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.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Rampage of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa

Okay, folks, let's recap real quick. So far I have read The Melancholy, The Sigh, The Boredom, The Disappearance, and now The Rampage of Haruhi Suzumiya. Chronologically speaking the stories in The Boredom take place between The Melancholy and The Sigh. The Rampage of Haruhi Suzumiya is a book of shorts much like The Boredom, but each of the stories in The Rampage take place during a different season. So I can't quite say that the stories in this book take place between one book or the other like I could with The Boredom

The first story is the much dreaded Endless Eight and the preface for that story is "Summer." The second story is The Day of Sagittarius and the preface for that is "Fall." And I'm sure you can guess that the preface for the third story Snowy Mountain Syndrome is "Winter." 

So if you were to put the stories in chronological order then Endless Eight would take place between The Boredom and The Sigh, The Day of Sagittarius would take place between The Sigh and The Disappearance, and Snowy Mountain Syndrome would take place after The Disappearance

So we kind of have a book of mini-sequels/prequels. I hope you've been taking notes. 

While I certainly prefer the novels to the shorts because the novels seem more integral to the story while a lot of the shorts are more or less side stories, there are two specific stories that come to mind when I think of why it is important to not just cast aside these short story collections. One of them is Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody (this story is very important if you want understand anything that happens in The Disappearance or anything else thereafter) from The Boredom and the other is Snowy Mountain Syndrome from The Rampage. However, I'll talk more about that last one in a moment. I want to go back to the beginning and talk about...

  • Endless Eight - If you are an anime fan then you probably know the anime segment from the second season by reputation. While the majority of the television show is remarkably good at adapting the light novels, the Endless Eight is where the proverbial poop hits the proverbial paddles. In the anime we are tortured by eight straight episodes of almost the exact same thing. The only thing that changes from episode to episode are the clothes of the main characters and maybe a setting or two. Most of the dialog is exactly the same in each episode. I mean, these actors, artists, and writers got paid to recycle the same material eight straight freaking times. However, the story is NOTHING like the eight-part stretch from hell in the anime. Well, episode nine of the second season is actually a pretty good adaptation of the story Endless Eight, but the previous seven episodes of the second season of the anime are pointless when it comes to the story. I just don't know why they did things the way they did. Oh, well. The story is about the SOS Brigade being forced relieve the same period of time (the last two weeks of August) 15,498 consecutive times because Haruhi is always left wishing that there was something else the SOS Brigade could do before vacation ends. Kyon and the others do not remember how long they've been going through summer at first , but there are times where they are hit by some serious deja vu (but Haruhi is oblivious to any deja vu). Once they (minus Haruhi) discover that Nagato (whose job is only to observe Haruhi's behavior) does in fact know that time has been looping (she remembers all of the 15,498 loops), Kyon must discover what Haruhi wants to do before time resets itself again and he can't remember anything again. This story isn't too shabby when you yourself aren't forced to relieve it eight straight times. Not the greatest story ever, but it won't drive you to drinking like the endless eight-parter from hell will. But... I am glad they didn't make an attempt adapt all of the other 15,497 time loops for the anime. 
  • The Day of Sagittarius - This story was adapted into episode eleven of the first season of the anime. It details the SOS Brigade's battle against the computer club next door. The computer club has challenged the SOS Brigade to play a game they created in order to win back the computer that the SOS Brigade stole from them in the first book. There's nothing particularly groundbreaking about this story, but it's okay, I guess. Passes the time. 
  • Snowy Mountain Syndrome - Okay, folks. This story is one to be excited about. The story is the first in the series that the anime did not touch. And it also takes place directly after The Disappearance. So we get our first chance to see the new Kyon in action and it all seems new because we haven't seen it before. After deciding that is was time for another "murder mystery" adventure the Brigade journeys to a cottage on a snowy mountain. However, once there they become lost while skiing and walk for hours in a space that all too well resembles the closed space that haunts Kyon's nightmares. But this is different. Something other than Haruhi (or Nagato, for that matter) has trapped the SOS Brigade in a dimension where time doesn't quite seem to have same flow and Nagato's boss no longer seems to communicate with her. In this other dimension they discover a large mansion devoid of human life and it is in this mansion where they seek shelter from the intense blizzard that the real challenge begins. Meanwhile, Haruhi begins to suspect is there is something "going on" between Kyon and Nagato. Ooh, who says things can't get a little hot in a blizzard? 
The next book in the series is The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya and that one is yet another book of shorts. I kind of want to skip it and go directly to the true follow-up to The Disappearance, but I suppose it won't kill me to do a bit of backtracking. 

I really want to see how these characters advance, though. The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya is calling me, folks. Gimme strength. 

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