Thursday, March 26, 2009

Review: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novel HB!

Title: The Melancholy of Haurhi Suzumiya.

Type: Light Novel Hardback!
Price Tag: MSRP is $14.99 U.S. ($16.99 Can.) but you can get it much lower all over!

Availability: Amazon, The Right Stuf, Borders and Books A Million as well as many other fine retailers!

This is the second blog post here with me your navigator! Today we are obviously reviewing The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novel in Hardback which is being published by Little Brown and Yen Press, an alliance of happy happy joy joy if there ever was one.

And what better way to do this review than with a special guest! Here's Yuki!
Yuki: Hello.

Richard J.: Okay Ms. Nagato, I'll let you take over for this part!

Yuki: Hm.
Yuki: Book.

Richard J.: How is this lovely light novel by the way?

Yuki: Unique. The cover is the original Japanese version. The paperback is different.
Yuki: Quality binding. Hardback.

Yuki: Original illustrations included. Not censored.

Yuki: Color illustrations included. Not censored or classified.

Yuki: Manga preview included.

Richard J.: The manga isn't as good though is it?

Yuki: Hm.

Richard J.: Well, I know you have to leave us now Yuki! Thank you so much for your your loquacious review! Everyone, say bye to Yuki and wave gently as she leaves!
Yuki: Why did you tilt the camera?

Richard J.: Personal request from someone who shall remain nameless.

Anyway, here's the facts about The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novel Hardback: First, this is a very well done translation on quality paper with a sweet binding. This isn't a cheaply made release. The translation is delightfully spot on, capturing all the thrills we loved from the anime! Kyon's narration never ceases to be awesome.

Excerpt: Bright rays of sunlight were putting me to sleep as my head perilously swayed back and forth, to and fro. I felt something grab my collar and pull with frightful vigor. Exhausted, I felt the back of my head meet the edge of the desk behind me with a fierce crash. I could feel fresh tears in my eyes.

"What are you doing?"

When I turned around in rage and indignation, I found Haruhi standing and grabbing my collar with - for the the first time ever - a smile reminiscent of a blazing sun in an equatorial sky. If you could take the temperature of a smile, hers would have matched the climate in the middle of a rain forest.

"I figured it out!"

Don't spit on me.

"Why didn't I realize such a simple thing sooner?!"

Haruhi looked at me with her eyes shining as brightly as Alpha Cygni. I had no choice but to ask.
"Realize what?"

"If there aren't any, I just have to make one myself!"

"Make what?"

"A club!"

It appears that being pressed up against the desk wasn't the only reason my head was hurting.

"I see. That's great. By the way, you can let go now."

"What's with your reaction? You should be a little happier about this discover!"

"You can tell me all about your discovery later. Depending on the circumstances, I may even share your joy. But for now, just calm down."

"What do you mean?"

"We're in class right now."

Haruhi finally released her grip on my collar. As I turned my ringing head back toward the front of the room, I could see my fellow classmates with their mouths half-open and the female teacher, fresh out of college, with a piece of chalk in one hand, on the verge of tears.
I gestured behind me for Haruhi to hurry up and sit down. Then I turned my hand palm-up and held it out toward the poor English teacher.

Please continue with class.

As she muttered something under her breath, Haruhi finally took her seat, and the female teacher went back to writing on the board.

Make a new club?


She couldn't possibly be including me as a member, right?

The throbbing in the back of my head boded of ill things to come.

Doesn't reading that make you feel like your reliving the whole experience with Kyon! (Please note, any errors of spelling or grammar or whatever are likely mine. I'm not good at copying text.

The translation is crisp and concise. A possible issue would be the apparent lack of honorifics, a personal annoyance but really not all that big a deal with this series since name usage is kept (in other words, characters aren't all called by their given name. For example, Yuki Nagato can be called Yuki or Nagato by another character depending on the situation/relationship.)

Another possible issue is that all terms that could be translated have been translated. This isn't inherently a problem but it may annoy those who like to see their translations peppered with Japanese terms.

Still, one big issue avoided is the proper use of Esper. It's used properly! Koizumi is an Esper, time travelers are not "future men" or whatever. Although Yuki does speak to the Data Overmind, this is possibly a more accurate translation.

The translation also retains mentions of various things which are inherent to the Japanese school system. The story has not been Westernized in other words to make us believe that Kyon is Kyle or that the story is taking place in America. The use of Junior High is replaced with the eqivalent Middle School though. You will be happy to know that the translation is free of strange revisions like turning rice into cookies or removing Kyon's numerous and unusual comments. All of the sarcasm and wit remains along with the sense of the fantastic that makes The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya a book for not just anime and manga fans but for Sci-Fi and School fiction fans as well.

At the very least, consider giving this as a gift to anyone who reads Twilight so that they can try something awesome yet different.

Alright, that does it for this blog entry. I think I've covered both pros and cons for this translation, many more pros than cons I'd say, and it's time for me to bug out. Hope someone reads this blog and finds this entry useful!

I'll see ya'll again! Hopefully I won't wait so long for the next entry!

*Edited to put the manga preview image back in. Photobucket is acting up.