Book Review: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

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Well, it certainly has been a while, mainly due to distractions.

Fortunately, I can continue covering things in my own back catalogue, of which there are many, before I get the next set of books I am expecting.

Today, I will be reviewing The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa.

As I have given a series synopsis and I have reviewed the movie in an earlier post, there will be no synopsis given for this book.

I am not too sure about this one. Although the book starts a day later than the movie, I was able to follow things pretty easy, though that may be because I have read the other books in the series, with only one thing that was kind of difficult. I really liked how things seemed to be much more surprising in the book. For example, in the movie, when Ryoko Asakura showed up in class on the 18th of December, I had a pretty good idea that the person Kyon was surprised to see was Ryoko because of her voice and attire. However, in the book, I actually felt surprised that Ryoko Asakura was there because so little detail was given about her appearance. Then again, since the aminated and book mediums do not really work the same, it is kind of understandable that the book would make things a bit a more surprising. The scenes that I found funny in the movie were also just as funny, if not funnier, in this book. It was also nice that Kyon realized for himself that enjoyed spending time with Haruhi and the others, even though he has been constantly complaining about the things that Haruhi does. After all, if he really hated spending time with Haruhi, I would think that he, just like any normal person, would just walk away and not associate himself with her. Outside of that, there is not a whole lot that I can say without repeating myself. The fact that things seemed to be much more surprising in the book and the funny things were about as funny as they were in the movie, as well the fact that Kyon realizes that he actually liked being with Haruhi and the others, made this somewhat enjoyable.

Although there were things that I liked about the book, there are some issues. However, only one thing really seems to come to my mind. I just did not feel like I could understand Kyon’s situation. Yes, my experience with the movie could have something to do with it, but I think that it has to do with the fact that the Haruhi novels, like the anime when it was originally released, on DVD at least, are not released in chronological order. Like how episodes being out of order in the iTunes release of Puella Magi Madoka Magica affected my enjoyment of the show, the fact that the book bring up events that have not been told about yet, as well as those that have happened already in the previous three, made it harder for me to feel sympathetic towards Kyon’s situation. This is something people are praising about the series? I guess they have not encountered very many series where things are ruined by not being in chronological order. I really wish that I had read the more of the events that happened in the second season before I had read this, but oh well the damage is done. While there was not very much wrong with the book, the non-chronological release of the novels ruined my enjoyment.

Despite the good things about this book, the fact that the nonlinear narrative of the Haruhi novels hurt the feeling of the story a lot made this kind of a waste of time. I only recommend this to fans of the Haruhi novels.

What are your thoughts on The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya? Did you like it or hate it? If you saw the movie as well, how did you think they compared? Feel free to comment.

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