Disappearance of Nagato Yuki chan Episode 14
by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 14 of
Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan ?
Things returned more or less to normal this week, as the Nagato of the past several weeks was replaced by the original Nagato of Nagato Yuki-chan (a little confusing, huh). We opened with a scene that essentially served as new Nagato's goodbye to her original self, before moving on to establish how things stand between the main trio. This was swiftly interrupted by Haruhi, who demanded the club help her celebrate Tanabata, and the episode ended with Haruhi offering her own perspective on the new dynamics of the group, and some needed advice to Kyon.
The opening scene was one of this week's best, as the dynamic between the two Nagatos was actually really great. There were some cute faces and funny lines (“my other self does really bold things”), but the main appeal here was the mood between the two of them. They came off like very different but loving sisters, and their conversation here made me hope the new Nagato one day returns.
From there, the episode moved to a series of low-key scenes as old Nagato reestablished her relationships with Kyon and Asakura. The scenes with Asakura were easier, as Asakura is just far more direct of a person - in response to Nagato's insecurities, she just straight-up declared that both Nagatos are precious friends of hers, and thus she'll like Nagato whoever she chooses to be. Kyon, on the other hand, is all caught up in adolescent emotions in the wake of other-Nagato's confession, and so his scenes with Nagato were very awkward. It's an understandable source of distance, but honestly not really a welcome one. These two were having enough trouble holding a continuous conversation before Nagato was temporarily replaced by a spirit-doppelganger, and given how much more honest and engaging the conversations between Kyon and other-Nagato were, it's pretty disappointing to come back and see these two even further apart. There's only so much stammering adolescent longing I can take, particularly in the absence of really strong writing or visual execution or whatnot.
Fortunately, Haruhi did her best to dispel a bit of this distance. I was initially not terribly excited at the prospect of Haruhi's return, as I figured it just promised more loud shenanigans and no plot movement, and at first, that held true. The leadup to the gang celebrating Tanabata was all silly gags and quips, along with a couple pensive shots of Haruhi alone. But those pensive shots bore fruit in the episode's last scenes, as Haruhi's memories of “John Smith” helping her hunt for aliens prompted her to help Kyon get over his hesitance interacting with Nagato. Drawing on her own feelings, she told Kyon that it doesn't matter if Nagato can't remember, because that moment was still important to him. Beyond that character echo, I also liked how Kyon's supportive lines in the flashback mirrored his lines to Haruhi when they were hanging out in the river, back in the first few episodes of the series.
This was a slow episode, not terribly funny and not the most engaging, but that was pretty much what I expected in the wake of the far-more-interesting Disappearance arc. Hopefully the show either picks up again for the last few episodes, or I once again reset my expectations to non-Disappearance levels.
Disappearance of Nagato Yuki chan is currently streaming on Funimation.
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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