The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya-chan, Vol. 3

By Nagaru Tanigawa and Puyo. Released in Japan as “Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuutsu” by Kadokawa Shoten, serialization ongoing in the magazine Shonen Ace. Released in North America by Yen Press.

It always amuses me when I try to review one of these volumes, as one would thinks that a review is designed to tell people whether they would be interested in a book or not, and these Haruhi-chan manga are by definition so narrow in audience scope that I have to add “the only reason you should buy this is if you’ve bought it already.” And yet here I am, reviewing the 3rd volume. Because, as a huge Haruhi fan and someone who loves 4-koma type humor, I continue to find these a hoot.

Given that this is a gag comic, it’s always interesting when I find bits of character development in it. You would think by definition there could be no character development, as the author is constrained by the boundaries of his parent series. Yet this leaves a surprisingly large canvas for building on what has come before. Thus Tsuruya and Mori’s friendly martial-arts rivalry continues, and Nagato’s addiction to games becomes so bad that when forced to give them up by Haruhi (for an eating contest, to give her ‘fighting spirit’), she nearly ends up dead. The manga is also well past the animated episodes as well, so no longer has to worry about the anime outdoing it.

The beginning of this volume is also, I suspect, important for another reason. It’s based off of Disappearance, and so we see the cast briefly styled in the characterizations of that movie. Seeing a rather hapless Yuki, overprotective Ryouko and clueless yet polite Kyon all having hotpot together, you can almost see the lightbulb go on in the author’s head. And now we have The Disappearance of Yuki Nagato, running in Kadokawa’s Young Ace, a spinoff which seems designed to take Disappearance and hit the ‘heartwarming’ button as much as it can. I will be completely unsurprised if Yen licenses this soon as well.

Haruhi gets a bit more to do here as well, not being confined by Kyon being the narrator. She still doesn’t get to participate in anything supernatural, but she still manages to come up with the weird ideas she’s famous for. My favorite chapter was likely the one where she tells everyone to try their hand at drawing a manga, with herself as the editor… then ends up spinning in a chair, bored out of her skull, while everyone else is doing things and she has to wait for them. There’s also some lovely ship tease between her and Kyon during Setsubun, when an argument about bean-tossing ends up turning into a tickle fight, which is innocent but doesn’t look that way. “I don’t think you should be doing sexy things!”

Mikuru probably gets the least to do here, but honestly, that’s true of the source material as well. And it’s lampshaded in a fantastic intro (in color) by Asahina’s older self. Bitter about the fact that she only gets to appear once in the entire volume, she sets about recasting the entire Haruhi franchise with herself in all the lead roles. Including Koizumi. Kyon is the exception, probably so he can make the tsukkomi response. Poor Asahina! Hang in there!

The drawbacks to this series are the same as prior volumes – it’s entirely dependent on its humor, so when it’s not funny there’s nothing else. Likewise, if you don’t like Osaka-style 4-koma gags, you’ll hate it. But I’m pleased to see the Haruhi-chan spinoff has become a world of its own, one where Taniguchi can turn into a giant 50-foot demon, Halloween can feature Haruhi wearing an eye mask straight out of 20th Century Boys, and Asakura can spend over an hour trying to kill Yuki and Kimidori-san with knives. OK, that last sounds like it might actually work in the real continuity. But in context, it’s extra goofy. As always, recommended highly to those who would get it anyway.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.


  1. […] (The Fandom Post) Connie on vol. 4 of Maoh: Juvenile Remix (Slightly Biased Manga) Sean Gaffney on vol. 3 of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Connie on Nozomi (Slightly Biased Manga) Lori Henderson on vols. […]

Speak Your Mind