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.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa

The sixth book in the Haruhi Suzumiya light novel series is in the books and ready for the Blog House. Like The Boredom (book 3) and The Rampage (book 5), The Wavering is a book of shorts. This one contains five stories, though. And the first two stories take place within the timeframe The Sigh (book 2) or just after while the final three stories take place after The Disappearance (book 4) and before and after Snowy Mountain Syndrome from The Rampage (book 5). 

  • Live Alive - Kyon journeys to the yakisoba cafe to meet with Asahina and Tsuraya before catching Haruhi and Nagato perform with the band. Aside from a little more insight into Haruhi's character, there isn't much here. When this story was adapted for episode eleven of the first season of the anime the singing was done by Hirano Aya, the Japanese voice actress for Haruhi. Aya just happens to be a real-life J-pop singer, too. She sang the opening themes and the ending themes for the anime. In the English dub the singing for the two songs the band performed at the cultural festival was done by Wendee Lee. Between the two, I'd say that Aya really stole the show. Wendee did okay though and kudos to her for giving the singing a shot. I infinitely prefer the anime to this story, but again it is nice to see where the anime came from. But once you take out the ability to actually hear the music the story becomes kind of pointless. However, Nagaru has expressed his opinion that after so much build up to the cultural festival in The Sigh only to have novel end before the cultural festival even began... Well, it does seem rather anticlimactic, doesn't it? Well, here's the cultural festival, folks. 
  • The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina: Episode 00 - In The Sigh we were told about the production of the movie that the SOS Brigade made for the cultural festival. Well, this story is actually the movie itself. Not sure I see the point of expanding the movie to where it could be a standalone story, but it is amusing enough in its own right. Nagaru joked in the afterward that he might indeed turn it into a trilogy.  This story was adapted into the first episode of the first season of the anime. 
  • Love at First Sight - From this point on we are anime-comparison-free. This story takes place prior to Snowy Mountain Syndrome and it is about an old acquaintance who calls Kyon up out of nowhere and confesses his love for Nagato Yuki to him! Kyon is certainly curious as to why anyone would fall head over heels for Yuki, but he decides to help play matchmaker against his better judgement. And perhaps he's more than curious about how the alien-made humanoid computer-human interface might respond to a declaration of love. Who knew Nagato could be such a heartbreaker?
  • Where Did the Cat Go? - This is the mystery that the SOS Brigade tried to get to in Snowy Mountain Syndrome. It's much shorter than its spiritual predecessor Remote Island Syndrome from The Boredom, but I would say the mystery is even better this time around. It actually required me to think a little bit more. It wasn't as dramatic though since everybody knew it would be a fake murder this time. 
  • The Melancholy of Mikuru Asahina - Having already gone back in time to save himself from dying in The Disappearance, Kyon is looking forward to some nice R&R. Then the Asahina of his time seemingly invites him out on a date and he's overjoyed. But his hopes are dashed when he discovers that his dream of a date with Asahina isn't a date at all, but more "classified information time travel-related" hijinks. Nagaru himself said that the next novel in the series will be a direct sequel to this story. Call me interested then. In fact, the next three books are more or less one long book from what I understand. This is a very good thing. Shorts are nice and fun and stuff, but I want an epic Haruhi adventure!

I really do hope the anime makes a season three from these unadapted stories as well as the sequel light novels to this book. Oh, and speaking of the anime, there's an episode called Someday in the Rain that was from the first season of the anime and it is the only episode that has yet to be covered by any of the books I have read. Why? Well, that episode was written specifically for the anime and has no basis in the light novels. Chronologically speaking, that is the final episode of the series (even though it is technically only episode nine of season one) before the movie so I think that is an important point worth making. 

Next up is The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya!

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