Well, I reviewed the TV show. I also reviewed the novel. Now it’s time to take a look at the first volume of the manga.

Title: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – Volume 1
Written by Naaru Tanigawa
Illustrated by Gaku Tsugano
Translated by Christine Schilling
Published by Kadokawa Shoten (Japan) and Yen Press (USA)
Publication Date: October 2008

Available from Amazon.com & RightStuf

The Premise

(From the review of the book)

Kyon is an ordinary high school student, who never believed Santa, but did believe (when he was younger) in aliens, time travel, parallel universes, psychic powers, etc. Ultimately though, he grew out of that. On his first day of High School, he finds the girl behind him, in his class, believes in aliens, time travel, sliders, and psychics, and isn’t really interested in people who don’t fit that criteria. She’s also astonishingly beautiful (in Kyon’s opinion), and Kyon decides to get her out of her shell – and ends up leading her to start up a club on campus to find various weird stuff. The girl’s name is Haruhi Suzumiya – and Kyon’s life is about to get significantly more interesting then he would ever have liked.

High Points

Having seen this story told twice before, I’m going to say the manga is somewhat better at the visuals than both the anime and the novel. The story is told from Kyon’s perspective, and the manga takes advantage of this by depicting characters as Kyon sees them, and in particular going super-deformed for some of the sillier moments of the series.

Low Points

The artwork falls flat in the background. The art focuses heavily on close-up shots. Thus, we often have people with no backgrounds.

Also, when Yuki is fighting Asakura, the fight is a lot tamer than it came across in the novel, and was in the manga. In the anime, Yuki appears to be horribly wounded in the fight, as Asakura is basically throwing massive numbers of combat knives at Kyon – and Yuki appears to lose a lot of blood. In here, while Yuki is injured (and loses a hand), it doesn’t feel nearly as severe as in the other two works.

Scores

Originality: It’s an adaptation of a novel, and one that sticks fairly close to the source material. 3/6

Story: The story sticks close to the novel, which is fine, as it’s an enjoyable story. 4/6

Artwork: The art in the manga is fairly good. See the high and low points. 5/6

Characterization: The members of the SOS brigade are just as fleshed out in the manga as they are in the book and show. 5/6

Emotional Response: The humor works incredibly well – but unfortunately the suspenseful and tense moments don’t work as well. 4/6

Flow: 6/6

Overall: This is a well done manga, and definitely worth picking up. 5/6

In total, the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Volume 1 gets 32/42.