By Nagaru Tanigawa and Puyo. Released in Japan as “Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu” by Kadokawa Shoten, serialization ongoing in the magazine Young Ace. Released in North America by Yen Press.
It is not particularly surprising that, having resolved its main relationship in this volume, Nagato Yuki-chan continues. After all, the main Haruhi novels are still in limbo, and may remain there permanently. The anime, unlike this spinoff manga, is not allowed to use Sasaki (indeed, the anime of the Nagato Yuki-chan manga took pains to avoid having her appear). And Haruhi-chan, while fun, is still just a gag manga. Thus is is this title which has almost become the series flagship, despite featuring characters who remain, at heart, really nice and sweet. And so we continue to toddle along, vaguely discussing graduation plans and learning how to cook, and occasionally teasing the main continuity, such as when Yuki gets sick.
Now that Kyon and Yuki have resolved their affections, most of the stress in this volume is carried by Ryouko, who remains my favorite and gets a lot of face time this time around. She’s not made aware that anything has changed till the very end of the book, mostly as Kyon and Yuki are too embarrassed to say anything. And it’s honestly easier, when repurposing material that may have been used in prior spinoffs or the main series, to use Ryouko’s POV, as she wasn’t in them by virtue of being evil and erased. She goes back and forth between being a mom, a big sister, a shipper, and a nervous wreck here, and once again it’s Haruhi who is forced to play the minder to the minder and comfort Ryouko when she begins to cry in happiness at Kyon and Yuki’s relationship.
Speaking of Haruhi, she’s still trying to do interesting things, but she’s also the one who, along with Tsuruya, actually has her act together and is thinking about what comes next. She’s given up on Kyon, but in this title is OK with that, and appears to be content to move on. (Koizumi is still sticking with her, but again she appears to regard him more as a useful tool than anything else). Mikuru is useless in the original series, adult form aside, but here Tsuruya admits that she’s genuinely trying to change that, and give Mikuru the experience with people she desperately needs to move forward when Tsuruya can’t be there to take care of her.
And so it looks as if the next volume of the series (and yes, there is one) will discuss graduation plans. Ryouko is undecided, mostly as she really hasn’t focused on her own life as much as living vicariously through Yuki. As for everyone saying Yuki is the housewife type, given Kyon’s less than zero ambition, I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. But of course this is a mild, sweet, happy title, so I suspect any crises of faith will be resolved in about 50 pages or so. It may not be the Haruhi we’d like to see, but if all we can get now is this continuity, I’m perfectly happy, and want to see what the cast will do in the future.