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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya I

In the darkness, snow(? Maybe sakura petals?) falls. Kyon tells us in voiceover that he thinks the topic of how long someone had believed in Santa is too stupid even for idle conversation. (This is where some wag can say that explains why it's come up in Azumanga Daioh, Ichigo Mashimaro, and Lucky Star, among others.) Now we see bicycle spokes turning. The bicycle's rider is Kyon himself. The voiceover continues by telling us that if we're still curious about how long he believed in some fat guy in a funky red suit, he tells us that he never did. Ever. He parks his bike, takes his bag and walks, crossing the street. He relates that he knew the "Santa" he saw in kindergarten was fake. We see some sort of yellowed footage. He never saw his mommy kissing Santa Claus or anything, but even as a little kid, he knew better than to believe in this man who supposedly only worked one day a year. Kyon ascends some steps.

Having said that, he admits that it wasn't until later that he realized that (deep breath) aliens, time travelers, ghosts, monsters, ESPers, evil syndicates, and the anime/manga/fantasy heroes that fight those syndicates (whew) were also fake. Well... that's not true either, he always knew it, but didn't want to admit it. He'd always wanted to see one of those things to just appear and say "Hey!" But This Is Reality, and the laws of physics just don't allow for them. He eventually stopped watching the shows because they just made him disappointed in reality.

So his apparent destination was a high school entrance ceremony. He continues, relating that he got to the point where he could think about those things while still accepting reality. But by the time he got out of junior high, he'd outgrown that kind of thing, and got used to living in an ordinary world.

And then, he met... her.

Who? Why, the title character, of course! It's not The Melancholy of Kyon, after all! The students are standing up and introducing themselves, and it's her turn. She gives her name. She's apparently not interested in ordinary people, but aliens, time travelers or ESPers, she wants them to go see her. Awkward silence. Kyon wonders if that was supposed to be funny. He turns around. She sure seems serious. He considers her amazingly beautiful. Well, I can't disagree too much. Anyway, she sits, leaving the rest of the class dumbfounded. Then they move on. Kyon relates that he bets the rest of the class thought she was kidding, but it was no joke. Haruhi is always dead serious. And that was how they first met. Looking back, he wanted to believe it was just a coincidence.

(OP: "Boken desho desho?")

...Okay, that was trippy. Also, I think this the only series I've seen so far to have the OP or ED translation and the romaji for at the same time. The others — Azumanga Daioh, Hidamari Sketch, Ichigo Mashimaro (yes, I have vol. 3 of that now), and Lucky Star — alternate between episodes, showing the translation for one episode and the romaji the next (well, Azumanga Daioh reset the cycle for disc changes; episodes 5 & 6 both used the translation, because the first was on disc 1 and the other was on disc 2.) So that's kind of interesting.

Kyon notes that when Haruhi is just sitting quietly, she seems just like any other extremely beautiful high school girl, and the seating arrangement just happens to place him in front of her. He asks if we can blame him for wanting to exploit that to get to know her better. He turns and asks if she was serious about the stuff she was saying. She asks him to clarify, and he does. She asks if he's an alien or something. He says he isn't, but he just... decides to let it go. She asks why they're even talking, and says he's wasting her time.

Kyon tells us he found out that several of their classmates had been in her junior high class. One, played by Sam Riegal, advises him (while eating his rice) that if he's got the hots for her, to forget it. She's "beyond eccentric". He can't remember a day when she wasn't doing something completely wacky. He asks if Kyon remembers the Quad Scribbles Incident. He doesn't, so the guy explains. Apparently, she got ahold of a... thing that draws lines on an athletic field (seriously, why is it so hard to find out what that is with a simple search?) and used it to draw some weird symbol on the school grounds. (The SOS symbol, maybe?) The other guy remembers reading about it in the paper. (Okay, not the SOS symbol. ...It's like no kanji I've ever seen, except the symbol on the far right bears some resemblance to one I've seen.) She apparently did it by herself, and admitted to it. The character played by Sam Riegal relates another time when he got to class early, and found the desks out in the hall, as well as the time she painted a star on the roof, and another when she... I can't tell because Kyon is wondering what Haruhi is doing. She throws a... tennis ball? at some sort of dome. Anyway, it had something to do with reanimating corpses.

He continues, relating that she's pretty popular with the guys, given that she's easy on the eyes. She's also highly athletic (which explains Konata) and intelligent. She's also had a string of brief relationships, lasting from 1 week down to 5 minutes. There's a... flashback? in which she says she has no time to deal with ordinary humans. Kyon wonders why she says "Okay." The other guy doesn't know, either, but says that she doesn't turn a guy down when he steps up to ask her out. He repeats his earlier advice. Kyon wonders to himself why he would forget what he hadn't even thought about.

He then sees a race. The S.R. dude figures there's only one girl to go after: Ryoko Asakura. He places her in the top 3 on the freshman hottie list. Well, she is pretty. Kyon asks if that means he's already checked 'em all out. Indeed it does. He's ranked them all from A to D, and memorized the names of all the ones on his A list. The other guy asks what Asakura gets, and he replies that she gets AA+. He figures her personality is probably wonderful, in addition to her being gorgeous.

All of that was happening while Haruhi was still acting pretty normal. For that month, even Kyon was feeling pretty good. But her eccentricities were already making themselves known.

  1. A different hairstyle every day. Every day, she ties her hair in more places, but on Monday, it resets. Kyon is curious about what she looks like on Sunday.
  2. Normally, when changing from seifuku to P.E. uniform, boys use the odd-numbered classrooms while girls use the even-numbered ones. Haruhi doesn't wait until the boys have left. This leaves Asakura to rush them out of the room, and other students to draw the curtains. Haruhi's mindset seems to be that guys were pretty much the same as a bag of potatoes.
  3. Joining every team and extracurricular club offered. She turned down every sports club that wanted her to join, and changed extracurricular clubs based on mood, never remaining a member of any.

Before he knew it, it was the day after Golden Week.

Okay, Kyon is his nickname? And he wishes people to stop calling him that. Hey, I'll call you what you want to be called if you'll say what that is. 'Cause that's gonna bug me. Not as bad as when somebody comes into a chat room with a screen name, then tells people not to call him by it, but still...

He sees Haruhi in ox horns, and guesses that it's Wednesday. And with that thought, something must have snapped inside him. He asks her if she changes her hairstyle to ward off alien invaders. In voiceover, he tells us that he was talking to Haruhi. She asks when he notices. He lets on that he noticed a while ago. She sees, and lets on that she has a theory that each day of the week has its own image with a specific color that only goes with that day. She rattles off the list while Kyon tells us that it was almost like they were having a normal conversation. Kyon tells us that he kind of understood that. He says that if you turned it into numbers, Monday would be 0 and Sunday 6. She says that's right. But Kyon feels that Monday's more like a 1. Haruhi doesn't think anybody asked his opinion. She turns back to him, and they stare at each other. After a while, she asks if she's met her somewhere before, like maybe in the past. (If I'm remembering what I've read correctly, he will meet her before.)

Kyon tells us that an event is usually triggered by something trivial. He was surprised that she even gave a half-decent answer. He thought she'd say something along the lines of "Shut up, loser! Who cares?" Hey, if you want to see all your options at the end, save often!

So, when she came to class with her long hair chopped off to the now-familiar length, he was disturbed by it. He figured it was rash to do so. She looks at the camera and says, "Not really."

Since that day, he started talking to Haruhi every day before homeroom. He asks if it's true about dumping every guy she's dated. She asks what gives him the right to ask that. She doesn't know about anything he's heard. She figures if he wants to believe it, it's probably true. He asks if there wasn't even one she was serious about. She replies in the negative, since they all took themselves too seriously, and none were aliens, time travelers, or ESPers. Kyon points out that that's how people are, normally. She asks why they keep asking her out over the phone, figuring it should be face-to-face. Kyon decides to just agree with her. Haruhi says it's not important, anyway. Kyon asks what is. Haruhi says that it seems all the men in this universe are pathetic, and this perception is what's irritated her throughout junior high. Kyon asks what kind of guy she would have been into. He names "alien", which she responds to in the affirmative. As long as he isn't an ordinary human, she doesn't care if it's a boy or a girl. Kyon wonders what's wrong with being human. (Nothing, as long as you're a time traveler or whatever.) She feels that would make life more interesting.

At the bell, Haruhi gets up and walks off. The S.R. character approaches Kyon and tells him he should reveal what kind of magic spell he's using, because he's never seen Suzimiya talk that long before. He asks what Kyon said. Kyon is unsure, himself, figuring it was all pretty random. The other guy comes up and says Kyon's always gone after the strange ones.

Asakura comes up, wanting to know how he did it, as Haruhi never answers her. (Her dub voice kinda reminds me of Miyuki's mother, but noticeably different.) She asks for tips, but he doesn't know what it is he's doing. She thinks it's a good thing, though, that Haruhi seems to have a friend, as she'd been worried. Kyon seems unsure of that classification. Asakura tells him to just keep doing what he's doing, as she might warm up to the rest of them. So she's counting on him! In fact, she's planning on having him be their messenger to Haruhi or something. He's not particularly happy about this. She says, "Pretty please?" before going over to another group of girls. They look at him and giggle. The S.R. character claims buddy status. Kyon tells us everyone's turned into an idiot.

Apparently, they're changing seats now. He picks a number out of a cookie tin. It gives him a window seat, second from the back. He thinks this means the end of proximity to Haruhi. However... she got the window seat... on the back row.

A new conversation ensues, about her checking out of the clubs. He wants to know if there are any interesting ones. Instantly, she says there are absolutely none. Kyon is surprised at the speed. She repeats her answer. Kyon notes to us that she likes to use "absolutely" a lot. She had thought it would get better in high school, but found that it was the same throughout. She wonders if she's in the wrong school. (No, dear, I'd say "the wrong outlook" is more your problem.) Kyon wonders to us what her criteria are. (I wonder if he's been listening, since it's come up like 20 times. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating.) She relates that there was a club called the Mystery Research Club, but it turns out the mysteries they researched... were novels, not actual cases. She also had high hopes for the Supernatural Phenomenon Research Club... but they were just occult freaks. She asks what he think of it. He doesn't think anything of it. Haruhi finds herself frustrated with boredom. ...Man, she just sounded more like Konata than she has at any point I've heard so far. Which isn't that much, but hey. She thinks there should be some strange, cool ones out there. Kyon says you can't help it if there aren't any, especially since us normal humans have to be happy with what we're given. He points out that we have all the things we have because some ordinary human wanted to do something we couldn't before, ordinarily. She tells him to shut up. Kyon tells us that it was probably that conversation that sparked the idea.

So Kyon is nodding off in class, when suddenly, Haruhi grabs the back of his shirt collar, and pulls him in a way that makes his head hit her desk. He stands up and yells, "What's wrong with you?!" She exhibits the first smile this episode, and announces that she has an idea. She can't believe she didn't realize it before, as it seems obvious in hindsight: if it doesn't exist, she should make it herself! What, you might ask, along with Kyon? A club! He hears her, but says she's gotta calm down. She thinks he should be happier about that development, but he points out they're in the middle of class. People are staring. Haruhi sits.

The bell rings, and Haruhi is dragging him by the tie with alacrity. She's decided that he's going to help. He mentally compares it to being bullied out of lunch money. He asks what she needs help with. Starting her club, it seems. He wants to know why he's the one to help, and wants her to let go of his tie. (Perhaps it's because you're the closest thing to a friend she has?) She wants him to handle the paperwork. He wants to know what kind of club it is. She figures making the club first is a better idea than deciding what kind it'll be. She assigns him the task of finding members while she looks for a suitable room. She takes off.

He goes over the rules for the creation of a club. There's nothing he can really do. How do you get people to join a club without first letting them know its purpose? He doesn't think it'll contribute anything positive to school life.

But he's dragged down the hallway again, anyway. Apparently, she's found a suitable room. It's the cultural room. She explains where they are. She also explains that while it's technically the Literary Club's room, it has no members, and is up to be cut if that doesn't change. She also points out a new freshman member, a girl with short purple hair and shiny glasses. Kyon figures that means it hasn't been cut. Haruhi figures it's the same difference. Kyon asks what they'll do with her, and Haruhi relates that she said she wouldn't mind it. She apparently doesn't care as long as there's a place to read. Haruhi figures some people are just strange like that. Kyon thinks to himself a "Look who's talking." The girl looks up, allows her glasses to become transparent, and says "Yuki Nagato" before going back to reading. Kyon makes sure that Yuki is actually okay with that room being used for another club, which she seems to be, even if it means she gets kicked out. Haruhi takes this to mean the room is theirs, and cheerily tells him that he'd better show up, or it's the death penalty. Not wanting to die, he understands.

Now they're off in search of members. Haruhi figures they only need two more people. Kyon wonders if she included Yuki, as though she's an accessory who comes with the room. She also has a couple of leads on random people she can bring in.

The next day, the bell rings, and she tells him she'll meet him there, and takes off. With no choice, he shuffled over to the club room. There, he asks Yuki what she's reading, so she shows him. He asks if it's interesting, and after a few seconds, says it's "unique". (Referenced in Lucky Star, but with Soujirou and Konata.) He asks what part is unique; she finds all of it to be so. He figures she really likes books, but she says "A little." Kyon asks if he can go home, right before Haruhi comes through the door. Haruhi apologizes for being late, and explains it's because it took her forever to catch the girl she brought. She seems a bit disoriented, and kind of scared. Kyon finds her really beautiful, as well. She asks why she's there, who they are... and why Haruhi is locking the door. Haruhi introduces the girl as Mikuru Asahina. Kyon asks where she kidnapped her from. Haruhi says she didn't kidnap anyone; she came here on her own. She found her daydreaming in the juniors' room. During recess, Haruhi makes it a point to walk every inch of the main building. She remembered seeing her around a couple of times, and, well... Kyon realizes that's why he hadn't seen her then. Kyon realizes that she said Mikuru was a junior. He asks why Haruhi picked her. Turns out it was because she's a "total little cutie". Kyon thinks she sounds like a pervert. Haruhi figures that mo is an important concept to keep in mind. Kyon asks what she said. She's of the mindset that stories with strange, supernatural things going on, you need to have at least one person displaying mo traits. She says that's just the beginning, and grabs Mikuru's breasts and jiggles them around as she goes into why this is relevant to the concept. This causes Mikuru to panic. Meanwhile, Yuki seem unfazed. Kyon separates Haruhi from Mikuru. Haruhi goes on, offering to let Kyon feel Mikuru's for himself, but Kyon passes on that. Kyon gives us a So What You Are Saying.

Haruhi figures Mikuru would make a good mascot. She asks if Mikuru is in any other clubs. Calligraphy, she says. Haruhi decides she can quit it, as it'll get in the way. After some consideration, and looking at Yuki reading quietly, she understands, and agrees to quit the Calligraphy Club and join that one. However, she doen't know what the Literary Club does. (Wild guess, here, but I'm going to go with "read and discuss books".) Haruhi points out that it's not the Literary Club, and Kyon explains that they're borrowing the room, and have no idea for a name, and no stated purpose. He also points out the real Literary Club member. Haruhi says she has it.

The club's name is... The SOS Brigade. The Spreading excitement all Over the world with Haruhi Suzumiya Brigade. (Sekai wo Ooini moria gerutame no Suzumiya Haruhi no dan.) Kyon tells us it's okay to laugh now. He says it should be The Spreading excitement all Over the world with Haruhi Suzumiya Organization, but they don't have the right to form an organization yet, and they still don't know what the point is. (Besides, that would make it only SOSO.) Face Palm on the part of Kyon.

("Hare Hare Yukai")

Next Episode: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya II!