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


The Day of Sagittarius

We're looking at space. Tiny red dots come from the center of the screen and appear to spread out. We hear Koizumi's voice telling "Lord Suzumiya" that they have a report from the scout fleet: The enemy's ships have been located. At this point, we can tell that we're flying through a massive space fleet. Nagato reports enemy altitude at 8 minutes, 20 seconds. Distance is 6.3 AU and approaching at 60% of light speed. The enemy has a fleet of ~15,000 ships. Now we see the bridge of Suzumiya's ship. Her aside, the stations appear to be manned by more obvious aliens than Nagato. Suzumiya is confident that they're going to annihilate them, and calls her ships to battle stations. (There are Latin-based letters and numbers rotating on rings at the port and starboard. They probably mean something, given the show's propensity for doing things like that, but search me as to what.) All ships are set to battle stations, reactors are told to be set to combat output, and thrusters to first-stage speed.

Koizumi counts down from three to ignition. Asahina gives the stuttery order to load all cannons with supergravitational torpedos, and the superproton cannon. Then she just calls all cannons to fireable status. Nagato reports maximum boosters, and initiates electronic warfare; all ECMs and ECCMs are operational. Suzumiya orders all ships to full speed ahead as a holographic screen with Kyon's face on it descends in front of her. He asks if it wouldn't be better to have the ships pulled back a bit, rather than so far ahead of them. Suzumiya wants to shoot beams and missiles at the enemy. Kyon compares it to how in shogi or chess, the king doesn't charge into enemy territory. Suzumiya sees the wisdom in this, and sends the others to give the leader a good pummeling, and to make sure to win against the computer club.

Now we're seeing from inside Kyon's ship, which is blue, as are the ships in his fleet. He wonders if it wouldn't be better to raise the white flag now, but realizes that's not an option. He looks at his screen, and we hear what sounds like old-school computer noises for a moment before the OP.

("Bouken desho desho?")

One week ago...

It's autumn, a few days after the incidentless arts festival. The campus is now peaceful and quiet again. It's an ordinary day... though he's not sure he should prematurely call a day spent with the SOS Brigade "ordinary". After all, every day, he hangs out with an alien, a time traveler, and an esper, and he's still as sane and objective as ever. He wonders if that makes him special. (The alien, by the way, as reading as usual, the time traveler is brewing tea, I guess, and the esper is playing Reversi with him. He's sure Lacan is dying to have a word with him. (Well, if he hadn't died in the early '80s... As a side note, "Lacan's post-structuralist theory rejected the belief that reality can be captured in language", which reminds me of what Yuki said about tips on time travel in "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya IV".) Koizumi thinks Kyon seems worried, and asks if something's wrong. Kyon says that he isn't, and places a white chip on the board. He says he was just thinking how awesome he was for coping with this absurd situation, and thinks he's due for a little praise. Koizumi agrees, and asks if he should be the one to do it; Kyon declines, as his praise wouldn't please him, and just make him suspicious. Koizumi thinks that true enough.

Asahina brings tea over, apologizing for how long it took. She bought a stem tea called karigane. (Thank you, Mikuru! I completely forgot that I tried a tea called kukicha a few weeks ago. It was drinkable, but my palate didn't enjoy it much. If the article is accurate, it's probably because I didn't do it right.) Kyon thinks Mikuru's hands would make even tap water taste better than melted snow from the Alps. Mikuru hopes they like the flavor. Koizumi wonders where Haruhi is. Kyon says she has cleanup duty. He sips the tea, thinking how peaceful it is when she's not around.

There's a knock at the door. Mikuru goes to answer it. Turns out that it's the computer club president. (Also the other members.) The president asks if their leader isn't there. Kyon approaches and asks if they want something. He first wants Kyon to take a jewel case with a computer game inside on CD-ROM. Kyon does. The game is The Day of Sagittarius III, a game they designed and developed. They displayed it at the arts festival. Kyon doesn't remember seeing it. The only memory Kyon wants to retain is Mikuru in her café costume. He get a flash of it. The president concedes that maybe they were exhibiting it in the wrong location. Kyon asks what they want. The president wants to fight a duel with them using that game. He reiterates the "duel" part so much that Kyon silently want him to stop saying "duel" so much. He thinks that if Haruhi's ultrasharp ears could hear him...

Oh wait, seems she did hear him, as evidenced by him being kicked to the floor, away from the door. (Everybody walk the dinosaur.) The other members go to him. Haruhi asks if they want a duel, and who they are. She thinks they're a secret syndicate that's trying to get the SOS Brigade out of the way, and she won't let it happens. She figures annihilating evil and shining light on darkness is the sworn duty of a hero. Kyon tells her she should listen to people first before you kick them, but Haruhi says that a duel begins once it's mentioned, and whatever the loser says afterwards is just an excuse. (Well, generally, you set the terms of the duel. Things like time, e.g. high noon, place, e.g. the middle of town, and type of battle, e.g. children's card games.) Suddenly, she recognizes them as the guys from next door, and asks why they've come to fight. Kyon tells her that's what they were about to explain. The computer chief reiterates the "duel" thing and is attacked again, apparently. Kyon wants to move the story along. He gets around to telling Haruhi that he wants to battle using their computer game. For the first time, he says that if they win, they want "it" returned. What is "it"? As if you didn't know, Suzumiya-san? They want their computer back if the SOS Brigade isn't using it. Haruhi says they use it all the time. For example, that's what they used to edit their movie. Kyon silently thinks that he did that. Haruhi mentions making their homepage, which was another thing Kyon did. The club president says they barely update it. Kyon realizes that he must be the guy who keeps checking their site, which explains the camel cricket. ("Mysterique Sign") Haruhi reminds him that when she said she wanted it, he said he'd give it to her. Kyon isn't sure that's how it went down. The president calls the deal off, and reminds them that she bullied him into it. He's willing to forget the mental trauma he incurred when she abducted it, or at least, he wants to. Point is, he wants a fight. Haruhi accepts, and asks what kind of stakes he's putting up. He decides to put up one laptop for each of the other four members. Haruhi gives him a chance to change his mind before he locks in his decisions, as she won't let him back out in the middle. He gives his word. Haruhi calls him pretty confident. She also recalls that there are no girls in his club, and decides to put up Yuki as an additional stake. The president is surprised at this, but Haruhi thinks they'd be able to find a use for her. Also, she feels it unfair that they're putting up four computers when the SOS Brigade only stands to lose one. While the president deals with this mental curveball, Kyon thinks the specs are way different, not that Haruhi would know. Haruhi offers Mikuru instead. Kyon tells her to bet herself instead of being selfish. Haruhi asks if he's forgotten that she's the divine and sacred figurehead of the SOS Brigade, and won't give up the position except to someone she feels is the "chosen one". Kyon wonders if that means she's staying even after she graduates. She asks the president who he prefers, and when he can't even process an answer, offers herself, which he declines absolutely.

The laptops are set up, and the date and time of the battle are set: 4 PM, one week from today. Yuki appears to be interested in the laptops, as she looks at they even when with the others at the doorway. He advises them to brush up, as they'll be disappointed if it's too easy to win. Kyon figures he's acting like he won already. Haruhi considers it generous of them to give the prize in advance. Kyon notices the same thing of Haruhi.

As the SOS Brigade members walk, Kyon says they should try not to cheat, and prohibits all methods of doing so, considering it to be best if they fight fairly and accept the outcome, regardless. Koizumi asks if he doesn't mind if they happen to lose. Kyon figures they only thing they stand to lose is a computer they stole anyway. He does realize, though he definitely doesn't say, that he'll have to move the "mikuru" folder if they lose. Koizumi isn't referring to the computer, but to closed space, and the energy giants. (Now we see that Haruhi is in front, telling Mikuru that they'll start extensive trining tomorrow. I'm kinda surprised they're talking about things I thought they didn't want her to overhear with her but a few feet away.) Kyon doesn't care. He thinks she should learn a lesson, at any rate. Koizumi chuckles, and lets on that he's a little envious of their invisible trust. Kyon doesn't get it. Koizumi puts forth the possibility of them losing, and figures that, based on what Kyon's seen, he's choosing to believe she won't do that if they lose. And for Haruhi's part, she believes he's lead them to victory. So confident is she that she'll bet her own members (and, when it comes down to it, her own membership!) because she thinks she can't lose. That's trust, but she's not the sort to ever say so. They have the most ideal bond of trust Koizumi's ever seen.

Back at the club room, the game is at the title screen. Koizumi says the title, and Kyon is surprised there's a I and a II. Haruhi thinks they were going for something cool-sounding, but doesn't think it makes sense. Kyon doesn't think the "SOS Brigade" sounds any better. He says that the game looks simple enough.

Each player has a fleet of 15,000 spaceships, which they can command from their computers. The win condition is when you destroy the enemy leader's flagship, or blow up all their ships. (Does this "all" include the flagship? Because if so, the "destroy the flagship" condition appears to be the only meaningful one; destroying the other ships is just something you do to make it easier to fulfill that goal.) Haruhi asks about the bright spot. Koizumi explains it as the "line of sight". Instead of being able to see everything on your screen at once, you can only see stuff if it's in the line of sight. To increase your vision, you first send out scouts which give you more lines of sight. It also looks like scouts can send out more scouts, if I'm interpreting what's going on on the screen properly. Yuki appears to be analyzing the optical mouse. Koizumi further explains that you first need to find out where the enemy is before you can be sure you're going to hit the enemy ships. Mikuru realizes that you can't see the enemy at the start. She doesn't consider herself good at that kind of thing, so she doesn't think she understands. Kyon tells her take her time, get used to the controls, and try and have fun. Haruhi says it's not supposed to be fun, and that they'll crush the computer club such that they'll be unable to stand. She wants some training going on, and declares herself commander of this outfit. She calls everyone to battle positions. Kyon thinks it good that they have Yuki, at least until he sees her waving the mouse in midair.

First day of training. Haruhi tells all ships to attack. Their ships are blown up one after the other. Same with the second through fifth days. It apparently takes until the fifth day for Kyon to tell her that her rushing in is a mistake. Haruhi considers it a drag, and would rather play something easier to understand. Meanwhile, Yuki is typing. Kyon is unsure, but thinks she might be having fun. He reiterates his prohibition on cheating. She stops typing, looks up, then looks back at the screen.

The day of battle arrives. Another CG representation of what's going on in-game. Haruhi gives a speech, saying the skies are clear, and the waves are high. The battle will decide the empire's destiny, and it's only the beginning: they'll vaporize anything that gets in their way, and the SOS Brigade will be famous all over the universe. She intends to install branches of it in every public school. She feels it's obvious they'll win, but no slacking is allowed. Kyon wonders what her source of confidence is. He wants it, if only 2mg. Haruhi asks if she should pound some into him. She stares at him from 2" away for a few seconds, and, deciding that did the trick, steps back a bit. He wonders would good it does to stare at him and make him uncomfortable. She says she charged her glare with energy and sent it to him, which she thinks may have made him feel like his body's getting warmer, or that he's starting to sweat. He felt like his life was in danger, instead.

Koizumi reports that it looks like the game is about to begin, so Haruhi returns to her desk. The computer's clock counts up to 16:00:00 with a beep. Probably only the viewer hears it. At that time, Haruhi orders all ships ahead. They find the enemy fleet. Nagato helped the others figure out the enemy's movements. She's scouting and fighting at the same time, which Kyon considers brave. Asahina and Suzumiya are useless, as one is a novice and the other rushes in instead of strategizing. He considers his side outnumbered 5 to 3. Koizumi reports to him that the enemy is trying to lure them with a "V" (subtitle says "kakuyoku", lit. "crane's wing") formation, and advises a defensive strategy. Kyon agrees, but wonders what Haruhi would say. Suddenly, he finds another fleet attacking him, and wonders where they came from. Koizumi finds the same thing with his fleet, and wonders how they figured out his position. Suzumiya calls on them to retaliate. He turns his ships 90 degrees clockwise, and opens the cannons. Koizumi notes his serious playing. Kyon targets, and starts to fire, but the attacking fleet gets away. It happens to Koizumi, too. Haruhi asks what the "slowpokes" are doing, and says they're getting away. Kyon knows, but he can't do anything to stop them. They're hitting from both sides. Haruhi says it's time to launch the Gunda(bleep). Kyon starts to, but is stopped. Mikuru doesn't know where she is. Suzumiya can't take it anymore, and orders all fleets full speed ahead. She intends to find and pummel the enemy leader. Kyon tells her to pull back. Koizumi agrees, and tells her to leave it to them. She wants to duke it out one-on-one with the other leader. Kyon says to fall back, as they don't know where he is. She says to leave it to her, as she'll find him. Kyon repeats his "Fall back!" Koizumi says to calm down, and that the enemy's shooting at them. Mikuru doesn't know where anyone else is. Haruhi wants them to move, but Kyon can't, and is stuck. He thinks they're going to lose.

Suddenly, scouts appear all over the place! They're Yuki's ships, split into units of 500. Kyon didn't even realize you could do that. Koizumi remembers reading about it in the back of the manual. You can split your fleet and control 20 separate squadrons. However, controlling so many squadrons at once is impossible for humans, so nobody was doing it. Yuki's fingers are flying. Mikuru is concerned about Yuki's keyboard. Haruhi declares that anyone accepting defeat will be forced to run naked around the school(yard) 10 times while shouting, "Green Martians are chasing me!" the whole time. Kyon stands up and goes over to where Yuki is, and when he looks at her screen, TDoS3 is in a small window, and command windows are opening, being typed in, and closing. Kyon doesn't know what she's doing, and rereiterates his prohibition against cheating. Yuki says she is not; she's not engaged in manipulating special data, and is adhering to the rules of the game. She reveals that the computer club is cheating. Kyon asks what they're doing. Basically...

...Okay, you know how a big part of the game is that you have to have ships someplace in order to see a particular area, and if your side doesn't, you don't know what's there? Well... they set it so that they can see everything on the map, ships or no ships. So while the SOS Brigade's fleets have to basically grope around and hope to find someone, the computer club's fleets can just swoop in, fire, and get away. That's simplified from what Yuki said, of course, but Kyon finds Yuki's explanation relatively simple considering who's giving it. Kyon gets that they're cheating, but if they use magic and cheat back, they're no better, and even worse. Yuki reiterates that she isn't doing anything against his orders. She's merely modifying the program so that conditions are equal, in a manner consistent with Earth's technology. She asks his approval. He asks if she's doing this because she wants to win. He approves. She runs the executable.

The computer club leader compliments something. He was a bit scared by their use of squadron mode, but they still have the advantage, as they can see everything. He figures it's time to wrap it up. He gives the order to destroy them.

Suddenly, his screens go out, and when they come back on, their visibility is limited to what it's supposed to be according to the rules of the game. A member reports that scouting mode (that thing where you can only see an area around your ships) has been activated. Their blind spot starts being attacked, and they can't read enemy movements. He orders them to turn it back off; they tried, but it's locked, and they can't change it. Haruhi finds them, and gives the order to fire. Kyon also fires, killing Haruhi's enemy. Koizumi reports two enemy fleets destroyed, and finds the others confused. With the help of Yuki's squadrons, the tides are turning. Kyon wonders how they'll take the leader out. Yuki says she'll force him to come to them. She does, and Kyon and Koizumi comment on it. Mikuru asks if you're supposed to shoot it. Haruhi doesn't understand what happened, but compliments them nonetheless. She orders them to burn the enemy with the fires of hell. The enemy leader starts to try to get away. Haruhi notices this, and tells her fleets not to let that happen. Yuki fires a blast that makes the ship start exploding. The computer club leader doesn't get how it can be happening, and yells "Glory to the computer club!" just before his ship completely loses hull integrity. The simple message, "You win!" appears in white letters on a black background with a single beep.

The computer club president is now in their room, head hanging, admitting his loss and his cheating, the latter of which, he apologizes for. He can't believe the contents of the game were being rewritten during play. Haruhi asks what he's mumbling about, but then decides she doesn't care as long as he lives up to his promise: All those computers are theirs to keep. The president asks Kyon who did it. Whoever cracked his program would have to be a superhacker. But he takes his question back, thinking he knows who. He approaches Yuki, and asks her to participate in computer club activities if she has the time. Haruhi steps in and tells him he can't "rent" Yuki without her (Haruhi's) permission. She calls her the silent character in the SOS Brigade. Kyon tells her to hold on, and says even someone like Yuki has to have other interests. He thinks she seemed to have fun at that keyboard, and that she probably gets tired of doing nothing but observing Haruhi; after all, he would. He figures even humanoid alien interfaces need to take their minds off of things. He tells her to do what she wants; he's okay with her going into the computer club room and playing with their computers. Yuki says that perhaps she will. The computer club president is ecstatic. Haruhi isn't thrilled with the idea, but is okay with it if she is. Haruhi springs one last thing on the president, saying they have to do whatever they tell them to. All they need to do is swear absolute loyalty to her. She tells him not to worry; she'll treat them nice. Kyon sighs. She further tells them that if they work hard, she might let them become brigade members in earnest. (Kyon watches Yuki for a bit.) She tells Koizumi to draw up a contract, so he gets on it. For the last few seconds, Yuki pretends her book is a keyboard.

("Hare Hare Yukai")

Next time: Live Alive!