Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Full Title: Suzuka
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Sports
Episodes: 26
Uploaded By: Penad8
My Age Rating: PG-13 (Mild Language, Adult Situations, Sexual Themes)

(A romance drama, you ask? Yeah, what's your point?)

Yamato Akitsuki has just arrived in Tokyo hoping to open a new chapter in his life and to find himself in the process. On his first day there, he walks past the high school he will be attending and is startled by what he sees, a lovely girl practicing high jump by herself. He is immediately captivated by her grace and beauty, but after watching her awhile, he concludes he doesn't have a chance and walks on to his new apartment owned and run by his aunt and niece. Later he learns that not only does that girl live in the same apartment building, she lives next door to him. He figures this out by walking into her room on accident, (cliched much? don't worry, it gets worse before it gets better...) and we're off to the races on what appears to be the very beaten down path of romantic comedies. From that point on, Yamato pretty much has his heart set on her, and she doesn't want much to do with him. Mix in a studly best friend who gives mostly bad advice, a really hot third wheel girl who seems to be only interested in Akitsuki, a couple of continuously drunk co-inhabitants of the apartment, and you have what appears to be the same old unoriginal storyline, but don't jump (ahahaha, I crack myself up...) to conclusions to quickly, because this series starts getting deep fast.

A forewarning, this series doesn't really have very much sports action at all. For its apparent track emphasis, the running and jumping are just catalysts for moving the relationships along. If you want a sports drama, you might end up enjoying two episodes (maybe) in this entire anime. The story here revolves around the characters, and the characters don't really do much. Lot's of talking. On the upside, Suzuka (the show not the girl) is an incredibly realistic and honest look at life and love. Realistic to the point where you could make a movie out of the entire show with a hand held camera and 50 (or so) competent actors, no visual effects required, and if someone told you these events as part of their life story, you'd be inclined to believe them. Because this is a "coming-of-age" story for the main character, you might not like him at first, or ever...

Although this show mostly avoids many of the trappings its siblings succumb too, (i.e. lots of fanservice, girl on boy violence, clumsiness puts boy in awkward position on top of girl (happens twice), etc.) my rating for this show still takes hits in many different areas. The smoothness of the animation is bad, very, very bad. The art itself is average at best, and the character designs are pretty much same old. The dialog isn't terrible, but it's not going to win any awards either, and the voice acting is flat at times. But what this anime lacks in budget, it makes up for in pure, unadulterated effort. It wants to be good so badly that, for the most part, it is. The story is smooth, the plot line takes twists at times, and the characters are all believable individuals with real world problems. For all its shortcomings, it still has the power to grab a hold of its viewers and make them watch till the end. (One more thing, I haven't read the manga, but I've heard that if you do read it, it makes the anime look a lot worse due to the lack of being surprised by the turning points in the story.) An overall better-than-average-by-pure-effort show. If you're a fan of serious romances, check it out...

My Rating: 6.3/10 (Good)

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