First published by Kadokawa Shouten in October 2004, The Rampage of Haruhi Suzumiya (Suzumiya Haruhi no Bousou 涼宮ハルヒの暴走) is the fifth novel in Nagaru Tanigawa’s popular Haruhi Suzumiya series. It was published in China/Taiwan in December 2005, South Korea in August 2006, and now in English on June 7th, 2011! Thanks to Amazon.com, I was able to receive my copy before the publication date and it is worth the wait.
As usual from Little, Brown Inc (through their relationship with Hachette Book Group), the book comes in both hardcover and paperback versions. The hardcover keeps the original cover art by Noizi Itou of Tsuruya-san and Kyon’s Sister while the paperback uses a “newspaper clipping” motif for the title and a recycle bomb for the image. Both are suitable for their intended audience (hardcover for purists and paperback for average readers) and as such they both work for me.
And now for the contents. I know that one of the stories (Snowy Mountain Syndrome) has yet to be adapted into an anime episode by Kyoto Animation, but as it’s finally legally available for an English audience, I must talk about it. And so here goes:
Prreface – Summer/Autumn/Winter:
Simple introductions to place the stories into the timeline where they fit since the novel was written before the 2006 adaptation, much less the 2009 “re-airing” which placed everything in proper order. They’re nice background as to what happens in the time between stories as that’s usually not emphasized by Tanigawa.
Yes, that story is included but unlike the anime this story only uses the 15,498th loop to end the summer. It includes all of the activities throughout the anime episodes, but in one repetition of summer. The emphasis on Mikuru during the night meeting was a great decision on Tanigawa to show just how lost she is without a connection to her time. The other big change is that while they do talk about Nagato and how she’s only meant to observe, I didn’t notice as much emphasis on her boredom as much as the anime did (point KyoAni). Of course Koizumi and Haruhi are both well in this story, but Kyon comes off as being much better as we don’t get to see how much he’s failed. Simply stating that he’s failed 15,497 times isn’t like having the audience experience it. I still enjoy the story, so it’s a positive.
The Day of Sagittarius:
This is most likely the story that has been changed the most due to the anime adaption. Tanigawa is able to convey how the game is structured and how intense it gets, but the visual aspect is enhanced greatly by the computer animation KyoAni used to depict the game world. Nagato is greatly focused on in this story, with something taking place every scene to involve her somehow. Koizumi displays much tact in being able to successfully turn down Haruhi’s ideas that were bound to lead them to failure. Kyon serves only to limit and release the limit on Nagato’s decisions this story and just describes the story for once. It’s still a fun story, but the anime adaption is superior to the text format.
Snowy Mountain Syndrome:
Most likely my third favorite story (I can’t judge Dissociation/Surprise yet due to not reading them) of the series, so I’m slightly biased. The longest short story at the time of writing just enhances how weak the SOS Brigade is without Nagato. When she’s taken out, Koizumi and Kyon are left on their own to find a way to save themselves from a mansion in the snow. The solution to getting out fits the entire series and only helps to foreshadow future stories while remaining a solid story in its own sake. It also features my favorite monologue by Koizumi of the entire series (until Surprise if spoilers are true) and just whets ones appetite for more following. It truly works to finish an exciteful year for Kyon.
I greatly liked the adaption by Chris Pai. Literally the only complaint I can offer is that he shifts from using yen when Haruhi talks about renting Nagato to the Computer Club to winning a lottery in dollars a few pages later in SNS. Everything else is well done. Instead of katakan in SNS, the use of initials is a great alternative and fits for an English audience. He even captures a great pun by Koizumi about “Yuki” in a decent way. It is somewhat tiring to see “the Japanese word for…” when there’s a pun, so I hope that doesn’t continue in the future. SNS is an aberration that requires it though. I did love Tsuruya’s nickname changing from “Haru-nyan” to “Harls”. Great choice in my opinion.
So overall, I’d highly recommend this book. It’s unknown as to when we’ll be able to get another season of the anime and being able to read a story before seeing it is a first for the normal English audience. It’s another great product by Little,Brown and I simply cannot wait until November (really October) when The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya is published for my favorite story of the series!
Also, don’t forget to check out Yumeka’s collection of spoilers for The Surprise of Haruhi Suzumiya on her blog!