The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Vol 1 Manga Review

Title: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Vol 1

Art:  Gaku Tsugano

Story:  Nagaru Tanigawa

Characters:  Noizi Ito

Publisher: Yen Press

ISBN:  9780759529441

May Contain Spoilers

I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up this title.  Anybody not living under a rock or in a deep dark cave has heard of Haruhi Suzumiya.  Other than that, I didn’t know what to expect.  I found certain elements of the story very appealing, but thought that the momentum was bogged down in the middle of the book.

Kyon has just started high school, and he’s pretty much resigned to the fact that he has a long life of drudgery to look forward to.  The magic is gone, heroes only exist in manga, and Santa Claus is just a dream.  When he meets Haruhi Suzumiya, everything that he’s come to believe in gets turned upside down, and he learns that it’s far easier to get caught up in the whirlwind that is Haruhi than to fight against it.

I loved Haruhi’s character.  Here is a girl so caught up in herself and making the world a more interesting place for her benefit  that she causes chaos everywhere she goes.  She has a powerful personality that makes people cave in to her whims,  and she just seems to get things done.  When she needs a computer for her SOS Brigade, no problem – she shysters one from the computer club.  When she needs members for her club, she forces people to join.  Kyon is one of her first victims, and try as he might, he just can’t break free of the typhoon that is Haruhi.

Haruhi wants to find mysterious things in life, and she just knows that aliens, time travelers, sliders, and espers are just waiting to be discovered.  Her enthusiasm is contagious, and hapless Kyon is soon doing her bidding, searching for the magical and the make-believe.  What he discovers has him doubting his sanity, and also has him wanting to strangle Haruhi.  He’s just too terrified of her to confront her directly.

The fan service moments slowed things down for me, though not enough to turn me totally off the title.  Some of the chapters felt a little weighty – the title works best when it focuses on Haruhi and her ability to make things happen.  She is someone who didn’t forget how to believe in her dreams, who doesn’t know how to compromise, and that gives her an incredible power over the people around her.  I am looking forward to the next volume.

Grade: B

Rated for Older Teen

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