Friday, 22 June 2012

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya- novel 1

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Mikuru Asahina and Kyon could make a perfect couple...
There is just something about this series that I love, but I cant quite put my finger on it. I guess it must be because it simply fits my personal preference for a story, as well as the reading material itself. Yeah about that, Unlike the Spice and Wolf novels (which I adore), this novel is broken up into much smaller paragraphs with line spaces. Line spaces makes it a hell of a lot easier to find adequate places to stop reading without having to re-read part of the page before getting back into the swing of the story. The word count per page is also slightly shorter in this Haruhi novel compared with other novels. I don't know about other people, but I'm the type of bloke that prefers to read one page at a time without feeling committed to reading pages and pages at a time. Ironically this helps me to read more in one go.

My imagination when reading this book is that of the anime character designs. In a sense, the pictures provided in the book are rather crude and basic compared with the anime, or even the quality of the pictures found in the Spice and Wolf novels for that matter. This is slightly disappointing, but still irrelevant because you need to predominantly imagine the visuals anyway. I noticed that one picture of Asahina was wrong because in the story she was in casual clothing, but in the picture provided she was in school clothes.

...If it wern't for this one
Talking about the story now, what I really love is how the normal sensibilities of the protagonist / narrator, Kyon, blend in with the contrasting personality elements of Haruhi herself. The way Kyon has an outlook upon life and his surroundings make it very akin to the novels by Haruki Murakami, (which are heavy on the melancholy but always have a supernatural weird plot twist happening), but because Kyon is forced to abide by Haruhi's orders, his life is changed around from the melancholy and humdrum everyday life existence to something more fun and exiting, even though he doesn't care much for it yet.

In a way, Haruhi herself is even more of a tragic character, because she absolutely refuses to accept life to be boring and humdrum, to the point that it makes her borderline insane. She basically refuses to give up on her childish outlook of the world and believes it to be more than it seems, despite having no evidence to support this. She cannot adjust to a more adult perspective or outlook on life, and instead tries to fill the gap by having a chronic desire to try something new or exciting all the time. The story starts with her having no friends, and not only that, not having had one single friend throughout her middle school years. Kyon, the guy closest to her due to the class seating arrangement, tries to get her to open up, and this is what starts the chain of events that cause her to drag other people to befriend her, whether they want to or not.

Haruhi Suzumiya
I guess its kinda ironic that the only person that will never see life as anything other than a humdrum existence is Haruhi herself. Its my opinion that if she ever found out she was a super being, something akin to a goddess, then I think she would calm down a bit and not be so crazy / borderline insane. But thats the twist to the story, the reason she is surrounded by an alien, esper and time traveler is because no one knows what would happen if she ever found out.

One other thing that I absolutely love about this series is the time travel. Its as fun, exciting and clever as Back to the Future. Its all because of the little things that the author puts in. A good example is when Haruhi and Kyon first meet. She looks at him strangely and asks if they have ever met before. Its just a one liner but its perfect. Its just one of many time travel elements that make it so well thought through and awesome.

I also believe that the predominant reason why Kyon is a member of the SOS brigade is because Haruhi has a subconscious crush on him, despite the fact the club is there so she can have fun with non-ordinary people. Kyon on the other hand has a crush on Asahina, and she was only brought into the mix because of Haruhis fascination with her matured feminine body.

Yuki Nagato
OK, REALLY TALKING ABOUT THE STORY NOW, after the characters meet and the SOS brigade is created and set up, the time frame is around late May. Kyon is invited around Yuki's apartment so she can explain how she is a humanoid alien robot with no emotions, who is sent by the 'overmind' to watch and record Haruhi's movements/data patterns. Soon after this story Kyon and Asahima share a Saturday morning together where she explains that she is a time traveler sent from the future to keep an eye of Haruhi. Then finally on a later date Koizumi explains that he is some type of being closely related to what we would call espers, sent to deal with problems associated with Haruhi's subconscious outbursts. Kyon tries to be optimistic with all three of their stories, but he never receives proof from them.

WARNING: DO NOT TRUST THIS BITCH
In fact his first bit of proof was when the sweet girl named Asakura asked to meet him in class after school. she turns out to be Yuki's backup program who somehow actually has feelings and a somewhat free will of her own, unlike Yuki. She explains that she sides with those people/alien/freaks/whatever who would prefer for Haruhi to be shaken up into unleashing her powers. She believes that by killing Kyon, the only human important in Haruhi's life, then she will go into berserker mode and unleash powerful data that can be analysed for the 'Overmind'. The classroom they are in is sealed off, with the windows and doors being turned into walls. Then she whips out a military knife and starts swinging it at him like a crazy bitch. Yuki comes crashing through the ceiling in the nick of time and saves Kyons life. She talks out loud with fast talking program code, whilst battling against Asakura with tables being turned into huge spikes which are launched at her. Yuki gets hit countless times and her blood splatters everywhere. Yukis verbal programing code is complete and Asakura is erased from existence. Yuki doesn't feel pain so its OK, and she somehow cleans up the program code of the classroom to as it were before, and then does the same to her physical body.

The next day its announced in class that Asakura has transferred out of school. This is fantastic news for Haruhi as she's been searching for something mysterious to investigate on.

Kyon Ive come from the future to show you my cleavage!
Kyon gets another message in his shoe locker, this time from Asahina. Its for him to meet her at the club room during lunch. He goes there at the agreed time and finds an older Asahina in the room, who is up to 5 years older than the one Kyon knows. Shes says its important that he remembers the story of Snow White for a massive problem that he will soon be facing, one which is a bigger ordeal than the one he went through with Asakura. She also tells him not to get too close to her younger self, giving the impression that at some point Kyon and Asahina will want to get into a relationship which is ill fated. Upon arriving back in the class room at the end of lunch, Kyon gets the stick from Haruhi for being so friggin late. She tells him shes been on the hunt for information about Asakara at the school office. Later on that day Haruhi drags Kyon around to go and find Asakuras old home. It turns out to be the same condo as Yukis. Haruhi tries in vane to find answers, but comes away deflated. They bump into Yuki walking home from the convenience story but nothing comes of it. Kyon and Haruhi aimlessly walk around town until she feels deflated and depressed enough to confess her true feelings. She admits that she is the way she is after a baseball match she went to when she was very young. She saw the thousands of people that was attending the game and for the first time realised just how insignificant she was to the world, considering herself just one drop in an ocean of people. Kyon really should have comforted her at this point, but he just stood there, and let her walk off alone.


Itsuki Koizumi
Koizumi turns up out the blue and tells Kyon to follow him, saying that its now a perfect opportunity to see his powers and how his esper abilities work. They catch a taxi and travel to somewhere else in the vast city to a place that has been cut off from reality. They enter this 'space' from a sidewalk full of people. Once stepped into this strange reality that looks much the same as normal, but without people or colour (as everything is in black and white), they walk to the top of a sky scraper and to the roof. There is no wind, or even a breeze. Koizumi points to something in the distance, which is a blue giant as big as a sky scraper. It starts tearing everything apart. Koizumi explains that this 'space' with these monsters in it, are created when Haruhi feels stressed. Its a way of her venting pent up frustrations which would otherwise be bottled up. Kyon then notices a bunch of red orbs surrounding the giant. Koizumi then turns into one of these orbs and flies off to join the others. From there, the orbs start battling against the giant, breaking it up until the giant is destroyed. Koizumi then returns to Kyon and the walls of the space they are in start to crack apart and dissolve until they find themselves back in their reality with colour and life again. On the taxi home, Koizumi explains how three years ago he just woke up with the knowledge of Haruhi and her power, as well as the giants and the ability to apprehend them. he also says that if these giants were left alone, the 'space' these giants exist in would increase, until it covers the world. He explains that if they were never dealt with, the space would increase and engulf the world to become a completely new reality that would replace the current one.

The next day passes peacefully, but that night Kyon is awoken in the middle of the night and finds himself at school, with Haruhi. After looking around and noticing that the world is in black and white, Kyon realises that somehow he's in a similar 'space' again, only this time, Haruhi is there too. They find that the school is surrounded by an invisible barrier, which means the space covers only the school. They dont know what to do so they go to the club room. she walks out the room leaving Kyon alone. A red orb appears and struggles to form the shape of a person. Koizumi's voice speaks from it. He says that all the espers are using their power for him to reach Kyon. Apparently the space Kyon and Haruhi are in is a new reality that is being created to replace the old one, where Koizumi, Mikuru, Yuki and everyone else are. He says that there is nothing he can do to stop it, and wishes to see him in some format or another in the new world. Kyon asks why the hell he is with Haruhi for this new reality, and Koizumi jokes something about them being the new Adam and Eve. Just before his connection is severed, Koizumi passes on the messages from the others saying that Mikuru says 'Im sorry, its all my fault', and Yuki says 'Turn on the computer'. Koizumi then disappears. Wondering why everything would be Mikurus fault, Kyon turns the computer on. The computer doesnt run windows like it should, instead it stays in DOS, and Yuki starts a chat room type text conversation with Kyon before that too is severed. her last words were 'sleeping beauty'. Haruhi crashes through the club room door and tells Kyon that there is a giant blue alien outside. The giant starts destroying the school and Kyon and Haruhi make a run for it.

I want my old world back dammit!
They end up outside on the sports track and Kyon argues with her that he wants to go back to the old reality. Haruhi is slightly confused as to whats going on, but somehow knows that the giants are not a threat to them and that the sun will definitely rise in this black and white world. Kyon argues at her about how meaningful the old reality was, and Haruhi has a go back at him about how boring it was. in the end Kyon remembers the words 'snow white' from older Mikuru and 'sleeping beauty' from Yuki, and knows what to do. he looks at Haruhi, tells her she would look more hot with a pony tail, and kisses her on the lips XD

Kyon falls out of bed and hits the floor hard. hes back in the old reality in the middle of the night.
Next morning at school during homeroom Haruhi tells Kyon she is pissed off from a nightmare she had, and Kyon complements her on having a pony tail.

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10-10. I really did love this book. I read it in no time at all. The anime ruled so friggin much but never continued, so im looking forward to the rest of the series!

Up next: The Boredom.

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4 comments:

  1. I remember buying the first volume, because I'd been told that it would retain the Japanese honorifics, but the hardbound version didn't have them, so I never could muster enthusiasm to read it. Yeah, I know that is probably a silly reason, but that's me. ^_^;;;

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    1. Honorifics are only important for a social structure between characters, I really dont see it being something important enough to overshadow this series storyline.

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    2. I felt betrayed, darn it. ^_~

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    3. Out of interest do you not read the dark horse editions of OMG? They dont have Honorifics either...

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