Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya- novel 8- Wandering Shadow

*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*

Wandering Shadow- the second (and last) short story of "The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya" (novel 8).

Set in early March 2004.

A girl named Sakanaka visits the SOS Brigade as their second client. She is a girl from class 1-5, the same class as Haruhi and Kyon. Her problem is that she believes there is a ghost haunting her neighbourhood, that causes the dogs that enter a certain area to act scared, and of which eventually fall sick.
Haruhi forces the shrine maiden costume on Mikuru and they all head off to Sakanaka's house via the local train. Sakanaka retrieves her dog, a West Highland White Terrier, and they all set off on a dog walk. Haruhi and Mikuru make so much fuss over the dog its almost like they have forgotten about the objective. They near the river when the dog stops in its tracks. Sakanaka explains that this is as far as he will walk, and its been this way for a week, and not just for her dog, but for other dogs too. Koizumi jots their position down on a map, then decides the group should walk back and approach the river side from another street. He then jots down their position yet again once the dog stop walking. They repeat this process one more time. The three points on the map form a curve, which Haruhi then deducts must form a circle which then indicates the area that dogs do not like. Sakanaka walks her dog home, whilst the SOS Brigade go off to investigate the centre point of the circle, which turns out to be near the row of cherry trees and the bench where Mikuru first admitted to Kyon who she really was, nearly a year ago.

Haruhi forces the shrine maiden dressed Mikuru to recite Buddhist incantations on the area. However they are interrupted by a jogger with his dog who seems unaffected by the area. Haruhi forces Kyon to explain who they are and what they are doing, and the guy explains that his dog too didn't want to enter the area about a week ago, but 3 days ago he pushed his dog to walk in and the dog felt OK after a while.

The SOS brigade give up, coming to the conclusion that whatever was in the area may still be scaring these dogs, but thats only because of whatever was there a week ago.

The case is deemed as unexplained until a few days later when Sakanaka didn't show up at school. Having phoned her, Haruhi informs the others that Sakanaka's dog fell ill and that the vets dont know whats wrong.

They visit Sakanaka's house once more. Yuki inspects the sick dog but pretends not to know whats wrong in front of Haruhi. She later tells Kyon that she would be able to sort it out with the help of Shamisen, his cat. She explains that there are damaged data lifeforms in the riverside area, and they are infecting dogs in order to expand their own memory capacities.

The next day the SOS Brigade visit the Sakanaka household once more, this time with Shamisen. Koizumi also brings along what he calls 'window dressing' to avoid alerting Haruhi to the supernatural; a stereo playing calm music, incense, and lastly the curtains must be drawn. This is to make Yuki's work seem like some sort of ancient Chinese or folk ritual healing technique that she once stubbled upon in a book. Another sick dog from a few doors down is present for the healing technique. Yuki speaks in code without the others being able to see her or hear her, which freezes the data lifeforms. She then transfers them into Shamisen. Any living being would have sufficed, but Yuki chose Shamisen because if anything went wrong, she would be able to deal with the situation better than if say one of them acted as the host.

The dogs recover and everyone is happy.

Later Kyon wonders if the cave cricket in "Mystérique Sign" and the data lifeforms can be attributed to Haruhi. He also wonders if in the ancient past, these data lifeforms attached themselves onto humans, which would later make them an intelligent species. Kyon also asks Yuki if humans revert to data lifeforms when they die. She struggles on how to answer him and instead replies "thats classified". Kyon then wonders if she pulled her first joke.

Koizumi did not do a proper clean up job when explaining to Haruhi what happened, and therefore she is still convinced there is a ghost in the area by the river. She decides the SOS Brigade should conduct a ghost hunt at night using cameras in a few days time.

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7-10. The author well and truly put the nail in the coffin of Emiri Kimidori being a legitimate client for the SOS Brigade. So naturally the next story should be about their next customer, yet first legitimate client.

Thinking about it, this is the second time Haruhi has been present throughout a supernatural event. The first time was getting trapped in a mansion on the snowy mountain.

Its a shame White Day wasn't covered in this short story, but maybe it will be in the next.

Up next: The Dissociation.

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I've caught up with the Haruhi novels for now. The next volume should be released next June!

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