Tuesday, November 11, 2008


A few days ago I read the recently-released first volume of the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya manga. (If you're unfamiliar with the whole Haruhi phenomenon, here's an introduction.) My advice, as a big fan of the anime who never gets tired of watching "The Adventures of Mikuru-chan Ep. 00",* is to stick to the anime or wait for the light novels, which are scheduled to be published in English starting in 2009.** And if you have read the manga but haven't seen the anime, don't judge the latter by the former. Even though the manga is written (at least ostensibly) by the author of the original light novels, and is presumably adapted directly from the light novels, it reads like a typical anime-to-manga adaptation. And that's not a good thing (despite my liking for the Tenshi ni Narumon! manga).

According to the article I linked to above, the manga's "target age group is younger than the original novels in order to expand the series' fan base." That isn't necessarily synonymous with being dumbed down, but in this case it is. The manga's story is basically the same as that of the anime (which, based upon what I've read of the first novel, seems to be faithful to it), though there are a lot of minor variations. But the manga's characters are not nearly as idiosyncratic as the anime's. They're more like the characters in a typical "wacky" high school comedy. In particular, Kyon's distinctive, sarcastic commentary, which sets the tone of the anime, is almost eliminated.

The manga's visuals add nothing to the story, and the art itself is generic.

*Not, incidentally, in this volume of the manga, which proceeds in strict chronological order.

**Though given the present state of the economy and its prospects for the near future, any reference to something being published in 2009 should have a "hopefully" attached to it.

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