Authors: Nagaru Tanigawa
Tags: #Fantasy, #Young Adult, #Fiction
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First released in Japan in 2003,
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
quickly established itself as a publishing phenomenon, drawing much of its inspiration from Japanese pop culture and Japanese comics in particular. With this foundation, the original publication of each book in the Haruhi series included several black-and-white spot illustrations as well as a four-page color insert—all of which are faithfully reproduced here to preserve the authenticity of the first-ever English edition.
The sole worry of Haruhi, who looked like she didn’t have a worry in the world, could be summed up with the words “the world was too normal.”
So what would she consider “not normal”? That could be summed up in one word: “supernatural.” Her mind was constantly asking,
Why hasn’t a single ghost shown up before me yet?
Incidentally, you can interchange “ghost” with “alien,” “time traveler,” or “esper.” But as you should already know, those things only show up in fiction, not reality. Which means that Haruhi’s source of distress would remain as long as she lived in this world—at least that’s how it was originally. But I am currently troubled by the fact that I can no longer be so sure.
For I happen to know an alien, a time traveler, and an esper.
“Haruhi, I have something important to tell you. Listen to me.” “What?”
“You wanted aliens, time travelers, and people who could use ESP, right?”
“Yeah. What about it?”
“So, the goal of this SOS Brigade thing is to find those kinds of people, right?”
“Just finding them isn’t enough. We have to have fun with them. It would feel like something was missing if we just found them and that was that. I want to be a participant, not an observer.”
“I’ll take being an observer for the rest of my life… or, yeah, moving on. An alien, a time traveler, and an esper are actually closer than you might think.”
“Heh. Who might that be? I’m guessing you don’t mean Yuki, Mikuru, and Koizumi, right? That wouldn’t be ‘closer than I might think’ in the least bit.”
“Uh… yeah… Actually, that’s what I was about to say.”
“Are you stupid? Like it would just happen to work out that way.”
“Well, under normal circumstances, yeah.”
“So? Who’s the alien?”
“You’ll love this. Yuki Nagato is an alien. Or technically, she’s, uh, what? The over-something or other… or was it the data-mind-brain thingy? Well, some kind of alien consciousness along those lines sent her. Yeah, she’s a humanoid interface. That’s what it was.”
“Hmm. And? What about Mikuru?”
“Asahina is quite simple to explain. She traveled through time from the future, so she’s a time traveler.”
“How many years into the future is she from?”
“I don’t know that. She wouldn’t tell me.”
“Aha. I get it now.”
“Which means Koizumi is an esper? That’s what you were about to say?”
“That is in fact what I was about to say.”
And with that, Haruhi’s eyebrows began twitching. She then slowly took in a deep breath before shouting.
“Don’t mess with me!”
As you can see, Haruhi didn’t believe the truth I’d revealed to her in the least. I guess it can’t be helped. In fact, I still find it hard to believe that they’re a pseudo-alien, a time traveler, and an esper freak, even after witnessing concrete proof. Asking Haruhi to believe me when she hasn’t witnessed anything would be kind of a stretch.
But still, what else could I say? Every word I spoke was true. Hard as it may to be to believe, I have a habit of telling the truth when lying won’t accomplish anything.
Though I’m pretty sure that if some nice person were to come up to me and start off with, “These people you know really well are actually…,” I would respond, “Don’t mess with me!” And if that person was serious about it, I’d have to wonder if he was afflicted by some mental disease or if some freakish vibes had gotten to his head. I might even feel sorry for the guy. In any case, I’d try to avoid any contact with him.
Hmm? Wouldn’t that “guy” be me right now?
“Kyon. Listen very carefully.”
Haruhi glared at me with her eyes on fire.
“You’re not going to find aliens, time travelers, and espers just standing around! They’re so rare that we have to look for them, find them, capture them, grab them by the neck, and tie them up nice and tight so they can’t get away! There is no possible way that all the brigade members I randomly chose could be that special!”
Your sentiment is absolutely correct. But count me out. The other three members are, in fact, supernatural phenomena. I am the only one who’s an ordinary member of the human race that evolved on this planet. And yeah, she really did choose them randomly.
But why did this girl suddenly have common sense at such an odd time? If she had just believed me, things would be a lot simpler now. At the very least, the twisted organization known as the SOS Brigade would be able to disband. Given that it’s some strange association that exists for Haruhi to find aliens (et cetera) and other mysterious things. Once she’s found them, it’ll no longer be needed. Haruhi can have fun with them by herself afterward. Just let me join in every once in a while. I’m fine with filling the role of the assistant on a quiz show who stands next to the host and laughs for no real reason. Right now, I’m more like a trained mutt in an animal variety show.
Of course, I have no idea what would happen to the world if Haruhi became aware of all these phenomena.
By the way, there were only two people involved in that beginning conversation that just happened, here on the day of the second “SOS Brigade Wanders Around Town” (Temporary Name) in the café in front of the station. After having shamelessly verified that Haruhi would be paying, I calmly explained the situation while sipping my strong coffee. Haruhi acted like she didn’t believe a word I said. Well, I guess that was to be expected. Anyone who actually believes this stuff has issues.
I didn’t go into any specifics. Just gave her a general summary. Revealing too many details would only make my mind more suspect. Remember, this is coming from someone who was dragged into Nagato’s apartment and subjected to a winding, incomprehensible freak spiel of galactic proportions. I know what I’m talking about.
“That’s enough of your lame, dumb jokes.”
After Haruhi finished sucking the yellow-green vegetable juice through her straw, she spoke. “Let’s get going, then. We can’t split up today, so the two of us will have to search every nook and cranny. And I forgot my wallet, so here’s the check.”
As I stared at the slip of paper reading
and tried to formulate an objection, Haruhi gulped down the rest of my coffee, glared at me as if to ensure that she wouldn’t hear any complaints, stomped out through the automatic door of the café, and stood outside with her arms crossed.
That was half a year ago. Now that I stop and think about it, the past six months have been filled with strange happenings. The SOS Brigade is still officially named the “
ave the world by
verloading it with fun Haruhi
uzumiya Brigade,” which makes me shiver, and I still have no idea where or how this brigade has overloaded the world with fun. Besides, the only one who ever gets psyched up about anything is Haruhi. The purpose and activities of this brigade remain, as always, a mystery. Apparently, her goal is to have fun with aliens, kidnap time travelers, and battle alongside espers. As of this point, Haruhi believes that she has yet to succeed.
That would be because Haruhi thinks that she hasn’t met aliens, time travelers, and espers. Since she didn’t believe me when I was kind enough to tell her the truth about the identities of the three other people in the SOS Brigade, it’s no longer my concern.
And so the SOS Brigade has yet to achieve its goal, and consequently has yet to lose its purpose and happily disband. Which is why to this day, this organization unrecognized by the school continues to exist in a corner of the clubhouse.
Naturally, the five members, including me, are still parasites in the literary club room. The student council executive committee has apparently chosen to ignore the SOS Brigade in every possible way. While they brushed aside my charter application, they didn’t say a word about our illegal takeover of the club room. Maybe because Yuki Nagato, who was originally the only literary club member, hasn’t said a word. I would deduce that they have determined that feigning ignorance would be much healthier than talking to Haruhi.
Nobody would step on a mine that has
this will explode if you step on it
spelled out in every language in neon lights. I know I wouldn’t. If I had known back when I entered this school, I wouldn’t have talked to that sour-faced girl sitting behind me in class.
An ordinary high school student who accidentally tripped a bomb and is now currently running in circles like an idiot while holding down the trigger. That would be my current position. And this bomb labeled
doesn’t have a timer counting down the time left to when it’ll explode. We don’t know when it’ll explode, how much damage it will cause, what’s inside, or if it’s even a bomb. It might be just some piece of junk someone said was a bomb. Can’t even be sure about that.
I can’t seem to find the garbage chute for dangerous items, which means that this personally dangerous thing is practically cemented to my hand.
Seriously, how am I supposed to get rid of this girl?
Schoolwide events are an indispensable part of school, though they happen sporadically. Which reminds me, my high school had an athletic festival last month. I was pretty skeptical when Haruhi mentioned having the SOS Brigade participate in the exhibition relay during the interclub meet, but what do you know, the SOS Brigade really did participate in a relay. I sure didn’t expect to blow away the track team and stomp all over the rugby team, with Haruhi running anchor, crossing the finish line approximately thirteen lengths ahead of the closest runner. As a result, our (excluding me) peculiarity had gone from being whispered about by students to the point where it was buzzing around school like someone had just pulled the fire alarm during class, giving me a headache. Most of the blame lies with Haruhi for coming up with the idea, but the second runner, Nagato, is also at fault. I certainly would never have expected her to run so fast that she might as well have been teleporting. Let me know beforehand, Nagato.