Story: Nagaru Tanigawa
Art: Gaku Tsugano
Character Design: Noizi Ito
Translation/Adaptation: Paul Starr
What They Say
After months of squatting in the Literature Club’s clubroom, the SOS Brigade puts pen to paper and starts writing some literature of their own! The Brigade has just one week to create a literature newsletter if they want to keep the Lit Club’s space from being reallocated by the student council. As each member prepares his or her contribution, Supreme Editor in Chief Haruhi keeps a watchful eye on her team, especially as Kyon’s assigned romance story unfolds!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This is going to be a huge shock to anyone who has read my previous reviews. I didn’t hate this volume of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya manga. In fact, the large majority of this volume is actually enjoyable, including the art!
This volume picks back up in the middle of Haruhi’s challenge from the student council president to put out a literary magazine. We’re plunged into the cutesy fairy tale that Asahina was forced to write, complete with a change of art style to match. The soft watercolor storybook look is a nice break from the stark talking heads that usually dominate this series. Likewise, Yuki’s ‘horror’ story has a different art style to it as well, which while not as drastic is still more visual interesting.
Yuki’s story speaks volumes about her true nature, and might even tell of her existence before the story began. It’s frustrating watching Kyon just shrug off her story, even after realizing what she wrote is probably a reflection of her self. He just can’t be bothered to figure out what it might mean because he had his own deadline to meet. Once again that deep seated selfishness of his seems to be overshadowing common sense.
Haruhi is actually a great editor and chief. I’m a bit envious, back in high school my own literary magazine never managed to get published (not for lack of trying, but lack of teacher support.) Haruhi manages to recruit enough outside writers to provide enough content for the magazine, which in turn spreads the word about it. There’s only a shadow of a doubt that they might not win the contest, and Kyon worries more about trying to come up with his love story.
Kyon’s story turns out to have a twist ending that a clever reader could figure out by following the clues that Koizumi picks out in the story. Although, Kyon doesn’t really seem as embarrassed about his story as he should be. I think the average kid would’ve made something up rather than write about his ‘date.’ The surprise reveal leads into the next chapter, where everyone takes a break from the deadline to investigate an alleged haunted house. Haunted house stories seem to be common in manga, but the twist ending on this one is a bit unusual.
The narrative does continue to jump back and forth, as our narrator seems to have a hard time organizing his thoughts in chronological order. At least the haunted house flashback makes sense, because leaving it where it was chronologically would have interrupted the lit mag storyline.
The final chapter begins a new storyline, with Haruhi starting to show signs of discontent. The ugly problems of time travel are starting to rise up once again, and before Kyon can identify Haurhi’s problem he finds himself confronting another time traveling double of Asahina.
Another successful plot by Koizumi staves off Haruhi’s boredom for another week. The real draw isn’t watching Haruhi in her editor mode, but in reading the pieces of fiction that the club members create. The brief changes in the art style manage to distract from this series usual artistic shortcomings. The improvements to this volume of the Haruhi manga aren’t enough to make me recommend it to new readers, but continuing fans should enjoy this entry in the series.
Content Grade: C +
Art Grade: C
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A –
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: August 24th, 2012