The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan: A Liveblog

April 6, 2015 § 1 Comment

Oh hey, I didn’t see you there. Why not join me for the first episode of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, the Better Call Saul of anime?

  • 0:05 – It’s a nice touch that the episode opens with the sound of breathing. It gives the impression that it could be a dream that the “real” Yuki is having in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
  • 0:12 – What is with all the bloom? It’s like I’m playing Half-Life 2: Lost Coast with HDR rendering on, my glasses off, and four beers in me.

The road to the school where Yuki and Kyon go in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

  • 0:50 – Even though I know from reading the spinoff manga that she’s not evil in this version of the series, Asakura still sounds like she’s apt to murder someone at any moment. Kuwatani Natsuko is the queen of yandere voices.
  • 1:06 – Ugh, Satelight is making me miss KyoAni. These character designs are so soft, they look like they were carved into warm butter.
Kyon offers Yuki his hand

Kyon offers Yuki his hand

  • 1:11 – Yuki’s nose disappears when she blushes. Is that intentional? Gross.
  • 1:36 – And all the charm drains from Yuki’s design when she smiles. This liveblog is already so negative!
  • 1:57 – Comb your fucking hair, Yuki.

Yuki waits for a second before following Kyon

  • 2:17 – They’re just sitting in the club’s room, doing nothing. I’m going to pretend Yuki’s playing porn games with her headphones on, like in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya-chan.

Yuki wears the headphones that Kyon gave her so that he wouldn’t have to hear all the moaning in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya-chan

  • 3:13 – Hey, the show got its first laugh from me. Even you have to acknowledge that your literature club isn’t real, Yuki.
  • 3:30 – Jesus, Yuki just won’t stop talking. Also, they’re showing credits over this awful monologue about togetherness, so chances are I won’t have an OP to rescue me!
  • 4:14 – Traffic lights! Man, if you haven’t guessed, I love traffic lights in anime. Actually, I have to admit that the director’s doing a good job of pushing the really object-focused cinematography of the main series. Game recognize game, y’all.

Traffic lights send mixed signals in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

  • 4:24 – A two-person Christmas party makes me die inside, even without one of the two people being a moe-blob. I don’t suppose that the show agrees with me on this matter.
  • 4:35 – Fucking fuck, here’s a Haruhi drive-by so early in the series! And now she’s gone. Please come back, we miss you already on the “Emotionally Unavailable Introverts” show.
  • 5:25 – “When you think of a party, you think, ‘Turkey!'” I’m going to assume that Yuki’s making a pun in Japanese, else substitute a complaint about flat dialogue here.
  • 5:29 – I can’t believe Yuki has a fifteen-second freakout about brushing Kyon’s hand with her fingertips. The whole anime is going to be like this, isn’t it?

Yuki can’t handle the touch of Kyon at all

  • 6:12 – Hmm, Satelight designed Asakura with thicker eyebrows. I approve.
  • 6:18 – When I was reading the spinoff manga, I didn’t notice much of a dynamic with Asakura as the mentor and Yuki as the student, but it gives some texture to their relationship in the anime, so it’s okay.
  • 7:06 – Oh, never mind. It’s a three-person Christmas party that they’re having. That’s totally not pathetic at all.
  • 7:50 – Check it out, hot mothering action from Asakura!

Yuki needs Asakura’s help to take off a dirty shirt, for some reason

  • 8:45 – What an odd angle they chose for this shot of Yuki sitting. You never really see fully animated feet, do you? Especially stocking feet…

Yuki kneads her feet while thinking of an answer to Kyon’s question

  • 9:06 – It seriously took Kyon multiple seconds to realize that he could lie to Yuki about how much of her he saw naked when Asakura was trying to take Yuki’s shirt off? I can’t quite decide if Kyon is really stupid in this version, or if the main series had him be more of an unreliable narrator than I thought…
  • 9:17 – I would pay infinite dollars to have Yuki’s line to Kyon of “How was my belly?” replaced with “Would you like to see more?” Just think, we could skip thirty-odd chapters of character development with a single sentence!
  • 9:42 – Oh man, creepy advice about complimenting Yuki’s belly button! Asakura is the best. I want The Disappearance of Asakura Ryoko-chan now, except everyone else should be the ones disappearing.

Asakura tries to help Kyon seduce Yuki

  • 10:02 – Really, she’s the best! This sign’s not even translated in this fansub and I still know that it’s the best. Thanks, Asakura.

Kyon still won’t take Asakura’s help to seduce Yuki

  • 11:16 – Oh, gross! Yuki, close your month. Also, as of this very moment, I am officially declaring anathema on any anime that does animation and foley for a drop of drool as if it were a tear. Not cool, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan.
  • 12:03 – Alright, I have to admit it. Yuki’s character design is slowly growing on me, in spite of that shit with the drool. I still don’t want to like any of the compromises that they had to make for it to be expressive, though.
  • 12:48 – Asakura is treating Yuki like she’s her goddamn pet. Attention Japan, this is why everyone hates moe.
  • 13:11 – Wow, Tsuruya looks great in this version, with bold lines and a distinctive silhouette. Could this be the first objective improvement in quality of design?
Mikuru and Tsuruya make their appearance at last

Mikuru and Tsuruya make their appearance at last

  • 13:28 – Hah, and she just called Yuki a child. Right on! Can I just have a spinoff show starring all of the Haruhi B-team instead?
  • 13:39 – Ah, the squeaks that Goto Yuko makes as Mikuru… Some things really are evergreen. I’m glad that she’s recovered enough to be doing voice work again, because the seiyuu scene would be a lot emptier without her.
  • 13:58 – Barf, Yuki trying to talk with her mouth full is a goof that they honestly try to sell for thirty seconds? Fuck this show.
  • 14:49 – Yuki’s wearing Uggs. No comment.
  • 15:12 – Asakura cockblocks Yuki on taking Tsuruya’s turkey! Okay guys, I think I’ve found the reason to keep watching this anime: Helicopter Friend and Den Mother Asakura!

Asakura stops Yuki from taking Tsuruya’s turkey

  • 16:11 – Wow, a brief switch to the style of a shoujo manga really works out great, too. Yuki looks visually interesting! I’m glad to know Satelight can actually draw.

A fictional Yuki reacts in shock to Kyon’s choice of Mikuru for a date

  • 16:45 – I know I’m repeating myself something awful, but just to put it on the record: Tsuruya and Asakura are the best, everyone else is garbage. Watching the two take over the “Mikuru vs. Yuki” duel because their alpha personalities can’t stand to lose is the energy that this episode needs (and yet is sadly lacking, for the most part).
  • 17:01 – Jeez, that’s some really egregious fanservice, making Mikuru jog without a bra. I guess it’s not just KyoAni that’s into the moe-and-boobs thing…
  • 17:51 – Oh, the joke really is meant to be that Asakura and Tsuruya take over every scene they’re in. I’m okay with this! They’re the heroes we deserve.
  • 18:15 – Hey look, a Christmas cake, Yuki! That’s your fate! Your faaate!

Yuki looks at a Chrismas cake, and contemplates being twenty-six and unmarried.

  • 18:54 – Kyon and Yuki are alone together once again. You know, I really don’t give a shit if these two kids get together. Haruhi x Kyon all the way, OTP.
Yuki is surprised again that her friend Kyon wants to be near her

Yuki is surprised again that her friend Kyon wants to be near her

  • 20:21 – Ooh, she moved closer to him! I lied a little about giving a shit. I’m such a sap.
  • 21:39 – Hey, Asakura’s back and still yandere enough to stab you from inside the TV, dear audience.
  • 22:40 – Quick bets, yes or no: will the cour‘s finale be Yuki deciding it’s okay to take her time telling Kyon her feelings for him? You can make some good money off of some steep odds if you’re brave enough to bet “no” against me.
  • 24:10 – Fuck me, what an awful ED. It’s all a maudlin montage of pastel! It makes me mad as hell.

What am I doing here, I can’t caption this

Okay, so… yeah.

Well, I’ll be honest with you. Even though it was a lot of work, I had more fun making this post than watching the episode itself. There are a few good characters here and there, especially Asakura, but the premise is so very limp! It’s built on the expectation that viewers have bought into the main series in an incredibly specific way, so that they want more Yuki without a care for how they get her, and that expectation is fulfilled by lifting Yuki out of the fictional context that made her something more than just an expy of Ayanami Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion. To call a spade a spade, this anime completes the spinoff manga’s transformation-by-objectification of Yuki into a character who has nothing in common, beyond a voice actress and a color palette, with the original. Ugh, and the sheer act of writing that observation out is almost enough to make me drop the show…

I won’t, though, because I never drop shows unless I find them actively upsetting. Yuki being a moe-blob who craves Kyon’s love is only passively upsetting, thus far, so onward Christian soldiers!

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