Ordinary Liveblogs Don't Interest Me! Let's Watch Haruhi!


Remote Island Syndrome I

(By the way, I now have the second season. You won't see liveblogs of it by me until after I'm done with the first.)

We start with a woman in white holding a piece of paper looking out over a railing. Kyon wants to know what someone has up his/her sleeve. Okay, so he's talking to Itsuki, who says there's nothing, really. He knows the organization has nothing to do with this. (The woman rips the paper in smaller and smaller pieces.) Itsuki says they're going on a little retreat. Kyon is just making sure nothing funny is going on, since Itsuki set it up. (The woman lets the pieces blow away.) Haruhi was interested since it's a privately-owned deserted island. She called it a "closed circle". (The woman looks over some smaller papers, and rips them up, as well.) Kyon asks what that is, and Itsuki explains that it's a situation in which all contact with the outside world has been cut off. (The woman starts pulling petals off a flower. A Loves Me Not situation?) Kyon compares it to a cabin in the mountains during a blizzard, or someone who is cut off from civilization because a typhoon destroyed the bridge. Itsuki confirms this. (As it turns out, they're watching this woman.) Kyon asks how it ties in with their retreat. Itsuki says it's the perfect closed-circle setting, and if it storm whips up, it's better than a cabin in a blizzard. Kyon guesses that we might be wondering why he's chatting with Koizumi on the deck of a ship. It all started when he was recovering from final exam results, a.k.a. Black Monday. Then, the S.O.S. Brigade had a meeting.

(OP: "Bouken desho desho?")

Haruhi notes that everyone's here. She considers the meeting super-important, and if anyone had shown up after her, she was thinking of making that person "It" when they play Kick the Can, forever. Naturally, Kyon had no idea they were having an important meeting. Haruhi decided that, during the summer break, they're going on their very first retreat. Kyon wonders in his head what good that's going to do any of them. Itsuki had already set the destination. He has an incredibly wealthy distant relative who bought a deserted island and put a summer house there, which was recently finished. Haruhi writes on an armband, and promotes Koizumi to Deputy Chief. (The subtitling for writing says "Vice-Leader".) He gladly accepts. Kyon tells us he's not jealous. Haruhi writes something else, and finally lets on about the duration: 3 nights and 4 days. She's sure they'll find something very interesting there, and has already figured out her role: as the armband says, "Supersleuth".

Back in the present, Itsuki wants to think about detectives. The great ones in fiction always seem to find themselves in a series of incomprehensible situations. He wonders why that is. Kyon figures it's because if they didn't, there wouldn't be a story. Itsuki says that they're fiction and exist only in the surreal world of the story. But he also thinks it might be best if they don't get wrapped up in a metafictional conversation yet, given that Haruhi seems to want to throw herself into such a world. Kyon recalls that that was the purpose of the S.O.S. Brigade. Itsuki says you need the right kind of environment to see surreal things happen, and that that's how the greats got involved in their mysteries. Kyon figures there's no way they'll run into a case that easily. Itsuki concurs, but he does say that the location would be considered perfect for it. He says it's like the great detectives have a supernatural power that attracts cases. Kyon asks if he's sane. Itsuki replies that he always acts with a reasonable amount of sanity, and while those things aren't his personal views, they're how Haruhi is looking at it, and that she wants to be a great detective.

We see Haruhi herself, concentrating on something. She picks a card and calls it "So close!" Kyon wonders what's close; they're playing Old Maid. (Who? Well, Yuki is to her left, Kyon is to her left, Mikuru is to his left, Kyon's sister is to her left, and Itsuki is to her left. Apparently, play goes to the right, as Itsuki picks something. Kyon's sister giggles, and, as she takes a card from Mikuru, says that Kyon tried to leave her behind. Kyon thinks to us that he didn't intend to bring her in the first place.

Kyon walks down a hall and sits next to a bag, then tries to pick it up. It seems a lot heavier than he was expecting. He opens it, and its surprised to find her inside. She tries to keep him from going without her. Ah, so that was a flashback.

Mikuru says they're all glad she's here now. Kyon promises she won't be any trouble. Mikuru's smile got his sis off the hook. Haruhi asks for an ETA. 6 hours by ferry, it seems. There, an acquaintance will be waiting to pick them up. From there, they'll board a private cruiser and spend another hour on the water. (Itsuki selects a card from the kid's hand.) And at the end, a deserted island with a towering mansion. Itsuki hasn't been there, so thinks it should be interesting. Haruhi bets it'll be really strange, and wants to know the architect's name. (Furanku Roido Raito?) Itsuki didn't think to ask. (Kyon's sis runs out of cards!) Itsuki did, however, hear that he was somewhat famous. (Kyon has a 3 of clubs, a 9 of diamonds, a 6 of spades, and a Joker in his hand. Anyone care to identify her? Purple eyes, chin-length purple hair with pigtails, pink frilly dress, black bat wings and black pointed tail? Anyway, Mikuru selects the 6 from his deck, and as she has a 6, she's happy about it.) Kyon thinks it's "perfect" that the architect is "somewhat" famous. He thinks that if it's anything like what Haruhi expects, it must be totally weird. (Kyon considers which of Yuki's cards he should pick.) He thinks it'll look like something Antoni Gaudi designed after drinking himself stupid and staying up for 3 days. Yuki selects one of Haruhi's cards, and is able to put down some. Haruhi goes on about it being the ideal location. She selects from Itsuki's hand, and is third to get out. She declares that the loser is treating everyone to jusu. She puts in her order for 100% fruit juice. Kyon's sister wants cola. Itsuki, who isn't out yet, wants royal milk tea. Kyon points out that he hasn't won yet. Haruhi figures deserted islands are all about weird happenings, but Kyon repeats to himself that he hopes nothing happens. Itsuki hopes that whether anything happens or not, they all have fun.

As was likely, Kyon lost, and is having trouble holding onto several cans of drinks at once.

Haruhi drinks her apple juice, then invites Mikuru and "Little Sister" up to the deck. She's hoping to see a monster squid. "Little Sister" pulls Mikuru along, and Haruhi pushes. Kyon figures if one shows up, Yuki'll have to deal with it.

Haruhi asks Kyon if he's sleeping, calling him a dork. She asks if he's going to sleep through the trip. Someone takes a picture of his face when he wakes up. I had assumed it was Haruhi, but it turns out it was Mikuru. She also has a couple of pictures of him sleeping. Kyon ponders why she might want pictures like that. He thinks to himself maybe to put in a cute frame by her bedside. Haruhi interrupts his thoughts by asking about his goofy expression, thinking it makes him look like a moron. She also takes the camera. She's put Mikuru in the position of photographer, since they want a record of their activities, but Haruhi decides what pictures to take. Kyon wonders why anyone would care about his appearance when he's sleeping or waking up. Haruhi says his pictures are going to be a warning to future generations. She figures for a member to be sleeping when his leader's awake to be against, morals, orders, and Brigade rules.

Just then, the ship's horn sounds. It's time to move out, as they're almost in port. A mysterious island awaits! Kyon hopes it's not Panorama Island or Infant Island, or least that the island doesn't float away or swim. Itsuki is willing to guarantee that it's ordinary: no monsters, no mad scientists. Kyon doesn't trust his guarantees.

They exit the terminal, and Itsuki greets Mr. Arakawa and Miss (Sonou) Mori, a butler and a maid. He apologizes for troubling them, and introduces them to his incomparable group of friends. Mr. Arakawan shows them to the boat, and says it should only be a half-hour's boat ride. (That's half of what Itsuki said.) He apologizes for any inconvenience. Haruhi doesn't mind, and thinks the more remote it is, the better. She thinks Kyon and Mikuru she be more excited about this. (Well, yeah, there's a good chance of seeing the girls other than his sister in bikinis or at least swimsuits of some sort; the idea should perk him right up!) She thinks there are probably only two islands in Japan like this; Kyon isn't sure that there are two. Mikuru is looking forward to this.

Kyon's sister rides up front with the butler, who's driving. Mikuru seems to be studying Miss Mori for maid behavior. Haruhi wonders if the house has a cool name. Miss Mori doesn't know what she means, so she lists off names like House of Black Death, Lira Manor, and Koketsu Castle. (Where is she getting these names? I can find none of them.) Miss Mori says it doesn't. Haruhi is expecting it to have a dungeon with funky contraptions, or that the architect died unnaturally or a room that makes you die if you sleep in it. Miss Mori says there isn't. Haruhi asks the butler if the master wears a mask to hide a disfiguration or if there are three psychotic sisters living there, or if there's none left. The butler says that none of that has happened yet. Haruhi figures this means that chances are high. The butler admits to the possibility. Haruhi says she thinks she sees it, and asks if that's the mansion. The butler says it is. Haruhi is disappointed that it looks normal.

Kyon's sister spots someone waving. Haruhi thinks he looks too young to be the master. Itsuki says he's also been invited to stay a few days. His name is (in Eastern order) Tamaru Yutaka (Yutaka? wink ), and he's the younger brother of the master. Itsuki had met him once before. Kyon thinks he should have let them know beforehand. Yutaka ties off the boat, and they take the winding trail up to the mansion.

Itsuki rings the bell, and a middle-aged-looking man opens the door. It's Tamaru Keiichi. He welcomes everyone. Haruhi thanks him on behalf of everyone. She's extremely polite in her thanks, which prompts the man to say that's quite different from what Itsuki has told him; he had been expecting someone more direct. She changes her tone; while still friendly, she's a lot less formal. She asks if anything strange has ever happened there, or if he's heard stories from the locals, or if it has a spooky name. She explains that that's what she's into. The man laughs and says that's quite a hobby she has, but has yet to see anything strange happen. Construction just finished the day before yesterday. It's not even been haunted, since it was deserted. He invites them in, and tells them that since it's Western style, they can keep their shoes on if they want. Mikuru remarks on the lovely room. Haruhi says it's okay. Itsuki says it's nice that they don't have to share rooms, and asks if the rooms have locks. The master says they do, and that they're not automatic, so they won't get locked out in the hall, but he'll appreciate them not losing their keys. (Haruhi pushes down on the mattresses.) Mikuru invites Kyon's sister to stay with her. Kyon imposes the condition that she behave.

Haruhi thinks it's suspicious that nothing's suspicious. Kyon asks what if it looked suspicious to begin with. Haruhi replies that it'd be suspicious, of course. Kyon thinks that means that everything's suspicious, even if it's not. Haruhi suddenly stands up, saying she's got the culprit. Kyon points out that nothing's happened; they just got there. Haruhi thinks the culprit is the owner, and the first victim will be Mikuru. Kyon thinks she shouldn't be saying things like that, as their guests. He wants her to act like a normal high school student. Haruhi guesses he's right, and that they should go swimming. While Kyon is sure Haruhi would never wish for anyone to die, it's scary hearing her talk like that.

Yuki reads under one umbrella while Kyon's sister does something on shore. The boys watch Mikuru and Haruhi have a splash fight. (Haruhi, incidentally, is the only one in a bikini.) Kyon figures this is the best part of the trip. Then he looks over and sees Yuki reading. Itsuki says that they all have different ideas of what's fun, and that each person should spend vacation doing the things they like. He inflates a yellow ball. He especially considers it important to keep Haruhi from getting bored. Haruhi invites the boys into the water. Little Sister comes too. (Yuki's book is probably identifiable by now.) They hit the ball around. When Mikuru hits it, she... bounces quite a bit, inspiring Kyon to think there are too many beach balls. Speaking of Mikuru, she notices riding a sit-down PWC (you likely call them Jet Skis). So Haruhi, Mikuru, and Little Sister are pulled behind it on a raft... and Yuki waterskis while reading. And now the girls float on inflatable rings. (Yuki continues reading.) And the sun sets, and a wave washes over a sand drawing of... somebody.

Dinnertime! Little Sister had so much fun! Haruhi finds something delicious, and asks who made it. It was Arakawa-san, who's also the head chef. Haruhi wants to thank him personally. Yutaka remarks that Yuki eats a lot. The maid offers something to drink, and pours an orange beverage. Little Sister doesn't like peppers, it seems. Kyon tells her that she'll have to eat them if she wants to grow up to be like Asahina. He notes that it's not often that they get to eat that well. Haruhi glugs down her drink, and finds it hard to believe that it's free. She wishes the school cafeteria had food like that.

That night, they play with fireworks. And they went through the forest.

The first day ended with nothing unusual happening. Kyon thinks it would have been perfect if the story ended there. (Hey, it'd fit well into the slice-of-life genre... if they took out the hints of something more.)

The next morning, there was a huge storm. At breakfast, the butler warns the group that the master is not a morning person, and tends to be difficult when he wakes up. He asks that they excuse his absence in the mornings. Speaking of foul moods, Haruhi is upset that a storm moved in just as they began vacation. Itsuki says that it seems quick, so it should be gone in two days. Kyon doesn't remember hearing about a typhoon yesterday. He wonders in his head whose head the storm came from. But just as suddenly, Haruhi sees the storm as a rare opportunity to experience something weird. Mikuru trembles.

No boating today; the waves are too rough. Thanks to Haruhi's wish, they are the unwilling guests on a spooky deserted island.

Since going outside wasn't an option, they went to the basement game room.

Doubles ping-pong. Haruhi wins with a Super Ultra Miracle Eccentric Serve.

Pool, Little Sister asking Yuki what she's reading...

Mah-jongg. Kyon calls [i]riichi, but Haruhi calls [i]ron[/i], and says her hand's worth 10,000 points. Itsuki calls her hand [i]yakuman[/i]. Kyon is glad they're not playing for money. The owner comes up, glad they're having a good time. Yutaka asks to sit in, and Mikuru offers her seat. Little Sister asks her what furikomi is. (I can't quite understand what the dub is having her say, so that's what the sub says. Anyway, "furikomi" is apparently a payment made via bank deposit transfer. Makes sense; a lot of the game room is gambling devices.) The owner excuses himself, as he has work that needs doing. Kyon thinks to himself that these people seem normal, considering they're Koizumi's acquaintances. He figures that strange occurrences would require a couple more characters. Haruhi calls [i]riichi[/i].

In one of the bedrooms with the beds together, the six sit on them in a circle with their hands behind their backs. There's a bag of drinks and snacks nearby. They raise sticks into the air and say, "Who is the king?" Haruhi ends up being the king. She tells #2 that (s)he has to turn around, look back, and say, "I love you." Turns out #2 is Yuki. She does so, but Haruhi says she has to say it with more feeling. She does it again, with no more perceptible emotion than before. Haruhi wants Kyon to show her how. But as he goes to, she says "Psych!" Mikuru does it from a chair.

Kyon had thought he could skip though this chapter of adolescence with little more than a laugh, but that's not how the dealer cut the deck. If Kyon knew who it was, he'd have them stop for a year.

Kyon walks into the other room to call on Haruhi, but he's hit in the face with a pillow. Haruhi thinks he should expect such things on a retreat. Itsuki figures that's why she was going through all the rooms: she was collecting munitions. The next person to be hit is Arakawa-san. Itsuki asks if there's something wrong. Apparently, he sent Mori to Yutaka's room, but he wasn't there. His bed hadn't been slept in, and they looked in the usual spots, but haven't seen him. They tried to call the master's room, but there was no reply. Haruhi sums it up succinctly. Itsuki thinks they should try entering the master's room, but the master himself is the only one with the keys. Because he brought work-related documents, he takes precautions. Itsuki says they should try knocking. Haruhi has a bad feeling about this. She has Yuki and Mikuru come, and wants Little Sister to stay there.

(Me, I'd have Yuki stay with her, and have her make sure she's not harmed.)

Haruhi runs up the stairs, then stops and looks. The others run past. Itsuki begins by knocking on the door and calling him through it. He tries the knob, but it's locked. He figures they'll have to ram it. It doesn't work until the third try or so, Kyon even noting that breaking down doors like that is something that only happens in the drama world. When they get in, however, they find the owner with a knife in his chest, stabbed right through a book in his pocket! Kyon now has to process the fact that they're dealing with a real murder, in a real "closed circle"!

Next time: Mystérique Sign!


(Furanku Roido Raito?) Frank Lloyd Wright
ThAlEdison 30th Aug 12