Through watching many anime, I’ve had a share of mind numbing experiences which sent me reeling into the fringes of chaos. Now be very warned, what I embark on in these installments are sure to be full of spoilers. What I’m talking about are those moments in anime that shocked you to your core as you were expecting something else entirely. Maybe your senses had been dulled by the carefree atmosphere, or maybe a curve ball just happened to be thrown your way, something expected came into play. In any case you’re watching an anime, enjoying yourself, and suddenly—BAM.
The nature of these moments can differ somewhat from each other, but they all share that quality that leaves you bereft of that naïve understanding that came before.
When dealing with the best shocking moments in any story, there is a certain build up process that sets the mood and mindset of the viewer/reader. One of my most memorable shocking moments comes from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Before delving into watching this series, I had built up some considerable curiousity. One of my friends had watched the series and seemed pretty hyped about it and I had also seen a well done AMV that exclusively used this series. And so I began watching The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
After a few episodes (granted I watched this in chronological and not the original aired order) much of the foundation of what this series is all about is presented to you. So by the end of episode three you pretty much have the basic understanding of the underlying plot. Okay, Haruhi isn’t normal, in fact she may be some kind of God, time warp, or the potential for evolution, but whose word do have for this? A bunch of out of left field characters who aptly have no proof yet as to their claimed identities try to give Kyon the rundown. An alien, a time traveler, and an esper. “Show me your power, than I will believe you.” Kyon’s words echo my own thoughts, but when Kyon asks this from the esper he can’t deliver, because apparently he requires certain conditions to be met, yada yada. I expect that they’re all probably telling the truth, but I have certainly have my doubts. My attitude is much like Kyon’s at this point. If a time traveler, alien, or esper suddenly revealed their identity to me, I too would need a little bit more than “believe me” if I was to seriously think that they were what they claimed to be. No such luck from these characters.
And than came episode four. Kyon is brooding over message he found in his shoe locker that day. Someone (he doesn’t know who) wants to meet him in the classroom after school. He toils over the identity of the writer, but ultimately can’t decide the likeliest candidate for the author of letter. After a standard day of school he opens the classroom door.
Standing there is a character that we’re familiar with, someone starkly different than the unpredictable Haruhi. Yes, the class rep who lives up to an expectation as an approachable ideal. Her words read my thoughts, “Didn’t expect me did you?” At first it seems like she’s about to make some kind of confession, but as the conversation continues on what she’s saying starts sounding very strange.
There she is asking weird questions to Kyon. I’m in the same boat as him thinking, “What are you getting to with this conversation? What are you talking about?” Next thing she’s suddenly saying something like, “I’m going to kill you.”
Wait. What!? The gravity of situation hits all at once on you. You don’t realize how serious these characters are taking the situation until, ‘hello I’m going to kill you now, because I’m tired of sitting around waiting. If I kill you something has to happen.’ Something like that anyway.
Alright so now we understand, people, aliens, time travelers, and espers are real in this anime. Kyon’s thoughts during this perilous moment come to mind, “Ah, they really aren’t human.”
A shocking experience I’m sure, to be suddenly thrown into a situation straight out of some kind of sci-fi horror all the while trying to digest just what is going on.
As a shock treatment to the world of aliens, espers, time travelers, and Haruhi—oh this moment.