Friday, 7 December 2012

The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya- novel 7

*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*

Set a few days after the Setsubun festival, early February 2004.

Kyon knocks on the club room door like usual. Theres no answer so he feels free to go in. After waiting a while for someone else in the brigade to appear, he hears a sound coming from the corner of the room in the broom closet. He ignores it at first, but then another sound emanates from it. He walks over to investigate and upon opening it, discovers Mikuru hiding inside. She seems confused but somehow relieved that Kyon found her. Someone knocks on the door to the club room. Kyon goes to reply but Mikuru panics and pulls him inside by his tie and shuts the door closing them tightly inside. Kyon is pressed tightly against her voluptuous body, and starts to fantasise before being brought back to his senses by the severity of Mikuru asking him to stay quiet.

A second later and the club room door opens. In walks in another Mikuru. This Mikuru looks around and wonders whats going on. Through the gap in the closet door, Kyon starts to watch this second Mikuru undressing from her school uniform into the maid costume, but the Mikuru he's pressed up against forces him to look away. Soon they hear the club room door opening once again. The other Mikuru addresses Yuki standing at the doorway. Yuki, upon entering the room, stares at the closet. She's not only sussed out whats going on, but starts to make a plan to relieve the situation. She asks the maid Mikuru to follow her out the room. Once that happens, the two in the broom closet burst out. This Mikuru seems surprised that Kyon doesn't recognise when she's from, so she informs him that she's from 8 days from now, and was told to travel back in time without knowing why. She tells him what he will be doing over the next 8 days, but nothing seems to indicate why he would send her back in time, or why she was given the instant go ahead to do so from her superiors. Kyon asks her if she ever met her future self these past 8 days and she says she didn't. Kyon thinks this would cause problems and decides to get her the hell out of the school building. Before leaving however, Kyon stops off at the school locker room. He opens his locker to find a second letter from adult Mikuru, informing him to look after this future Mikuru.

He takes her to his house for a bit, and afterwards decide to go to Yuki's apartment to ask for her guidance. They ask Yuki for her help but tells them that she will never synchronise with her past or future versions of herself ever again, due to her own volition. She explains she no longer wishes to be forced down a life path that is already determined. She wishes to not know anything and be free to make her own choices. In other words she's becoming more human. Yuki cannot help them, but invites them to stay for dinner. Dinner consists of tined curry with nothing added in the mix. They spend a pleasant but normal time together and decide that Mikuru should stay there. Kyon then goes home.

Next day Kyon receives another letter in his shoe locker. Its directions to a location for himself and future Mikuru to visit that same evening at 6:15pm. That evening Kyon visits Yuki's apartment once again, and Mikuru answers the intercom. Mikuru meets Kyon outside and she tells him she feels uneasy around Yuki. She says she can somehow sense Yuki's presence all the time and wonders if Yuki may be jealous of her personality (this is later denied by Yuki).
Kyon shows Mikuru the message in the letter. It tells the two of them to be at a specific location at 6:15. The instructions say that they must play a prank by nailing down a tin can in an exact spot on a footpath. They get to the place in time and do as the instructions says, then hide and wait until the specific time. Some bloke walks up to the can and kicks it, hurting his foot so badly that he needs medical attention. Kyon and Mikuru walk over and offer help to the guy by walking him to the main road and hailing a taxi for him to go to a hospital.
After this event, Mikuru will not accept staying around Yuki's apartment for another night, so they come up with a plan B by asking for Tsuruya's help.

Kyon remembered Tsuruya's words during the mountain trip and feels like it would be OK for them to confide in her. After arriving at her place they call on the intercom. There is no reply, but they are instead greeted in person by Tsuruya herself, dressed up in a kimono.
Kyon comes up with some ridiculous plan on saying that this version of Mikuru is her twin sister called 'Michiru'. Tsuruya laughs it off and accepts things as they are without asking questions. Later after having tea together Tsuruya accepts to having 'Michiru' stay round hers until needed. She then sees Kyon out, and he asks her if she thinks the members of the SOS brigade aren't normal. Tsuruya explains that she has no idea whats really going on with the brigade members, but firmly believes that they are not quite human, not like herself or Kyon. She says she has no wish to become a member either. The example she uses is of a baseball game, where she considers the SOS brigade as the players, with herself being a spectator of the team, cheering them on from the stands; and she prefers being in the stands than on the field.
Tsuruya leaves Kyon telling him to go do his best at saving the world, then laughs it off.

Kyon walks down the road, meeting Koizumi by what he calls a 'coincidence'. Koizumi explains he's in on the act of there being two Mikuru's around, and tells Kyon not to force Tsuruya in on their problems. Apparently the 'Tsuruya clan' are a prestigious rich family in Japan which sponsor Koizumi's 'Agency'. He then says that Tsuruya herself is in line to become head chief someday.

Next day Kyon gets another letter in his locker. This time adult Mikuru has assigned them to interfere with the SOS Brigade treasure hunt that is supposed to be happening that weekend, according to what 'Michiru' told him about anyway. The instructions ask Kyon and 'Michiru' to interfere with the treasure hunt by moving a stone by about 3 meters for unexplained reasons.

Kyon walks to class after reading the letter. Haruhi is still acting melancholy, looking out the window avoiding his eye contact. He asks her whats wrong, but she claims she feels totally normal, though she does cut herself off mid sentence. She doesn't seem to care that Kyon isn't going to be able to be at the club room later that evening either. Before leaving school that day, Kyon talks to a melancholy Taniguchi who is on cleaning duty. He tells Kyon how envious he is. Kyon thinks that his gloominess is reminiscent of Haruhi's mood. Kunikida pops up and explains that Taniguchi was recently dumped by his girlfriend from Kouyouen Academy, and for weird circumstances (that I have a feeling may a focal plot point sometime down the line). Kyon then wonders if Haruhi's also love sick. Then waves it off.

That evening Kyon meets up with 'Michiru' round Tsuruya's house. They need to follow the directions in the letter, but she doesn't need to use them because she knows it from memory. They arrive at a flat part of a mountainside and find a stone that needs to be moved according to the letter. Apparently the brigade are suppose to dig up the earth and find nothing. It takes the two of them a while to move the boulder. It starts to rain upon arrival back at Tsuruya's. Tsuruya tells Mikuru to have a bath together with her, and with a straight face, invites Kyon along too so that she could scrub his back. Kyon accepts this as a joke. She asks no questions as to what they did or where it was, and makes a point about not caring either way.

Just before they part ways, Tsuruya hands Kyon a scroll, telling him that its an old treasure map that she mentioned to Haruhi one time, but she's only recently retrieved it from storage. She explains it was made from a Tsuruya ancestor that liked to play practical jokes, and that this one was probably meant to be a practical joke on the clans family in the distant future.

Next day Kyon receives 3 more letters in his locker, relating to things that need to be done in a few days time. Kyon finds an expectant Haruhi in class demanding him to hand over the Tsuruya treasure map scroll. Apparently Tsuruya phoned Haruhi in advance, explaining that 'she happened to bump into Kyon as he was walking Shamisen outside her house, and gave him the scroll then' (Kyon started a lie to explain away his absence from the club, and started saying his cat Shamisen was sick and needed looking after).
That evening during club time Tsuruya joins them to talk them through the treasure map and to generally hang out.

On the day of the treasure hunt, they take a long route to the mountain by bus. Kyon and Koizumi spend all day digging anywhere that Haruhi deems as the best place to bury objects, namely, flat surfaces. They then get to the position Kyon visited before. Kyon is worried about whether Haruhi will notice the disturbed ground from where the stone was previously positioned, but Yuki sets the picnic mat there and sits down on it, so it seems that she knew to make sure no digging would take place here. Kyon didnt even tell her anything and still she knows! lol.
Haruhi looks out and sees that it would be quicker to get home by walking down the hill. So they do just that.
Watching Haruhi waltz ahead, Kyon and Koizumi talk about her recent mood swings. Kyon is convinced that she gets in a depressed like mood and asks him about it, only for Koizumi to deny noticing any strange behaviour from her. Kyon also chats with Yuki and finds out that Haruhi never cared for finding treasure, she just wanted a fun picnic.

They all go home and as soon as Kyon goes indoors he phones 'Michiru' regarding the letters instructions for the next day. Haruhi's plan is to do more city patrols and the timing is going to be tight. Kyon then phones Yuki but strangely her phone is engaged. He phones later and asks her to rig the short straw pulling so that he ends up with Yuki to walk around the city on numerous occasions. This has to be rigged because 'Michiru' told Kyon too much information about the future, and now things need to be ensured so that events end up exactly as she said. Whilst still on the phone to Yuki, he asks out of curiosity who she was speaking too when her phone was engaged. She answers the name Haruhi Suzumiya. Kyon is slightly shocked, and tentatively asks what it was about. Yuki is apprehensive and tells him that she cannot disclose any details. Kyon wonders whats up but isn't too worried.

The day of the city patrol takes place. Haruhi draws tooth picks at their local cafe to decide who patrols with who. Kyon and Koizumi go together in the morning session, then Its Kyon and Yuki in the afternoon session, as per Kyon's prearrangement with her. During their time together, he leaves her at public library and meets up with 'Michiru', as arranged over the phone.

Kyon and 'Michiru' do as instruction letter 3 says, and that is to find a data stick hidden in a flower bed in a certain location at a certain time. They search for half an hour without luck, only for a tall stranger to waltz up to them holding it in his fingers. He asks them if they are looking for it in a sly evil manner.
Kyon is not happy with this guy out of instinct, and Mikuru doesn't seem to know him. This prick then hands the data stick over and walks away, like he's still a threat in their future. Both seem to think he's from an enemy faction from the future.
Kyon sees 'Michiru' back to Tsuruya's home before going back to the library and picking up Yuki.

Yuki and Kyon then meet back up with Haruhi. She suggests that they should do another scout of the city tomorrow as well. After being dismissed by Haruhi for the day, Kyon buys a small turtle as per the letters instructions, and does so at a nearby pet centre. The cashier also throws in a carry case sized tank for the little guy. The letter says he needs to obtain a turtle (any will do) so that he can throw it into the river at a certain time the next day. He wonders what all these instructions mean.
Kyon then visits 'Michiru' again around Tsuruya's house, and gives her the turtle to look after until tomorrow.

The next day arrives, and they all start by visiting the cafe. Naturally, Yuki and Kyon end up together for the scouting mission. Just like the day before, Kyon drops her off at the public library and walks to the river. Once he arrives he meets up with 'Michiru' whose just been given a lift down from the Tsuruya mansion. She's also got the turtle with her.
They walk down to a good spot by the river to throw the turtle in. Its around two minutes until he's suppose to throw it. He takes out the small turtle and goes to throw it when he's stopped by a boy. Its the same boy that lives close to Haruhi, who almost got run over by a van last month.
He asks if he can take care of the turtle. Realising that his instructions only told him to throw the turtle in the river and gave no ideas about what to do next, Kyon throws the turtle in the river and then walks in to retrieve it, and gives it to the boy along with the tank and the instructions on how to take care of it. He then tells the boy not to tell Haruhi about any of this.

Kyon and 'Michiru' walk to the main road when a speeding van stops dead in front of them, with the side door opening at double quick speed and people reaching out and snatching 'Michiru' right before Kyon's eyes before speeding off again.

Kyon is distraught and instinctively reaches for his phone and dials the first number that he can reach. Haruhi picks up the other end and Kyon frantically tells her that Mikuru has been kidnapped. Haruhi hears the severity in his voice but she is standing right next to her. So she calls this a practical joke to Kyon and hangs up.

Koizumi phones Kyon after telling the others he needs to visit the lavatory. He instructs Kyon that he has his people on the case. Next thing a black taxi pulls up in front of Kyon. Inside is Arakawa in the driving seat, and Sonou Mori in the back seat. This time round they are dressed in office clothes instead of butler and maid.

Arakawa steps on it and the car chase is on. Mori reveals to Kyon that the kidnappers are a group that consist of espers hostile to the Agency, time travellers who wanted to use 'Michiru' as a bargaining chip with the future authorities, and an entity of aliens different from the Data Overmind. She also reveals that the purpose of 'Michiru' being in this time period was to make sure they didn't kidnap Mikuru right in front of Haruhi. Arakawa and Mori eventually corner the kidnappers on a mountain side, along with help from the Tamaru brothers who this time round are police officers in their own police car.
The van is also the same one that tried to run over the boy last month.
The people in the van dismount. They are all teenagers around Kyon's age. One of them is the same creepy bastard Kyon and 'Michiru' met a few days previous. Another one of them that seems to be the leader is a girl, who is equally as evil. They give up 'Michiru' and are allowed to walk free down the mountain. They claim that they expected their plan to be stopped due to predetermined events, but wanted to try nonetheless.
Kyon takes 'Michiru' into the taxi. She was put to sleep as soon as she was kidnapped. Arakawa drives them to the library where they meet Yuki. She reveals to have letter number #5. Yuki follows the letter's instructions by waking 'Michiru' up from the drugged sleep. Kyon then sends her back to the future as per the letters instructions.

The next day, Haruhi calls the SOS Brigade to assemble and try to dig up the mountain again. This was never mentioned by 'Michiru'. Haruhi brings them to the flat area where the stone is, and asks Kyon and Koizumi to dig. This turns into a nice surprise for the boys, as the girls had secretly gotten together last night to made chocolates for them, placing them in a tin and burying it early that morning. Kyon remembers what day it is, February 14th. Valentines Day. This explains why Haruhi was acting melancholy at the beginning of the month, as she was making an epic plan for handing out chocolates. She also expects an equally as epic White Day a month later from the boys.

Kyon meets adult Mikuru at the appointed time at their usual bench in the park. She tells him that the man who kicked the can and went to the hospital was supposed to meet a woman there and raise a family with her. The strange pen drive type object was supposed to give someone the idea about time travel, while the boy who saw the turtle be thrown in the river saw the ripples it made in water and used this memory to make a theory about time travel, leading to the invention of the TPDD. Adult Mikuru explains that time travel means having to constantly make sure that past events turn out the way they should. This leads us readers to consider a few stupid things. Apparently now there can be more than one future, and that Mikurus future timeline is not as predetermined as it should be for a time travel story. And its not like there are multiple futures in this series, maybe just a handful.

Adult Mikuru warns Kyon that he will soon have to make a choice that could severely change the future. Kyon realises that this future Mikuru had been toying with her past self, forcing her to watch history as it happened. He tries to show his resentment against her, only to find that she has disappeared back to her future, leaving a box of valentines chocolates for him.

Next in this story, Kyon tells Tsuruya of his suspected position for finding real treasure, right underneath where the stone was originally positioned. Tsuruya goes there and digs up a 300 year old pot with some type of futuristic titanium-cesium alloy rod with circuits inside. This is most definitely a plot point in the future. Tsuruya deducts that it must be from an alien or time traveler.

At school, Haruhi begins a lucky prize draw out in the courtyard for someone to win a Mikuru valentines day chocolate. Mikuru is dressed as a shrine maiden for this, but is quickly taken to the club room and forced into her school uniform and basically thrown into the broom closet with Kyon frantically telling her to go back in time to 8 days ago. As soon as she does so, 'Michiru' arrives in the closet from traveling from 2 days ago from the public library (she can now be considered 'Mikuru' again instead of 'Michiru').

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6-10. These Haruhi novels were once one of the most solid time travel stories out there, but unfortunately now its basically just 'wibbly wobbly timey wimey', which is shit. Time travel should include one path, where there is only one future, one outcome. It shouldn't make my head hurt. Adult Mikuru may be protecting her past which is being changed without her knowing about it. Surly if the past is changed then it never happened and wouldn't be in her memories, unless the future is fixed no matter what happens in the past, which is a bollox explanation.

This volume was epically big, and not much happened really.

Up next: Editor in Chief, Full Speed Ahead!

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