Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa

The Haruhi Suzumiya series is at its best when the subject is time travel. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (book 1), Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody from The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya (book 3), The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (book 4), and The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya (book 7) all sort of rise above their brethren as not just great Haruhi Suzumiya stories, but great stories in general. That's not saying I don't enjoy all of the stories that aren't about time travel, but it's more my way of saying that the time travel stories are the meat and most of the other non-time travel stories are flavorful fat.

Published in Japan in August 2005 and then in America in June 2012, The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya clocks in at a whopping 280 pages. Okay, maybe that isn't an epic as long as Stephen King's The Stand, but The Intrigues does make for the longest Haruhi light novel so far. And the story is that much better for it! 

In The Disappearance Kyon had to go back in time three years in order to prevent a world in which there was no SOS Brigade from coming to fruition. Once he made it back to his present time he was stabbed and almost died if not for the assistance of someone who sounded and looked an awfully lot like himself. 

The Disappearance ended with Kyon knowing that he would soon have to go back in time to save himself, but deciding that he would celebrate Christmas by eating some of Haruhi's hot pot first. In The Melancholy of Mikuru Asahina from The Wavering (book 6) we were told that Kyon did go back to save himself, but we weren't exactly given any details. Naturally, that annoyed me, but Tanigawa has been great at filling in the gaps so far (honestly, a little too great with all of the short stories filling in every single detail) so I knew he would have a book or a story somewhere that provided us with that info. 

Well, The Intrigues finally wraps up The Disappearance and we get to see Kyon's journey back in time to save himself first hand. 

Once his life is saved and Kyon returns to his normal time and a world with the SOS Brigade is safely guaranteed, Kyon decides that it is time for some R&R. Of course, there are a few things trying to keep him from relaxing, but overall everything seems smooth until he hears a sound coming from the broom closet of the SOS Brigade club room. 

That sound is the sound of an Asahina Mikuru who has been sent back in time eight days by none other than Kyon himself! 

Kyon is naturally confused as to why Asahina would need to travel back in time and he is even more confused as to why he would need her to travel back in time. Which makes sense because from Kyon's perspective he hasn't had a need to send Asahina back in time yet and might not for eight more days. 

But all of that confusion takes a back seat when Kyon realizes that there are now two people named Asahina Mikuru in his timeline and he must somehow keep them from meeting each other while trying to figure out why the hell he needed two Asahinas in his timeline at all. Just what the hell had his future self been thinking? 

Not to mention there is yet another Asahina from even further in the future who keeps leaving Kyon obscure notes telling him to pull childish pranks for seemingly no reason with eight-days-from-the-future Asahina. 

Meanwhile, Haruhi is back to her usual tricks again and has the SOS Brigade going on treasure hunts, mystery searches, and even raffles. Of course, Kyon knows all of this beforehand thanks to eight-days-from-the-future Asahina, but knowing this doesn't help him know why he has to deal with even more time traveling shenanigans when he apparently already has a full plate. More importantly, it makes him even more agitated because now he has to act in certain ways around present Asahina that fit eight-days-from-the-future Asahina's memory lest there be some sort of potentially future-ruining paradox!

If you are a fan, if you wanted a novel-length follow-up to The Disappearance, if you want to know why the boy from The Melancholy of Mikuru Asahina was so important, or if you want a story that features three versions of the same easy-on-the-eyes character then this is your book, folks. Plus it's just damn good. 

It's available for Kindle download, paperback, and hardcover just like all of the others. Go buy it. Buy all three versions. 

Failure to do so means punishment!

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