The wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya

by dm00

Hard cover edition

I just finished The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya, a title that makes me think of Alexander the Great for some reason.

Book six of the Haruhi Suzumiya series is a collection of short stories. The first two stories, “Live alive” and “The adventures of Mikuru Asahina episode 00”, were among the highlights of the first animated season (which I think appeared shortly after this book was originally published in Japan).

In the new stories in this volume, Yuki is on the receiving end of a confession of love, Mikuru asks Kyon out on a Sunday afternoon (“The melancholy of Mikuru Asahina”), and the cat Shamisen is a key witness in the murder mystery that got derailed in “Snowy mountain syndrome”.


Aside from the weak story involving Shamisen, it’s a pretty solid book. “Love at first sight” has that special Nagato charm, “The melancholy of Mikuru Asahina” involves another critical event in the setup of the Haruhi world. Both stories continue “Snowy Mountain syndrome’s” suspicion that there are other forces that were awakened by Haruhi’s powers. The last story, especially, shows that there’s more to Mikuru’s mission than just the care of Haruhi Suzumiya’s moods.

Perhaps it’s just rose-coloring from nostalgia, or perhaps stories about movies and concerts are better off being seen instead of read about, but “The adventures of Mikuru Asahina” and “Live alive” struck me as having been better done by Kyoto Animation. They’re okay stories, and despite all the time-travel, the author had no idea that, in the future, his images would have to compete with those created by top-notch animators. These are the stories that went on to be animated so well, after all.

Also, I think animated Tsuruya works better than described Tsuruya.

I kvetched that too many iterations of “Endless Eight” was a wasted opportunity in my review of the previous volume. This volume prompts that sentiment as well, though not quite so much. “Love at first sight” might have comfortably replaced one of the eighterations (though it’s richer for following The disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya); “The melancholy of Mikuru Asahina” might be a less comfortable fit. That story ends with an unresolved thread, and it is not clear that the resolution would have fit into the 12-episode season (I don’t know — the resolution may not yet have appeared in print).

The next volume (The intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya) is scheduled for June 2012, with the volume after that (The indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya) scheduled for September 2012. There are two more volumes after that in the series (which I expect Yen Press to release as a single volume, since they comprise a single story). I’m looking forward to them.

6 Responses to “The wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya”

  1. 1 Jay Agan December 4, 2011 at 3:03 am

    One I’d like to see/read:

    The Angel Beats of Haruhi Suzumiya- The fate of not just the planet, but of the entire universe lies in the hands of the mentally whacked leader of the SOS Brigade. Yuri Nakamura, leader of a rival school “club”, & still having it in for God, takes matters into her own hands. Chaos ensues….. more so than usual.

    • 2 dm00 December 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm

      I somewhat think that may have been what Jun Maeda had in mind. That, and showing up Kyoto Animation by having more, and better concerts than were in K-on.

      (For that matter, I’ve wondered if “Endless Eight” wasn’t Kyoto Animation rebelling at the endless repetition of Key Adaptations: the costumes change, but the stories remain the same.)

      Thanks for reading!

      • 3 Jay Agan December 6, 2011 at 12:05 am

        I can’t really comment on the “machinations” of various studios. As for all those other shows (K-on, etc.) I have no idea of any “similarities”. I have the above two in my collection because of the theological whackness they have. I don’t watch anywhere near as much anime as a lot of folks. My main “focus” is older movies.

        I have read of the “similarities” of the above two, but as another blogger once said (Baka Raptor I think.): “If I haven’t seen it before, it’s new to me.”

  2. 4 Michelle February 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    There’s an article about the pros and cons of Haruhi Suzumiya on the Manga UK blog which I think may be of interest to you.

    • 5 dm00 February 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      Yes, that was an interesting article, thanks. While I mostly agree with what the article says, I think the real draw of the TV series is Haruhi’s charisma, something that’s pretty rare for an animated character to have. That speaks to Kyoto Animation’s skill at bringing the character to life.

  1. 1 Review: The wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya | Trackback on December 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm

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