I almost hesitate to follow up Tsuyoshi's consistently excellent ongoing review of this series with an effort of my own since there's a reason he's managed to claw his way into the top 600 reviewers here on Amazon (you're almost in the top 500 baby!), but my opinion on this series began to diverge from his with the 4th volume, and that trend has continued here to the point that I feel compelled to say something.
I didn't care for the 4th volume of this series, at all. That lead me to hold off on purchasing this 5th volume until its price had dropped appreciably, and even after that I held off on reading it until I needed something to cheer me up from the depression that a series of bad purchases (so bad that I've returned to reviewing things here on Amazon after deleting all my old reviews and going on hiatus for like five years) had thrown me into.
With great trepidation did I crack this book's spine, but it wasn't long before it had me laughing not only at its contents, but the ridiculous over thinking I had fallen into over a gag manga that may well have kept me from it. To be sure PUYO developed a formula and has since firmly adhered to it, but like Agatha Christie's murder mysteries and Mariano Rivera's cut fastball (get well soon Mo!), the truest exhibition of greatness is when everybody knows what's coming, but there's nothing they can do to resist it.
Case in point, whether you've devoured everything Haruhi that you could get your hands on for the past six years like I have (time sure flies...), or have never even glimpsed it aside from this book's cover, you'll grow more and more certain of what the punchline for the first chapter is going to be the closer you get to it, but can you really keep yourself from being amused by it?
Ironically this stand out fifth volume makes me even more anxious about the series going forward. Has PUYO truly mastered the art of throwing the exact same pitch over and over again (or at least making us think it's the same pitch despite having a four pitch arsenal, as for all the hype surrounding his signature pitch Mariano Rivera has always managed to get batters out with pitches that aren't cutters), or was this the last great effort amid an irreversible decline that's destined to end badly?
On the bright side, however you feel about the situations/writing in this series, PUYO continues to mature as an artist with each installment. Also, the English edition of the first volume of "The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan" is coming out this summer, and having read the Japanese version of that some time ago (two years? three? just one?) I'm anxious to see what the localization team at Yen Press does with what has always struck me as a project that's more firmly PUYO's than this is.