Author: Nagaru Tanigawa/Translator: Chris Pai
Illutrator: Noizi Ito
My rating: 5 of 5
Haruhi Suzumiya, vol. 1
Kyon is an average Japanese student entering his first year of high school with high hopes of maintaining the status quo–until he manages to get himself involved with the extraordinary Haruhi Suzumiya. Haruhi is . . . different. She announces, on the first day of school, that she has no interest in ordinary humans, but that aliens, time travelers, etc. are welcome to introduce themselves. Little does she know that she is practically surrounded by such beings–or that such beings quite possibly exist simply because she wishes them to.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a bold work that is written with such aplomb that it’s quite possible to overlook the improbability of the story and to simply be caught up in it. The English translation is well done and flows quite naturally while still being distinctly Japanese. The characters are outstanding, possibly more so because of their natural flaws. Kyon, especially, is easy to relate to; I love his little mental tirades and commentary on events. This is a book I would highly recommend, especially to anyone who’s ever secretly wished that aliens, superheroes, and the like actually exist.
Notes: 1) This light novel is the first of several in a series, but it is self-contained enough to be read on its own as a unique story. However, I hope to read and review the other books in this series in the near future. 2) Be warned that there is an ecchi element to this story. It fits the story and serves to accentuate the characters’ personalities, but it still makes this story more suitable for an older audience, probably 16+.