In 2011, as a bonus for those who purchased the bundle of both The Surprise of Haruhi Suzumiya novels, Kadokawa’s Sneaker Bunko created a 64 pg booklet entitled The Untold Story of Haruhi Suzumiya. While I’ve taken down the short that was included, Rainy Day, and the illustrations published in the booklet, I felt that the feature with the same name as the booklet would be worthy of being spread around without fear of it being “leeched” like the short or the novels would be. I originally published this in pdf and Word formats as I was experimenting how to distribute at the time. Now, you get to read it in this very post. Without futher adu, here is The Untold Story of Haruhi Suzumiya:
From the new editor-in-charge,
Author: Editor S
A secret story from the “Haruhi Suzumiya” works!
It’s a big release of a secret episode that wouldn’t ordinarily be available to the public!
We thought it’d go with us to the grave, but now it’s in this booklet!
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
|Gloominess going around:
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
|Offensive Gloommy Days||Alternative Girl||Example ~H:
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Freely Transforming Closed Space Edition/em>
|Do You Remember the Dream of Sleeping Beauty?
SLEEPING BEAUTY JUNCTION
|Displeased Writings God -1-
Guruguru Gloomy!? (Gloominess going around)
The memorable novel The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya won the Sneaker Bunko‘s newcomer award, the Sneaker Bunko Grand Prize‘s “Grand Prize” but would it have been read, much less win the “Grand Prize” if the title wasn’t called “very interesting?” In Haruhi’s case, the title applied was The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but the characters used for Melancholy (Yuutsu, 憂鬱) are Chinese characters that are difficult to read, much less write. That was also the opinion of the editorial staff as well. To tell you the truth even I can’t honestly write them. Having said that, here are my memories about the time we tried alternative titles to the novel.
On my files from that time frame that are remaining, I have forty five titles that were considered. Usually less than 20 titles are considered for a novel, but you can tell just how much we were concerned about this novel. Listed above are several alternative titles that made it through the second meeting. After the meeting we had three left, but when it came time to decide the applicable title it was futile. We were stuck with going along with what the head editor had thought. None of the proposed titles were good enough for him. Finally he became defiant that “After reading this work, don’t you think that the characters for Melancholy really fit?”
Looking back at the alternative titles chosen over 8 years ago, I still think “Not really.” Please forgive me for saying that. Maybe at the beginning of the book it was true, but afterwards she became happier. But I wonder what would’ve happened if it had been titled Gloominess Going Around!
The simultaneous blossoming of cover designs!
Now that the title had been decided, we moved to work on the cover design. From the results of a past meeting, we decided that Haruhi standing alone without a background would be the main focus. Above here are some rough images (images that would be considered for using on the cover) that we received from Noizi Itou. Numbers 1 and 2 have a pattern that emphasizes Haruhi’s melancholic mood. For number 3, everyone thought it had a very strong impressionable pattern. Illustration #1 has Haruhi being split into top and bottom halves due to a frontispiece idea. I think it was actually Noizi Itou’s idea, but my memory could be wrong and it was a designer’s idea instead. It’s quite the drastic thought when you think about it now.
And once we had decided on an image, it was time for the designer to appear. For the Haruhi Suzumiya series, only Designer Y in our head design office has worked on the franchise from then until the current day. I worry about how many times he’s had to deal with our difficult character titles. And so we received the rough drafts of the design and we were shocked that there were 22 of them! What’s going on Y?! That’s way more than what we usually get.
Above we have five designs. Design A had the idea that “Make Melancholy as difficult to read as possible.” With such an illustration and huge title, this pattern would differ greatly from the other light novels on the market. B’s idea was “Make Melancholy somewhat difficult to read, but it’s ok if you can’t.” Looking at the design, it certainly fits that motif as it’s something you can’t read at all. Design C had the “split top/bottom” motif with Haruhi’s legs behind the title. It’s quite the shocking design. We thought that design D would be interesting with only half of Haruhi, but it severely weakened the image of the illustration. Small Haruhi would have been cute though. Design E isn’t very much different than what we used, but the font changes the image you would get from the title. The image of a girl appearing healthy when you meet her at a summer resort but actually has an incurable illness… doesn’t it seem like that kind of novel when you look at it?
Not being able to make covers without Haruhi
So as we went along, the decision was made for Haruhi to be on volume 1’s cover, Asahina to be on volume 2’s cover and Nagato to be on volume 3’s cover since those were the 3 girls in the SOS Brigade. Well, when the fourth cover came around we had no plan in place. So our editor-in-chief had a very skillful idea. Wouldn’t it be good to have Asakura on the cover of Disappearance since her powerful character makes a reappearance? The problem is that having Asakura on the cover would be an absolutely HUGE spoiler! We thought that people would enjoy Asakura making a mirrored pose from Haruhi’s pose on the first volume so much they wouldn’t want to read the back cover.
And so by the time we got to volume 6, Wavering, we knew that the process to make the series into an anime had already begun. The designer decided to make a big change. From Wavering until the next three novels were completed, each of the three girls in the SOS Brigade would be in a pose where they stuck their tongue out and pulled on their eyelid. The main feature would be that you were extremely close to their face. There’d be no problems with Haruhi doing such a thing, but we had a feeling that the pose from Nagato may not be applicable since she wouldn’t do such a thing in the novel. But Noizi Itou was able to do it! While the idea itself was absurd, she was able to far surpass anything we had imagined with that illustration. Actually, the person who sent her the rough sketch on what to do was me. I’d have to say that my artistic skills don’t account for much, but for my horrible rough sketch to turn into such a wonderful illustration it had to be a miracle.
An apology for the four year wait for a conclusion
Well, if you’re reading this booklet, you also have a copy of The Surprise of Haruhi Suzumiya. For four years since the last volume, Dissociation, was released we’ve certainly kept all of you fans waiting and for that we really apologize. As for why this long wait, Nagaru Tanigawa wrote about it in the postscript for the novel. Please read it. The four year wait is not something we could mention in the secret episode; that explanation could only come from our representative.
So until this date of release, the word most often heard from people around here is Surprise, so I’m happy that everyone is able to finally dig into this book we’ve put out. From here on more fun activities with the Haruhi Suzumiya series will continue! Please look forward to them. I as well am looking forward to them!!