Haruhi Suzumiya 09: The Dissociation of Haruhi Suzumiya

November 9, 2014

Nagaru Tanigawa – Yen Press – 2013 – 10+ volumes
this is about the novel series

As everyone who is at all interested in these knows by now, the 10th and 11th Haruhi Suzumiya novels (Surprise 1 and 2) were combined into one volume that was released around Christmas.  So we have the as-now complete run of Haruhi Suzumiya novels in English!  Hooray!  There haven’t been any more since 2011, and while the last one leaves off in a good place, it doesn’t feel finished, so here’s hoping we see more some day.

Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of this last story arc, though.  I love that it’s three novels long – I’ve mostly enjoyed the longer stories more than I have the short ones.  But in this case, it makes things really, really complicated.  That’s good and bad, because the longer format gives the story more space to play in, but Tanigawa is sometimes overly fond of very technical details, which is threatening here.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, because I read volume 10 when I couldn’t help myself.  This volume’s pretty awesome.  It starts with Kyon meeting an old classmate named Sasaki, a girl he was close to in junior high.  Judging by Kyon’s narration, it doesn’t seem like he was romantically interested in her, though it seems like she was in him, and she seems slightly jealous of Haruhi, and vice versa when the two accidentally meet.  Kyon is upset that the two had to run into each other, but then… weirdness happens.  Sasaki has a group of friends at the customary SOS meeting place that appear to be… well, an alien, a time traveler, and an esper.

There are alpha and beta sides to the chapters, and each day of Kyon’s life.  In one, Kyon decides to drop all contact with Sasaki.  Haruhi starts the preliminaries for recruiting new members to the SOS Brigade (the new school year has started, and everyone has advanced a year), and the various trials and tribulations surrounding that are central to the plot.

In the other, Sasaki calls Kyon and he agrees to meet and hear her out.  It turns out that the members of her group all represent opposite organizations to the members of the SOS Brigade, and these organizations believe that Sasaki is the all-powerful being, not Haruhi.  But there’s no Kyon!  Much like Haruhi has a kind-of crush on Kyon, so does Sasaki, and he needs to be part of their group in order for… things to happen, I guess.  This group is slightly sinister and wrong, though, and Kyon meets with them regularly in this book only to find out what they’re about.  The only true thing they have going for them is that Sasaki really is more peaceful than Haruhi, so with her in charge of the universe, there would be no danger of everything ceasing to exist and starting over.

This plot carries over into the next one (originally two, so the next one is huge) novel.  There’s two versions of every day, one where Kyon meets with the new group and studies for his exams with Haruhi, and the other where the SOS Brigade has their tryouts.  It’s not clear what this indicates yet, but it will be soon.

Mostly, I enjoyed this novel because it introduced the idea that, for some reason, Kyon is necessary for things.  Which makes it seem like Kyon gives the power to the girl he likes, which is a hilarious idea.

Aside from being super-interesting and fairly exciting, I loved the alternate stories simultaneously format.  It can get a bit confusing, but here it’s still pretty fresh.  Other than that, I’ll talk more about this story in the next review, when it ends.  But really, these novels are awesome, and I’m happy they all got released here.

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