Suzuka, Vol. 6
FUNimation // Unrated // $29.98 // January 8, 2008
Review by John Sinnott | posted January 16, 2008
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Graphical Version
The Series:

The romantic soap opera Suzuka comes to an end with volume six.  The series wraps up, but it's not as satisfying as one would like.  There are a couple of dangling plot lines, some that are fairly significant, and the ultimate resolution doesn't feel like an ending so much as a way to finish the series in the shortest amount of time.

Series Background:

Yamato Akitsuki has traveled to Tokyo from his home town of Hiroshima in order to attend a prestigious high school.  The day before classes begin he's checking out the campus when he sees Suzuka Asahina practicing the high jump.  She's graceful and elegant, and the shy Yamato instantly becomes enamored of the athlete, even though he knows he'll probably never see her again.

While staying in Tokyo, Yamato is living in an all girls dorm that is owned and operated by his aunt.  Also living in the dorm are Yuka Saotome, a gorgeous college student who loves to drink until she passes out, and Megumi Matsumoto, a grad student who tries to contain Yuka but usually ends up drunk herself.  Yuka becomes amorous (usually towards Yamato) while inebriated, and Megumi becomes surly and rants about how men are pigs and that all they want to do is look at her ample breasts.  One of the other girls living in the dorm turns out to be (you'll never believe this) Suzaka.  She's in the room right next to Yamato's in fact.

Also going to Aoba High are Yamato's friend and experienced lady's man Yasunobu Hattori, and a quiet, lovely young lady, Honoka Sakurai.  Yamato and Honoka met years ago when they were kids and the meeting left quite an impression on the young girl.  When she sees Yamato again, she instantly falls for him.  Over the course of the series Honoka and Yamato start dating, but they break up because Yamato is still thinking about Suzuka.

This volume:

As this volume starts Honoka is miserable since Yamato doesn't like her.  Yamato is miserable because Suzuka won't date him, and Suzuka is miserable because she still pines for her old boyfriend who died in a car accident.

To get out of his funk, Yamato decides that he will focus all of his energies on becoming the best track runner in Japan.  He's really good, but there's another star at a competing school who always manages to beat our young hero by a good amount.  Yamato has set his sights on his opponent and practices night and day trying to better his times.

While this is going on, Suzuka treats him like shit.  When Yamato wishes her good luck at an upcoming track meet, she tells him to stop wasting his energy on small talk and to get back to training.  These blatant curl-up-and-die sentiments don't deter brain-dead Yamato however.  He decides that if he can come in first at the big metropolitan meet coming up, he'll confess his love to Suzuka once more.
It was hard to stomach Yamato's actions in this final episode.  Suzuka goes out of her way to make him miserable and treats him really poorly.  At one point she slaps his face several times in a row while screaming for him to leave her alone.  I felt sorry for the guy in earlier volumes, but in this one he comes close to stalking Suzuka and some of his actions would definitely be considered sexual harassment if not sexual assault.

Through the series it has been implied that Yamato and Suzuka are just meant for each other.  Unfortunately the program never illustrated why the two should be together.  They constantly fought and never got along.  Why would anyone think this was a good thing to base a relationship on?

Even the ending rang hollow and false.  Yes, they went more in depth about Suzuka's previous boyfriend and what happened just before he died, but none of that extra detail explained anything that viewers didn't already know.  Suzuka was pining for a dead guy.  It sucks, but that's the way it was.  There're some significant changes in people's feelings at the end, and that's what the series should have taken time to explain.  As it is, they just seem to tack on a happy ending, though I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't think it was that ideal of a conclusion.

The DVD:


The next four episodes are contained on this disc which comes in a clear keepcase with a reversible cover.  There is no insert.

Audio:

Ya know what the hardest part of writing a review is?  Coming up with a new and different way of saying that the audio (or video) was okay but nothing to write home about.  That's the case with this disc.  There are stereo soundtracks in English and Japanese, and while I enjoyed the Japanese a bit more they are both fine.  (Some of the English female voices were a bit whiney for my tastes.)  There were no dropouts or distortion.  Sutitles are available in English.

Video:

This show comes with a 4:3 image that is solid and looks fine.  There is some aliasing, mainly in the background, but the lines are tight and the colors are bright and even.  Like the audio, this is an average looking disc that doesn't really wow the viewer but doesn't do anything wrong either.

Extras:

Also included on this disc is another edition of the Aoda High School Year Book, a reel of stills from the show, and a clean opening and closing.

Final Thoughts:

When all is said and done, this is just a frustrating show.  I never could understand most of the characters motivations and the main characters are either very unlikable or idiots.  While I don't regret watching the show, I can't see myself popping these discs in the player ever again.  Bests make this a rental.
 



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