Story: Nagaru Tanigawa
Art: Gaku Tsugano
Character Design: Noizi Ito
Translation/Adaptation: Paul Starr
What They Say
As a member of the SOS Brigade, Kyon has had his fair share of close encounters (of the bizarre kind). But as Mikuru the Elder’s scavenger hunt sends Kyon and “Michiru” into trouble, Kyon realizes that the scope of his friends’ supernatural connections are far beyond what even he could ever have imagined…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
For the briefest moments early on in this 15th volume of the Haruhi Suzumiya manga adaptation, it looked like things were about to heat up. I’m still laughing at the fact the volume descriptions for 14 and 15 were swapped, probably by accident and not by a Yen Press time traveler. Just like in the comic, knowing how the future events were going to play out changes nothing, because time is tricky mistress.
When we last left the SOS gang, Kyon had been running around following instructions from the future that were inscrutable snipe hunts. To compound matters, he also had to play keep away with a visiting future iteration of Asahina. Kyon takes the matters in stride, because by now he’s well aware of the role he plays and carries out his duties like a good little trooper.
The best errand that Kyon had to carry out was buying the world’s happiest turtle and throwing it into a pond. That’s when you realize that these random events are the butterfly flapping it’s wings, they act as a catalyst for larger actions which is being set into motion. Once Kyon realizes this, he’s perfectly ok with all of this madness. That is, until Asahina from the near future is suddenly kidnapped.
It was at this point that I had high hopes for this volume. A kidnapping! Finally some real danger from messing around with all of this unknown. It was also foreshadowed by the appearance of a strange, shifty man who knew about the SOS Brigade. Sadly, the whole ordeal is over in a matter of minutes, thanks to Koizumi’s Agency. (Speaking of which, is there anyone in this comic who isn’t part of some conspiracy?) The bad guys, if they are indeed bad guys, never even give their names and quickly give up the game.
Explanations for Kyon’s wild goose chase come in a torrent of dialog after the kidnapping. Koizumi eloquently teases Kyon with multiple theories about the truth of the matters, and I wish someone would just punch the guy in the face. Time travel is a messy subject, and the comic throws every theory at the wall but doesn’t commit to a single one. Many of the theories discussed brought to mind a certain recently released video game, but without the emotional payoff to make me care.
Haruhi’s suspiciously bubbly behavior is explained by the end of the volume. Ever the party planner, she was also manipulating events just so she could gift her favorite boy toy with obligatory Valentine’s day chocolates in the most round-about way possible. Haruhi, as usual, is not alerted to the actions going on around her lest it create a some sort of catastrophe. For once I’d like to see what would happen if she did catch wind of any of this nonsense being true.
As for the technical bits of the book, the terribly mediocre art continues to be barely serviceable. The brief car chase scene has some of the worst character art in the entire volume, with the new antagonist girl looking like a rough sketch that hadn’t been cleaned up. I’m guessing the artist hadn’t finalized the girl’s look or just wasn’t comfortable drawing her yet. Either way, it’s disappointing.
The ‘Intrigues’ arc comes to an end not with a bang, but with a jaded ‘woo.’ Every time it looks like there might be real consequences to anything that happens in the world of Haruhi, a time traveler comes along to reminds us all that we’re not cool enough to know what’s going on. Frustrations with the plot, or lack thereof, are minor compared with the same ongoing issues that I’m running out of new ways to describe. The art is still poor, the pacing is still poor, and I’m just thankful that this volume is devoid of flashbacks.
Content Grade: C –
Art Grade: C –
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A –
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: April 23rd, 2013