Uguu Re-read! The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya

The #1 cause for re-scheduling of anime

The SOS Brigade will be enter­ing a base­ball tour­na­ment!

Sup every­one! We’re enter­ing one of the first vol­umes that com­prise of “short” sto­ries. In terms of this book, we have four:

  • The Bore­dom of Haruhi Suzu­miya
  • Bam­boo Leaf Rhap­sody
  • Mys­terique Sign
  • Remote Island Syn­drome

The Bore­dom of Haruhi Suzu­miya, the short sto­ry that this entire vol­ume is named after, is sort of a filler. It’s a fun­ny chap­ter about the SOS Brigade’s attempt at base­ball, but nev­er­the­less it’s real­ly weak com­pared to the oth­er Suzu­miya Haruhi arcs, most­ly because noth­ing tru­ly jaw-drop­ping hap­pens. It’s kind of jus­ti­fied though, since the chap­ter itself is actu­al­ly the pilot of the series that was pub­lished two months in The Sneak­er before The Melan­choly of Haruhi Suzu­miya ever came out. So it’s only nat­ur­al that the most we get from this sto­ry are very basic show­cas­es of the cast’s per­son­al­i­ties and noth­ing real­ly spec­tac­u­lar. Also, just in case you were won­der­ing, yes — it’s exact­ly the same as the ani­me.

TIME PARADOX

Asahi­na (Big) poked Asahi­na (Small)‘s cheek

Bam­boo Leaf Rhap­sody is where the fun of the book real­ly begins, and where the term “three years ago” becomes sort of an arc phrase for the series. And also the first chap­ter where there’s actu­al focus on Miku­ru being a time trav­el­er… sort of.

Kyon trav­el­ing three years into the past, at the request of Asahi­na Miku­ru, where he meets Loli Haruhi and basi­cal­ly helps her do what made her infa­mous in mid­dle school, which Taniguchi told Kyon about in the first nov­el, makes a very… intrigu­ing tem­po­ral para­dox where Kyon is actu­al­ly the one that inspired Haruhi to look for the super­nat­ur­al… and the insane adven­tures that Haruhi drags Kyon along on are ulti­mate­ly the result of his own actions in the past.

My head.

Also, the fact that Kyon and Miku­ru end­ing up being stuck in the past (due to Miku­ru being a clutz and break­ing her TPDD, which is <clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion>, but appar­ent­ly it’s like a time machine) and hav­ing to have their time stopped and bod­ies kept safe in Naga­to’s apart­ment until time catch­es up just adds to this whole time-whimey insan­i­ty. Tani­gawa Nagaru is def­i­nite­ly hav­ing fun play­ing with time trav­el tropes.

I dun­no. It’s kind of a weird feel­ing know­ing while Naga­to first gave Kyon the whole expo­si­tion spiel in the first nov­el, anoth­er Kyon and Miku­ru were sleep­ing in the very next room. If you take the three years worth of sleep with­in time-frozen space and the time loop shenani­gans we’ll be get­ting into in a lat­er nov­el, you’ll real­ize that Kyon’s… hell, the rest of the cast’s too… bio­log­i­cal age is way dis­con­nect­ed with their chrono­log­i­cal age.

The oth­er­wise good trans­la­tion of the nov­els gets momen­tar­i­ly stu­pid in Bam­boo leaf Rhap­sody. Basi­cal­ly, Kyon in the orig­i­nal Kadokawa edi­tion ref­er­ences the FILP (財政投融資) and what I assume is Japan’s eco­nom­ic sys­tem (金制度), where­as Kyon of the Yen Press edi­tion ref­er­ences… Wall Street and Social Secu­ri­ty. Which are both real­ly Amer­i­can things. Look, I under­stand that not all of the read­ers are going to get ref­er­ences to Japan­ese soci­ety. But the sto­ry takes place in fuck­ing Japan. Ergo, com­mon sense says who­ev­er is read­ing a sto­ry set in Japan is going to expect some ref­er­ences relat­ed to… Japan. Their heads aren’t going to explode.

Mov­ing on: Mys­terique Sign. It’s far bet­ter than the base­ball short sto­ry, but… lacks some­thing that Bam­boo Leaf Rhap­sody had in the pre­vi­ous sto­ry. I dun­no, it’s hard to put my fin­ger on it. The Com­put­er Research Soci­ety pres­i­dent goes miss­ing, and Kimi­dori Emiri, who is sup­pos­ed­ly his girl­friend, tasks the SOS Brigade to find him. The sit­u­a­tion with the alter­na­tion dimen­sion and the data life­form was pret­ty… sur­re­al, even for Suzu­miya Haruhi stan­dards, at least up until this point. The life­form, appar­ent­ly awak­ened when Haruhi cre­at­ed the SOS Brigade logo using the inter­net, used the Com­put­er Research Soci­ety’s brain as a medi­um to sur­vive longer and took the form of his fears. It takes the shape of a cave crick­et in the light nov­el, but I’m pret­ty sure it was a dif­fer­ent kind of crick­et in the ani­me (I’m gonna con­tin­ue doing the re-blog of the ani­me soon, with Kyon appear­ing yet again as a guest, so my mem­o­ry will be jogged in due time). Either way, the pres­i­dent is scared of crick­ets. Hah.

Obvi­ous­ly there weren’t any ref­er­ences to Full Met­al Pan­ic! Fumof­fu in the light nov­el ver­sion.

By the end of the chap­ter, it’s clear that Kimi­dori Emiri, who appeared at the begin­ning of the chap­ter, is not the guy’s girl­friend. But anoth­er enti­ty that seems to be aware of the nature of the SOS Brigade and Suzu­miya Haruhi.

We need Sherlocke Holmes

Kyon, could it be that… this per­son is… dead?

Remote Island Syn­drome is, in my opin­ion, the best part of The Bore­dom of Haruhi Suzu­miya. I was­n’t enter­tained only by its bla­tant and amus­ing com­men­tary on locked room mur­der mys­ter­ies (here, it’s a locked room mur­der mys­tery with­in a locked room), but also the island vaca­tion itself. I dun­no. I just love read­ing about my lov­able SOS Brigade mis­fits just… enjoy­ing nor­mal activ­i­ties. Which this chap­ter basi­cal­ly was about until the actu­al mur­der mys­tery stuff hap­pened.

Fun­ni­ly enough, I loved this sto­ry arc in the ani­me as well. Which is weird, con­sid­er­ing it’s… well, the most diver­gent the ani­me ever got. Besides turn­ing End­less Eight into an actu­al eight-part loop that felt end­less. I admit that although the ani­mat­ed ver­sion has its own KyoAni-induced charms, the nov­el ver­sion of Remote Island Syn­drome is bet­ter, for many rea­sons.

Illegally imported loli

Ille­gal­ly import­ed loli

To start off, the light nov­el did­n’t have Kyon’s lit­tle sis­ter (who prefers to call him the sil­ly nick­name “Kyon” instead of “onii-san”, or hell, his real name which has yet to be revealed) tag­ging along with the SOS Brigade. I’m assum­ing one of the rea­sons Kyoto Ani­ma­tion did this was to keep the high school­ers from indulging and drink­ing in alco­holic bev­er­ages (for­bid­den on Japan­ese TV), which they end up doing in the nov­el. While I like imouto-chan and the Ousama Game they added in to make up for it, I… pre­ferred the SOS Brigade get­ting their ass­es drunk. It’s to note that there’s a fun­ny Noo­dle Inci­dent moment where a drunk Haruhi and Kyon engaged in “dis­grace­ful behav­ior”, the details of which is nev­er men­tioned. It’s kind of weird when Haruhi men­tions that they drank alco­hol in The Dis­ap­pear­ance of Haruhi Suzu­miya movie. They did­n’t do that in the ani­me… they did it in the nov­els.

Any­ways, Lit­tle Sis­ter’s pres­ence also com­pelled Kyoto Ani­ma­tion to put it to some impor­tance in the ani­mat­ed ver­sion. Which I’ll get into lat­er.

In the nov­el ver­sion, there’s a lot more inter­ac­tion between Kyon and Koizu­mi about the inner work­ings of Haruhi’s sub­con­scious, her desires, and to what degree any of it affects real­i­ty. The ani­me toss­es all of this aside in favor of more Kyon and Haruhi inter­ac­tion. Which I don’t mind in con­cept, but Kyoto Ani­ma­tion could’ve han­dled it a lot bet­ter with­out hurt­ing the orig­i­nal nov­el con­tent. In the nov­el, when Haruhi and Kyon go out­side in the rain to check on the boat, they go back inside when they real­ize the boat is miss­ing. This is where the ani­me real­ly diverges from the book — instead of going back inside the man­sion, Haruhi thinks she sees some­one in the dis­tance, and the two end up tum­bling down the island and dry them­selves off in a cave.

Mikoto Gaze

Miko­to Gaze

This is where Kyon and Haruhi start to pan­der the mys­tery at hand. Nat­u­ral­ly, because the nov­el ver­sion focused more on the Kyon-Koizu­mi exchanges, Kyon and Koizu­mi are the ones to think about the “mur­der” in the nov­el­’s ver­sion. While I wel­comed the scenes of Haruhi in a bra because Haruh is fuck­ing hot, it’s kind of strange that Haruhi is so… mod­est around Kyon despite see­ing males as noth­ing more than veg­eta­bles as seen in the first nov­el where she does­n’t mind chang­ing into her gym uni­form in front of them. She may have a crush on the guy, but it’s still out-of-char­ac­ter for her to embody the “I have to be mod­est around my love inter­est” trope. It’s espe­cial­ly per­plex­ing how they end­ed up being found and brought back to the man­sion in begin with — from the looks of it, there did­n’t seem to be any easy way of get­ting back up. Well, what­ev­er.

Last­ly, there’s the final piece of evi­dence that allows Kyon to deduce the true nature of the events on the island. As every­one remem­bers from the ani­me, he noticed the miss­ing steak and left­over car­rots from when his lit­tle sis­ter was hun­gry and look­ing for food. To begin with, there’s already a con­tra­dic­tion in the fact that she would­n’t be there to begin with since Haruhi ordered Yuki to not open the door for any­one; Lit­tle Sis­ter would­n’t be able to leave the room. Yuki tak­ing things too lit­er­al to a whole new lev­el, the nov­el ends up hav­ing a much bet­ter and less con­trived piece of evi­dence — when Koizu­mi want­ed to ask Yuki for an esti­mate for Kei­ichi’s time of death, he asked her about his body tem­per­a­ture instead. He did­n’t ask her about the time of death out­right because Yuki would have replied that he was­n’t dead.

OBJECTION

This ref­er­ence was… objec­tion­able.

While I love Gyakuten Saiban, it was… out-of-the-blue when Kyoto Ani­ma­tion start­ed ref­er­enc­ing it in the ani­me. I liked the ref­er­ence back when I first watched the ani­me in mid­dle school, but I don’t know if I still do. In ret­ro­spect, it feels a bit tacked on. For starters, it was indeed Kyon, not Haruhi, who deduced most of the mys­ter­ies and well… has a per­son­al­i­ty that’s even remote­ly like Ryuuichi/Phoenix. Koizu­mi’s hard­ly any­thing like Mitsurugi/Edgeworth either.

I still love this sto­ry arc either way, whether in nov­el or ani­me form. The ani­me ver­sion is… kind of off the mark as it por­trays the main thing as a “mur­der mys­tery solved by the SOS Brigade!” rather than a look into Haruhi in rela­tion to the mys­tery. But it still suc­cess­ful­ly con­clud­ed that, although Haruhi wish­es for insane things such as a mur­der mys­tery, she would nev­er will some­one to get mur­dered for the sake of it. Although, the ani­me adds an unfor­tu­nate impli­ca­tion that Haruhi sub­con­scious­ly cre­at­ed some­thing that’s still lurk­ing on the island in response to want­i­ng nobody to be the true cul­prit of the mys­teru… Sor­ry, Tamaru broth­ers. Your lives are at the hand of Kyoto Ani­ma­tion cre­at­ing an excuse to momen­tar­i­ly seclude Kyon and Haruhi from the oth­ers.

I’m pret­ty sure the ani­me also added a James Bond ref­er­ence or some­thing with Koizu­mi star­ing intense­ly at a mole on the back of Kyon’s neck. When I first saw this, I was just assum­ing they were adding more homo­erot­ic sub-con­text. What­ev­er the case, I still love the ani­me to death and wished Kyoto Ani­ma­tion adapt­ed the lat­er books. But alas, Kadokawa and their mar­ket­ing. Tani­gawa Nagaru and his hia­tus­es. The bane. Of. Me.

Any­ways, let’s move onto The Dis­ap­pear­ance of Haruhi Suzu­miya… next time!

Suzumiya Haruhi no Taikutsu

TO BE CONTINUED

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