The Melancholy of Suzumiya: Haruhi-Chan is not necessarily a manga series in the traditional sense, but rather it is a collection of spin-off comics published in Shonen Ace about the adventures of the SOS Brigade, a high school club made up of characters from the original Haruhi Suzumiya series. The manga assumes the reader is already knowledgeable about the series and its characters, opting to forgo any sort of formal introduction save for brief, one sentence footnotes at the beginning of each chapter.
There is no central plot to speak of here as the content is presented in four panel vignettes about the SOS Brigade’s school antics, such as planning a Halloween party, Yuki’s obsessions with dating-sim RPGs, Kyon’s bizarre dreams and the women of the SOS Brigade making Valentine’s Day chocolate. Periodically, the manga will break away from the four panel formula to tell a longer story, but they are simple, one-shot affairs.
Those who have experience with Haruhi Suzumiya will have a better understanding of what is going on in the manga than those coming into this cold. The content comes off as manic and wild, as if it simply can’t sit still for a few moments which ultimately creates some confusion as to what exactly is going on at any given moment. Puyo’s artwork is just as frenetic as the dialog, as he constantly switches the designs of the characters between somewhat realistic and detailed one moment then gives them short, squat “chibi” designs the next. Yen Press gives the manga an Older Teens rating, but from the looks of things, the book is suitable for young teens as it contains brief, light language and very little sexuality. The worst the book gets is when the SOS Brigade discovers android Mikuru’s blue prints which mentions her ability to shoot missiles from her breasts. The characters make a big deal about it, but nothing is shown and the issue is quickly dropped.
Fans of the Haruhi Suzumiya series would enjoy this collection of comics, but newcomers will have to do some research before diving in.
The Melancholy of Suzumiya: Haruhi-chan Vol. 1
by Nagaru Tanigawa
Art by Puyo, Noizi Ito
Yen Press, 2010
Publisher Age Rating: 16