How Intriguing: the latest Haruhi novel from Yen Press

The Haruhi Suzumiya light novel series first started in 2003 and by 2005, the series had already spun into 6 published novels, two on-going short stories in The Sneaker, and a surprise announcement with the seventh novel. Yes, the anime we all know about was mentioned on the obi attached with The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya back in August 2005. Yen Press licensed the first 9 novels in 2008 and have scheduled the release of Intrigues to be published on June 19, 2012. Thanks to Amazon, I was able to obtain my copy early.

Intrigues is the longest single novel in the franchise and uses that length to its advantage. I’ve mentioned before that Tanigawa tends to use a similar formula for his novels, and it’s executed very well in this one. The plot is very simply set up: A Mikuru from 8 days in the future comes back in the SOS Brigade clubroom after being ordered to time travel by Kyon. She has no idea what she is supposed to do and neither does he. Their adventures throughout those 8 days are told in this novel.

Since we see so much of Mikuru in this novel, it should be no surprise to anyone that time travel and the fundamentals of time travel are focused upon in this story. Tanigawa begins to contemplate: are our actions set in stone or can we change the future? Does knowledge of what happens prevent you from being free? How should one act when knowing the future? These concepts are very well debated by Kyon throughout the story and really accentuate the main story.

Yen has included full page illustrations by Noizi Itou and 5 color illustrations at the back. Personally, I’m not a big fan of her artwork at this point in her career. The illustrations are exactly the same as the Japanese versions, but they feel too comedic. Her later works have improved immensely.

As for translation, Paul Starr returns from Wavering and does a fantastic job explaining those confusing concepts of time travel. Having done so myself, I can attest as to how difficult it can be to convey that information to someone else. I only noticed one mishap in translation, but it shouldn’t impact anyone’s reading. I highly recommend this translation.

I’ve tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, but I’ll say that Tanigawa takes the premise, builds upon it, and then delivers with two fantastic scenes near the end. Chapter 5 is incredibly well-executed and is one of my favorites from the whole series due to that execution. The title comes into play throughout the whole novel and I really couldn’t think of another way to put it. The end will surprise you, but the whole story will make you want to see what’s coming next.

Personally, I love the novel, and re-reading it was an absolute joy for me. Yen, as usual, has done a fantastic job carrying the franchise to English audiences. I cannot recommend this novel enough to any Haruhi fan. I only wish that I could go into more detail about why this novel is a fantastic story, but I really don’t want to spoil anyone on the details. Read it and enjoy!

8 thoughts on “How Intriguing: the latest Haruhi novel from Yen Press

  1. What formula?đŸ˜®

    Ah one more thing, what’s that green book next to the novel? Is that a hardcover of some sort or something like a guidebook?

    By the way, that’s a nice special edition Japanese novel there :3 Wish I had that haha, too bad I can’t read much Japanese:/

    • Tanigawa usually goes into a “detail, detail, detail, WTF moment, climax of story, calm down” strategy with the novel-length stories. The Asakura moment, Mikuru Beam, and discovery of where Haruhi was in prior novels serve as those moments in their respective stories. This novel’s moment occurs much later in the story, but is still present.

      The light green book is the paperback version of Intrigues. I try to get both versions to have one for casual reading/lending so I don’t damage the hardcover versions.

      • Ah I see, so the paperback version doesn’t have the original artworks by Itou? Wow that sucks :X

        Was just wondering how much did the English versions cost you (Paperback/hardcover), also, did you purchase the Japanese version from Amazon JP?

        • Only the cover art/binding is different. The pages inside are exactly the same for both versions. I ordered both from Amazon and paid 17.40 USD for them ($8.41 Hardcover/$8.99 paperback). The Japanese version is a limited edition panorama cover variation, but it was ordered from Amazon Japan in 2010, when the LEs were still in print. They’re much harder to find now for an international fan.

  2. If there was one thing that I’d complain about this novel, it would be the blurb on the backside of the book. The author of that thing obviously thought he should tell sell the reader his opinion as fact and now everyone who didn’t know about this novel before the English release thinks that Mikuru is Kyon’s secret crush. God damn it. At most, he’s infatuated by her body and cuteness.

    • Alas, the backcover text has never been a strong point of Yen’s releases. From mistaking the seating order (putting Kyon behind Haruhi) on the first novel to the constant mistakes in volume order, they’re best left ignored. Remember that they’re aiming for a teenage reader who knows nothing about anime with these books. That’s why those phrases are used.

  3. “At most, he’s infatuated by her body and cuteness.”

    That would describe a crush pretty much – as opposed to his secret love, which is different. And yes, it is indeed a “secret” crush as he never actually mentions his feelings to anyone but the reader.

    Why do people keep denying Kyons feelings for Mikuru despite them being on literally every page. Stop hating on her already. Sure he’ll end up with haruhi in the end but if he only cared for her from the start, the story would be booooo-riiing!

    I really need to read the official translation of this (already on pre-order) – I never much liked this book, but this may have been the fan translation throwing me off.

    • I agree that it describes a crush, but it also fits the whole “moe” aspect where you want to protect someone. That’s the original impact of the text from the Japanese. It is secret, but I think so is Mikuru’s feelings towards Kyon as well.

      Kyon’s more vocal about his feelings towards everyone else but Haruhi, which is why people don’t think he likes her when it’s the opposite. It provides the fun instance where you have two tsunderes liking each other and resisting saying anything. Granted, there’s fun scenes like in Disappearance where he’ll say “I actually miss Haruhi” and we see he really cares for her. I’m curious what’ll happen in the future.

      The official translation is very well done. I’ve seen three people who’ve read it recently all rave about it. Give it a try.

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