Saturday, February 19, 2011

BryAnime reviews the novelization of the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

Last year I watched the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya movie, and upon realizing that it was the movie that all other anime movies will be judged against from now on, I decided that it would be fun to read the book. While the book was not nearly as good as the movie (Some people say the book is always better than the movie, I say HELL NO) it managed to be an entertaining read.

Since this book is basically gibberish if you aren't familiar with the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya series, I'll just assume that your familiar with it. If you aren't familiar with it, go watch some episodes, read the books, or go read a review more relevant to your interests.

Anyhoo, this book starts with Kyon accepting that his high school life is going to be filled with wacky adventures, and that is his new norm. Until THAT day, when he wakes up to realize that, by some weird occurrence the entire world has gone bonkers. He wakes up to realize that all the insanity with time travelers, aliens espers, and dimensional shifts is gone, and that he is stuck living a normal life. Yes, he got exactly what he's been wanting since the beginning of the series.

In this “normal” life, Kyon notices that the SOS brigade hasn't been formed, and that Haruhi and Ikutski have gone missing. Mikuru is a regular upper-classman, and Yuki has become the most useless person in the world, devoid of any of her universe altering abilities. This leaves Kyon on his own to figure out what exactly what went wrong, and make an attempt at fixing it.

The book sends Kyon on an exiting journey where everything he believes in is put to the test, and where he must use all of his experience putting up with the SOS brigade's madness to put the reigns of the universe back into the hands of a high-school girl. A bit of the suspense was lost, since I saw the movie, and knew what the big revelation at the end was going to be. It's a big twist, and I wish more people in my area knew it so I can argue about the tenants of Haruhiism without blowing the movie's plot.

The writing is pretty straightfoward, is pretty easy to understand, and doesn't take too much out of the reader. It flows pretty quickly, and doesn't dwell on anything too much, unlike Kyon who loves internal monologing. It does expect that you have an in-depth knowledge of the events of the Haruhi universe, so don't pick this up as your introduction.

1000 words are needed to describe this
There were a few differences from the movie, although only one of them affects the plot significantly. The details about the ending are much more fleshed out, leaving less ambiguity about what was going on. The changed perspective causes certain details to get more attention, while downplaying things that were more noticeable in the movie (in the book, Kyon mentions Yuki looks cute. In the movie we get to see every adorable little quirk of her alternate universe self) The movie definitely took the material presented here and expanded on it, making a much more entertaining product. It is much easier to read the book while on the bus though, so it has that factor over the movie.

I'd suggest getting the DVD of the movie when it comes out, or get the book if you wanna know beforehand, and need a Haruhi fix.

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