Disappearance of Nagato Yuki chan Episode 8
by Nick Creamer,
The gang finally arrived at their vacation home this week, meaning the content of this episode could be succinctly described by two quotes from Koizumi and Kyon: “just as you'd expect from a hot spring” and “ah… this is healing time.” This was a very comfy episode, featuring all the fanservice, ping pong, and relaxation you'd expect from a hot spring episode. If you want to see the Literature Club indulge in an old anime standby played perfectly straight, you've come to the right place.
The first half of this episode was the fanservice half, as we got long scenes of the girls undressing, bathing, and testing the water of the outdoor bath, all barely concealed through conveniently placed hair and soap bubbles. Plenty of lingering leg shots, Haruhi and Tsuruya groping Mikuru (as apparently girls can never resist doing in anime-land), and lots of boobs in the bath. None of this is really what I'm here for (and none of it was framed in a way that seemed anything but blatantly voyeuristic), but hey, if you're looking for fanservice, this episode had it.
After the baths, the club swiftly transitioned to another hot springs episode staple - ping pong! This sequence actually had some nice gags, as the idea of Haruhi setting up a tournament only to strong-arm everyone into letting her have the finals match she wanted was a classically Haruhi maneuver. The karaoke to follow was also pretty entertaining, as the show understood exactly how much mileage it could get out of the situation. First we got a lukewarm performance courtesy of Mikuru's wavery voice, and then Kyon pumped himself up to perform only for the shot to cut to Haruhi slamming the door, already bored with karaoke. Even the stinger of this gag, where Kyon's performance ended with the cleaning staff halfheartedly cheering him on, actually landed well. It's nice to see this show can occasionally pull some confident tricks of comedic timing.
The rest of the episode dissolved into the various members of the club all relaxing in their own ways, nicely evoking the sense of peace you always run into at the end of a long vacation day. Kyon enjoyed some reading time, Nagato played her videogames, Asakura listened to the news, etcetera. The conversations overall felt much more natural this week than the last couple (characters had actual grounded exchanges, instead of only playing out cliche anime bits... well, aside from the Mikuru-groping), and though any progression in the Nagato-Kyon relationship has slowed to a standstill, I'm willing to take what I can get with this show. Overall, this episode wasn't much more than a routine hot springs episode, but that's essentially all I've come to hope for from Nagato Yuki-chan. Baby steps!
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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