The story of Haruhi Suzumiya began one boring school day when she announced her honest interest in meeting time travelers, espers, and aliens; she had absolutely no interest in normal people. She forces the narrator, Kyon, to assist her in forming the SOS Brigade, a school club whose sole purpose is entertaining Haruhi, a.k.a. bringing more excitement to the world.
The story debuted in the light novel by Nagaru Tanigawa, pictured to the right.
Light novels are a Japanese-specific format that features a lot of dialogue, character illustrations, often cover art, and a fast but not very deep plot.
The light novel was then made into a manga series, pictures to the left, and a wildly popular anime. The popularity of Haruhi Suzumiya was so widespread, and continues to be so, and as a result otaku dubbed the fanaticism of Haruhi Suzumiya “Haruhism.” Okay, it may also have something to do with how Haruhi is pretty much the god of her world and we should all do everything we can to make her happy and entertain her or the world could be completely destroyed! But you’ll find that out soon enough, right?
There are several spin-off series based on the original Haruhi characters and plots. First is The Misfortune of Kyon & Koizumi, which is a collection of one-shot short stories in manga form about unfortunate events that happen to the title characters.
It features the art of several different manga-ka and stories from a variety of writers, which makes it a very unique addition to the Haruhi world.
Personally I really enjoyed following the boys around, seeing Koizumi’s perspective, and reading stories that weren’t so Haruhi-centric!
My personal favorite addition to the Haruhi universe is The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, a manga that has just this year been released in the U.S. It fills a plot gap from the original Melancholy of Haruhi story, in which Yuki splits time to get more attention from Kyon. I won’t say more than that so I don’t spoil the original story!
Anyway, I love being able to see the SOS Brigade’s antics from Yuki’s perspective! She gets to be a normal high school girl, and fight for Kyon’s attention, and go on trips and do school festivals and such. She’s so sweet and kawaii and I just love reading about her!
From a librarian’s perspective, having as much Haruhi-centric content in your manga collection is absolutely essential. It is a staple of the otaku world, a must-see for all self-proclaimed anime fans, and on top of that the art and stories are actually really great! The light novels are also really great stories, but fans of the Haruhi manga and anime are not really that interested in them, in my experience.
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- Yuki Nagato