Novel: The disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

by dm00

Kyon awoke one morning from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed into a mundane.

Haruhi disappears and a familiar face returns

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.

In this universe, Yuki blushes

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.

5 Responses to “Novel: The disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya”

  1. 1 chikorita157 November 23, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I have read a translation of Disappearance last year and it was a really good and interesting story out of the whole series. It was pretty much an intense from the start to finish…

    Can’t wait to read the whole novel again with the official copy.

  2. 2 Yumeka November 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    As a big-time Haruhi fan who’s read all the novels at least twice, I’m glad you’ve been giving the series a chance despite your feelings for Endless Eight (though there is some logic behind E8 despite what most people think). I agree that Haruhi is at her worst in The Sigh before she starts to redeem herself in Live A Live. She gets better and better in later novels, as do the other characters 😉

    I watched The Disappearance twice during its releases in California and I eagerly await Dec.18th when the Japanese DVD comes out =D

  3. 3 Psycho December 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    This is one of the best arc compared with all other volume. One scene that I really like when Kyon found Haruhi at other school. Haruhi with long hair is really had great look.

  4. 5 browsermetrics December 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I concur. This novel is the best so far.

    I, too, am eager for the movie to come out on DVD in the states. It’ll be spectacular.

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