|Reviews for The Shadow of Haruhi Suzumiya|
| chirping chapter 8 . 11/22/2016
***WARNING - BIG SPOILERS ABOUT THE FANFIC AND THE BOOKS***
(Since you asked people to avoid giving spoilers in reviews, I'm putting that warning. I had trouble figuring out how to comment on some things without revealing plot information.)
I've been on a Haruhi fanfic reading kick recently. I've really enjoyed your fanfics, especially this one and Deconstruction. Both had a really cool gimmick. Deconstruction had this Memento-like perpetual state of confusion and the the protagonist constantly trying to figure out what's going on while the rest of the cast reacted with shock, annoyance and despair. Meanwhile, this one was addressing issues around consciousness and reality, and expanding on themes that were touched in the books.
I didn't realize you're not a native English speaker, your English looks fine to me. Judging by your profile, you seem to be a countryman of mine. I considered switching to Finnish for this review, but it's probably better to stick with English since this is an international site.
Alternate Yuki's fate in Disappearance troubles me too. It's really uncomfortable to see Kyon giving her that registration paper back, or pointing a gun at her. Kyon trusts immensely the Yuki Nagato who saved his life multiple times, but this human version of her is a complete stranger with a different past and personality. Kyon's attachment to her isn't strong enough for him to choose her over the universe he remembers. But since the human Yuki appears so timid and vulnerable, it's heartbreaking to see Kyon in situations where he ends up hurting her.
In Disappearance, Kyon didn't realize until very late that Yuki was the one behind what was going on. It had been reasonable to assume it was some kind of villainous plot that he needed to stop. I think when he heard the name of the culprit, he had already gone too far to hesitate or turn back anymore. He had reached a situation where he had to choose between two worlds, and whichever one he chose, the other was going to vanish into nonexistence. That's a massive burden to bear.
In the books, Koizumi has these monologues about the nature of reality being an illusion. Espers fight Shinjin exactly because they don't want the world to be rewritten and they fear the idea of their consciousness being replaced with an alternate one. Even if the rewriting took place peacefully and even if you wouldn't know about it or feel any pain, it's a terrifying thought that your life could be wiped away just like that. In Disappearance, alternate Koizumi expressed personal concern over the idea of his self vanishing. But he didn't know for sure it was a case of a rewritten universe and he didn't seem to fully believe Kyon's tale, so he aided Kyon anyway. Kyon says later he's totally certain he wants the world where he has Haruhi, SOS Brigade and supernatural things, but he expresses briefly in some of the later books that he misses alternate Yuki's smile and he has dreams (nightmares?) about her.
Even though these themes were discussed in the books in aforementioned ways, I feel like they could've been explored with a little more detail. I think I needed this fanfic to get some closure; something to address the timelines that were rewritten during the series, and all those consciousnesses that were wiped out. Kyon seemed to deal with it by his usual method (avoiding to think about it), but I've been needing some catharsis.
I didn't realize the pattern in the characters until Koizumi pointed out they were girls whom Haruhi has felt jealous of. I especially enjoyed starting out with Sasaki, and seeing her address all those things that have bugged me. She mentioned that from her experience, this world seems real and she has no wish for her entire life to be rewritten away. Her comments set up the overall mood of the story; to question what's real and what isn't, and whose experience counts more if memories conflict. Sasaki's dialogue and the way she was pondering abstract complicated things felt genuine to her character.
Mikuru's chapter had some sweet and awkward moments. The characters knew each other except not really, and it was a strange experience for them to encounter a person who was essentially the same but had a different set of memories. Mikuru actually trusted Kyon and believed his story, and they were trying to set things right. Except that "setting things right" would still mean that this Mikuru would never exist, and the characters both contemplated that fact.
Miyokichi's chapter was pretty sad. By this point Kyon had realized the world's gonna keep changing and getting emotionally invested in the events would only end up hurting him because it's all fake. Also, this girl was too different from the younger version he knew. Kyon had no idea of the context he was in, and he couldn't feel a lot more than apathy over the situation. He couldn't tell Miyokichi the truth, and he didn't know how to fix the problem. But his behavior upset Miyokichi too, and her distress felt real even if it wasn't.
The events involving Yuki were painful but I think it was needed. Kyon never got to say goodbye to everyone from that alternate universe, and it bothered me that they were just gone. Yuki saying she was sorry she wasn't good enough felt like a conclusion to Disappearance. That was the problem with that universe; they had a human Yuki, but nothing else worth staying for in comparison to the original world. And she alone wasn't enough.
If Kyon had chosen to stay there, I can imagine the Brigade falling apart not long after. Haruhi and Koizumi were going to a different school and didn't have as much time to spend with the others. Haruhi's excitement over John Smith would've strained things with Koizumi, and Yuki/Kyon/Haruhi would have formed another love triangle too. Mikuru had terrible first impressions of both Kyon and Haruhi and she would have no reason to stick around, especially when Tsuruya was protective over her and saw Kyon as a pervy weirdo. Most likely all the group members would soon enough walk away from the others, and the only ones who'd end up sticking together would be either KyonHaruhi or KyonYuki (depending on whether Haruhi would continue to feel fond of Kyon, or if she would eventually get bored of him).
Having Tsuruya be the one to lift Kyon's spirits up was a little unexpected but worked. The books hint that she's a lot more insightful than she initially seems. She knows the Brigade members are abnormal people who have their secrets, but she's chosen not to pester them about the truth. It's an impressively mature approach to the whole thing. Her fun-loving nature and hidden wisdom are a pretty nice fit for helping Kyon get out of the slump.
Your author's notes expressed concern about the dark themes going too far, but I didn't feel like they did. The source material already had stabbing attempts and timelines being wiped out from existence, and the events in the story felt in line with these things. There were character deaths in the fanfic, but they didn't feel too graphic or difficult to stomach. I don't like darkfics with emotional/physical torment too much, but I can stand them more easily if they're depicted as alternate universes instead of messing up the original universe, and if there's a way to either fix them or prevent them from happening. This story had an ending like that; the real Kyon and Haruhi were both safe all along, and the stuff that happened wasn't actually real. But since the narrator of the story had to come to terms with his nonexistence and death, the "it was just a dream" type of ending had punch to it and didn't feel like a cop-out.
Switching to third-person narration after killing off the first-person narrator was a neat trick. Having a short Haruhi POV snippet that ties into the books was cool too. I love it when fanfics manage to fill in some gaps in the original work.
Usually we're seeing things from Kyon's point of view, and he has trouble following the complex infodumps of Koizumi or Yuki. It was interesting to see these two interacting without Kyon around, and how they would talk when they don't need to simplify their words for Kyon's sake or hide their status as agents of competing factions. Koizumi seemed to imply that Kyon has some kind of special abilities as well, which I found neat. Since unusual people keep gravitating towards Kyon and since his exact wish from the beginning of the first book ended up taking place (he wanted to be a non-powered sidekick who gets sucked into adventures with supernatural people), I keep wondering if he might secretly have something special about himself too.
I love Koizumi's chats with Kyon. When first reading them, it feels like he's just going off on weird and overly long tangents, but in hindsight, everything he says turns out to be important and thought-provoking. I enjoyed the discussion about masks and revealing one's inner self; it made one consider how those words apply to both Haruhi and Kyon as well as Koizumi himself. It was fun to see Koizumi actually losing his temper with Kyon for once and even insulting him, for either faking ignorance or just genuinely being very obtuse. He knows this version of Kyon won't get to exist for long, and this (along with exhaustion) probably contributed to his mask slipping for a brief moment. Also, he says later that he's just tired of keeping secrets and dealing with supernatural trouble that pops up because Kyon and Haruhi are both being so difficult about their mutual interest, and that he'd really wish to live more like a group of normal people. This is the impression I get from the books as well.
I think the author's notes were at some points a little spoilery and could've made less hints about future events. I know some people prefer trigger warnings and stuff like that so they can know what they're getting into, but I prefer going in as blind as possible.
| BlackStormReborn chapter 8 . 12/13/2015
Nice job overally.
I had the simple wish to just have kyon accept the alternate universe/dreams and...not letting asahina or nagato go through any darkness of the force.
| Hagbardceline chapter 1 . 1/4/2014
Pretty good stuff. I cant say i like the writing style though, doesnt sound like the way kyon would talk. I guess it makes sense that your personality is most like sasaki's since the way you write is how sasaki would. Besides that the content was great.
| Steven P. P chapter 8 . 2/16/2013
As you requested avoiding spoilers in the reviews, this will be a hard one to write, but despite that considering the lingering impression this story has left on me I feel compelled to do so nonetheless.
As a piece of fanfiction, this was superbly written. I can find little to criticize in terms of style of even characters (with a small exception regarding Kyon which I could not explain without getting into spoilers, let's just say it baffles me that he bought into Koizumi's explanation so easily), and the story arc itself did not feel especially contrived or illogical.
Despite the above, however, to be frank, I have a hard time grasping why this story was necessary. The "fridge horror" you mention was well and duly explored... but to what end? I may be at fault here, but I haven't found the punchline, or the "reconstruction" element you speak of. As a whole this plot was overall greatly depressing, with increasing darkness until chapter 5, a small breather for two chapters, and then a rather sad ending.
You say you found an acceptable answer to the problem, but I honestly don't know where to look for it. Are you referring to Yuki's rather obscure statement about the accessibility of data in the last chapter...? That isn't all that much after such a buildup, not to mention that it feels like it's too little too late...
All in all, I must commend your abilities as a writer, but I must also partly agree with what Durandall wrote a few chapters back. More than anything, this seems to be a deconstruction for deconstruction's sake, and while it may not have been your intent, I was unable to see much farther beyond that. Too bad, because maybe I would have been interested.
| UnseatedShinigami chapter 8 . 10/3/2012
This my good Sir or Madam was an amazing story. The characters were acurately portrayed, the story was engaging and thought provoking and it kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Despite not being a native english speaker, you are overwhelmingly more adept at it's usage than a fair number of those on this site and your spelling or grammar errors were negligible at best. You successfully expanded upon a little thought upon concept and took it to it's logical extreme. You managed to fit the characters perfectly into the roles which you placed them in and despite their deviations from their canon histories did so in an absolutely believable manner. All in all this was a spectacular read and if you ever decide to change your mind about a career in literature I will be one of many who will willingly support you in the endeavor.
| Woobie chapter 8 . 6/25/2012
That was very sad and confusing. I did not understand it.
| Thyrokio chapter 3 . 3/26/2012
Seeing the way Miyokichi was acting, I thought 'Omg don't tell me she's gonna say THAT?' and she did :). My "worst case scenario (withing reasons)" generator seems to be functioning right.
(I'm talking vaguely to avoid spoilers)
Imagining Kyon's psyche as a small doll being shaken roughly, thrown on the ground and stomped on repeatedly wouldn't be unreasonable in this case.
| einootspork chapter 8 . 10/20/2011
Oh man, you're killing me! All through this fic I was thinking "Man, if I could write like that, I'd never have to work another day in my life," and then you have to go and tell me that English isn't even your native language? No fair! I might as well try and catch the sun than write another word.
As you might guess, I really loved this story. I can't decide which chapter was my favorite - I think it might be a tie between Nagato and Tsuruya, which is weird as they're diametrically opposed to each other in tone.
| Atra Bilis chapter 8 . 8/27/2011
What a delightful journey this story was. Or.. maybe 'delight journey' wouldn't be the right choice of words.
I'm not a fan of deconstruction, but it is a great change of pace for the generally fluff stuff that rids most fan fiction. I do, however, criticize deconstruction as being an unfair way of analyzing characters; canon unveiling is superior. Though said opinionated statement is ignored here because this is the work of fiction of a piece of fiction.
But you do point out that the true face of characters is offered when faced against a great adversary, in this case: a great nightmare. Though, maybe it's my optimism that refutes sadness and depression as the greatest way of portraying said true face.
Disappearance was quite a tale in the Suzumiya Universe, and Yuki Nagato being thrusted into lead role was interesting to say the least (though I read the book far before the movie came along, but the movie is superior imo). I didn't cry in the end, but that's because the movie ended positively in my eyes (ergo, everything is okay with Kyon's reassurance/status quo), and the franchise in the end really is just a cartoon; not real.
Though I am glad the movie struck you with grief enough to pump this piece of work out. The perspective of Alternate characters was intriguing when the movie/book introduced it to me, and having it delved even further is simply a plus in my eyes. Stories that generally pass as life-changing to most, shines only as 'different perspective' to me. Knowledge is power, no?
Again, thanks for writing this. I hope to see more.
| Brendan Rizzo chapter 8 . 8/25/2011
Masterful. Everything is finally understood, though I must say that what happened to Kyon is very confusing. So the "real" Kyon didn't experience any of this? I have a hard time enjoying the story now that I know that, for some reason, which is a pity because this was a rather nice story, if a little slow at some parts. I finally know what you meant when you said this was a deconstruction of one aspect of the original series. Haruhi cannot properly grieve without endangering people.
And English isn't your first language, huh? You're a good enough writer that I did not expect that at all. And I know how difficult it is to read or write something in a language that is not your primary one. As far as I can tell, there aren't any grammatical errors here. Don't worry too much about that.
| Anmynous chapter 8 . 8/24/2011
(SPOILER ALERT, but I'll try to keep it vague)
On the main point noted in the ending notes, I admit to wondering about that myself and mostly dismissing it so as to get on with the rest of the story, but it doesn't necessarily have to have ended for the others like it did for Kyon.
I believe that Nagato's reality (at least, not sure about others) wasn't an alternate anything - it was a smooth continuation of the original reality, just with memories edited and various materials moved around, like bodies. You could say she retconned it into existence - it's a straight continuation, but with the backstory changed - and then back out, with some additional memories and movements to make up for the time difference. Which all strikes me as the people in the "other reality" not being different people any more than a person you haven't met in a while turning out to have changed personality. A different person, yet not at all.
This might be contradicted by some things said in the books, if my memory is failing me, but it is supported by Asahina's ability to time travel to that point. Unless that technology also lets them visit parallel time planes or whatever they'd call it, which could simply be a hitherto unexplained ability, but...
I didn't quite see what the acceptable answer you yourself found was, though, so maybe this all was something you already considered?
MORE BLATANT SPOILERS:
(hmm, wouldn't it be awesome if ff dot net let you flag your reviews as spoilers, so viewers would have to manually do something to view them?)
For the fic itself, I rather enjoyed it and have no problem with the emotional rollercoaster. In fact, the strength of emotions actually make it that much more memorable to me.
Kyon's mild foolishness was portrayed very accurately, if you ask me, and personally I couldn't have gone through with writing him like that without falling to the temptation of making him reconsider his thoughts on what's real and what's not. Yeah, I would have liked to speak to him like Sasaki did when I saw how he acted in Disappearance.
I'm not so sure if you got his sometimes quite strange ways of expressing thoughts down, though it's probably not to do with your English skills - he's just weird like that. Although English isn't my native language either, so perhaps I shouldn't be commenting on that...
Hmm, I just realized this was technically an "All just a dream" ending, heh. But it works just fine here.
Why was Asahina blind, though? And what was going on with the increasing amount of time having passed since the real world?
| Andmeuths chapter 8 . 8/24/2011
After reading this fic , I do not know why you would even disparage your fic. Your writing skills are far more superior than most of the authors on this site , and your style is extremely engaging . You are far more superior as an author , and even as a user of English prose than most native speakers of the language.
This is truly a masterpiece . I've put this up on TV Tropes Fanfic Recs . Though it's a rather interesting reinterpretation of the series as well. Some additional thoughts:
My preferred solution to the dilemma of Alternate time-lines is the Many-worlds theory. One world fades , but another just as real is born each time our protagonist changes the world.
As for the interpretation of Haruhi , I'm assuming you are using Yasumi Watahashi as your inspiration for the characterization of sub-conscious Haruhi. And of course , we all wander what really goes on in Kyon's mind . One thing you brought to the fore is the fact that though he is the main POV character , because his POv's a riddled with alot of seemingly deliberate suspicious discrepancies, we probably no less about his Psyche , than say , Yuki Nagato.
And Haruhi's final monologue in the Omake is truly a treat , and probably as good a way of ending this story as any other. How long did you take to write this , anyway?
Once again , thank you for this wonderful work of art .
| The Hidden Lostar chapter 6 . 8/21/2011
For a chapter that precedes the finale, it didn't feel like much got done in comparison to the other chapters. Maybe that in itself is a blessing from Kyon's perspective. As for the reader, how do I put it...
Five chapters of 'scenarios' went by, and now the reader is here. How willing is the reader to suddenly accept this as a reality despite the fact that this outcome is the most universally accepted? It may very well be yet another fragment to the big picture for all we know. By the looks of things, everything will most likely come together in the end, so there is no choice but to wait for that.. and on a completely different note...
This haiku appears to be a 6-7-5 assembly instead of a 5-7-5... since fire is two syllables. If 'in the' becomes 'at,' then that would be the quickest adjustment I could imagine.
Anyhow, good show! Can't wait for the finale!
| The Hidden Lostar chapter 5 . 7/31/2011
I just started to realize to realize that the Kübler-Ross model played a heavy role in the creation of this fiction - mostly because he had only begun to accept this change of events. Unsurprisingly, Tsuruya's depiction in this chapter was very interesting. I really do like stories that give Tsuruya a larger role, because us novel readers have come to realize that she grows to become one of the most interesting characters in the series (from the readers' perspective). I exercised that belief in my longest fiction.. and of course, references to cheese adds an extra ten points to the mental image!
The biggest thing to appreciate in this fiction is the glaring sense of insight. I admitted before that your depictions of most of the Haruhi characters have an far-above-average sense of depth to them. I felt the strongest sense in that for Mikuru & Tsuruya, however. Sasaki's purpose was to start the mystery, Yuki's character obviously has to be subdued to retain her initial character, and Miyokichi... well, it's hard doing things for canon characters that were barely assigned a personality to begin with.
Lastly, I am enjoying reading this because I feel as though I am learning more and more from your style. That and I find myself curious on what lies next in Kyon's little spiritual journey. Is it perhaps Koizumi's turn?
| Samuez chapter 4 . 7/30/2011
That was depressing as hell. Good writing but not my taste. I simply look at the genre and got depress and skipped around the scene and got even more depress.
The only reason I even attempt to read this was because of your other story. Deconstruction was pretty angst and depressing but I doubt the reconstruction will overcome that. I'm sorry, I don't think I can truely appreciate the story that you're tying to write but that's just my view on tragedy genre for a humor/light anime.