Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: February 2013
Synopsis: “Boisterous, impulsive Haruhi Suzumiya commands the spotlight wherever she goes! But the SOS Brigade chief wouldn’t be any kind of chief at all without a supporting cast of club members to command as well. And there’s no one she loves ordering around as much as Kyon! In this collection of short comics and illustrations by various artists, the boys of the SOS Brigade will at last have their moment to shine!”
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was never a franchise I could get into. I’ve watched half the anime, I’ve read half the manga, but neither compelled me to finish. Each of the leads – Haruhi, Nagato and Mikuru – feel like they’ve been popped from the anime cliché mold. Regardless of any intent by it, they bored me. However, there were two characters I did find interesting and those were the male characters, Kyon and Koizumi. Their responses and responsibilities came off to me as more ‘real’ than anything the girls did and I loved how the story used them to ground the supernatural stuff in reality. It didn’t seem odd then that if any book was going to compel me to experience the Haruhi story again, it’d be this one.
The Misfortune of Kyon & Koizumi is a collection of short stories all about the male leads. It comes with the usual pitfalls of an anthology – some stories are good and some are not. Fortunately, I found enjoyed more than not. Every story is drawn and written by a different creator, giving the book a lot of variety. What we end up with is an officially licensed collection of doujinshi, and like those fan-works, this comes with a lot of fun takes on the characters, and some really surprising ones as well. Yen Press sweetens the deal by including some full-colour illustrations.
Most of the storis are light-hearted and have a bunch of different plots to carry their comedy. In one story, Koizumi helps Kyon try and intentionally rile up Haruhi with asking about her panties. In another the two end up switching bodies and dealing with the groups’ suspicions. Then there are some stories that caught me off-guard with how dramatic and heartfelt they were. In one story the SOS Brigade goes on a treasure hunt, and Koizumi shares with Kyon what personally means the most to him. In the book’s last story, Kyon goes to school and finds two Koizumi’s there. It was so sweet and so sad that I was crushed to have it be so short. These were just a small portion of the books’ contents.
What I didn’t expect, and in hindsight feel I should’ve, was all the romantic subtext. I’d never thought of pairing these two romantically, but some of these stories definitely made very compelling arguments for a closer-than-casual-friends relationship. Some stories fit more emotional chemistry between Kyon and Koizumi in six pages than I’ve read in complete volumes of boys’ love series. Whether it was casual conversations, more emotionally invested discussion, or an amusing game of butt-in-your-face Twister, there was a sprinkle of boys’ love throughout this book that left me wishing these two had more chances to take the spotlight together.
The Misfortune of Kyon & Koizumi was a really fun read. Though there were a couple stories I didn’t care for as much, either due to the art or story, they were only small parts of a book collecting fifteen different shorts. Readers should have at least some knowledge of the original Haruhi Suzumiya story when going into this book, and a love or at least comfort with boys’ love material as well. It’s not the majority, but it’s definitely present. If you fit both this criteria, then you should definitely find yourself a copy of this book and enjoy.
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Book provided by Yen Press for review purposes