So we begin with Kyon being callede by Haruhi while watching a baseball team he doesn't care about. Haruhi asks him to bring his bike, money, and a swimsuit. You know what that means. TIME AT THE BEACH!!! After some mild fanservice, Haruhi shows a couple of kids Kyon and Koizumi as her "henchman". Asahina gets kicked in the face by a beachball. I laugh.
Now at a cafe, Haruhi tells them she has noticed that it is the last two weeks of their summer vacay and she wants to do a bunch of traditional Japanese summer things. She asks Asahina if she wants to do anything, to which she requests "goldfish scooping". She charges Koizumi with finding a K-Bon festival with said scooping.
Its the next day and they leave early so the girls can get some summer kimonos. They go to the festival and do some festival things. Nagato buys a mask at the festival, and believe it or not, this is pointless for later. Haruhi treats Kyon to a single....somethingortheother. They do fireworks the same night and Kyon nearly gets his head blown off. Heh. Afterwards, Kyon wants to be a party pooper and asks Haruhi if she has done her homework. She said she did it at the beginning of vacation (in Japan, several schools give out lengthy homework assignments for their "summer break"). She decides to have a cicada catching contest and whoever catches the most gets to be brigade leader for a day! To quote Kyon later, "DON'T WANT!".
They catch bugs the next day. Yes, its about that exciting. Kyon narrowly misses catching the most while Haruhi reigns supreme. She said they better let them go so they can grant them a favor in the future. Kyon says, "Its beautiful an all, but we were the ones who caught them." Heh.
They do work the next day in frog costumes. While almost suffering from heat stroke (almost did myself today), the "payment" is a frog costume for Asahina, ala "Someday in the Rain". By the way, everyone did work except for Haruhi who stayed inside and ate a popsicle.
Then they do stargazing in which Haruhi wants to look for UFO's. She doesn't, and she and Asahina fall asleep on each other. After this scene, they show an assortment of activites including "a test of courage", baseball practice, fishing, karaoke, watching a "summer blockbuster", and other things. Cut to final scene. Wow, this is kinda a little boring...
It is August 30th at the cafe. Haruhi crosses of the last item on the list of activities and asks "is this enough?". No one else rings in something to do. She said she had the next day set aside, but they can rest up and meet in the clubroom on September 1st. Kyon goes home and is exasperated as he realizes he forgot to do his homework. It was kinda funny the first time.
In the end, the 31st is drawing to a close, and Kyon doesn't finish his homework. End of episode one. Not too bad, huh? I didn't think so either. It was marginally funny and I wouldn't consider it the worst episode of Haruhi either. But wait? Why is it called "Endless Eight"? Read on to episode two.
The opening scene is similar to the last episode reread the first paragraph, only add "Kyon-kun, denwa" (Kyon, phone) from his little sister and "I can't shake this feeling that Haruhi is going to call soon.
At the pool, Koizumi thinks something seems off. Also, switch camera angles and swimsuits for everyone, otherwise the dialoge is basically the same. Kyon notices Nagato sitting there looking depressed/suicidal. He remembers this for some odd reason, and somehow knew what Haruhi would say (the henchman commment).
Cafe scene same as the first, except Koizumi wants too look at the list for some odd reason.
Repeat K-Bon festival, dialoge, fireworks, swap outfits, change camera angles (I know its an animation, but pretend there is a camera for sake of argument), they catch cicadas, work, then something new happens!!!!!!!!
Asahina calls Kyon later that night, he shows up and she tells him that she has been unable to travel through time. "Wareware wa onaji jikan wo, eien to loop shiteru no desu yo.", or "We have entered an endless recursion of time" is now an infamous phrase as this is how Koizumi summarizes their situation. Asahina goes into what I would probably laugh at if it were in English audio, saying "Classified Information" over and over in her explaination causing it to make no sense. Kyon then finds out that the only person who knows what id going on this whole time is of course, Nagato, who informs them that this is the 14,9xxth time the two weeks have looped. This is of course due to Haruhi thinking "I don't want summer vacay to end!" Some of us won't think so in a bit.
In the end, Nagato explains that she can't do anything or let them know because she is just to "observe" them and not to actually cause any events to happen. Now the ending cafe scene.
Haruhi gets up and tells them to take the day off. As she is leaving, Kyon gets up with "an energy he didn't feel before", and could not figure out what Haruhi wants, and fails. He goes home, sulks, and says he doesn't care about his homework, that whether or not August ends, he will "leave it up to himself". By now I thought "Wow, Kyoani has some nads to just go this route and almost repeat an episode. Surely next episode will end it".
Also, there is no "part 1" or "part 2". Its all called "Endless Eight". Get it now?
Episode three. The animation style is slightly different and the feel of the episode is lighter. Guess what? Its the same exact thing, only with different BGM, clothes, camera angles, and tiny variations in dialoge. Bad end. To feel my pain, reread the synopsis of the episode to get my feeling. By now I'm thinking "Wow, that was unexpected! I think this may be an artisic way of telling us something. NEAT!".
Episode four, a month into it. Same thing. Reread the synopsis. By now I am thinking, "Ok...this was cool...but is it too far now?"
Episode five, I find myself laughing at it for no reason. Reread the synopsis. Its the same thing. I yelled at Kyon and told him to do his homework. Youtube and Internet memes are being born.
Episode six, I am annoyed. There is, again, nothing new. Reread the synopsis. Now I am thinking, "Grrrr.....you are taking this too far....".
Episode SEVEN, I am melancholic (IRONY!). Reread the synopsis. Ok, it should end next week because not only will it end in August, but it will be eight episodes long. Eight for Endless Eight, get it? Oddly enough, I find myself on the edge of my seat during the cafe scene, then cursing Kyon when he fails. Now I am in the mindset "they have gone this far, might as well enjoy the ride as much as I can...."
Episode Eight of Endless Eight. Same thing. There is something odd though, the episode seems to be some shorter scenes and some skipping around. I won't fall for it though, because one of the episodes they looped the final scene about four times to make it look like it was going to end, so I wasn't holding my breath. Cafe scene.
Kyon gets up as Haruhi is walking out, and I am on the edge of my seat, sore from the neck down from work. He STILL has no clue what Haruhi is hinting at. He thinks and finally comes up with...er...something. "WHAT ABOUT MY SUMMER LIST" yells Kyon. Haruhi is out the door. I gritted my teeth. Kyon hasn't done this before. Haruhi....turns around and looks at Kyon like he's retarded. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That was the rough transcript of my cheer. Kyon starts going on about his freakin' homework not being done, and asks Koizumi and Nagato for help in a study group the next day. Haruhi hilariously yells at Kyon while some really epic music plays in the background. Even the BGM is happy that its over! We are awaken to September first. Kyon and Koizumi play poker in the clubroom. Fin.
My thoughts: You can see this arc in one of two ways: artistic or annoying. I will tackle artisitc first. If this arc was about 4-5 episodes long, I would probably agree in it being "artistic", but they went too far and overboard with 6 episodes of repeated story. Yeah, maybe we kind of felt like Nagato, but seriously? In any case, any fan will agree, this will be talked about for a long time, reffering to an episode as "Endless Eight bad?"
Annoying is a far easier route to take. Some people have been calling this a troll. I go with this theory some as well. It was annoying by the sixth+ episode. Some people did go off the deep end with the overthinking though. Is Kyoani trying to make a point about otaku? Are they making us regret on begging for a second season of Haruhi? Do they just want to tick us off? In the end, I don't think anyone will know.
I personally took it in stride, one episode at a time. One thing I appreciated is that they didn't just blatantly "rerun" an episode over and over. Yes, the dialogue you can almost recite word for word by now, but think about this: nearly every episode has a different feel to it. One may be depressing while another has more of a "mystery" feel to it. One may be a happy episode while in stark contrast, one may end in total depression. In the end, it does end up being a pointless arc.
Overall, I give it a C. The first, a middle episode or two, and the last one were well done. The others can go to the deepest pits in hell for all I care. That one scene of epicness, the one that breaks the loop can be seen as one of the best scenes in Haruhi, if not anime this year, but the end doesn't justify the means. In the end, this will be the most infamous, and in my opinion, worst arc of Harihism.
I hope you enjoyed my review. Now if the stupid rumor is true about next week being an "Endless Eight" recap episode, you will probably see me in tears on Friday.
Never again, Kyoani. Never again.