Ah, spinoffs. A series either has to be pretty good or have a massive fanbase in order for good spin offs to work. The fan base for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, while it was greatly developed during its release, still has a strong following behind it.
This next spinoff series by the original manga’s character designer, Puyo, takes place within the alternate reality Kyon lived through in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then it’s highly recommended that you see that first in order to understand the source material. Within this alternate reality, aliens, time travelers, and ESPers never existed. As a result, the characters from the original, while present in the series, don’t have any powers. Since the series takes place in an alternate reality, our title character, Yuki Nagato, was never an alien but an actual member of the literature club. She and her friends Kyon and Ryoko Asakura participate in a multitude of club activities together.
Considering that this is another spinoff series, it was quite interesting to see that an entire manga series could be written based off of a plot device from the movie. It instantly reminded me of the Shinji Ikari Raising Project from Evangelion, which was based off of an idea from the last episode of the original TV series. Throughout the first volume, I did like how some of the characters from the original series did make a cameo in the book. Major characters such as Mikuru and even minor characters like Ms. Mori all make an appearance in the story.
First off, I am really loving the art that’s presented in the manga. While in some of his other series such as The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan the art is very playful, the art in this is also notable dynamic. Also the conversations between Yuki and Kyon throughout the book are pretty cute to see together. It brings about a feeling of love for one but the other is still kind of oblivious to it all. Its also good to see Ryouko get a bigger role through the series as a literature club member and Yuki’s (sort of) caretaker. Finally, towards the end I do like how the bonus material does have a small slew of 4koma that’s like the Haruhi-chan series.
If I did have one issue with the series, it would be that it’s not exactly easy to recommend to the most casual manga reader. If you wanted to recommend this to someone, seeing the movie first is highly recommended, which would in turn require watching the actual TV series, which might be too much work. If you have seen the original series plus the movie, and you’re craving for some more Haruhi-related stuff, then this series is for you. The series has been licensed by Yen Press, and the first two volumes are now out for purchase in your neck of the woods.
Today’s questions! What did you guys think of the original Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya series? Does the spinoff live up to the series’ name? Feel free to post in the comments!