The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Suzumiya Haruhi

A Haruhi Visual Novel

The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan yields a brilliant concept during its last episode: an opening that is to a Haruhi visual novel. We find out that later, this is a  “bittersweet romance” dating sim that was written in-story by Yuki, although even by dating sim standards, it is ridiculously challenging. Kyon manages to trigger a bad end within a few seconds of starting the game. While an English-language game itself is probably not likely, I could probably see myself playing a game of this sort involving the cast of Suzumiya Haruhi.

While Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan has always been a top-caliber comedy, the visual novel presented here seems oddly out of place. Some of the images presented in this short see Haruhi and even Nagato with tears in their eyes under evocative circumstances, either responding to the player’s love confession or rejection. While such mannerisms would probably never occur in the TV series, I have previously expressed an interest in seeing a standard drama with the cast of Suzumiya Haruhi, and personally, would be most interested to explore the Nagato Yuki or Haruhi Suzumiya routes: I find particular aspects from both their personalities to be interesting.

Nishinomiya, Hyogo: Home of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi

The events of Suzumiya Haruhi are set in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo, Japan. This city is where Kwansei Gakuin University is located; Nagaru Tanigawa (the author) graduated from this university. As such, the anime series’ locale is set directly in this region; the scenery is immediately recognisable to residents living in the area, although a few semantics have been altered in the anime. Such alterations include:

  • The Kitaguchi Station seen in the anime which is actually the Hankyu Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi Station
  • The Kōyōen Station (光陽園駅, Kōyōen Station) is named after the real Hankyu Kōyōen Station (甲陽園駅, Kōyōen Station) : it only differs in the kanji
  • Similarly, the baseball team Kamigahara Pirates (上ヶ原パイレーツ, Kamigahara Pirates), has the same name of its real life counterpart, Uegahara Pirates of the Kwansei Gakuin University and only differs in its first kanji (上).
  • North High School where Kyon, Haruhi, and the rest of the SOS Brigade members attend is the real life location of Nishinomiya Kita High School.
Anime Location Real-world equivalent

The similarities become clear upon inspection of these images. I’ve also included another set of images that further illustrate other locations that inspired the anime locations.

  • Nagato Yuki’s apartment is located near Hankyu Kouyou Line Kouyouen station, which is in Kouyouen-Honjou-cho, Nishinomiya-shi (Hyogo prefecture). As mentioned earlier, the station in the anime uses different kanji.

  • There is a small park outside of the Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi Station; this is where the SOS brigade convened during their weekend excusion for paranormal activity.

  • Shukugawa Park is where Mikuru explains her role as a time traveller to Kyon during the morning session of their first SOS-brigade outing. The park lines both banks of the Shukugawa river in Nishinomiya-shi (Hyogo prefecture) and is particuarly well-known its cherry blossoms in spring.

  • One of the side streets near the Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi station that Haruhi,  Koizumi and Mikuru travel down during the afternoon session of their weekend excursion.

  • The Nishinomiya-shi Central Library is located in Kawazoe-cho, Nishinomiya-shi, (Hyogo prefecture). Kyon brings Yuki here during the afternoon session to kill time, and is reprimanded by Haruhi in the most amusing way possible.

  • Haruhi discusses her past to Kyon at this railroad crossing, revealing that her desire to be unique stemmed from her realisation that she was but one in a faceless crowd during a baseball game her father took her to.

  • Koizumi brings Kyon to Osaka Station to demonstrate to the latter his capabilities and responsibilities as an esper. They stop in the middle of this crosswalk and prepare to enter closed space from here.

  • The Nankai ferry route facilitates travel between Wakayama-kou (Wakayama prefecture) and Tokushima-kou (Tokushima prefecture). One way trips require about 2 hours on average. The particular ferry depicted in the anime is named “Kumano”: this is the upper deck where Koizumi converses with Kyon.

  • The interior of the Kumano’s middle deck. The vending machines seen in the right side of the image are the same vending machines where Kyon purchases refreshments for everyone after he gets dominated in a card game.

  • The anime replicates the details on the ferry almost down to the pixel, although being anime, the main difference is that the real world settings feel distinctly gritter compared to the clean textures present in the anime.

  • Shukugawa Shopping Street is inspired by the Chuou Shopping Street and Sanwa Hondoori Shopping Street in Amagasaki-shi (Hyogo prefecture), just outside the Hanshin Amagasaki Rail Station. These two streets are designed such that they converge in a shape similar to a crossbow: Sanwa Hondoori Shopping Street forms the bow, while Chuou Shopping Street forms the arrow. The SOS-brigade come here to purchase supplies for their film, and also make a short commerical here for one of the camera shop owners as gratitude for assisting them.

  • Ginsui Bridge is located near Nishinomiya North High School (the real world equivalent of North High). The high school itself is found in Kurakuen-bancho, Nishinomiya-shi (Hyogo prefecture)and is roughly 2 km uphill from the nearest train station, Hankyu Kouyou Line Kouyouen Station.

Nagaru Tanigawa described his hometown of Nishinomiya in great detail within his novels, the setting of all of the events in Haruhi Suzumiya. These novels formed the basis for the anime: the animators at KyoAni merely needed to spend a few weekends designing the locations, given that Nishinomiya is only an hour from Kyoto by train.