- March 26, 2009
- ISBN 978-404715-208-3
- March 29, 2011
- ISBN 978-031608-954-8
One year prior to the events of The Disappearance, SO3 Studio ("Save the World by Overloading it with Fun by Blowing up the Earth 3 times") was struggling. It consisted of the president Haruhi Suzumiya, the vice president Itsuki Koizumi, an idol Mikuru Asahina, and "menial tasks" Kyon.
Haruhi spotted a woman in the street she assumed had an incredible amount of talent. She told her to join the studio. The woman said "understood". When Kyon asked her name, Haruhi immediately replied Yuki Nagato, and assigned her a name she believed was false. "Nagato's" lack of background or even real name helped make her famous, along with her being a "tight-lipped, stone-faced, doll-like idol".
A year later Kyon asked her who she was. She said she had taken the option of observing a parallel world on an identical time axis. Her explanation confused him. She said this stratum had been low priority, but now the situation had reached a critical level and could no longer be neglected. "Forgive my arbitrary actions." She told him she would retire, and she vanished without a trace.
The SO3 Studio had to start over as a poor studio. Of course, it just meant Haruhi would seek out the star of tomorrow.