Light Novel Review: The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya is the second novel published in the light novel series about Haruhi Suzumiya.

The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya
Written by: Nagaru Tanigawa
Publisher: Kadokawa Corporation
English Publisher: Yen On
Release Date: January 19, 2021

The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya is set six months after the end of the previous novel, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Even though this novel focuses on the storyline that is set six months later, Kyon keeps making references to events that took place during the timeskip.

The setup for this novel is the fact that the school’s cultural festival is coming up. Even though the SOS Brigade is not an officially recognized club at the school, Haruhi insists that the group make a movie and screen it at the festival. Of course, since it’s Haruhi who is in charge of the film, there’s no rhyme or reason and the whole thing turns into chaos. Between not writing a script and just coming up with things in her head on a whim, along with the fact that she unknowingly has an ability to alter reality, it’s a recipe for disaster. In fact, the entire novel focuses entirely on the making of the movie, along with all of the craziness that ensues, and ends with the film being screened at the festival.

As you read this novel, you have to feel sorry for Asahina because of all of the things that Haruhi has her do throughout it. Starting with recording commercials for a couple of businesses in order to get then to donate equipment for the film, to being made to dress up in costumes for a nonsensical story, and then being a major focus when Haruhi is unknowingly changing reality, Asahina is really put through the ringer. Unfortunately, thanks to various colored contacts that Asahina wears that shoots out beams and other things when they shouldn’t, poor Asahina has to be put through some pain from Nagato in order to keep the various contacts under control. Like I said, you really have to feel for Asahina for putting up with all of this in order to accomplish her mission of keeping an eye on Haruhi. Nagato and Koizumi have their roles to play in the story, of course, but it’s Asahina who is the main star of the movie. Because of this, Asahina ends up being one of the major characters of this light novel.

This novel also introduces a new character named Tsuruya, who is friends with Asahina. Kyon mentions that they fist met her during the six month timeskip between The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and this volume, so while Kyon narrates an introduction for her, the characters react as if they already know her. We also get to see more of Kyon’s friends, Taniguchi and Kunikida in this novel, although their roles are rather minor here. Even when they’re dragged into being extras in Haruhi’s movie, their roles are still rather minor.

Of course, there’s a major focus on Kyon in the novel, since he’s ultimately the narrator of the story. Once again, I appreciated getting to see things from his point of view and being able to read what his thoughts are with the various plot points in the story. Just like with the previous light novel, I thought getting Kyon’s perspective helps to strengthen the story. The anime could only give the audience brief versions of Kyon’s thoughts, so being able to know more of what he’s thinking in the novel helps the audience to better understand his character. Kyon continues to be confused and baffled about the whole situation surrounding Haruhi, and things only become worse as he learns that the factions behind Koizumi and Asahina don’t see eye to eye when it comes to Haruhi. And to top it off, after Kyon has a major disagreement with Haruhi, he’s told it’s up to him to not only make up with Haruhi, but to improve her mood so she doesn’t inadvertently create the space that we were first introduced to in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Let’s just say that for Kyon, this is no easy task. However, I did appreciate how he ended up solving this dilemma.

Even though the novel’s story focuses exclusively on Haruhi and the other members of the SOS Brigade filming a nonsensical movie, it never felt as if the story was dragging. I think that Tanigawa included enough other things, such as Haruhi’s unknowingly changing things in the real world and the revelation about the differences between Asahina and Koizumi’s factions, which helped the story feel like it was more than just chronicling the making of the movie.

I was already familiar with this storyline from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya anime series, and I really didn’t pick up on anything that was drastically different or anything that hadn’t been included in the anime adaptation. However, there were some instances in this novel where I think the translator may have made minor changes to “localize” the story for a Western audience. There are a couple of times where Kyon talks about Haruhi humming a song, and in both cases, I have a suspicion that what the English version of the story says she’s humming isn’t what she’s humming in the original Japanese version of the text. I’m sorry, but I have a hard time seeing Haruhi humming a song by Marilyn Manson in the original Japanese text. I could be wrong on that, but the Marilyn Manson reference just feels wrong.

After reading The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya, I found that I enjoyed it as much as I did The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The writing style is easy to follow, yet it engages the reader. If you read and enjoyed the first volume of the light novel series, then I think you will also enjoy The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya. And if you’re already familiar with the anime series, then I think you will also enjoy the light novel series.

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