Suzu no Yuutsu ep 10 – Asakura vs. Nagato

Bright-eyed Haruhi

Summary:
After missing a day of school evaluating the SOS Dan’s expedition around town, Haruhi is depressed and tells Kyon that “men are worthless” among other anti-romantic things. Ryoko Asukura tries to cheer her up as part of her job as meddler class rep, but fails; Haruhi still has a crestfallen yet “surprisingly cute” (to Kyon) face. Kyon finds a note in his shoe locker asking him to meet in classroom 1-5. In the club room, Kyon raises objection to “knockout photos” of Mikuru being featured on the SOS Dan’s website. Haruhi defends them and says she’s putting them on the home page, claiming traffic could jump into five-digit territory and perhaps lead to more reports of suspicious activity. As Kyon starts to delete them, Haruhi gets pissed then relcutantly agrees to delete the pictures. Kyon, being the Mikuru-obsessant file backup expert he is, saves them to another folder. Frustrated, Haruhi announces she’s going home and leaves in a fuss.

After leaving the club room, Kyon enters the classroom and finds Class Rep Asakura. She asks about Haruhi and decides to kill him in order to provoke Haruhi to produce more data. She thrusts at him and walls him in using her data manipulation powers. It’s kind of freaky to hear Ryoko talk about murder with such a smile. Just as Kyon is about to get knifed, Nagato busts through the wall to the rescue. Apparently, Nagato feels no pain as she stops the knife with her hand!

It turns out that Asakura is actually Nagato’s backup. Nagato scolds her defiant subordinate and the battle begins. She starts trying to nullify Asakura’s data link and, a couple minutes and spikes through the chest later, she finally succeeds. As she is disintegrating in the alternate universe desert, Asakura tells Kyon to enjoy himself with Haruhi while he can. Nagato collapses and rebuilds the classroom but forgets to make a new set of glasses for herself. Kyon tells her she’s cuter without them and that he’s not a glasses man. Just then, Taniguchi walks in and freaks out at the sight of Kyon with Nagato. After a couple seconds of shock, he apologizes and runs away crying. (Taniguchi kind of reminded me of Keigo, from Bleach, in this episode.) Yuki then announces that she has “transferred” Asakura out of the school. All behold the adminstrative power of Yuki Nagato!

The next day, Haruhi’s face lights up as when she hears that Ryoko and her family suddenly moved. Haruhi thinks, “Finally! Something suspicious to investigate!” It turns out that by “dying”, Asakura had a similar effect on Haruhi to what she intended in her attempted murder of Kyon; she jerked Haruhi out of her doldrums and put her on track to provide more data for the interdimensional-CIA-from-the-future to pore over.

Kyon gets another shoe-locker note, this time from future Mikuru; from this point on, I’ll call her OL Mikuru (OL = office lady). Don’t worry; she’s still got the cute “classified information” (kinsoku jikou desu) thing going. OL Mikuru proves that she’s legit by showing him the mole on her left breast but then, noticing her exposed cleavage, she slips into innocent Mikuru-chan mode. She tells him to remember the story of Snow White and that Haruhi will be with him when he will need it. After waxing nostalgia about cosplay costumes, she tells Kyon one last thing before she leaves: “Don’t get close to me.” Yuki returns to the room, says that she knew about OL Mikuru, and refuses to explain how to time travel to Kyon because he wouldn’t comprehend it.

When Kyon returns to the classroom, Haruhi asks Kyon where he was and then pulls him outside. She tells him nobody knew about Asakura’s transfer until this morning and that she supposedly moved to Canada. She asked for her new contact information, got nothing. She then asked for (and got) Ryoko’s old address and literally drags Kyon along after school to investigate, but not before posting a notice on the Brigade door that it’s “Self-Activity Day”.

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Analysis:
I have been looking forward to this episode since I read the first translated Haruhi novel. (Enjoy translated novel goodness here.) I had imagined the Ryoko-Yuki battle as a lavish visual affair and I was not disappointed. An unexpected plus was the intenseness of Nagato.

The framework has seemed to have been laid for something big to happen in the timeline. Haruhi and Kyon are probably going to bust into Asakura’s place and both OL Mikuru and Asakura gave Kyon “leading” advice about his future. There seemed to be three noticeable acts to the episode: the fighting act, the act with OL Mikuru, and the happy-Haruhi-conspiracy-theory act. Most people have been talking about OL Mikuru and Yuki’s battle skills, but I found Haruhi’s renewed enthusiasm more interesting. I mean, there wasn’t a door-busting “Hello everyone” from her but at least a “closed space” event was prevented from happening…for now! Also, Kyon had a couple revelations about her popularity. Overall, I thought it was a well-balanced episode that definitely had more action than last week.

However, next week, we leapfrog “Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi V” and get “Day of Sagittarius”. It will be Nagato’s time to shine in a Go match against the computer club president. It looks like that’ll be when SOS Dan wins the laptops seen previously in episode 9. Yes, this is another jump in the timeline and, yes, it does look it might be an entertaining episode but this time-jumping thing starting to irritate me.

I think that this was the first episode to have sponsors and to have a way-shortened opening. I didn’t really miss “Bokuen Desho Desho” and the sponsors seemed to make some sense, given the effects budget for this ep as well as the other ones.

One more thing: I HAVE to get the soundtrack when it comes out. I’ve loved the BGM so far in the series (especially the ska and the upbeat “ba-ba-ba-ba-bah”), but hearing the techno fight music just clinched it for me. There seem to be no plans yet for a release but I’m sure that within the next month (soon after the finale), it will be announced.

Funniest Subtitles:

Super size me!

It turns out Kyon has a product placement deal with McDonald’s!

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