Sometimes its fun to pluck our characters from their familiar setting and see how they react in different situations. In this case how would the series differ if there is no God, Alien, Time Traveler and Esper in the setting? If the Haruhi cast were truly just ordinary high school students that they were pretending to be?
If you have ever wanted an answer to that question, you’re in luck, this is exactly what “The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan” is all about.
Though, even as I say that, there is a slight problem. For as we begin the first minutes of the show while everyone appear to have more or less the same personalities, one thing is immediately stands out.
Yuki is different.
For one, I think I saw Yuki make more expressions in the first five minutes of the show than the two series of Haruhi Suzumiya combined. That isn’t an exaggeration btw. For the original “Nagato Yuki”, its already considered expressive if she managed to lower her eyelashes by a a few millimeter. ^^
Thus, when my friend commented that he felt like they butchered Yuki’s character and the one that is appearing in this show is more an OC stand-in than anything else.
Because the Yuki that is appearing in this continuity is a very different character from the Yuki Nagato that we know and loved. Their naming even reflect this. Just look at the title, its “Nagato Yuki-chan” – from the name alone you could already see that this version is far more personable than the canon version.
Still, even as I acknowledge so, I don’t decry this change.
Because remember this?
There is a popular theory that this timeline/universe came to be when Kyon picked the Disappearance world instead of the canon version. Kyon presumably due to this choice lost his memories about the canon timeline and instead was given an alternate history like everyone else. But, he is more or less the same.
For Nagato though, this has many interesting implication from an in-universe perspective.
Because as the holder of the God-like power at the time and the “creator” of the Disappearance universe that meant everything is her choice. Which meant that Yuki-chan, the one thing very different in both universe is a product of said choice.
Nagato consciously chose to change herself.
This shy, clumsy bookworm is the person that Nagato wanted to be.
And isn’t that interesting?
Shippers would say that this is because this archetype -shy, clumsy with a dash of uselessness moeblob is the thing that Nagato believes Kyon is attracted to. And there is some fodder for this belief. Its quite amazing how similar Yuki-chan and Mikuru are as their competition demonstrate.
Heh. The shippers theory might as well be true.
But, I want to go deeper.
We know that canon! Yuki is amazingly competent and “cool”, its almost unfathomable to think that she wants to be someone like Yuki-chan.
Still think about it. Because I don’t think canon! Nagato Yuki is that way because she wants to. Not because she wants to be a moeblob but because Nagato Yuki wants to relate and connect to people more than anything else.
Its one of the few things that she railed about. (In a typical Yuki way, which meant just a mention in passing) ^^
That is why I believe while canon!Yuki is inscrutable, Yuki-chan stands a stark contrast with her expressive face. Yuki-chan is an open book. She shares her emotion with the world. Everything she feels is easily reflected on her face. Seriously, you know in the first minute of the show that she has a crush on Kyon. That’s how transparent Yuki-chan is.
And about her omnipotence?
Remember Yuki did one thing that was thought of to be impossible in the verse. She successfully stole Haruhi’s Godlike powers.
And she still chose to be a puny normal earthling which is very consistent with her character.
I’m reminded about the episode regarding the giant data insect. It is speculated by Kyon that Yuki could have easily solved such case. But, instead of outright solving it herself. She involved the SOS brigade.
Here is Kyon’s own quote on the said incident.
It could be that all this time….she’s been preventing weird incidents before they happen without saying a word.
In silence, from the shadows.
Did you bring us in, Nagato because you wished for it?
As an alien made android living for years in a totally empty room…
Perhaps you also feel lonely when you’re alone.
There is nothing more lonely than being truly omnipotent. For an omnipotent being need no other but themselves. Similarly, an alien made android can live for years in a totally empty room and not complain. But, a human being is not omnipotent, they need others to survive. They are also passionate enough to be able to open the door and go outside.
And this, more than anything else allows Nagato to chose to became Yuki-chan.
Which is why this bit is heartwarming and so harsh on hindsight.
Its true that we’re not doing anything like club activities at all,
but instead of being alone at home,
I come here to hear noises and voices from other club activities….
I like spending time like that.
You are now remembering Someday and the Rain and finally getting what the hell those extensive shots of Yuki in the club room is for. You are also remembering that canon!Yuki is so shackled that even if she feels the same way (more than likely) Yuki always leaves the moment that club activities end. And this is not counting the 3 years she spent on her apartment just guarding Mikuru and Kyon’s body as they travel through time the long way.
…. Well, at least that is not happening in the Disappearance-verse? Yey?
A world without the fantastic elements of Haruhi.
Its turning out to be a much nicer world to live in to be honest. The palette I think reflect this. It might not be a conscious decision but the colors in this series is in the softer side. Very calm and peaceful like. It might also take some getting used to.
As for my personal recommendation of this series. That is very difficult to determine. While I can say for with some certainty that I will be watching this. I understand that it is unexciting. Also, new watchers who are not familiar with the old series would miss much half the fun.
As for old fans. It might be helpful to just think of Yuki-chan as a brand new character birthed by Nagato Yuki. It would make your anime watching experience easier.
Trust me. You don’t want a running commentary in your mind that the true!Yuki would not do that while watching this.
The studio once again follows putting plot reference literature within the show. The book Kyon is seen reading is Virtual Girl by Amy Thomson. In a nutshell, it is a story of a robot learning what it meant to be human. Heh.