Kyon awoke one morning from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed into a mundane.
The sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya nearly drove me away from the Haruhi novels. In it, Haruhi’s personality was so awful, and so unavoidable, that it was unpleasant to read about her. But that’s the way Haruhi is, at least in that point of the story, and portraying her that way is the right thing to do, even if it is unpleasant to read.
The boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya didn’t really improve things — the stories were faithfully adapted in the original TV series (except for a bout of underage drinking replaced with a walk in the rain in the island episode). And for the most part, the stories are fairly pedestrian (excepting, perhaps Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody).
The disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is the best book of the series yet. I haven’t seen the film (I’m waiting for region 1 DVDs), so the plot was entirely new to me, and this book was a pleasure to read. The book is all Kyon, all the time, and Kyon is in his best form. This novel is full of the intelligence and charm that I remember originally attracting me to Haruhiism. It’s almost enough to make me forgive Endless Eight (and let’s just say that event wasn’t just hard on the audience).
It does help to have Haruhi off the stage for most of the novel, and when she reappears, we see a new side to her, and Kyon’s perceptions of her have changed as well.
In Disappearance, Kyon awakes to find himself in a North High with no Haruhi, and her seat occupied by class-rep Ryoko Asakura. Upper-classman Mikuru Asahina doesn’t know him and recoils from his attempts at conversation until Tsuruya-san chases him off. When Kyon goes to seek out Itsuki (yes, he’s that desperate), he’s shocked to see that Itsuki’s classroom doesn’t even exist.
But there is still a club room, occupied by the Literature Club’s solitary member.
None of them have heard of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Kyon wonders if something has gone terribly right.
If this book represents the maturing of Nagaru Tanigawa as a writer, I await subsequent volumes of the series with eagerness.
I recommend the book wholeheartedly. If you’ve seen the first series, and the Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody episode of the second, give this book a try.