight into a fun “spot the difference” challenge for those who’ve got sufficient time to do so.

  • With that being said, I don’t have the time to embark on such an endeavour owing to my schedule. I spent most of today resolving some bugs in a section of my simulation where interacting objects exhibited some unusual behaviours, and when I got home, I set about creating a new Maya .fbx required to visualise a process in said simulation. I was also asked to see if it was possible to create a standalone version of a simulation that one of the undergraduate students had built over the summer.

  • Haruhi and Tsuruya pose with a mascot during a summer festival: those with an acute memory will recall that both girls are wearing the same kimonos as those seen in the finale. Thus, it’s logical to conclude that the OAD probably begins after episode fifteen and, in a narrative technique used to great effect in both Ano Natsu De Matteru and Non Non Biyori Repeat, overlaps with the events of the finale.

  • After exhausting all the possibilities with the aforementioned project, it turns out that the project was built in a fashion that resulted in it missing some dependencies that preclude Unreal Engine from compiling a standalone version of it. I’ll have to report back with this failure, but also note that one of the results of my experimentation was that I created a more compact, faster-running version of the project that requires only 2.5 GB (as opposed to 8 GB) of storage space for use in the Unreal Editor.

  • A well-traveled reader informed me that the cafe Haruhi and the others frequent is called the Dream Coffee Shop (Hyogo-ken Nishinomiya-shi Koufuuen). Those looking to visit it can reach it from the Hankyu Nishinomiya Kita-guchi Station (of the Hankyu Kobe Line and Hankyu Imazu Line). Although the cafe itself is still there, the surroundings are said to have changed from the scenes present within the anime.

  • That’s a Gregorian telescope owing to the eyepiece’s placement: a Newtonian telescope of that size would require a ladder to reach the eyepiece. As the summer activities progress, Kyon becomes increasingly listless.

  • I haven’t been fishing since 2006, when I went to the West Coast on a class trip. I was unable to catch anything, but some of my classmates were a shade more skillful and caught some fish that we later fried for fish and chips. I was later assigned with helping clean out crabs for a crab bake, and though nine years have elapsed, I still recall the taste of crab fresh from the ocean.

  • In contrast with the remainder of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Kyon and Yuki hardly spend any time alone with one another in this OAD, so this screenshot represents one of the rare scenes where they are afforded such a moment. A week ago was the federal election: after casting my vote, I went out with my family to try Swiss Chalet’s rotisserie-style beef dinner, which was tender and juicy. It suddenly strikes me as to how quickly the week, and by extension, this month has elapsed.

  • As the others enjoy their cafe outing, Kyon recoils at the prospect of having to deal with his homework. At present, I’ve made reasonable progress on my work, but curiously enough, are suffering from a bit of withdrawal now that the Star Wars Battlefront beta is over. To offset some of these symptoms, I’ve dug out my old GameCube and a copy of Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader and began playing through some of the missions again. I may drop in during Christmas to review the whole game or some of the missions if time permits.

  • Kyon realises it’s now or never, and behaving exactly as he did in Endless Eight, he confronts Haruhi and asks her to set aside some time so he can get his work done. My friends say I’ve got the opposite problem in that it’s tougher for me to find time to break, so over the past weekend, I set aside to visit the Calgary Zoo’s Illuminasia lantern festival with my family. It was my first time going to the Zoo by nightfall, and the lanterns were absolutely beautiful. The evening was quite chilly, heralding the arrival of autumn in full force, and so, we stopped for a hot cocoa before the event closed for the night.

  • Ever-eagle to play the role of a mature student, Ryouko is in attendance and is smartly dressed. She sets out a well-defined schedule for Kyon, and this image appears to capture everyone’s attitudes towards learning: both Itsuki and Yuki are excited, while Haruhi (who knows her ass is not on the line here) relaxes with a manga, and Kyon’s aversion to coursework is reflected in his slumped posture and bored expression.

  • Ryouko’s methods at motivating Kyon are a watered-down variant of her psychotic tendencies from The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi and consequently, become hilarious, rather than intimidating to watch.

  • Surprisingly, for all her prowess in video games, Yuki is spanked defeated by Haruhi in a fighting game. I think Street Fighter V is going to come out somewhere in Spring 2016, although it’s probably smarter to wait for an Ultra Super Turbo HD Anniversary Remix edition (or equivalent, or DLC) rather than buying the first iteration at launch.

  • Kyon’s sister offers everyone some refreshments during their “study” session. I’m not quite sure why, but The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan‘s incarnation of Kyon’s sister is infinitely more agreeable than any other version in my books.

  • It’s probably reasonable to say that after Ryouko asks about Kyon’s homework at The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan‘s finale, Yuki ultimately bails him out. That’s pretty much it for this talk: the English-translated version of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan‘s eighth volume will be available in my AO on November 17, so I’ll probably drop by the bookstore to pick up a copy. The ninth volume releases a fair bit into the future: March 22, 2016.

Earlier, I caught wind of unverified rumours that claimed The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan OVA would have a runtime of 45 minutes. However, what we have here is the OVA that was to be bundled with the ninth manga volume: it’s merely been rebranded as an OAD here, which means we’re done with The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan for the present. In the meantime, it appears that excitement about this OADs has been quite minimal amongst the audience. While The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan was not quite the same spectacle as The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi and The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi, I nonetheless find that The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan manga had its own unique charm that led me to continue following it, such that I might see how Kyon and Yuki’s relationship turns out. I found the anime to be a satisfactory adaptation for the manga, with the bonus of adding a soundtrack that genuinely captures the emotional tenor that the manga was aiming to portray. Consequently, while there might be little interest elsewhere as to what The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan‘s fate will be, I will continue to follow any developments in this relatively unappreciated, but heartwarming series.

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan: Whole-series Review and Reflection

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” —George Sand

The grand finale to The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan concludes in a low-key fashion, with Kyon and Yuki partaking in a variety of activities during their summer break with Ryouko, Haruhi, Mikuru, Tsuruya and Itsuki. Indeed, this final episode is a callback to Endless Eight, even featuring a summer festival and Kyon’s forgetting to complete his summer homework. However, rather than acting as the basis for an infinite loop, this finale is about Kyon coming to terms with how he feels about Yuki, and under the festival’s fireworks show, he summons the courage to let Yuki knows of his true feelings. However, his timing it with the fireworks show means that said confession is drowned out (in a manner reminiscent of Houki’s fate in Infinite Stratos), and as The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan draws to a close, it would appear that Yuki and Kyon’s relationship is more amicable, slightly closer than it had been during the season’s start.

The single most important aspect to consider in the anime adaptation of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is whether or not it is able to capitalise on its medium to present the story in a manner that would not have been possible within the manga. As noted in an earlier discussion about The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, I noted that anime intrinsically have access to audio-visual cues and therefore, should theoretically be able to convey the atmosphere of a particular moment more effectively than a manga by making use of lighting, camera angles and sound to mirror how the characters are feeling. It becomes clear that The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan‘s anime adaption succeeds making use of all of these elements to achieve this, despite not being helmed by Kyoto Animation. Lighting is used to give a sense of nostalgia through the pink glow of evening light and melancholy through greys of a rainy season. Moments high in anticipation or tension are fleshed out with camera focus on the characters’ features or their surroundings to really bring to life Yuki’s shyness or hesitation, as well as Haruhi’s energy and Ryouko’s motherly presence. These elements complement the sound: while all of the characters retain their original voice actor, Minori Chihara does a phenomenal job conveying the differences between the Yuki of the Melancholy-era, and this new Yuki. Finally, the soundtrack has fulfilled expectations, bringing out the sense of longing and tenderness during the moments that Yuki and Kyon share together. The fact that there are not-so-subtle motifs from The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi is a bonus. Each of these elements together succeed in bringing The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan to life: for this anime, there is no higher praise.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • We’ve come to the finale at last, and after sixteen episodes, I can confidently say that Satelight’s anime adaptation of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is indeed able to capture the manga’s spirit in full. As with the first episode talk, this talk comes with a full twenty images.

  • The anime remains faithful to the manga for a vast majority of the season, and typically, deviations usually arose when the adaption capitalises on slower moments to include subtle callbacks to The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. Besides succeeding in recalling elements from the original series, Satelight manages to incorporate them without interrupting the narrative’s flow.

  • Such scenes in the finale include a scene in the rain, where Yuki stands with her palms facing upwards; she does this in The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi‘s opening song, as well as in The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi.

  • Various summer activities, such as Kyon and company bowling and playing baseball, were not featured in the manga, but included, the group’s various summer activities seem to be a direct callback to the Endless Eight story arc.

  • The summer festival also figured predominantly in Endless Eight; minor details were changed in each iteration such that viewers would have some details to seek. After sixteen episodes, Satelight’s artistic design of the locales and environments in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan have improved as the series progressed. Landscapes become more detailed, lighting has improved greatly, and the characters’ physical appearances, though different than Kyoto Animation’s interpretation, have grown on me.

  • Having their original voice actors play each respective characters’ roles really helped the audience (or at the very least, myself) to immediately recognise each characters’ distinctions and personalities. Despite their different appearances, each of Kyon, Yuki, Ryouko, Haruhi, Mikuru, Tsuruya and Itsuki feel familiar.

  • The manga made extensive use of deformed/simplified artwork to represent a character during moments of comedy, and the anime adaptation carries this over. However, in keeping with the manga’s spirit, the characters never appear in this manner during the more serious moments.

  • My posting schedule’s been all over the place over the past few weeks: it’s all I can do to get posts out on time. This summer’s now around five-eighths finished, and over the past week, I attended a raclette party with some of my friends from high school. It’s been quite some time since we last conversed, had cheese fondue and grilled meat over a table top raclette; after we’d eaten as much as was physically possible and cleared the dishes, we played split-screen Halo 2 on an Xbox 360.

  • The last time I played a Halo game on console was back during  August 2011: we’d went to the same friend’s place for a BBQ and spent the evening playing Halo: Reach. There had been a major thunderstorm that evening. My friends were waiting out the storm, and as I had arrived early, I watched The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi on my iPad while waiting for them. Playing split-screen Halo brings back fond memories of an older time.

  • The fireworks show begins in earnest, and while the other Yuki longed to see it ever since Kyon suggested they go, she returned to oblivion. However, Kyon’s kept his promise, and with everyone, Yuki is able to enjoy the show as the summer draws to a close.

  • Kyon’s confession to Yuki acts as The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan‘s climax: seeing Yuki (albeit, the other Yuki) confess her feelings to him had led to a degree of awkwardness, but thankfully, Kyon’s quickly come to terms with how he feels about Yuki and decides to confess to her. Compared to other male protagonists in anime of such a setup, Kyon is rather more decisive, and the other characters also appear to realise that Kyon’s heart lies with Yuki.

  • While Kyon does get this off his chest, the fireworks drown out his confession, so it might’ve not been as effective as one might imagine. Had he succeeded in doing so here, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan could end because the major conflict is resolved. Instead, the decision to present this love confession in such a manner leaves The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan open to a continuation.

  • In the end, my claims that ” those unfamiliar with the manga have little need to worry that the “fluffiness and self-referential humour” are all that is going to comprise The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan” proved completely correct. I never doubted for a second that this spin-off’s entire purpose was to act as fanservice to The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, and indeed, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is able to stand of its own merits, cleverly making use of tidbits from The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi to enhance its own story.

  • While I praise the anime adaptation, I am praising how well it manages to bring The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan to life. From a technical perspective, the manga’s story started out quite slowly and presented unremarkable comings-and-goings between Kyon and Yuki, before upping the ante during the fourth volume. This is completely mirrored in the anime adaptation, whose plot progression and character growth are directly tied with the manga.

  • Consequently, when I review the anime, I am considering how effectively Satelight is able to make use of colour, light, sound and intonations in the dialogue to really flesh out the emotional tenor of a moment. Because Satelight has been able to do this, they’ve satisfied my expectations for what an animated version of the manga would be like.

  • There’s been no word of when the anime soundtrack is going to come out, to the best of my knowledge (perhaps one of the readers could help me out here!). The background music complemented this series nicely, and making use of similar instrumental choices as did The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi, really brought out how Yuki was feeling following the near-accident, conveying a sense of melancholy and longing.

  • Besides playing Halo 2 for old times’ sake, this past week also saw me hit the theatres to watch Pixar’s Inside Out with several friends before having dinner at a kaiten sushi restaurant (naturally, I ordered tempura to go with my sushi and savoured every moment of that). I found this film to be worthy of the praise it has earned for its spirited and imaginative depictions of human emotions. It joins the ranks of Five Centimeters per SecondCLANNAD and Angel Beats! as something whose execution was able to get me to cry (which is no small feat).

  • The status quo is largely retained after the events of the summer festival, meaning that there’s still quite a ways to go before Kyon and Yuki go further in their relationship, which is perfectly fine. Now, I’ve seen the scene for myself several times during Endless Eight, but I still do not understand the significance of キョンくん、電話 (“Kyon-kun, denwa“) or why it was elevated to meme status. Foxtrot uniform charlie kilo memes.

  • In yet another callback to Endless Eight, the episode ends with Kyon realising he hasn’t touched his summer assignments yet. When I wrote the post on how I summoned my uncommon über-micro towards finishing the arc without chucking my computer out the window, I was setting out on my final year of my undergraduate studies, and I’d remarked that the Endless Eight arc might’ve been a commentary on the importance of going one’s assignments on time. Three years hence, my approach has not changed, and it’s still serving me reasonably well.

  • With the end of this post, I believe I’ve said all that can be reasonably said about The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan. While nothing appears to have changed in Yuki and Kyon’s relationship, the ending shows a group of people who’ve become friends, suggesting that regardless of what universe they’re in, they’re destined to be friends (or something). There’s no cliffhanger, and as such, things close off without leaving audiences hanging. An OVA is set for release on October 26, which means one can reasonably expect a review to come out shortly after.

Given that the anime has remained faithful to the manga with respect to its story, any remarks directed at the anime are mirrored in the manga (and vise-versa). My thoughts on the manga, that it is “a simple love story that is unfettered by aliens, time travellers and espers…[allowing] for the story to focus solely on the character’s interactions, making them far more alive than they were in the original TV series”, apply fully to the anime adaptation of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan. The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is not a perfect manga (and by extension, not a perfect anime) owing to minor inconsistencies here and there in the story, but it remained an entertaining read because it is able to build anticipation for each volume. With this season now over, we’ve covered around 4.814 volumes: there’s definitely material for a continuation, and while the anime smartly decides to end on a humourous note, the manga’s fifth volume closes off with the introduction of Sasaki, Kyon’s childhood friend. It is likely that we could see a continuation of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan at some point in the future, so the question for the present is not “if”, but “when”. My final word on The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is that, while perhaps a little slow and generic for first-time viewers, there are enough elements to allow this anime to stand on its own merits as the season progresses. Consequently, patience allows individuals to find this anime worthwhile. Those who’ve read the manga and/or are existing fans of Suzumiya Haruhi will find this to be an entertaining watch.

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan: Review and Reflection after fifteen

“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Following Yuki’s near-accident, the tone in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan takes a sudden (and for the anime-first viewers, completely unexpected) twist. This new Yuki (bearing all of the familiar mannerisms of the Yuki from The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi) attempts to piece together her other self’s feelings for Kyon, all the while realising that she herself is developing for Kyon, as well. As she and Kyon spend time more together, she worries that her eventual fading will nullify her feelings, and summons the courage to put these feelings into words for Kyon. After successfully doing so, the old Yuki returns, leaving Kyon conflicted in addressing his own feelings for Yuki, even as summer means Tanabata and visiting the beach with Haruhi and company, whose presence does much to shift the The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan’s back to its upbeat atmosphere in comparison to the more contemplative mood during the previous arc.

Up until now, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan has been an easy-going series driven forwards by comedy. The dynamics between Kyon and Yuki demonstrate an uncommonly strong bond between the two individuals, especially considering the presence of Ryouko, Haruhi, Mikuru and Tsuruya. Thus, when the Yuki possessing extraordinary reasoning abilities appears and tries to make light of her other self’s feelings for Kyon, she demonstrates the turbulence that arises from any efforts to rationalise love. Ultimately, she too falls for Kyon, and experiences melancholy upon learning that her presence will eventually be displaced by that of the original Yuki’s. Through a masterful use of visual elements (especially the colours associated with the rainy season, and Haruhi’s absence), The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan conveys this internal chaos within Yuki clear to the viewers to give them an idea of how she feels about all of this. The impact of this arc then becomes two-fold: in the short term, it becomes abundantly clear that Yuki definitely has feelings for Kyon and is struggling constantly to articulate them, and in the long term, the Melancholy incarnation of Yuki forces Kyon to re-evaluate his own feelings for Yuki. Does he consider her a friend, or is there more to this relationship? Such a reflective, quiet arc was certainly seen as unexpected for numerous viewers, and although these individuals were once adamant in believing that The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan would be little more than a curiosity, the execution in this arc and its build-up via the earlier arcs suddenly have turned them around: The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan suddenly can indeed stand of its own merits to tell a different story than The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, but at the same time, includes enough elements to evoke memories of the latter.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan gives Yuki’s condition as “temporary dysmnesia caused by a strong shock”. Dysmnesia is a memory impairment, and the doctor suggests that the shock of the near-accident has caused Yuki’s mind to become disordered, manifesting as the Melancholy-era Yuki. One of our readers suggested that Yuki’s condition is described as trauma-induced dissociation, although it is clear that this “new” Yuki is not so much dissociated from her surroundings, as she is trying to make sense of it.

  • In conjunction with the memories that the new Yuki continues to recall, it becomes clear that Yuki’s memories became scrambled after the incident. Spending time with Kyon helps her to realise how much he means to her, and over time, the neural pathways within her brain restore her memories of Kyon. These returning memories are the clearest indicator that Yuki is unlikely to be suffering from depersonalisation or dissociation.

  • I’ve spoken with some of my friends, medical doctors in-training, and they concur that, without additional information about the patient in question, trauma-induced dysmnesia is the most appropriate diagonsis for Yuki’s condition. Consequently, discussions are closed regarding the precise medical condition Yuki experiences (my friends are busy with their electives at present, and having them come here to debate on a fictional character’s condition is not a good use of their time).

  • As of late, I’ve been to more bookstores than I have the library. The entirety of episode twelve is spent at the library as Kyon studies for finals, and it is here that Yuki begins to wonder about her current personality’s fate as the original Yuki reawakens, as well as her own growing feelings for Kyon. While strange, the Nishinomiya-shi Central Library bears a great deal of similarity in layout to my local branch library in terms of layout.

  • After attending an outdoor book fair, Yuki fully realises she’s in love with Kyon, having spent the past two episodes trying to rationalise out the unusual feelings that the “other” Yuki and herself have regarding him. This exercise, though touching, illustrates that even someone with an ordered and logical thinking pattern as “Melancholy” Yuki is unable to explain how love works. She learns that love cannot be understood or reasoned with, merely that it just happens.

  • Even the stoic Yuki of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi is not insusceptible to blushing upon hearing Ryouko put into words her own feelings. The soundtrack during the Disappearance episodes is at its finest; through the use of strings and piano, the music perfectly captures the emotional tenor of this arc, and as such, I look greatly forwards to its release. So far, no release date has been announced yet.

  • Yuki soon comes to the realisation that as her current self’s personality becomes increasingly similar to that of the old Yuki, they will eventually merge at some point. Out of concern for Ryouko, she does not tell the latter this, but does consent to spend some time with Ryouko before this occurs.

  • The “Melancholy” Yuki’s final act is to confess her love to Kyon via phone. So sudden and unexpected this is, that Kyon races out to meet her face-to-face, but when he arrives, the old Yuki is back. The “Melancholy” Yuki’s courage to clearly express her feelings is the culmination of her experiences over the past few episodes,  and while some may see the end of this arc as the end of the strongest plotline in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan yet, the consequences of this Yuki’s actions end up being quite far reaching.

  • Ryouko is simultaneously overjoyed and disheartened that the original Yuki is back. By this point in time, the difference in how Minori Chihara delivers the different Yuki’s lines makes sense, and as such, the Disappearance Yuki’s voice no longer feels like an unnecessary change.

  • The original Yuki is encouraged to gather the courage and let Kyon knows how she feels about him. This marks the end of the series’ namesake arc, and once Disappearance comes to an end, the atmosphere returns quickly to its original form.

  • Things have been quiet and contemplative with just Yuki, Ryouko and Kyon around. An entire series based around them would likely be dull, but Haruhi, Tsuruya and Mikuru’s coming-and-goings allow the mood to be balanced quite neatly: the series isn’t excessively emotional or theatrical, instead, striking a balance that allows audiences to appreciate both the excitement accompanying Haruhi and Tsuruya, and the quiet life that Ryouko and Yuki enjoy.

  • However, Haruhi’s return alone does not mean the status quo is restored: Kyon now feels a little more hesitant around Yuki, and his coming to terms with his own feelings for Yuki forms the basis for the last arc that will be presented before The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan draws to a close.

  • Tanabata is a celebration of the meeting of two deities in Japanese culture, and in The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, is significant because this is the time where Kyon first meets Haruhi, who knows him as “Jon Smith”. This sets in motion the events of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, where Haruhi’s quest for all things unusual begins. While Kyon is hesitant to help her, he had in fact unwittingly invoked Haruhi’s interest in the extraordinary.

  • On the other hand, in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Tanabata serves to ease viewers back into the usual flow of things. It’s a clever call-back to the events from The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, although strictly from a personal perspective, how The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan handles its story more favourably, and events proceed very logically. In short, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan seems to demonstrate that The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi became such a phenomenon because of its character dynamics rather than the supernatural and science-fiction elements.

  • References to The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi abound here, and Haruhi confronts Kyon about his distance with Yuki, wondering if he remembers helping her write her message during the Tanabata of three years ago. When Kyon does not recall, her disappointment appears to suggest that she also holds feelings for Kyon to a limited degree. However, Haruhi is also a very practical individual, and encourages Kyon to keep trying where Yuki is concerned.

  • Episode fifteen of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan opens at the beach and invokes memories of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi‘s second season, which followed the Tanabata episode with Endless Eight. This event is so infamous that fans elsewhere are still salty (read: “bitter”) about it, despite the six years that have passed since then. I’m not quite sure if there’s any reason to look at Endless Eight with such vitriol: it’s just anime, is it not?

  • The fifteenth episode sees Kyon and the others visit a beach, then partake in a “test of courage”. During this trip, Itsuki remarks that one of his friends were involved in a murder mystery on a private island that went out of hand, to the point of involving law enforcement, and that such a thing might be perfect for Haruhi. It’s a direct call-back to the Remote Island Syndrome arc, but as an aside, those unfamiliar with The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi won’t be missing out on too much.

  • This scenario is a classic trope/cliché in most anime: extenuating circumstances (here, Kyon’s sister kicking him into Yuki) lead the male lead to end up in a compromising position over the female lead. With the series very nearly over, I definitely believe that Satelight’s been improving in their craft: outside of Nishinomiya, the locations, colours and lighting have become increasingly vivid and detailed in comparison to that in the earlier episodes.

  • Kyon gets the short end of the stick and is forced to carry everyone’s baggage after Tsuruya decides to do a “test of courage”. They leave behind the beach and travel into the mountains. Satelight’s progress with respect to artwork and animation quality cleverly reflects on Yuki’s own growing confidence and independence.

  • It turns out that the “ghosts” were actually fireflies, and Mikuru fainted upon assuming they were ignis fatuus (will-o’-the-whisp). The fifteenth episode draws to a close with Kyon and Yuki holding hands, and now that Yuki’s confessed her feelings to Kyon in a manner of speaking, the finale will deal with Kyon doing the same during the summer festival. The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan‘s been a fantastic journey so far, and I look forwards to seeing how Satelight wraps their adaptation up in the coming week.

Fifteen episodes have covered the first four volumes completely and around half of the fifth volume. Given that volume five introduces yet another new character into the mix as Kyon and Yuki begin their second year of high school, it’s logical that the finale will conclude under the oft-mentioned fireworks during the summer festival. The fact that the manga is still on-going leaves open the possibility that The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan will get a continuation. However, before this happens, there’s still the finale itself: it will be interesting to see how the anime chooses to wrap up what is presumably The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan‘s first season. I’ll swing by to do a full reflection once the finale has aired, and the main topic of this discussion will be how successful Satelight’s adaptation has captured the atmospherics and mood within the manga itself.

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan: Review and Reflection after ten

“Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.” —Hugh Prather

Rumour has it that The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan might not really have the sixteen episodes; this number was apparently only given by a single source of questionable authority, and the number of Blu-Ray volumes planned is more consistent with a typical twelve episode season. Speaking freely, I’m going to be okay with either: the former will mean more of the story is explored and comes at the expense of more writing, while the latter means that the anime will need to wrap things up smoothly ( this could go either way), but the end result is less writing for me. Since the fifth episode, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan has taken things at a very slow, relaxed pace, dealing with life at North High as Haruhi and Itsumi join the Literature Club. Naturally, living life at such a languid pace would make for a dull story, and thus, Haruhi proposes a training camp of sorts that sees the Literature Club visit a resort owned by Tsuruya’s family. During this time, Kyon and Yuki grow somewhat closer together, but as the third volume draws to an end, Yuki is very nearly hit by a vehicle; the ensuing trauma alters her personality such that she resembles her Melancholy incarnation in mannerisms and voice. This incident sharply changes the atmosphere in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, and sets the stage for the events to occur in the remaining episodes.

Before I delve into my own thoughts on the vacation arc and Yuki’s accident, I’ll take some time to address an issue a fair number of viewers have with The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan: enough remarks and discussions have noted that The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is a series where the title character does not appear to have a substantial presence. The topic itself is non-trivial, and while some are decrying it as false advertising or other hogwash, the reality is that there is a reason why Yuki seems to be overshadowed by the other characters. This deals primarily with the relationship between Yuki and Kyon: without Ryouko and Haruhi, Yuki and Kyon share numerous quiet moments together, enjoying their time with one another at their own pace. It’s a genuine relationship where both are moving slowly, fluidly and naturally, and to drive this point home, it’s Yuki that Kyon cares about; even with Ryouko and Haruhi stealing the spotlight, Kyon’s attention is nonetheless on Yuki. This demonstrates the strength of Kyon and Yuki’s relationship, given that the external forces exerted by Haruhi and Ryouko do little to keep the two from moving forwards at their own pace. Thus, far from being a detriment to The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Yuki’s quiet, minimal presence gives additional weight to Kyon’s interactions with her.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • It’s been numerous years since I’ve darkened the hallways of a high school, but my memories of the standardised exams are still fresh. I definitely recall helping my friends study for the standardised exams, although unlike Yuki, my explanations rather make more sense. As a callback to the original Melancholy series, Yuki’s explanations are in the same sped-up dialogue that was used whenever Melancholy Yuki was using incantations.

  • Even after the three episode mark, it should be clear that The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is not intended to be a standalone series for those who are interested in getting into the whole Suzumiya Haruhi franchise. The number of callbacks and subtleties mean that this spin-off is somewhat dependent on having a priori knowledge about the series. Much of the sixth episode is set at North High, depicting everyday life now that Haruhi’s back in the show.

  • When a misunderstanding leads Yuki to accept a bite from Kyon, Ryouko goes ballistic. Slow moments like these lead many viewers, many of whom are already familiar with Melancholy, to conclude that the entirety of the anime is not worth watching because “nothing happens”. I counter with the question of what it is that people expect to happen in anime such as these, and then wonder if said individuals live lives that are orders of magnitude more exciting than mine, given that slow-paced slice-of-life anime is what everyday life is on my end.

  • Haruhi’s propensity of exacting a penalty fee from Kyon for being late (and deliberately arriving early to do just that) is a clever callback, as well. A year ago, I was planning on travelling on my own this summer, but when my thesis began picking up full steam, I’ve decided to focus on working on my project to the best of my ability; we’re now a month and then some into the summer. Those plans have since been put on hold for the present: I am aiming to submit a paper to a conference next year, and if I’m lucky, it’ll mean being able to travel in Europe.

  • Yuki and company end up doing their summer trip in the Nagano region: this is the Nioumon Gate to the Zenkou-ji, a temple built during the seventh century. Located around five hours by train from Nishinomiya, Nagano Prefecture is known for its hot springs and the Japanese macaque. The city of Nagano itself is comparatively small, with a population of “only” 387000, and hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics.

  • Yuki enjoys a variety of buns purchased from a local vendor. On my end, as the summer progresses towards the halfway point, the unique food experiences continue to accumulate: last Tuesday, on a cloudy evening, I accompanied friends for freshly-baked savoury pies at a new pie cafe, and tonight, I sat down to a dinner of ribs and Alaska King crab. It looks like the party’s still just getting started, though.

  • Here, Mikuru poses with a wooden sword that comes with a built-in face roller. I imagine some would consider me to be closed-minded when I say that the phrase “travel while you’re young” is hogwash: from a personal perspective, it’s better to spend one’s youth (well, twenties) working hard to become financially stable and physically fit. Then, once things settle down, one’d still be fit enough to enjoy travel as much as anyone else, and they’d be able to afford said vacation without taking an unreasonable hit to their pocketbooks.

  • Ever since The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan, the crane has been a symbol associated with Tsuruya. In Japanese and Chinese culture, the crane represents longevity and fortune. While it might be a bit of a stretch, it’s quite possible that Tsuruya’s association with cranes could hint at her own unique nature within The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, where her family is said to have some sort of relationship with Itsuki’s Agency.

  • While a fair portion of the eighth episode is spent in the hot springs, I’ve only chosen to include a single screenshot because there’s really nothing noteworthy that happens here, minus the moment that Kyon and Yuki later share with respect to the match-making portal built in for fun.

  • Ryouko enjoys a cut of Shinsu beef during an extravagant dinner at the inn; sourced from cattle raised under special conditions. Research suggests that the beef’s unique flavours stems from its oleic acid content and beef marbling standard: Shinsu beef must meet the criterion: 52 percent or more oleic acid and a BMS of eight or higher, 55 percent or more oleic acid and a BMS of seven or higher, and 58 percent or more oleic acid and a BMS of five or higher.

  • Some of my friends also introduced me to the Dominion card game a while back, and last time I played, I came quite close to winning my first ever match. It’s proven to be remarkably fun, requiring equal parts strategy, skill and a modicum of luck: in my last game, silvers counted as victory points in the presence of certain cards, and with the silver I had accumulated, I came quite close to victory.

  • The spike in landscape quality as The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan wears on is not a consequence of my acclimatisation to the differences between Satelight and KyoAni’s artwork, as a forum-goer had replied when I asked about it. Compared to the simpler, almost more rigid animation and artwork in the earlier episodes, things have improved as the series progressed, with animation being more fluid and landscapes being more detail-rich.

  • The inclusion of chibi charcters in some spots are consistent with that of the manga, and act to break the tension in some moments to remind viewers that although this is a romance, it’s also a romance-comedy, in turn relaxing the mood. I also find the characters to be adorable in this format.

  • Kyon and Yuki share a moment under a starry sky. The club trip arc thus draws to a close: compared to the manga, some scenes within the anime were added or otherwise extended to provide a better sense of what experiences everyone shared during this trip. By capitalising on the additional dimensions conferred with audio-visual elements, the anime thus captures the fun and chaos that can surround trips with friends in manners that the manga cannot.

  • While Yuki was disappointed that she did not draw the lot that would allow her to sit beside Kyon, on the return trip, she spends a calm moment dozing with Kyon. From here on out, Haruhi does not make another appearance, and the The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan returns to the quieter mood the earliest episodes had. This dramatically changes the atmosphere in the anime and allows for the next arc to progress.

  • The weather takes on a moody grey with plenty of rain after the camp ends, as Ryouko and Yuki discuss what will lie ahead during the summer. Thus far into June this year, the weather’s been overcast and rainy for a week and two days, respectively, paling in comparison to 2013, during which it rained during the week of my graduation and subsequent weeks, leading to the infamous floods that plagued my province.

  • This is the moment that surprised and impressed every viewer who began by watching the anime; reading the manga dissipates the shock rather effectively. The depiction of a Yuki of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, complete with Yuki’s trademark monotone voice, in conjunction with the best music heard in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan thus far, takes the series in a different direction. Naturally, I already know the outcome (having picked up volume four back during late August of 2013), and therefore, will be taking a closer look at how well the anime manages to transcribe those emotions into the animated medium.

  • Ryouko expresses frustration owing to being unable to do anything since Yuki’s personality shift. This change had Minori Chihara portray Yuki using the same voice from Melancholy. This was a welcome inclusion and was a nice touch, suggesting that the differences between the two Yukis is sufficient to warrant different voices. I’ve heard some armchair doctors diagnose Yuki with Dissociative Identity Disorder; the lack of good research in the field means that pinning down the cause is difficult, and consequently, I cannot immediately dismiss or accept these claims easily.

  • The tenth episode only covers around seventeen pages of volume four; much of the episode is directed towards depicting Kyon’s interactions with the “new” Yuki in a manner reminiscent of “Someday in the Rain” of the original series, although perhaps it might be that I’m missing something, but aside from revealing another side to Haruhi, that episode was not particularly meaningful.

  • Ryouko asks Yuki who she is at the episode’s end: given the progression, either two or six more episodes could be used to explore this particular arc further. The next episode will explore the source of Yuki’s unease, and as the final episodes draw near, things are looking to be more serious than most viewers have anticipated; this is why I alluded to the series being more than meets the eye in earlier discussions, and I’m certain that those who dismissed The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan earlier as a “nothing happens” anime are presently eating their words.

Compared to the manga, the anime adaptation draws out the vacation story, making use of the episodes to depict more moods that were only illustrated in the passing. By this point in time, it appears that Satelight’s stepped up their game for The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, given that the backgrounds and landscapes seem much more detailed than they did with the first episode. For those who are watching The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan without having read the manga, the near-collision was met with quite a bit of surprise, with viewers claiming something like this feels completely out of place in such a casually-paced, relaxed anime. This is the first surprise that I foreshadowed back during the fifth episode discussion; about as unexpected as the Flood showing up to the party halfway through Halo: Combat Evolved, the incident shakes up the status quo and forces Kyon to reconsider how he genuinely feels about Yuki. Meanwhile, Yuki’s new personality, coupled with her old memories, also leave her with conflict about her own feelings for Kyon. These sorts of topics run the risk of being excessively melodramatic, but given what the manga’s done thus far, I imagine that the anime will be able to cover such topics with the finesse to adequately depict the dynamic, turbulent nature of love without overplaying the drama. From what’s been seen insofar, if Yuki’s recovery is indeed how The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan will conclude, it will be a satisfactory ending. Otherwise, if the purported sixteen episodes holds true, then there will be a bit more breathing room to flesh out the fourth volume, and both options are acceptable at this point.