By Shannon H
I believe I have already written an in-depth expose about why The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is the best thing to have come out of Japan in a while and that you should be all up on it, but that isn’t going to stop me from flailing over the fact that we’re getting Volume 8 of the manga this week.
In case you aren’t in the know, the Haruhi franchise is one of the biggest things in Japan, which is unsurprising considering how well it blends a truly thought-provoking sci-fi story with tons of pop-culture and slice-of-life. This particular book begins to follow the fourth light novel of the series, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, which is also the plotline for the amazing and epic feature length film that came out last year. In a nutshell, our cynical hero, Kyon, wakes up one morning to discover that no one has ever heard of the SOS Brigade or Haruhi Suzumiya! Yuki and Mikuru act as though Kyon is a stranger, and Koizumi’s entire class has just outright vanished! The resolution will blow your mind, promise.
The other exciting book for this week is the second volume of K-On!, which has also been spotlighted before, but still deserves attention. K-On!, which is short for keiongaku (light music, or, essentially, pop music), is about five girls who have an after school band and drink tea while being super adorable. The manga fits in the realm of Lucky Star and Azumanga Daioh and is successful for similar reasons: the five girls all have well-fleshed out personalities that are allowed to naturally react and grow together without the pressure of being confined to a traditional linear storyline. In essence, the plot IS the character development, which is something I’m always happy to see. For instance, Yui might be clumsy and scatterbrained, but her determination drives her onwards to become a good guitarist, and you can see how the music really starts to build her confidence as she progresses. Or Keith Moon-loving Ritsu, the drummer who still carries a certain melancholy to her, despite the way she bolsters those around her with her energy. And if you like the manga, definitely check out the anime when it comes out over here: not only are the girls even cuter in motion, but the music is pretty good too!
For the rest of you that don’t like things that are too cute, you can read Nabari no Ou, Volume 6, which continues the vaguely shonen ai ninja epic with just as much action and intrigue as ever. Or maybe you’d like to take up Bamboo Blade Volume 8, a sports manga about kendo, or Bunny Drop Volume 3, which focuses on the bonds of family between a young bachelor and his adopted half sister.
All of these great books and more are available online at fpnyc.com and on the shelf in the super awesome upstairs Manga section of the shop. Come say hi