The Dissociation of Haruhi Suzumiya light novel from Yen Press is written by Nagaru Tanigawa with cover art by Noizi Ito and translation by Paul Starr. It continues the story of Haruhi Suzumiya, as told by the lowest-ranking SOS Brigade member and ordinary human, Kyon. Though I initially struggled, the characters are already beloved. So it was easy to soldier on thanks to my familiarity. The original anime series (shown out of order) was one out of two anime series to ever confuse me. The hilarity still resides, primarily in Kyon’s deadpan, sarcastic delivery.
The book begins with the start of the second year for Kyon. Though life seems to be its usual, oddball self thanks to Haruhi’s antics, the situation takes a turn when Kyon runs into a friend from middle school, Sasaki. Tensions start to rise stemming from Kyon’s friendship with Sasaki. Which could have disastrous consequences given Haruhi’s abilities. There is enough entertainment here, but readers who haven’t read the previous light novels will struggle to understand events. What got me through was the memories of the anime and Kyon’s raucous inner monologue. Now if you do persist you will be able to piece together what you missed.
The light novel is slow going, especially in the early parts as time moves between the present and Kyon’s reflection of events from the summer. I especially loved the section broken up into ‘a’ and ‘b.’ It reminds me of what stumped me in the initial anime and why I loved it. The section also reminded me of those “choose your adventure” books. The original series was aired intentionally out of order, and I thought I was watching the wrong show when I saw Asahina in her bunny outfit. Finally, someone explained to watch and I never regretted it.
Granted, readers will flip back and forth between pages for clarity. However, the ‘a’ side and ‘b’ side is my favorite section. The Haruhi Suzumiya series always dealt with reality and played with time, so I love nothing more than flicking back to see which path I read.
Characters Are Wonderful
The characters are, of course, some of the best parts. When Kyon meets his friend Sasaki and learns she’s now acquaintances with people from his past, the risks increase. These rivals in direct opposition to SOS Brigade—alien Nagato, time traveler Asahina, esper Koizumi, Haruhi, and Kyon—are as steadfast in their beliefs as the brigade members that hover around Haruhi. The bombshell they drop is a doozy, and I won’t spoil it here. But now it comes down to a decision for Kyon and what that knowledge, or lack of it, may cause.
The comedic moments, particularly as Haruhi moves through situations like new member hunting as a force of nature, will remind readers of the series and previous issues. Reading The Dissociation of Haruhi Suzumiya is like returning to a friend and remembering what makes them stand out. It’s also funny because we all have encountered a Haruhi Suzumiya. They are the Ferris Buellers who fortune smiles on, or perhaps they have godlike abilities.
If you love the previous light novels or the anime, this will be a gem to add to your Haruhi Suzumiya universe. Hopefully, pacing improves in the next book and doesn’t drag as much. Especially since we ended on a cliffhanger! I’m excited for the next one and, if readers are a fan of Haruhi, Kyon, and the entire SOS Brigade, they will be as well.
*Feature image courtesy of Yen Press