When Haruhi enters the SOS Brigade into a local baseball tournament, the club members once again find themselves scrambling to cater to her whims. Winning isn’t everything to Haruhi; it’s the only thing. And it’s up to Kyon and the others to make sure she goes home happy, lest the universe suffer the consequences.In other words, it’s just an average day with the SOS Brigade in volume 3 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. This volume represents my first taste of the manga series, but I am familiar with the franchise via the anime version (licensed in the US by Bandai). Both the manga and anime are adapted from the original light novels by Nagaru Tanigawa. So it was easy for me to follow the story here despite having skipped volumes 1 and 2.
Readers who are already fond of these characters will find them in fine form here. Kyon and Haruhi take center stage, of course, but time-traveler Mikuru and alien Yuki also have some priceless moments. The opening baseball story is quite funny, though a bit predictable; the real treats are the two later chapters, “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody I” and “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody II,” which give Kyon and readers an interesting new perspective on some earlier moments in the series.
Unfortunately, like many manga adapted from anime or light novel franchises, this isn’t particularly noteworthy as a work of sequential art. The art is bland and forgettable, while the story lacks some of the zip that it has in other versions. For example, Kyon’s exasperated narration is one of the funniest things about the anime version, yet only a little of that narrative voice comes through here.
Recommended for die-hard fans of the media franchise; newbies may find the light novel or anime versions to be better starting points.
This volume includes an insert of color pages and a page of translation notes.
Review copy provided by Yen Press.
Review originally published at MangaLife.com