11 Apr / The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (vols. 1-2) by Nagaru Tanigawa, art by Gaku Tsugano, characters by Noizi Ito
Mystery solved: For awhile (way too long), Luddite me was maintaining our main Smithsonian APA Program website (no snickering!), and every time I booted up the machine I had to work on, an adorable anime character in a little sailor suit would pop up, pointing her finger at me. “What do you think you’re doing?” she seemed to be demanding. I was asking myself the same question!
So now I know she’s none other than Haruhi Suzumiya, a most unusual high school student who’s not content to just be attractive, smart, and popular. “I don’t have time to waste with ordinary humans,” she announces. She forms a new club, called the S.O.S. Brigade, and eventually decides the club’s goal is to ferret out aliens, time travelers, and other such extraterrestrial beings.
She first recruits Kyon, a self-described “typical high school student,” and then adds an odd assortment of members – a near silent bookworm, a gorgeous upperclassman, and a newly arrived transfer student. What she doesn’t know is that each of her new members, save the normal guy, are exactly the nonhuman life forms she so desperately seeks. What the extraterrestrial trio reveal to ‘normal’ Kyon is that the unpredictable Haruhi is none of than their world’s creator – a small fact about which Haruhi is actually unaware! – and keeping her interested and invested is the only way to avoid ultimate destruction.
I have to warn you that this is NOT your kiddie manga by any stretch of the imagination. And these are NOT your typical high school students. Haruhi will stop at little to get what she wants – and her actions are absolutely disturbing. She has no qualms about forcibly dressing gorgeous Mikiru in a tiny bunny suit to parade her on campus for attention, or violently squeezing her into a ridiculously revealing maid outfit to serve tea. Haruhi actually feigns sexual harassment on camera in order to steal another club’s computer. And Kyon continues to watch with growing interest, to say the least. To say that adolescent testosterone runs high in these panels would be quite an understatement.
Readers: Young Adult
Published: 2008, 2009