Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

15 October 2009: Haruhi ain't over 'till it's over

Haruhi and Mai
Haruhi and Mai are pleasantly surprised.

I guess I spoke too soon; there is still someone subbing the Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu rebroadcast. Although from the looks of it, they might not even be using television raws. And I don't see a new sub for episode 25, Haruhi's independent film.

The festival gets rained out
What makes the green grass grow?

I suppose it is as good a time as any to revisit some "Live Alive" points that I skipped the first time around. Although I alluded to them, I did not explicitly raise these matters because I quite frankly expected a whole slew of bloggers to cover the same ground. Three years later, I still haven't seen anyone directly address the following points—or if they did, they escaped my notice:

The crowd takes shelter indoors
A crowd conveniently takes shelter from the rain.

First, the rain. This is a spoiler of sorts, but a minor one unless you still don't know the basic crux of the Haruhi plot. Haruhi made it rain. Why? Obviously to drive people indoors to a place where a large crowd could gather and take shelter from the inclement weather together—someplace like the concert venue. No sense in a tree falling in the forest if nobody is around to hear it, right?

It is a travesty ENOZ never got a character album; everyone else got one.

Second, Haruhi does not introduce herself to the audience. After "God Knows," Haruhi introduces the non-incapacitated members of ENOZ. Then she introduces fellow stand-in member Yuki, but she never introduces herself by name. Now, perhaps Haruhi is so well known (or so infamous, more likely) that introductions are unnecessary in her case, but I like to think the omission is a deliberate effort on Haruhi's part towards developing modesty.

Haruhi introduces Yuki
Haruhi introduces Yuki.

Bear in mind that "Live Alive" chronologically follows a solid bank of episodes showcasing Haruhi at her most conceited and self-centered, including one in which her cruelty nearly drove Kyon to violence. That Haruhi, the self-proclaimed greatest and most important when it comes to everything, would pass up a chance to spread her name around is significant enough to bear mention.

Haruhi turns stage right
Haruhi glances stage right...

Third, Haruhi looks for Kyon after the first song. At least, that's the way I read the quick scene when Haruhi joyfully scans the crowd and her fellow performers on stage before setting her glace stage right, in Yuki's direction, but focusing past her.

...and looks right past Yuki.

The first time I saw it, I immediately felt that the framing of this shot—taken from Haruhi's point of view—was intended to draw attention to the wings, where Haruhi evidently hoped someone would be: Kyon, by my reckoning.

Yuki and Haruhi rock the fuck out
Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

That's it for previously omitted points, but I would like to touch upon a fourth, more commonly expressed viewpoint, that has fallen out of fashion lately: "Live Alive" is an excellent episode. This is the episode that turned Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu fans into fanatics. This is the episode that inspires much of the loyalty that causes Haruhi detractors to characterize many current fans as blind apologists. This isn't the only episode, naturally, but it's likely the one that put most fans over the top. And why not? "Live Alive" highlights Suzumiya Haruhi—and Hirano Aya—at their best. Suzumiya Haruhi for the above three reasons, and Hirano Aya for the joy and energy she delivered in what is one of the most memorable and best-regarded performances in recent memory.

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