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JJR1971

Suzuka

BASED ON 26 OF 26 EPS WATCHED
18 JUN
2011

*warning, veiled spoilers*

Suzuka is a deeply romantic story and slice-of-life Japanese High School drama cleverly disguised as a Sports Anime.  The titular character is a High School freshman track star and rising child prodigy attending school in Tokyo in full scholarship.  Yamato Akitsuki (秋月 大和 Akitsuki Yamato?) is also a freshman who has also just moved to Tokyo and is living with his aunt; He sees Suzuka practicing her high jump on the school track field and instantly falls in love with her.  Sadly, the feeling is not mutual.  Suzuka doesn't dislike Yamato, but she doesn't particularly like him either.  We come to learn she's someone who is deeply haunted by the recent past.

Suzuka is a good examination of how Love is more something that simply happens to you, like heat stroke, more than anything you consciously decide for yourself.

Yes, childhood friend Honoka is without a doubt the sweeter, nicer girl...Suzuka is more unstable, cruel, runs hot and cold, is hard to read, etc.  None of that matters.  Yamato fell in love with Suzuka and can't help how he feels.  He tries to choose Honoka over Suzuka but his heart won't let him and he ends up only breaking Honoka's heart as well.

There is a saying in Buddhism that "Desire leads to suffering", and boy, do these character SUFFER.  A LOT.  Not just Yamato, but Suzuka and Honoka as well.

The official tag-line for this series is "Love is not a spectator sport", but it could just as easily have been "Love is a full-contact sport.", which is a nice double-entendre.

Love is good, love is great, but unrequited love can hurt like a motherf*cker.

Miki Hashiba (羽柴 美紀 Hashiba Miki?), voiced by Jamie Marchi in the English dub, is a good friend to both Yamato and Suzuka.  She encourages Yamato not to give up.  Along with Honoka, she encourages Suzuka to be more honest with herself about her feelings for Yamato.  She's a truly great friend to both protagonists.  Becoming Yamato's friend, Miki is definitely putting her own heart at risk.

These are characters you will want to stand up and cheer for. Yasunobu Hattori (服部 安信 Hattori Yasunobu?) is Yamato's best friend and though he's a bit of a "player" himself, often gives Yamato some pretty good advice; not always, but usually.  Voiced by Robert McCollum in the English dub, who also voices Kazuma in Kaze No Stigma.  Robert is featured in the DVD extras actor commentaries, along with Brina Palencia.  While Brina thinks Yamato should have forgotten about Suzuka and just stuck with Honoka, Robert is of the opinion that Yamato was right to risk it all to continue pursuing Suzuka.  Go for the gold, don't settle for silver.

The ending of this series is very emotionally satisfying, but like a runner in a marathon, crossing the winner's tape at the end will leave you feeling emotionally exhausted.  Happy, but exhausted.


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