Introduction to Light Novels & The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Light novels are short Japanese novels targeted specifically at young adult audiences. They are one formerly lesser discussed inspiration/original form of popular anime series – this changed primarily thanks to one particular series (more on that in a second), and it is surprising to find out certain popular series began life not as manga as is a typical assumption but as a light novel. Much like manga light novels end up being produced both prior to and after other adaptations of a series; while not currently reviewable (they’re out of print) both Onegai Teacher and Onegai Twins spawned light novels. Onegai Twins in particular is unusual in taking a different ultimate outcome to the story than the anime (though for the curious essentially it switches which of the two characters is Maiku’s sister).

There are numerous ones I really want to review but cannot, lacking any kind of authorized translation or availability in the West (amongst these is Ben-To hopefully still as amusingly silly as its anime incarnation. Put simply Ben-To is a fighting anime except rather than a show of strength or skill, the scraps in this story occur in supermarkets at night over who gets to buy the discounted bento boxes. To repeat: they’re scrapping over who can buy and then eat cheap meals from a supermarket. Which is either going to sound amazing or stupid (or both) depending on your viewpoint. Where it really excels is that the series clings to this ultimate incentive behind the character’s interactions – even while others attempt to turn the combat into some kind of typical fighting situation. The regulars say ‘No’, there is no prestige or show of strength here. There is simply getting discounted food. The anime might not bear its length wonderfully well, but I was thoroughly amused the whole time. Aside from some problematic story elements/tone mis-matches), but I will be looking at Strawberry Panic, the Sword Art Online series, the Boogiepop novels and Spice & Wolf amongst others.

First though, is the series that seemed inescapable for years but now rarely gets mentioned. If you watched anime in July of 2006 you knew who Haruhi Suzumiya was. In the same way it became hard to move for shouting about something like, say, Attack on Titan in recent years, Haruhi took over for a year or two. Haruhi was huge, the praise inciting backlashes and references and all manner of hints and nods (the series Lucky Star possibly going too far with Haruhi’s voice actress playing the lead role who is in turn something of a Haruhi fan). And it all went so wrong, in a way that few people could have suspected; the demand for more episodes met with some new episodes but what felt like a joke played on the audience – the “Endless Eight” infamous for the tedium it induced. There’s a bright spot in the film The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya which was overly long but otherwise well executed, but even then it became clear Haruhi could never live up to its own potential. The fatal flaw that eventually turned everyone off the series in place right from the start. So:The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.


Three Month Anniversary!

Hi everyone!

I’m proud to say that today marks the third month anniversary of Arkham Reviews. Thank-you everyone for all of your support – the blog has been far better received than I could ever have imagined.

Over the last month Arkham has been featured on the Book Blogger List, branched out onto Goodreads and started to receive requests from independently published authors who are keen to have their novels reviewed.

Don’t forget that if you have a suggestion for what you would like to see reviewed in the future, you can send me an email at I’ll review any genre of novel so long as it’s written for young adults (or is a mid-grade novel that will also appeal to a Young Adult audience) just so long as its currently available for purchase online. You can find more information about submissions on the FAQ page.

My list of future reviews is apt to change if I receive any interesting requests, but here’s what I’m hoping to look at over the next couple of months. Alongside new novels, we’re also now going to start looking back to series that we’ve dipped into in earlier reviews to see how the stories improve and develop, starting with the direct sequel of my first ever review:

Vampirates: Dead Deep and Tides of Terror by Justin Somper

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Besides Naturalization by Isabel Chloe

The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

Wormwood by G.P. Taylor

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle by L.J. Smith

Angry Blonde by Maria Mroziuk

TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow

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