Light Novel Review: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is the source material for the anime film of the same name. And if you’re familiar with The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan manga or anime, you will also see some of the setup for that series in this volume as well.

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
Written by: Nagaru Tanigawa
Publisher: Kadokawa Corporation
English Publisher: Yen On
Release Date: February 23, 2021

Even though I’m already familiar with the story of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya from watching the anime film, I was curious to see how it was originally presented in a printed medium.

The story begins a few days before Christmas, and Haruhi declares that the SOS Brigade will be having a Christmas party on Christmas Eve and begins the planning process for the event. The prologue runs a little longer than it did in the previous light novels, but it’s taking the time to set up what Kyon expects to be “normal.”

When Chapter One opens, Kyon wakes up the next morning and everything seems to be normal… until he arrives at school. He begins by noticing that Taniguichi is sick with a cold when he wasn’t the previous day, yet Taniguichi insists he was sick the day before. Things are even more abnormal when Haruhi Suzumiya isn’t a student in his class, but Asakura is… and his classmates insist they’ve never had a Haruhi in their class and that Asakura has always been there.

Things continue to spiral out of continuity for Kyon when he discovers that Izumi’s classroom doesn’t exist, Asahina doesn’t know him, and Nagato isn’t acting like herself. Even though this Nagato isn’t the one he knows, Kyon goes to the Literary Club room out of habit. At one point, when he takes out a book that the Nagato that he knows lent him, something falls out of the book… which turns out to be from the Nagato that he knows. The clue doesn’t make much sense to Kyon at first, but once Kyon’s friend Kunikida returns to class after being out sick and reveals that Haruhi is a student at the school down the hill, Kyon decides to find her and try to get her to believe what he has to say.

After Kyon successfully gets Haruhi to listen to him, and they manage to get all of the SOS Brigade members to the Literary Club room, a recovery program provided by Nagato on the computer sends Kyon back to three years ago on Tanabata (the “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody” story from The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya). Both in the novel and in the anime film, it’s interesting to see how the Kyon from this story ends up fitting into the already established story in “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody.” Trying to make sure not to cause issues in a time travel story is enough of a project but trying to make sure that a person who time travels into the story (who had already time traveled into the scene previously, which now means there are two versions of that character there) is even trickier. But from what I could see, Tanigawa managed to pull it off.

When Kyon makes it back to his time, there’s a twist as to who changed the parameters of his world. The resolution of the story is interesting, and it’s not entirely what the reader expects.

After reading The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, I was able to tell that the anime film adapted this story rather faithfully. The light novel story is very well done, and once again, I liked being able to get into Kyon’s thoughts as events are taking place around him. As I’ve said in previous reviews of the light novel series, getting Kyon’s perspective is a nice touch and allows the reader to get to know his personality a little more, since this was something that the anime adaptation really couldn’t accomplish due to the limitations of its medium.

So far, I have really been enjoying the Haruhi Suzumiya light novels, and I’m looking forward to reading the next title in the series. If you’ve seen The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya anime and enjoyed it, I would recommend giving these light novels a try.

Additional posts about Haruhi Suzumiya:

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