The Christmas party happens and we learn a bit more background to how things reached this point.
What They Say:
Episode 2: “Joy to the World”
Christmas is here and it’s party time for the Literature Club! Yuki looks back at how she was able to save the club and feels happy that her wishes have come true. Now, there’s only one thing left for her to accomplish on this day…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Yuki’s looking forward to Christmas the next day, though that doesn’t stop her from playing a handheld game all night…which means she’s completely wiped out the next morning. Yes…this is a very different Yuki. Asakura greets her the next morning, having already figured out what happened.
We also get our first look at the OP song and animation. A decent enough number featuring many of the seiyuu and very prominent placement of a certain familiar face…who shouldn’t turn up for at least another episode or two, depending on how things work out (they work out much more quickly than I had expected). Nothing particularly exciting though.
Then there is the Christmas party, with decorations, turkey, and…of course…the girls all dressed in Santa costumes. Mikuru steals the show, though Ryoko tries to push Yuki to realize that she, too, is cute. This is immediately followed by a flashback (of Ryoko’s) to when the Literature Club was threatened with closure for lack of members. Yuki was very down, but Ryoko was there to push her to try to do something about it, which eventually led to this day. Though Ryoko notes that her main message was for Yuki to have more confidence in herself. The party progresses and gets to the real point: Yuki gets to eat turkey.
During the mid-break, Yuki sneaks out of the party to reminisce about another past encounter, this time with a strangely hyperactive girl who is accompanied by a familiar piece of background music. Yes…she is not named so far and Yuki does not know her name, but sometime in the past, when the Literature Club still faced termination, Yuki had a fateful meeting with destiny of a sort while out on a convenience store run. She was without her glasses, so everything was slightly blurry, but she comes across the Manic One herself, Haruhi Suzumiya, in a public park. Haruhi is not in a North High uniform (we’ll get to what she’s wearing another time), but it’s her…though Aya Hirano has changed her up voicing slightly, staying more in manic mode, with something less of a sharp edge (in this way, it’s a good match to Sugita’s less satiric Kyon). It’s the fateful encounter that convinces Yuki to try to save her club.
The rest of the episode is given over to a nice little romantic moment between Yuki and Kyon.
For those who prefer the main universe and its attractions, the producers of this show have cast a lifeline to you, with the first appearance of Haruhi, a very recognizable Haruhi even if her appearance is slightly altered. The manic energy, the weird ideas (she’s interested in seeing if Santa Claus is real…and intends to capture him if he is), the domineering personality. It’s an amusing little encounter complete with background theme taken from the show which bears her name. That the event had a profound effect on the Yuki of this world is hardly remarkable.
But otherwise, this show continues to build rather slowly, being largely a sweet little romance in the making with shy Nagato and less-acerbic Kyon seemingly on course to connect…though Mikuru’s cosplay prowess does present some sort of competition, mainly in a humorous way. There is a quite meaningful post-credits scene, so be sure to watch to the very end.
There is no way to get away from Haruhi, even if she is not the title character and this isn’t supposed to be her show. As Yuki gets her wish to eat turkey at the Literature Club party, she begins to recall an important encounter in the past when the club was threatened with closure. Asakura did her best to push Yuki to action, but it was actually a chance meeting with a manic girl in a public park who wanted to capture Santa Claus that gave Yuki the courage to take action. We now wait to see what else this walk-on supernova will push into motion. Oh, and Yuki and Kyon seem to progress a little romantically.
Episode Grade: A-
Streamed by: FUNimation
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