Important Importables: The coverage of Haruhi Suzumiya

October 19, 2009 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: The coverage of Haruhi Suzumiya

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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya DVDsOne of the most popular icons and characters in Japan is a brown haired girl with yellow ribbons in her hair named Haruhi Suzumiya. People mimic the opening dance from her anime, dress up like her, collect toys that look like her character, read about her and even play video games where she is the star.

Thanks to companies like Bandai Entertainment, Little Brown Books and Yen Press, people in North America can start to read and watch Haruhi Suzumiya’s adventures. However, no video game publisher has taken a chance on her eclectic games.

Before we look at five video game adventures, lets take a brief look at what Haruhism is all about.

The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa

Who’s Haruhi Suzumiya?

Haruhi Suzumiya’s the star of a series of light novels, manga volumes, anime, movie and video games. The series began in June, 2003 with the light novel The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Pay close attention to the title, because it’s the start of a trend. All the Haruhi Suzumiya media are titled in a similar manner. Two manga series followed shortly after in the spring of 2004 and winter of 2005. The anime series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya ran in 2006, and was expanded and rerun in 2009.  Another manga series began in 2007.

Right now, the new run of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is going on with additional episodes, there’s a new spin-off manga called The Vanishing of Yuki-chan Nagato and a movie, The Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya is being prepared for a 2010 release.

Haruhi Suzumiya is an etcentric high school girl with an interest in the extraordinary. In order to find these strange phenomena, like espers, aliens, robots and the like, she creates a school club called the Spreading Excitement All Over the World with the Haruhi Suzumiya Brigade, or SOS Brigade. She convinces/badgers/drags her classmate Kyon, the only person she talks to, into joining. Three other people, Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina and Itsuki Koizumi, also end up joining as well. It turns out that the three other people didn’t join because they’re interested in the supernatural.

Instead, Yuki, Mikuru and Itsuki join because they are supernatural. Apparently, Haruhi somehow holds, or developed, the ability to change reality at her will, and the three of them have been sent by different organizations to monitor her and sort-of keep her in check. So, out of everyone, Kyon’s the only normal person. He also tends to be narrator for the events.

So, each form of media deals with a new adventure that Haruhi and the SOS Brigade gets into. Currently, the following Haruhi Suzumiya media is available in English in the U.S.:

  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Complete Collection DVDs of the anime series.
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya manga volumes 1-4 by Nagaru Tanigawa.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya Yearkbook: A Guide to the Many Moods of Haruhi Suzumiya fanbook by Kazuhisa Fujie
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya, the first two volumes in the original light novel series by Nagaru Tanigawa.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Tomadoi The Perplexity of Haruhi Suzumiya 	涼宮ハルヒの戸惑

The video games of Haruhi Suzumiya.

Not surprisingly, the success of the Haruhi Suzumiya series has spawned a number of video games. Here’s a brief overview of what’s available, in chronological order. Keep in mind, the games all contain quite a bit of fanservice.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Yakusoku aka The Promise of Haruhi Suzumiya (PSP)
This is essentially a visual novel/adventure game with occasional mini-games thrown in. This game follows the part of the light novel/manga/anime where the SOS Brigade is creating The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina. It’s the only Haruhi Suzumiya video game to not have an original storyline. Mainly it’s a visual novel, but there are some mini-games. Warning to importers: Text heavy!

Suzumiya Haruhi no Tomadoi aka The Perplexity of Haruhi Suzumiya (PS2)
This is essentially a visual novel/adventure game with occasional mini-games thrown in. Haruhi wants to make a video game, and gets the SOS Brigade involved. There are quite a few different games you can make, like an RPG, card game or Princess Maker clone. Warning to importers: Text heavy! Also, the PS2 isn’t region-free, so this only works on Japanese PS2s.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Gekidou aka The Excitement of Haruhi Suzumiya (Wii)
Dance along with Haruhi Suzumiya and the SOS Brigade. Haruhi’s found a flier for the dance competition, and has decided that she and the SOS Brigade are entering. There are Story and Free Play Modes. Remember, the Wii isn’t region-free so don’t buy it unless you have a Japanese Wii.

Suzumiya no Heiretsu aka The Parallel of Haruhi Suzumiya (Wii)
Yet another visual novel adventure game. Haruhi’s won a cruise trip, and she’s bringing the SOS Brigade with her. Once they set sail, a number of improbable and unusual adventures take place. Warning to importers: Text heavy! Also, like I mentioned before, the Wii isn’t region-free.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Chokuretsu aka The Series of Haruhi Suzumiya (DS)
This is an adventure game, along the lines of Lux Pain or Phoenix Wright. Haruhi, Kyou and the SOS Brigade use the summer to investigate the school’s seven, unexplained mysteries. Warning to importers: Text heavy!

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports looks at five Japanese gadgets which exist for no other reason than to be absurdly adorable.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports suggested 35 video games you could play on Hello Kitty’s 35th anniversary.

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Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »


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