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Suzuka

suzuka-1
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: Studio Comet/Marvelous Entertainment
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 7/6/2005 to 12/28/2005

Akitsuki Yamato is your typical, average, mediocre teenager who has moved to Tokyo to study in high school and lives in a building run by his aunt that serves as a public bath and boarding house for young ladies. Trying to get to know the area better, he visits his school before classes begin and becomes mesmerized by a cute girl practicing high jumps. To his surprise, she lives next door to him, and he quickly realizes that this girl is far more complex than what she let on during their chance meeting, turning his world upside down.

summary by Soundchazer

 

Reviewed: 04/07/2006 by
Grade: 63% av-Soundchazer

Highs: Down-to-earth story that avoids many of the pitfalls of shounen romance

Lows: Boring characters that make me want to watch the Food Channel

The same “dream team” that brought us Peach Girl decided to have another go at it and went with a similar theme: a mix of the boy-meets-girl and love triangle storylines. Just like before, they once again made an odd choice for director, using a storyboard veteran like Fukutomi Hiroshi, who has participated in a lot of successful anime. But he has limited directorial experience, and most of it in very questionable titles like Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf.

This lack of experience in the director’s chair is quite noticeable throughout the course of this anime. From the use of character designs that are almost copied verbatim from the manga to problems with the pacing and dialogue, this anime is a little hard to look at with its dull earth tones and unexciting designs. Worse still, it’s even harder to listen to, with rather trite dialogue.

The only thing that saves this anime from being a total waste of time is the overall story, which deviates from the standard fare by presenting a more realistic look at love. From a character running away from her painful past to another who decides it is better to be the substitute rather than being ignored by the person she loves, it is definitely something different from what you see in similar anime. Unfortunately, the narration is not quite up to par, using very slow pacing and presenting really unlikable characters: a very dense and stupid lead man, a very abrasive, defensive and unfeminine lead lady and a third wheel that you know is going to be used as a way to get the lead lady jealous and has next to no redeeming attributes.

In short, this is the type of show I can only recommend to enthusiasts of the genre; it’s not bad enough to be laughable, but not good enough to be engaging to the casual viewer. I hope the production companies in charge of the Suzuka project learn this valuable lesson: instead of using the phrase “if at first you don’t succeed, try again,” go for “if it swims like a duck and quacks like a duck…” because the people behind this anime are proven stinkers in this genre. All I know is I won’t have the stomach to see if the third time is really the charm.

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