Title: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Illustrator: Gaku Tsugano
Licensed: Yes (Yen Press)
Release Date: October 28, 2008 (US)
Somehow I doubt there are too many anime/manga fans out there that don’t somewhat know the plot summary of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya but…just in case…real quick.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is about a high school boy named Kyon (you see the series from his perspective) who as a kid (like most children) loved stories of aliens, ghosts, villains, etc…. And like all children when he grew up he was a bit disappointed to realize that such things do not actually exist. He has long since abandoned such childish fancies and contents himself with a normal life. But in high school he encounters an energetic, beautiful, and angry young girl named Haruhi Suzumiya who still has not given up on experiencing the paranormal in her lifetime! She announces to the class thath she has no interest in ordinary humans and that all aliens, espers, and futuremen should come and see her. Kyon accidentally befriends her and is forced to start a club with her, the SOS Brigade!
This review is just based on the first volume of the manga (at the time of this review only one volume was out officially in the US). Frankly I disliked this manga very much, it seems like it was created just to milk some more money out of avid Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya fans out there. For those who don’t know The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is originally a light novel series, it then got made into a manga series in 2004 but for some reason that manga series was officially disowned and removed from circulation, next in 2006 Suzumiya was reincarnated as an anime series. This manga series we’re seeing is their 2nd attempt at putting The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya into a manga format. And it feels watered down, it truly feels like a manga series, that’s based on an anime, that’s based on a light novel that’s on its second try.
The first thing I’ll say is I HATE the art! I hate how the characters are drawn and I haven’t seen a single facial expression that has stirred any emotions in me. And by emotions I mean a momentary pause in my pace of reading to just stare at the panel and think “so cute!” or maybe a mental chuckle at a joke. I don’t think any of the females look as attractive as they should in this art style, and the guys look just plain awful. Koizumi especially looks quite ugly to me, he looks like a greasy hippie. Art style for me doesn’t have to be gorgeous and detailed…but I have to get the feeling that the artist captured the essence of each character and I just don’t get that feeling. These characters feel like cheap imitations dancing across the panels. Although I should note that I usually end up disliking any manga that is based on something else (video game, anime, and light novel), there always seems to be something weak about the characters and plot when the manga-ka isn’t the one who created them.
I originally encountered The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya as the anime, the anime filled me with a joyous and amused feeling that not many series can accomplish. So I admire the plot of The Melancholy of Haruhi suzumiya quite a bit but I don’t think I can call myself a Haruhite. But maybe because I’ve already been exposed to this story through the anime and loved it there I’m more harsh on this manga series. But I don’t think that even if this was my first ever encounter with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya that it’d like it much more then I do now. After all, I’ve watched anime series before and then read the accompanying manga and been quite pleased with both very often.
(Urban Dictionary: Haruhite – A rabid fan who worships the series “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”. You will find them in any anime community as of the last year. basically they could be considered the new RIF/Narutard.)
However, something very positive and good happened because of me purchasing and reading this manga! I realized that Yen Press was also bringing over the original light novel! There was an excerpt of a few pages of it at the back of the book , I read it and loved it way more then how I had experienced that same plot in the manga. The way the story flows and the way the characters react look better in my mind then on the pages of this manga so I’ll be sticking to the light novels here on out. So stick a fork in it because the Haruhi manga is done for me. I’ll be sticking to the original way in which the story was told (and the anime).
If you’re the type that hates reading books then I suppose the manga will do if you feel the need to read The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya plot in some form, especially if you don’t dislike the art as much as I did. But honestly the anime feels way better to me so I’d recommend substituting the anime in place of the manga.