*Post last updated: 07/15/13*
This week a brand new artbook for the Haruhi Suzumiya series was released called Haruhi Hyakka/ハルヒ百花(“hyakka” meaning “many kinds of flowers”). It features all of the recent artwork by the series’ character designer, Noizi Itou, as well as a new short story written by the novel author, Nagaru Tanigawa. Being the major Haruhi fan that I am, I of course had to get a copy and felt like sharing a brief review of it…
Before I start, I apologize in advance for the lack of quality with the images. The book had trouble fitting inside my relatively small scanner so some of the images get a bit cropped or blurry at the edges. I did the best I could with what I have ;P
First off, Haruhi Hyakka is a continuation of an artbook that was released in 2009, simply called Haruhi-ism/ハルヒ主義(pictured above). It featured all of the then-recent Noizi Itou artwork that had been released up to early 2007 I believe, including all of her illustrations for novels 1-5. All of the illustrations were organized by season depending on what the characters were doing in the image or in which season it took place in terms of the chronology of the novels.
Haruhi Hyakka has all of Noizi Itou’s artwork from roughly mid-2006 to early this year. However, it’s organized differently than the previous artbook- rather than being grouped by season, the illustrations are categorized by what they were originally used for. I’ll go through each one in brief and share an image or two.
But before I get to that, above is the back cover of the book that finishes the front cover image of the SOS Brigade plus Shamisen lying amongst pretty flowers.
Like a lot of anime artbooks, this one comes with a folded insert poster. One side is the same picture as the front and back cover, while the other is the above adorable picture of Haruhi, Mikuru, and Yuki dressed as fairy tale girls.
Chapter 1 of the book has the promotional artwork used in The Sneaker, the magazine that the Haruhi novels were originally published in since 2003. They’re not pictures from the actual novels, but rather, additional artwork that Noizi Itou made for The Sneaker for various reasons.
Chapter 2 covers the illustrations actually used in the novels. It continues where the previous artbook left off, starting at novel 6 and ending at the most recent one, novel 11. The pages for each novel include the cover artwork, the extra color illustrations that each one has, as well as small pictures of the many black and white drawings Itou made within the chapters. Above are the color illustrations for novel 9 and below are the black and white illustrations for novel 8.
Chapter 3 is the new short story by Nagaru Tanigawa called “Atezuppo Numbers/あてずっぽナンバーズ” or “Random Numbers.” Unfortunately I haven’t yet had time to sit down and try reading/translating it, but I hope to soon. The picture above is a brand new Itou drawing that I believe was made for the short story…so if it has HaruhixKyon goodness, I’m sure I’ll love it XD My friend ultimatemegax (the one who actually got me Haruhi Hyakka as a delayed birthday gift…thank you so much!) has plans to translate the story once he has time and, if I find the time and motivation before then, I’ll see if I can at least read what I can of it and give some sort of synopsis. Either way, I’ll update this post (and say something on Twitter) when there’s more info on the contents of the story, so check back if you’re interested =)
Update 07/15/13: After a few months of on and off work, our group finally finished a full English fan translation of “Random Numbers” =) You can read it here.
Chapter 4 has all of the illustrations Itou made for the anime version of Haruhi, things like Blu-ray and DVD covers.
Chapter 5 is the collaborative illustrations – Haruhi illustrations used with/for another media company. For example, the above picture of Haruhi, Mikuru, and Yuki inside robots was used for the line of figma figures featuring the Haruhi characters inside mecha. While Itou drew the picture, the mecha were designed by Hajime Katoki.
The 6th and final chapter of the book is just the index and comments. It gives information on all the illustrations in the book, as well as Itou’s comments on them. The lovely image above, which is the last page of the artbook (sorry my scanner couldn’t fit it all) is a new picture Itou drew for the book and she describes it as what comes to mind when she thinks of “Melancholy of Haruhi” – a picture of Haruhi before meeting Kyon, looking quite melancholic. She wrote a short final comment on the left side of the picture, saying how she can’t believe it’s been four years since the Haruhi-ism artbook, how she wanted to make this one “not lose” to it, how Tanigawa came up with the name “Hyakka,” and of course, thanking everyone ^^
So that’s a brief look at Haruhi Hyakka. Sorry I couldn’t share more and larger images, but my scanner isn’t good for that kind of job XD Anyway, like the previous Haruhi-ism artbook, Haruhi Hyakka is a must-buy for any fan of the series. It’s got all of Noizi Itou’s gorgeous artwork that’s come out since the first book, including a few exclusive pieces. And of course, what it has over the other book is the new short story, the first new Haruhi story Tanigawa has put out since volumes 10-11 in 2011. The book gives me hope that the Haruhi series isn’t ready to fade away just yet (not sure about the anime, but the novels aren’t at least!)
And surprisingly, just about a week before Haruhi Hyakka was released, Anime Expo announced Noizi Itou as a guest of honor this year! I’m super excited about seeing one of my favorite artists in person! I should get her to autograph this very book XD