The Endless Eight and Glorious Infinity

Several years ago, when I watched the Endless Eight series of episodes of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya , I jumped in without any warning.  I hadn’t read anything about the arc and at the time, had no experience with the light novels.  And as might can imagine, I was confused…were these episodes exactly the same?  Were those little differences that I saw?  Did they make a difference?  And would this go on for eight episodes?

Of course, the arc has become infamous and hated.  It’s tarnished the series, which perhaps was as acclaimed as any (and is still generally well-loved).  I think many Haruhi fans would like to forget these episodes ever happened, and certainly most will skip them if rewatching the season.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Art by ハルマ

Still, I enjoyed the episodes.  To be honest, I didn’t watch 100% of the eight episodes, but I stay tuned through most of them, and grew to enjoy picking out the differences from viewing to viewing.  And further, I was intrigued by the idea of this endless loop.

The events of “Endless Eight” take place during the summer – and for sure, who among us wouldn’t want to live a mostly responsibility free summer for perpetuity (as long as we’re doing different things, of course – not the same stuff 15,000 times)?  An infinity of goodness is surely a good thing.

Or is it?

I think that when many think of the infinite goodness of Heaven in terms of spending eternity worshiping God, they don’t find it particularly enticing.  But perhaps that view is muddled by a lack of understanding what Heaven will really be like (we all largely feign ignorance with this), what worship constitutes, and who God is.

Like most believers, I’ve had moments where I felt incredibly intimate with God – where I truly felt His presence near me.  This small glimpse of being close to God should remind me of what our second life might be like.  Forget angelic throngs singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” – I simply long to bask in the place where God resides.

I almost always focus on the here and now, but when thinking of Heaven in these terms, it becomes a bit easier to see life stretching from birth to infinity, rather than from birth to death.  And this Endless Eight becomes something to long for, instead of a boring piece we prefer to ignore.

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

5 thoughts on “The Endless Eight and Glorious Infinity

  1. After a few days, the font is finally back to its proper shape… I honestly have no idea what went on here, as I experienced no viewing trouble on any other blog, including wordpress blogs, throughout the period, nor were there any changes on my side. Well, let’s hope this state of things keeps up.

    I find Endless Eight a very impressive artistic choice on KyoAni’s part. It was not enjoyable, which is a problem if you view the series as entertainment, but it brought across the feelings and experiences of the cast (Nagato in particular) better than any other loop series to date. Nagato couldn’t just ‘skip’ those episodes, we can. In this sense, while I don’t want to watch another Endless Eight anytime soon, I have no desire to forget about it either.

    On a more religious tangent, I see a similar afterlife problem with Buddhism. When you achieve nirvana, you get out of the cycle of reincarnation. So in a way, you cease to exist. At times you start thinking, isn’t it more fun to just keep on existing (as a squirrel or whatever), rather than just disappear? But that’s just the angel-choirs kind of thinking you mention. Why latch onto a fragmentary existence when you could become the real deal? All that’s left to us mortals is to catch those occasional glimpses of understanding/inspiration/revelation and use their memory to keep us going in the right direction.

    Or right directions, rather ;).

    1. I agree with your assessment of Endless Eight – well put!

      And thank you for the comments on Buddhism. I’m always thinking from a Christian perspective, so it’s great to read thoughts from a different religious perspective, to see both differences and, this case, some similarities. 🙂

  2. I really like Endless Eight. As it progresses, it gets darker, Hitchcock & Stroheim-like. More in the line of Filme Noir.

    A good way to view it is in one or two episode bites. I think a lot of the haters tried to take in too much at once. Hope you don’t think I’m “spamming” but here’s an article of mine:

    http://jaysteevee.blogspot.com/2011/07/endless-eight-of-haruhi-suzumiya-cmon.html

    “All sunshine makes a desert” as the Arabs say. Judging by our sub-standards, Heaven would seem to be a boring place. The cliche of eternally resting on a cloud playing a harp for eternity has little attraction.

    The real Heaven is multi/transdimensional & beyond technicolor fantastic. A good website about this is godandscience.org. Their Heaven page is:

    http://www.godandscience.org/doctrine/heaven.html

    1. Oh no, don’t worry about linking your blog. By all means, link away! I think you give some good advice about approaching the episodes. I would’ve been miserable, I think, if I had watched it as it aired. It was easier taking it at my own pace without getting burned out or disappointed week after week.

      Thanks for the link – I’ve read through much of that site before, though it’s been a long time since I’ve visited.

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