Reviews: Tanigawa, Nagaru

The Director is God

The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya — Nagaru Tanigawa
Haruhi Suzumiya, book 2

2003’s The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya is the second in Nagaru Tanigawa’s Haruhi Suzumiya manga series.

Audaciously self-centered Haruhi is determined to provide her school’s upcoming cultural festival with a movie of unparalleled quality. The fact that nobody asked her to do this isn’t going to slow her down at all. Haruhi didn’t get where she is by caring one jot about other people’s preferences!

At least the project will distract Haruhi from her failure to find the time travelers, aliens, and ESPers she is convinced must be concealed within the general population. And anyway, what could go wrong with a simple film project?

Quite a lot, if the auteur behind the film is an unwitting god. Which Haruhi is.


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The Alteration

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya — Nagaru Tanigawa
Haruhi Suzumiya, book 4

Nagaru Tanigawa’s 2004 The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is the fourth volume in his Haruhi Suzumiya series.

Together with the other members of the SOS Club—alien emissary Yuki Nagato, time traveler Mikuru Asahina, and ESPer Itsuki Koizumi—Kyon assists the determined Haruhi in her quest to find aliens, time travelers, and ESPers. And by assists, I mean “at any cost, prevents Haruhi from discovering her own true nature.” Just as Haruhi is oblivious to the fact her SOS is almost entirely staffed by the very exotic beings she yearns to find, so too is she unaware of her own nigh-godlike powers or her destructive potential. It is the job of the SOS Club to keep her unaware.

Keeping the “irritating sociopathic Genki Girl” (as TV Tropes puts it) too busy to truly see the world around isn’t safe and it’s often unpleasant … but at least it is never boring. Escape from the SOS Club appears to be impossible, so Kyon may as well resign himself to his fate.

And then one day Kyon discovers the world has been transformed.


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A Dark and Cruel God: the Comedy!

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya — Nagaru Tanigawa
Haruhi Suzumiya, book 1

First published in 2003 as Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu, Nagaru Tanigawa’s popular light novel was translated from the original Japanese to English by Chris Pai and published under the title The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya by Little, Brown’s Yen Press in 2009.

~oOo~

By the time we first meet him, pessimistic high school student and narrator “Kyon” (whose real name is never revealed) has resigned himself to the fact that he lives a mundane life in a mundane world and that wonders like aliens, time travel, and ESP powers are matters of pure imagination, nonsense that will never have anything to do with the gray, dull life he will no doubt live.

And then by chance, he is seated directly in front of Haruhi Suzumiya, disgruntled schoolgirl, noted eccentric, and, quite possibly, living god.


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