Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya

As always, the writing and translation of these books blow me away. The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa is the sixth book in the Haruhi series and another volume of short stories. First up is "Live Alive," which relates the events of the cultural festival for which the SOS Brigade filmed their movie. Kyon wanders the school looking for things to do and witnesses a most unique concert. We come to see just how much Haruhi has grown as a person since the beginning of the school year. This was always one of my favorite episodes in the anime, and it owes that to being based on a very solid, sweet story.

"The Adventures of Asahina Mikuru Episode 00" is next, and it is the story of the cultural festival movie, as narrated by Kyon. His narration is the only thing that makes this amusing, since, after all, the movie itself is supposed to suck. This one's a fun enough read, but I'd be highly surprised if it made anyone's short list of favorites. There's just not all that much to it. Although there is a conversation of veiled significance between Nagato and Koizumi which provides a little bit of interest.

"Love at First Sight" is a Nagato-centric tale. A former classmate of Kyon's has fallen in love with the alien bookworm at first sight and begs for Kyon to deliver a message. Said message leads to some cute comedy when Haruhi, of course, misunderstands, but soon the matter is put right and the brigade heads off to watch the admirer play a football game in hopes of impressing his beloved. The story is full of speculation about the nature of love and Nagato, and it overall is a good piece for characterization.

"Where Did The Cat Go?" beats out "The Adventures of Asahina Mikuru" and tops my list of absolute least favorite Haruhi stories. This one is boring and lacks any of the promised sense of mystery. I suppose it would be better to read it as another characterization piece, because that's where any of the redeeming value is. Plus, it does have Tsuruya, so that's something.

"The Melancholy of Mikuru Asahina" is the finale tale, and this one perhaps beats "Live Alive" as my favorite story in this volume. It's all about Kyon and Mikuru, with the other three brigade members only having incidental parts. Mikuru is usually only seen by Kyon, and thus the reader through his narration, as a cute moe mascot, but this time we get to see some sides of her which are usually hidden. There's a foreboding feel to the story which even the wacky final section doesn't quite mitigate.

The seventh volume doesn't come out until June, but it picks up where the last short story left off in theme. Overall, Wavering is a fun installment in the series and contains valuable information and characterization for any fan, not to be missed.

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