Saturday, 15 September 2012

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya- novel 4

Oh my god do I love this. Movie or novel, I love this to bits. I may even be tempted to read the manga adaptation of this at some point. Its that good.

Notice how long it took me to read the last book, and how long it was to read this book. Basically I read this book in a week. It oozes melancholy like you would expect from this book series, and has lots of nice touches that I expect from my favourite writer Haruki Murakami, not Nagaru Tanigawa (writer of the Haruhi series in case you dont know. My bad for not name dropping sooner).

In case you thought the series was getting bland, this story brings everything together. I would not recommend this to those that haven't watched the whole series or read up until this point (or more like read events that take place before this does).

I'm fed up of doing a synopsis from scratch, so heres a heavily tweaked version from the Haruhi wiki-

On December 17, a month after the cultural festival, the SOS Brigade organises a Christmas hotpot party. Kyon is skeptical of its success though still helps decorate the clubroom. On his way home, Kyon talks to Taniguchi, who announces that he has a date with a girl from the all female private school Kouyouen Academy, planned for the following week. Kyon reaches his house and falls asleep.

While walking to school the following day, Kyon sees Taniguchi wearing a face mask. Taniguchi claims that he has cold, denying having the date he mentioned previously. Kyon continues to school, finding that a cold epidemic has suddenly spread around his class. Kyon notices that Haruhi is absent, as well as most of the class for that matter. Kyon wonders whats going on, suspecting something weird going on with things not adding up. His suspicions are justified when a pretty girl comes waltzing though the classroom, Ryouko Asakura.

Stunned and poised for a fight, Kyon demands to know why she's there and what has happened to Haruhi. She, as well as the other classmates, all assure him that she had been there the whole year. They are also unaware of who Haruhi is. Kyon runs off to try and find the other SOS brigade members Mikuru, Yuki and Itsuki. Kyon discovers that Itsuki's entire classroom is now the end of the school building, like it never existed. On his way back to class, Kyon comes across Mikuru with Tsuruya, who do not remember him. Kyon is acting like a crazed maniac over Mukuru, so Tsuruya defends her with as much spunk as she can muster, so naturally she uses quite a powerful attack on him. It actually calms him down somewhat, and he decides to seek out Yuki in the club room. He finds Yuki, though she is now acting like a shy timid human girl rather than an alien android.

Yuki hasn't a clue what to do or how to behave with Kyon in the room. After he tries convincing her of who she really is, He realises that he's gone too far once again. He's backing her against a wall and shes shaking. Kyon calms down and sits on the chair she was sitting in before he entered the room. After 5 minutes with his head in his hands, he looks up. She turns her head away from him, and he looks around the room. All of the items kept by the SOS Brigade are missing. Kyon asks if he can look at the computer, she requests if she is allowed to deal with it without him looking over her shoulder. When shes done, he inspects the contents of this ancient computer. There is no evidence of any clues or SOS files. When Kyon leaves, Yuki reluctantly asks him to join the Literature Club. Noticing Yuki's shyness and her human manner, Kyon takes the sign-up sheet out of kindness.

When Kyon gets home, he tries to get Shamisen to talk to him the way he did in The Sigh, but to no avail. Disappointed, Kyon goes to sleep.
Kyon returns to the Literature Club room the next day and spends alone time with Nagato without saying much. In fact Kyon notices that shes just pretending to read her book. Shes not reading anything. Shes concentrating on him and his next move for the whole time. He asks her if she writes as well as reads. She quickly flashes her eyes to the computer but says "No". Looking at the books on the shelf, Kyon finds The Fall of Hyperion, which was the same book Yuki used to reveal her true identity in the The Melancholy. Kyon picks it up from the shelf and opens the book. A bookmark falls to the floor. he picks it up and reminisces of the bookmark he found in this very same book all those months ago, where it was a message from Nagato to Kyon to go meet her for a chat in the park. However when he turns this bookmark over it reads: "Program Run Condition: Collect the keys. Deadline: Two Days Later". Kyon is flabagusted. He questions Nagato right there and then, demanding to know if she wrote that. she says its her handwriting, but she did not write it.

Kyon dissects the room and its books for more clues. there are no more. He picks up his things and says he's leaving. 'Thud'. Turning around, he notices Nagato closing her book and packing her things. He realises that she was waiting for him to leave this whole time.
On their way out the school, she invites him round her house. Surprised by her sudden invitation, he accepts. When they arrive, Kyon realises that Yuki has one memory of him: an incident from The Melancholy where he helped her get a library card. However, Yuki remembers him as a random passerby rather than a brigade member.

Her door bell rings and she goes to answer. Ryouko Asakura comes in holding a hot pot. shes visiting Yuki because shes sometimes worried for her health. Kyon is scared for his life and tries to leave. Yuki uses the tinniest bit of her strength and pulls on his sleeve as he attempts to exit. He turns around to find Yuki sheepishly holding onto him with her head down. He is moved by Yuki's display of affection and stays. He learns that this Ryouko is just a friendly neighbour who helps Yuki. Kyon still feels uneasy around Ryouko as they leave despite her kindness towards him.

The next day (December 20), Taniguchi is in class. During lunch, Kunikida fills Taniguchi in on Kyons strange actions. We learn that on the day of reset, Taniguchi did go to school, but was so ill once he reached it that he spend the day in the nurses office and was in home sick the rest of the time until now. Kunikida is talking about a name that Kyon brought up and was going frantic about. Basically he says 'what was her name again?' and Kyon replies Haruhi, looking away board of the conversation. Taniguchi then says 'What, Haruhi Suzumiya from middle school?'.
Kyon stands up dumbfounded. He picks up Taniguchi and face to face, demands to know everything he does about her and what happened to her. He apparently went to the same middle school as Haruhi, and now shes attending the private school Kouyouen Academy.

Stunned, Kyon runs for the exit without his stuff on him and turns back to say thanks to Taniguchi before running off to find Haruhi. He runs with all his might down the hill to and past the station to Kouyouen Academy. He arrives almost an hour early before the school bell rings to bring an end to the day. The students start filtering out the gates in a high class dark uniform. This version of Kouyouen Academy is co-ed, and Kyon notices boys from Itsukis class walking out the building. Among the group of students, Kyon recognises the familiar faces of both Haruhi and Itsuki, who are walking home together. Kyon notices that Haruhi is sporting a similar facial expression and demeanour to the one she had before she made the SOS Brigade. She looks sad and melancholic. Just before they both pass him on the street, Kyon pulls himself together and finds it within himself to speak up to Haruhi. He tries to speak to her, but she pushes him off as she does not remember him. After a futile struggle in which she kicks him almost to the ground, Kyon then shouts to her about the incidents of the Tanabata three years ago. He explains in great detail of what happened that night. She then realises that she never told anyone what really happened that night. Just when he's got her attention full and proper, he tells her that his name is "John Smith", the alias that he used during the "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody" incident. Haruhi nearly faints and is caught by Itsuki.

After recovering at a nearby cafe, Haruhi listens to everything Kyon has to say about his alternate universe. He tells her about Yuki being an alien, Itsuki being an esper, Mikuru being a time traveler, and Haruhi having strange powers. Haruhi is intrigued so much of this story that she demands to gather together the former SOS Brigade members to meet them. She runs out to hail a taxi. Itsuki mentions that he's never seen her this happy before, and that she only hung around him since the day he transferred in because she considered him a strange transfer student, but she now considers him boring but is considerate enough to accept his friendship. In fact he tells Kyon that he wants a relationship with her, and thinks she is a captivating person. Koizumi notes that if Kyon's Haruhi took notice of him for no particular reason, he concludes that she loves him. While they travel to North High in a taxi, Kyon tries to understand what Itsuki sees in her.

Once they arrive at North High, Haruhi orchestrates a plan to get inside the building unnoticed. Kyon goes inside to retrieve his bags and meets them outside again. he gets them to wear his gym clothes, and looking at Haruhi, asks her if she could sport a pony tail. She does. They all run into the building pretending to be arriving back from a work out. Once inside, Haruhi grabs Mikuru from the Calligraphy Club and brings her unwillingly to the Literature Club room. Yuki is inside and is surprised by all the new visitors. Haruhi comes up with a plan to start this so called SOS brigade at a cafe to meet in after their schools. All of a sudden the old computer spontaneously activates and displays a message. Its from Yuki Nagato. though the Yuki in the room denies any knowledge about it. The message from Yuki Nagato is from the old alien version of herself. The message explains that the keys have been gathered, and that there is a program in the computer which will allow him to return to the original world if he presses the enter key. The others are asking him about it and he tells them all to let him think. He stares at each of them individually, finally getting round to Nagato. He reaches into his pocket and tells her to take back his literacy club application form. Shes takes two depressed and overcome attempts at reaching out to take it back. He tells her that she shouldn't get upset about it, because hes going BACK. Kyon presses the enter key. Things go fuzzy around him.
Kyon finds himself in the same room, without anyone around him. Looking around, there is no sign of SOS brigade things. He feels overcome by heat and takes his winter clothes off. Its like the dead of summer as Kyon walks out the school. He checks into a convenience store to check the date on local newspapers. Its Tanabata three years ago. The same night he was forced by Haruhi the little girl to draw signs on her middle school grounds. He checks the time and sprints to the park to go look for himself and Mikuru on a park bench. He hides in the bushes and watches Mikuru blow in his ear and tug at his face to wake him up. Kyon considers his past self to be one lucky bastard. The older Mikuru appears and the younger one falls asleep. She directs his previous self to Haruhi's old school and she walks off. Current Kyon who has been watching all this from the bushes goes off to follow the older Asahina. he catches up to her and she greets him like shes been expecting him. They sit on a park bench and talk about their shared old times. Obviously she knows more but never talks about it. Once their younger versions of themselves are safely time locked inside Yuki's spare bedroom, Kyon and older Asahina ring on Yukis doorbell and explain who they are and when there from. There, Yuki explains that someone altered the world on December 17th, changing everything by a whole year. She injects nano machines into Mikuru and Kyon to protect them from being noticed by the culprit. She also provides a needle gun weapon to normalise this culprit. Kyon is stunned when Nagato tells him just who this person actually is.

Older Mikuru Asahina explains what a TPDD is. Its called the Time Plane Destroid Device, a time machine that uses technology that exists inside an abstract concept. Something that exists inside your head, or rather a network that connects to that.
Nagato swipes her index finger on Asahinas hand to give her the time and space coordinates to where to go to apprehend the culprit just AFTER the time change takes place.
Mikuru prepares Kyon for time travel and he nearly passes out.

They find themselves outside in the dead of night, in wintertime. Luckily Kyon still has his winter stuff with him, but gives it to Mikuru who has no winter things with her. They also left their shoes back at Nagatos three years ago. The location they are at is just outside North High. Walking up the road appears the culprit. Its 4:00am in this winters night. Shes a short girl in a north high uniform. She reveals to the readers to be none other than Yuki Nagato. She stops dead in the middle of the quite road and raises her arm to the sky. As Yuki does her thing, Mukuru says to Kyon that shes never witnessed such an epic time quake before. One that affects the very reality of the universe itself.

Human Nagato now stands before them. Kyon walks up to her and demands to know why she did that, but she just stares at him all shyly and explains that she was only out for a stroll.
Kyon points the gun at her and she freezes in shock, unable to comprehend whats going on.

Kyon talks to himself inside his head. He is the narrator of the book and the anime, so we know he likes to do this a lot. but this is one epic conversation he has with himself. He demands to know why he restarted the world, why he chose to lead a strange life instead of a normal one. He realizes that Yuki had only preserved Kyon's memories so he could choose to return. Yuki was giving him a choice in something as simple as two bits of paper, a literacy club application form or a bookmark. Which one did he choose? Why did he choose the bookmark? He argues with himself to give a clear answer for his actions. kyon finally gives in and says BECAUSE IT IS FUN. He says to himself that nobody in their right mind would choose a mundane lifestyle. This is no longer a Kyon thats being dragged around by Haruhi, this is a Kyon that chose to live this kinda life voluntarily. He knows this and has to come to terms with his changed personality from now on. This is Kyon 2.0, the one who lives this life and enjoys the SOS brigade for everything it is.

Back to reality, Kyon is aiming a gun at Yuki. Mukuru from just behind him shouts "KYON LOOK OUT!!" Before something long and sharp enters his body. He swings to the ground to see the evil face of Ryouko Asakura staring down at him with a bloody kitchen knife in her hands. His blood. He is bleeding badly and she tells him that its time for him to die. She swings the blade down towards his heart before a hand comes in and grabs the blade. He hears voices and sees two Mikurus crying at his dying side, one the younger and the other the older Mikuru. He also hears his own voice saying that it hurt for him too, but that they will take over from here on. THIS IS AN UNEXPLAINED TIME TRAVEL EVENT. Kyon falls asleep.

Kyon wakes up in a hospital run by Itsuki's Organization, and finds that the world has been normalized. Itsuki is by his bed side slicing up apples in his north high uniform. According to him, after discussing plans for Christmas, Kyon fell down the stairs and entered into a coma. The entire group had been shaken, especially Haruhi, who had stayed with Kyon the whole time he was hospitalized. He points to the other side of Kyons bed and he sees Haruhi fast asleep tightly wrapped up in a sleeping bag. Kyon gently brushes her hair away from her face (this happened in the book and the film) and wonders whether to draw on her face. She stirs and wakes up with a start. seeing kyon awake she tries to escape from her cocoon, moving around the room like an inch worm before getting out and pointing at Kyon, scolding him like he's done the worst thing in the world. "You haven't drawn on my face have you?!" she demands.
She scolds him for scaring her and claiming that it was her duty to look after injured brigade members. Soon enough Mikuru enters the room and breaks down crying.

During his final hours at the hospital, Yuki turns up. They have a conversation about what happened and why she acted that way. She explains that unforeseeable errors caused her to change the world, and the her fate is currently being assessed by the Data Overmind. realising that these 'errors' are her emotions kicking in, Kyon relays a stern message for the Data Overmind for Nagato to pass on. He says that if they ever did anything to Nagato, he and the SOS brigade would do everything in their powers to get her back, even if that means telling Haruhi the truth, the truth that she would accept, as in, all he would ever have to say is that he was actually the John Smith from her past, carrying Mikuru on his back.
Yuki thanks Kyon and transfers the message.

On Christmas Eve, Kyon considers his duty to go back in time and save himself, but concludes that the world can wait and joins Haruhi's hotpot party.

Unfortunately, the book ends here. In the anime, after the credits roll, Yuki is seen at a public library watching a boy helping a girl get a library card. After they leave, Yuki continues reading. She covers her mouth with the book, possibly hiding a smile.


11-10. This is one of the greatest stories of all time. ~In context with the character development in the past arcs preceding this.

The reason why Young Mikuru was ordered to take Kyon to the past without her knowing why. The reason why Older Mikuru was there in the first place, the whole reason why it was so important for young Haruhi to remember Kyon for being this guy called John Smith. The reason why time had to be dealt with just after the time alteration takes place. Its a flawless time travel story.

I love how Yukis character development is being treated in this series. Its epic. I love the subtle hints in Haruhis behavior over Kyon. The fact that he also sometimes finds her just as charming as Koizumi does, though he wont admit it. The fact that Mikuru and Kyon seem perfect for each other too, but are fated to never be together. 

This is character development at its very best.

Up next: Love at First Sight.

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