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What's in a name?

Every so often I receive a message from Rob inviting me to join his "circle" on Google+. I am not sure if Rob actually wants me to join him, or if it is Google spamming his known contacts.

Either way, I don't plan on participating. Mainly because of the Real Name policy. While I don't have anything against real names, I believe that:

  • Sometimes it is useful to operate under a pseudonym. There you can be judged by your contributions rather than preconceived notions.
  • Provided you don't use anonymity for unlawful purposes, bullying, etc, is this really such a bad thing? We remain anonymous for many things we do on a day to day habit - I go into a newsagent, buy a paper, hand over money... We've seen each other, the shopkeeper and myself, but that's about as far as our relationship goes.
  • We need to reign in what and how social websites process data on us. A common get-out clause employed is that local laws don't really apply (as in EU data protection) in cases where the server is outside of EU jurisdiction. Which would be most of them. Thus legislation to protect us is toothless. My "profile" is not for sale, when I would appear to have little recourse in viewing/modifying/erasing such information, it is a non-negotiable.
  • Google isn't being (entirely) evil just yet - you don't need a Google+ profile to use Google services. So long as this situation persists, then it'll do.
  • A penultimate note before you write me off as a tin-foil-hat wearing nutter - given that other people have used my computer (and habitually two people use my allocated IP address), information collected will contain a degree of rubbish in it.
  • And finally - there is no point trying to harvest information from me to better tailor your advertising. I research, I look for the best price, I evaluate the product and do a comparative shop. I do not buy from a company just on the basis of an advert. In fact, annoying repetitive adverts (especially graphical ones on my mobile device that come out of my data allocation) are more likely to make me remember the company as one not to touch.
I will make use of on-line services, as much as I feel comfortable with them. When I don't feel comfortable, I back off. There are always alternatives.


Tiny sunbathing


Haruhi's disappearance

[images © Naguru Tanigawa / Noizi Ito / a member of SOS]

I watched this again last night, this time in English because my DVD player subtitles in tiny lettering. It wasn't, actually, a bad dub job. You really got a feel for how much a deadpan snarker Kyon was, and this was definitely his story with Haruhi barely getting much screen time at all.

Starting on December 16th (my birthday, whoo-hoo!), the annoying one announces her intention to hold a Christmas party.

Haruhi - the matter is decided

But the next day... Haruhi? Nobody knows her. Everybody seems to be normal, and this is a world in which......Yuki......actually......smiles.

Yuki actually smiles
How many hearts were lifted in this scene?

The other-world Yuki leaves Kyon a challenge. Find the keys to run the restoration program. Helpful, Yuki. It's Kyon you're talking to.

Haruhi does exist. As a normal girl in a posh co-ed school.

Who the hell are you and how do you know me?
Her way of dealing with Kyon (who comes across as weirdo stalker guy) is a swift headbutt. Coming from Haruhi, it was all kinds of awesome. But it doesn't knock Kyon down for long so he starts shouting back stuff that nobody else ought to know, giving poor (normal) Haruhi a near-BSOD moment.
Haruhi's near BSOD

She recovers though, and quite enjoys Kyon's crazy tale. Cool brown uniform, it's like Japan meets Mallory Towers.

I really REALLY want to caption this "I'm curious!"

Meanwhile, in a time far far away (and I'm skipping loads of details in this sublimely epic nearly-three-hour movie)... Yuki... poor Yuki.

She just wanted to be a normal girl
The Data Overmind (in the novels, "Data Integration Thought Entity" in the animé) is capable of making 'terminals' with personality, witness Asakura. So why did they make Yuki this lonely shy person with no friends, no life, and no emotions? Did they not consider that this, plus repeating the last two weeks of an August summer break 15,498 times, might weigh a little heavy on her? Maybe, even as a sort-of-android, she might want more from her so-called life?
I am not a number, I am a free .... oooh, shiny!

This leads to a bunch of stuff happening (no, I'm not going to write it all down, go buy the DVD and enjoy it for yourself) which culminates in a total BSOD for Yuki. Yeah, you guessed it, this is a Yuki-show, and she has a Higurashi moment when it all goes seriously, totally, and epically wrong.

Yuki can't manage a Big NO.
She can barely manage terrified silence.

It could have got much worse for poor Yuki, and that lovely ghost of a smile from earlier seems somehow mocking given the psychological battering that followed. But Kyon takes a moment to point out in no uncertain terms what a bunch of jackasses he thinks the Data [Overmind|Integration Thought Entity] (delete as your preference) is. And he's right, they could have made a happier Yuki, so it's not really a big surprise that things turned out the way they did.

Yuki and Kyon
Sarcastic-snarker Kyon gives the fully loaded pep talk to end all pep talks.

Some brilliant character development from Yuki here. Thankfully Haruhi didn't wreak too much havoc, and it was a solid story to boot. Having watched it in Japanese/subs and not realising its length, and watching it again in English dub and knowing its length, it really doesn't seem as long as it is. You, as a proper Haruhi fan, can immerse yourself in the story, struggle to remember events from the series that are all intertwined (this is why I say the movie won't make much sense without watching the series first), and even as one of the longest animé films around, it'll be over all too quickly. But if you're a Yuki fan, you'll feel like you've just been through a Bollywood movie with every emotion possible laid raw.


Then there's the extras disc. Frankly, it pales in comparison to the film. This is a good thing, for I've seen DVDs where the extras were better than the feature!

There's a bit about location scouting the hospital. A bunch of people armed with cameras go and photograph everything. I wonder if the nurses found it amusing until they saw the film and were like "oh my God" (KyoAni likes to set Haruhi in real places - it must be weird to watch it if you live in the same town!).

Konan Hospital
Kōnan Hospital, real life and as-animated

There's a feature with the cast meeting/greeting an audience at the premiere of the film. Useful to put a face to a voice, although one might already know the name of Aya Hirano (Haruhi's voice) due to a sex scandal of some sort. I don't know specifics, this sort of thing happens so often to people who find fame early (sex, drugs, alcohol, or all three) that it is perhaps a bigger surprise if the person turns out normal. Either way, I wonder if this would affect future Haruhi possibilities? To have her voiced by somebody else would just be wrong in so many ways. This is, of course, jumping the gun somewhat. However Haruhi is insanely popular (after the film, people are forgiving KyoAni for their Endless Eights stunt - any lesser series trying to pull that would likely have found itself dropped!) and there is so much more material. And, disturbingly, there is a high degree of logic running through the stories. While some things might seem convenient, other things are because other ways are less probable. Hardcore science and buckets of philosophy get thrown into the mix, not in an "ooh, look how well read we are" way (are you listening, Lain?) but in a way that fully makes sense within the story. In a way, moderate supernatural abilities aside, it is a little too close to reality. Plus, and here's the best bit, it jumps genre regularly. It isn't a high school drama, it isn't a romance, or a rom-com even. It isn't a "four girls colour coded for your convenience" or "let's suit up, hop into a giant robot and beat the crap out of each other". It is... Haruhi.
There's a lot of mileage in it yet, KyoAni would be nuts to pass it up.

This tome...

The Haruhi bible? the storyboard...
A blow-by-blow account of what the film should be

This, the musical scoring, the recording sessions... it is easy to overlook how much work actually goes into making something such as The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

The only thing I'm sad to see wasn't covered is how the film was actually animated. I know in this day and age it won't be people drawing on cellulose. But how was it done?

Locations map
The Haruhi locations map - I want a copy!
And, believe it or not, The Japan National Tourism Organisation feature Haruhi as an entry into their Pilgrimage to Sacred Places (Animé and manga) - see it for yourself!

You can see comparisons between the animé and real life here (Japanese, just look at the pictures) and a better version here (although I wish to call him on stating that photos are used as backgrounds, there are numerous textural and some slight aspect differences, so I would imagine it is drawn from a photograph, but isn't actually a photograph).

Then, there's the epic list of locations. This would be my b.log if I ever went to Japan (that and the locations of Kamichu! and Natsuiro Kiseki), so it's probably just as well I can't afford it... ☺

The final scene
The final scene.


Your comments:

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Rob, 25th June 2012, 17:22
No it's not me sending them... I barely ever even use the thing! I will have a look see if there's a "don't nag my friends" setting..
Rick, 25th June 2012, 19:21
No, I didn't think it would be you. I guess Google is taking a leaf out of the Facebook Guide to Self Promotion...
Jurt, 28th December 2012, 04:10
I just wanted you to know that I really enjoyed reading you. That's all. I was looking for Haruhi Images, find this, read it and enjoy it. I love you, random citizen.

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