The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Vol. 10

By Nagaru Tanigawa and Puyo. Released in Japan as “Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu” by Kadokawa Shoten, serialized in the magazine Young Ace. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Paul Starr.

And so we come to the end of the Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, and it feels thematically appropriate that Yuki doesn’t exactly disappear but she definitely takes a back seat in this final volume, entirely devoted to Ryouko’s decision to move to Canada to live with her parents and go to college there. It feels appropriate because, no offense to Puyo, but Kyon, Yuki and their relationship have been the weak part of this title. Yuki’s been OK, and I’ve enjoyed seeing her gain a certain level of confidence, but Kyon is a pale shadow of his self from the main series. They only shone in the amnesia arc, which featured what was essentially Yuki from the main series crossing over.

No, the big achievement of this series has always been Ryouko Asakura, written off as a villain in Haruhi proper (and don’t get me wrong, she made a wonderful villain), then turned into a comedy punchline by Puyo in his other Haruhi series,the gag manga Haruhi-chan (which is still running, by the way – Vol. 11 comes out here in December), but in the Nagato spinoff she became the main reason to watch it, easily having the most depth and emotional pull while also gaining an alternate characterization as Yuki’s “mother” figure who is also overly stressed and worrying to the point where, when being around her, Haruhi ends up being the deadpan straight man figure.

Ah, yes, Ryouko and Haruhi. Folks who’ve read my other reviews of this series know that I’ve shipped them almost as soon as they had significant scenes together, and the tenth volume, while not, of course, making anything canon, is written as if the author read my reviews and said “let’s see what I can do with that”. Being unable to tell Yuki straight away about her decision to move, Ryouko opens up to Haruhi, who alternates between being a sounding board and being a complete goofball (trying to stand on the exercise ball, and the goose egg punchline that follows, was amazing). Haruhi immediately says she will fly to Canada to visit Ryouko – her “free room and board” line implying she’ll just stay at Ryouko’s – and when Ryouko does eventually fly off, Haruhi’s farewell is given a full page, as is Ryouko’s response – more than Yuki!

We then get the epilogue, where Haruhi ends up being the only one who picks up Ryouko at the airport returning from college. There is a brief attempt at heterosexuality, but it’s almost laughable – Haruhi had absolutely no idea Koizumi liked her till he confessed, her “try to make me fall for you!” line implies she hasn’t yet, and Ryouko points out it sounds like she’s just trying to dodge the entire issue. Koizumi is, of course, nowhere near the finale, which is composed of the four “main” character finally meeting again after so long – Kyon and Yuki, now living together (though, despite Ryouko’s fervent imaginations, not with child) and Ryouko and Haruhi, who may not be an explicit romantic pairing but certainly are given as much canon teasing as is humanly possible.

So, in the end, is The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan worth it? It certainly was to me, but as I’m sure you noticed, I wasn’t really concentrating on the main plot. The art improved as it went on, but that does mean it starts as “very mediocre”. In the end, I recommend it to Haruhi fans who want to see a different side to Haruhi, one that is milder and more mature but still clearly her. I also recommend it to Ryouko fanatics, but honestly I’d hope they were already reading it. I enjoyed some volumes more than others, and it could have been shorter, but I adored the final volume.

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Vol. 8

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.

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Vol. 6

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.

In my last review of this title, I seemed somewhat grumpy. The manga had gotten to a place that seemed ideal to wrap up, but trundled past and kept going anyway, with any love confessions quietly brushed under the carpet. I have no doubt that, with the main manga having ended in Japan, and no light novels or anime on the horizon, there is strong impetus to keep the remaining cash-cow spinoffs running. That said, I enjoyed this volume a lot more than the last, as Puyo settles in to do what he does best: take the Haruhi characters, soften them and give them alternate traits without quite turning them into another person, and write as many heartwarming, smile-inducing scenes as possible.


I had discussed Kyon’s confession (and Yuki not hearing it) last time, and while I’m annoyed he backed off, I’m pleased to see that his experience with the alternate Nagato has affected him. He can’t pretend to go out with Sasaki, even if it’s to help her deal with a guy that’s being too forward, because it wouldn’t be right to Nagato’s feelings. Not the Nagato he knows, but the alternate Nagato. This is very Kyon, and nice to see in a series which lacks his sarcastic inner monologue and thus sometimes has him be more of a cipher than necessary. As for Sasaki, like the rest of the female cast, she seems to be aware she loves Kyon but unwilling to admit it directly. You get the sense that the ‘date me to fend off my admirer’ plan was a bit of a ruse.

Possibly the funniest moment in the series involves Mikuru, another character who’s been reduced to a minor role in this spinoff due to the AU. Here she sees Nagato trying to decide what to do about Kyon seemingly having a better choice in Sasaki, and plays up the part of the wise older student, telling Yuki that jealousy is a perfectly valid feeling to have. That said, when Yuki asks how best to approach Kyon, Mikuru gradually falls apart, as it’s clear she has little to no experience in that area either. (Yuki and Mikuru in this series are somewhat defined by the friendship they have with more extroverted, pushy people who spur them on.) Mikuru being a “failure as a sempai” is hilarious, and Yuki’s response to this is sweet.

Haruhi spends most of the volume on the edges, as she’s pissed off at Kyon and Yuki for not letting her do a band with the literature club. Interesting, the ENOZ thing happened at last year’s cultural festival, where Haruhi was just a visitor, only with Tsuruya playing the brilliant guitarist. Even more interestingly, she gets Mikuru to willingly join the band on tambourine for this year (Mikuru is less shell-shocked by Haruhi here, even if she still has confidence issues). This all leads up to the last scene in the book, though, where Haruhi goes to get Ryoko to make sure she attends the concert. Ryouko snarks on her bunny outfit, but the important thing is Haruhi willingly thanking her for taking care of getting the band on the schedule, and Ryouko saying she did it as a friend, not as a class rep. (Also, ship tease out the wazoo, but that’s just me.)

I haven’t even gotten into all the tiny little Haruhi refs buried in here (I wonder if the Endless Eight joke was in the original Japanese…), or the fact that of COURSE Kuyou is at Haruhi and Sasaki’s school in this AU, and of COURSE she’s meek and shy just like Yuki is, and of COURSE she has an adorable meet cute with Taniguchi. This is not exactly a series to read if you want surprise, or, if I’m being honest, depth. But it’s got a good heart, which is pretty much its entire reason for being, and in that respect fulfills the reader’s needs. Haruhi fans should be pleased once more.