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The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan Episode #09 Anime Review

6 min read
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan Episode 9
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan Episode 9

The hot springs inn antics continue, but with an unexpected trip up the mountain at night to take in the beauty that the universe has to offer.

What They Say:
Episode 9: “Give Me Your Hand”

The North High Literature Club training camp has begun. After dinner, Yuki, Ryoko, Kyon, Haruhi and Koizumi get together and start playing card games, in which they decide to have some penalties for losers. Who is the first loser and what’s the penalty?

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kyon is enjoying a quiet cup of tea with Koizumi. One can imagine that this, being at rest and not doing anything, is Kyon’s default mode of operation and preferred state of being. But, of course, his commenting on it is almost like some kind of cosmic cue to have Haruhi show up at their room uninvited and unannounced. And of course, she appears.

I…would not be so quick to play cards with these two for money
I…would not be so quick to play cards with these two for money

And then the whole crowd comes and they play Old Maid. Haruhi tries to make it more fun by adding penalties for the loser. Of course, there is debate over what kind of penalty to set, but in the end Kyon’s idea of the loser having to go and get snacks is accepted…with hilarious results for Ryoko (I won’t give it away, but there is a nice bit of trolling by the anime staff here). At least that inclusion managed to counter some of the bland, generic training camp fare. Later, Tsuruya-san and Mikuru come along, but at this point the card games are largely over, with just Kyon and Yuki still up. Tsuruya-san suggests that Yuki and Kyon go to a spot on the mountain, not far from the inn, where one can get a great view of the stars.

Of course, Kyon and Yuki aren’t about to get away unnoticed, so Ryoko follows them, with Haruhi in tow. They’re the “supporting Nagato from the shadows” brigade or some such nonsense (though it’s Ryoko doing the dragging along for a change with Haruhi being the one railroaded into joining). There is an unexpected highlight to this segment, however, while they are in the Dinosaur Park on the way to the mountaintop. For while stalking our would-be couple, Ryoko finally comes out and expresses the real cause of her concerns over Yuki getting closer to Kyon: she thinks that if the two start dating, then her friendship with Yuki will deteriorate. Haruhi mocks Ryoko for thinking so, but in the process helps to set her heart at ease (which was Haruhi’s intention all along, though she’d never openly admit it). It was a rather touching scene between the two of them and the slightly lame joke it ends with (Ryoko gets stuck on a dinosaur slide) does nothing to take away from it. There was a nice little bit of sentiment here and more importantly, a hint of real emotion. This is much better than the empty “tee-hee” romance we’ve had to suffer through so far as well as the ersatz Haruhi adventures.


Of course, it wasn’t going to be just Kyon and Yuki alone as eventually the whole gang appears for stargazing (with Tsuruya-san carrying Mikuru all the way up the mountain…which draws Kyon’s (and our) wonder). Here we get Satelight’s attempt to wow us with scenery and as far as that goes, while it’s not quite Kyoto Animation or P.A. Works levels of amazing, it is quite attractive as far as a nice clear look at the night’s sky, how it used to look all over the world before massive light pollution at night in most inhabited places made it near-impossible to see. Here we also see the spectacle of it all through Yuki’s eyes and a chance for Kyon to get just a touch closer to her. Most noticeable, however, has been the restrained and interesting use of background music this episode, which has been one of the star supporters of the whole series. For the final scenes of Kyon and Yuki on the mountaintop looking out on the sea of stars, we get an extended musical quote from Debussy’s “Clair de lune.” Yes, I know, a tad overused perhaps, but it was still a good choice.

Be prepared for a very important post credits scene.

Overall, this episode was better because there was a lot more heart to it. The comedy and situations are still largely cliched and have been done elsewhere (and perhaps somewhat better), but at least the injection of some sincere feelings helped a lot. Now, if only they could put some real emotion into the relationship between Kyon and Yuki.

Oh, yeah, the broadcast dub for episode 1 came out today. Following much speculation and pre-emptive complaining, FUNimation brought back the original cast, with Todd Haberkorn and Alex Von David directing the actors in Los Angeles, but Chris Sabat overseeing the final mix in Texas. It’s been years since I last heard the dubbed version of these characters, though fittingly one of the last things I watched of the franchise was The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya movie. But it’s been long enough that it’s more just faint impressions than clear memories, so I can judge this for the most part on overall thoughts about everything dubbed up to this point of the franchise. Several things struck me immediately: Michelle Ruff is keeping to the pitch range she used for “main universe” Yuki, but she’s removed the passionless delivery. It’s a slightly different approach from what Minori Chihara is doing in the original vocal track, where her voice is similarly filled with emotion now, but also slightly different in tone. I don’t think there’s anything to argue about between the two versions, both fulfilling their mandate to give Yuki a real sense of being a normal girl with a normal girl’s emotions, not a dispassionate alien.

Crispin Freeman’s Kyon has followed Tomokazu Sugita’s lead in “lightening” up Kyon a touch, though Freeman’s Kyon always was just a hair’s breadth lighter than Sugita’s original for the most part in the main universe. In some ways, Freeman’s Kyon feels like less a transition, as Sugita’s removal of gruffness and grumpiness was more noticeable. Both work perfectly well. Bridget Hoffman’s Ryoko is very energetic and chipper, which fits this version of Asakura. Finally, we do hear some brief parts from Kari Wahlgren’s Tsuruya-san and Stephanie Sheh’s Mikuru. For these two, they’ve gotten back into character and kept in line with how they have sounded before, which matches what we have in the show, since these two characters are not that radically different from their main universe counterparts. As things go, this is a solid dub that does what it’s supposed to do: alters the delivery and performances in places where needed as some of the characters are different in this universe; keeps things very close to the mark where there is consistency across the dimensional barrier, as it were. For those worried about broadcast dubs being rushed, I didn’t detect any noticeable errors nor did it feel like line reads were off at any point. This is a highly polished production that serves the material well.

In Summary:
As the training camp continues, it must be time for fairly conventional after bath activities and that is exactly what we have, as Haruhi brings all the girls over to the boys’ room for card games. Later in the evening, Tsuruya-san suggests that Kyon and Yuki head up the mountain to a good stargazing spot. It’s a chance to provide some further progress to our main couple, though the emotional spotlight is actually stolen by Asakura and Haruhi, who have one of the most genuine exchanges in this show so far. A bit more of that and a little less of the “seen it elsewhere” antics would probably do much to improve what the show has to offer.

Episode Grade: B

Streamed by: FUNimation

Review Equipment:
Apple iMac with 4GB RAM, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard

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