Disappearance of Nagato Yuki chan
Episodes 15-16

by Nick Creamer,

How would you rate episode 15 of
Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan ?

How would you rate episode 16 of
Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan ?

And so Nagato Yuki-chan ends where it began: harmlessly, with no real threat of anything actually happening. In these last two episodes, Kyon deals with his awkward feelings regarding the two Yukis across summer break, as the gang runs through a bunch of summer vacation episode standbys and then returns to their daily routine. If you've survived through Nagato Yuki-chan this long, I think you know what to expect.

The first of these two episodes was basically boilerplate summer vacation episodes incarnate, which frankly makes me feel somewhat relieved I'm covering the two together. There's only so much you can say about a beach episode where one character gets buried in the sand, another character does the blindfolded watermelon thing, and then two characters bounce a beach ball back and forth for an actual minute of screentime (even if that minute is intended to convey a specific emotional distance, and succeeds in doing so!). They even had another “Kyon falling on top of Nagato” scene, in case anyone's been really missing those.

The second half of this episode moved the cast to the mountains for a classic “test of courage” scenario. This also played out as these sequences always do, with Tsuruya playing up the test, Mikuru screaming, Kyon and Nagato briefly holding hands, and the whole sequence ending in them staring at fireflies at a mountain lake. This at least was a reasonable visual highlight, which have been sorely lacking since the end of the disappearance arc. I was more or less expecting this show to go back to neutral after that excellent arc, but that doesn't make it any less of a letdown.

The second of these episodes continued with the summer shenanigans, awkward distance between Kyon and Nagato, and callbacks to Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Joining Koizumi's reflections on “closed space encounters” echoing the desert island arc, we got a “Kyon-kun, denwa” from Kyon's sister and even that classic endless eight scene of Haruhi checking off activities at the cafe. Hey, remember that other show, the one you really liked? So does Nagato Yuki-chan.

I actually did like the elaboration of Kyon's emotional issues through these frankly tedious episodes. Although “my semi-girlfriend was replaced by a doppelganger who confessed her love to me, and now things are super awkward” (jeez, that sure is a light novel title in waiting) isn't the most everyday scenario, Kyon's system of thinking of things to say, stalling, and then reproaching himself for his silence is very relatable. However, the ultimate resolution to this issue was about as big of a copout as possible. Having grown sick of his own inaction by the time of the summer festival, he drags Nagato aside, and as fireworks bloom overhead, he confesses to “other” Nagato that he would have grown to love her. Of course, our Nagato can't actually hear this, and so the whole romantic tension issue is resolved without the show actually having to push either character forward whatsoever. Comfortable stasis: regained.

Overall, I can't say Nagato Yuki-chan really amounted to a worthwhile watch. There were some endearing moments, and plenty of silly faces, but even just within slice of life shows, you can find stories that don't rely on canned scenarios and artificially prolonged stasis as egregiously as this one. The shining exception was the disappearance arc, which was exceptional, and going forward, I might actually just recommend people watch those four episodes by themselves, or maybe with one preceding episode for context. A shame that arc was surrounded by so much nothing.

Rating: C

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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