The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya is the sixth novel published in the light novel series about Haruhi Suzumiya.

The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya
Written by: Nagaru Tanigawa
Publisher: Kadokawa Corporation
English Publisher: Yen On
Release Date: March 30, 2021

This volume of the series includes five separate stories.

The first story, “Live Alive,” is set during North High’s cultural festival. In this story, Kyon is visiting some of the events, including the yakisoba shop that Asahina’s class is doing and a live music performance by the pop music club and other bands. Kyon goes to the yakisoba shop with Taniguchi and Kunikida, and the scene that takes place here is amusing. Kyon goes on his own to the live performance venue, and he gets quite the shock when Haruhi and Nagato are up on stage with two members of the pop music club. For once, Haruhi does something to be nice to other people instead of instant gratification for herself. This is a rare occurrence, of course, but it’s nice to see that she is capable of doing that when it’s needed.

This story was adapted for the initial airing of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya anime, so I already had familiarity with it. But it was just as enjoyable to read this story as it was to see it in an animated format.

The next story, “The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina Episode 00” is the author writing out in prose form what the film Haruhi Suzumiya and the SOS Brigade made for the cultural festival turned out to be. This was also adapted for the initial airing of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya anime, and it was amusing to see it in an animated form. After reading this prose version, I honestly think that the anime’s writers and animators perfectly captured the vibe of the prose version. In both tellings, the final product of the film was a hot mess. Kyon’s commentary in this telling really adds something, and it’s likely very similar to the narration that Kyon provides in the anime telling.

The remaining three stories in the volume are exclusive to the light novel and have never been adapted into an animated format. The first of these stories is “Love at First Sight,” which is set after Christmas but before the SOS Brigade’s adventure at Tsuruya’s family’s vacation home. Kyon gets an unexpected phone call from a guy he went to school with in junior high, and he’s asking about a girl he saw Kyon walking around town with back in the spring. It turns out it’s Nagato he’s asking about. Nakagawa, the former classmate, says he fell in love with her at first sight and wants Kyon to pass on a message to her. Nakagawa is obsessed and wants to become someone who is worthy of her, and he expects it’ll take 10 years to reach that point. Nakagawa wants Kyon to deliver his confession of love and ask Nagato to wait 10 years for him. Of course, she turns this down. Later, Nakagawa asks him to bring Nagato to his school’s football game. Kyon ultimately brings all of the SOS Brigade along, and there’s a twist at the end as to why Nakagawa was interested in Nagato and what she does to fix this issue. And this twist fits right in with the facts and tone that have already been established for this series.

Overall, I found “Love at First Sight” to be an amusing story, but I’m not sure it would have translated as well to an animated format as the other stories in the series did. Although it was kind of interesting to have another character from Kyon’s junior high days appear in the series, even if they weren’t close back then. The reader doesn’t really get to learn much about Kyon’s junior high days, so having someone from that time in his life temporarily come back into it is a nice touch.

Next is “Where Did the Cat Go?,” and this story focuses on the murder mystery that Koizumi sets up for their stay at Tsuruya’s family’s vacation home. Since this murder mystery was mentioned in “Snowy Mountain Syndrome,” which appeared in the previous light novel, I was happy to see Tanigawa follow through on this and actually write it out. I liked how Koizumi incorporated Shamisen (the cat that Kyon ended up acquiring in a previous volume) into the mystery. Reading this story kind of made me think of Case Closed, even though this mystery was fictional in nature. Honestly, it’s too bad that “Snowy Mountain Syndrome” and “Where Did the Cat Go?” never managed to get an anime adaptation, because I think these stories would work well in an animated format.

The final story in this volume is “The Melancholy of Mikuru Asahina,” which is set after New Year’s. In this story, Mikuru asks Kyon to help her shop for tea leaves. Kyon thinks it’s a date, but it turns out it’s part of a mission that Asahina is sent on to save the life of a boy who will become important in the future. But this story is also important because it shows how unsure Mikuru is of herself when it comes to time traveling. What really makes her unsure of herself is the fact that the orders she gets from the future don’t provide her with much information, so she thinks that they don’t trust her. But Kyon is there for her and encourages her. Of course, it can’t be a Haruhi Suzumiya story without Haruhi in it, and the way she’s incorporated into it is amusing. I have to admit that I didn’t see that twist coming.

Something that’s important about this story, though, is the fact that Kyon mentions that the time traveling he needed to do to make sure the resolution of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is accomplished is mentioned here. In fact, it’s mentioned as having already happened, yet that story hasn’t actually been shown in the light novel series at this point. Tanigawa seems to have a tendency to go back and fill in gaps in the story to show previously referenced events happening, so I’m hoping at some point in the series that Tanigawa goes back to this time travel moment and writes it out so the audience can read what ultimately happens instead of just being quickly told what happened.

I enjoyed reading The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya. While it included two stories that I was already familiar with from the anime, I appreciated being able to read them and fill in this gap in the cultural festival storyline. The other three stories were all brand new to me, so I was happy to be able to experience new stories featuring Haruhi Suzumiya and the rest of the SOS Brigade. And the last story in this volume allowed the series to finally progress into the new year. Tanigawa has spent a lot of time filling in gaps between summer vacation and winter vacation, so it was starting to feel like the characters would never move on to the next year. But now they have, and it helps the series feel like it’s finally starting to move forward. At this point in the story, the characters have roughly three months left in their school year, so it’s going to be interesting to see whether the novels move the characters on to another school year, or if they’re going to remain in one school year throughout the run of the series.

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