Any Joe Schmoe on the street could tell you without question that Harry Potter is a publishing phenomenon, but if you asked him about The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, he’d look at you like you were a crazy person. While Pottermania is perhaps a whole other monster, it’s still no small feat that the Haruhi light novels managed to sell over 4,300,000 copies in Japan alone. Finally (albeit a few years behind the bandwagon), we are getting the full taste of all that is Haruhi here in the States, and it’s about damn time!
So far, there are nine Haruhi novels and soon to be ten, four of which have already been printed in English. The books follow the (mis)adventures of the SOS Brigade, a ragtag after-school club that was created by the beautiful but eccentric Haruhi Suzumiya. The purpose of the club is to unearth paranormal phenomenon such as the existence of aliens, time travelers and espers, which, unbeknownst to Haruhi, are exactly the sorts of individuals that populate the rest of the brigade. The reason for their presence creates a sort of chicken-and-the-egg scenario, since Haruhi is also the unwitting creator of the world that we live in, and they have come to make sure that Haruhi remains content with the way things are so that she doesn’t end up re-imagining things to fit her ridiculous whims. But are they there because they were sent, or has Haruhi’s desire to meet aliens and the like exactly what drew them to her in the first place? Apathetic skeptic, Kyon, the club’s lone normal member and our cynical narrator, isn’t too sure he believes a word of it, but whether he likes it or not, he’s been sucked up into the Haruhi whirlwind, and it is doubtful he’s going to be let off any time soon. Continue reading