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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Suzuka v.1
Suzuka v.1
FUNimation // PG // June 12, 2007
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted June 18, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

Based on the manga series by Kouji Seo, Suzuka is a show that mixes two popular styles of anime:  sports shows and the harem series.  While it doesn't fall squarely in either camp, the program has a lot of aspects of each.  A young boy living in an all girls dorm owned by his aunt (Holy Love, Hina Batman!) falls for a girl.  In order to get her to pay attention to him though, he has to excel in track events like she does.  This first volume gets off to a good start, and while it does have its problems the show has a lot of potential.

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 girl's 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.  While Yuka becomes amorous (usually towards Yamato) while inebriated, Megumi becomes surly and rants about how men are pigs and that all they want to do is look at her ample breasts.  Another lady 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.  Unfortunately he gets off to a bad start by accidently walking into her room on his first day, and having an embarrassing mishap in the bathroom where he ends up on the floor laying on Yuka.  This convinces Suzuka that Yamato is a grade-A jerk.

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.  The only problem is that Yamato's too blinded by Suzuka to notice that Honoka's always hitting on him.

This series has a lot of potential.  There's the sports aspect, Yamato turns out to be great at sprinting and Suzuka is always trying to jump just a little higher, and then harem shows are always a lot of fun.  The odd thing about this program is that they play down the comedy aspects, something that never happens in harem shows.  While there's nothing wrong with that, the show doesn't succeed as a straight drama, at least not based on the five episodes on this disc.  The biggest problem is that Suzuka is a real bitch.  If this was a comedy, it would be easy to over look that, but with this show viewers will constantly be wondering what Yamato sees in this miserable girl.  A good example is when Suzuka asks Yamato to help her with some shopping after school.  They don't arrange a meeting place, so Yamato waits for five hours (!) outside in the cold for the woman of his dreams.  This causes him to get sick and miss the second day of school.  Suzuka's response to this?  She yells at him for waiting outside and then doesn't want to visit him after school.  After all she can't afford to come down with what he has.

While she is nice to him on occasion, more often than not Suzuka treats Yamato like crap.  (When he breaks a school track record and everyone is ecxited for him the only thing that Suzuka can say to him is "Eh, I've seen faster.")  It's hard to get totally involved in a show where the main character's motivations are mysterious.  I have a feeling that Suzuka will become a little more tolerable soon, but if she doesn't it bodes ill for this series.

The DVD:


The first five episodes are contained on this disc which comes in a clear keepcase with a reversible cover.  There is no insert.  The limited edition version also has a thick cardboard slipcase to store the entire series in.

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.  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 are a textless opening and closing and the Aoda High School Year Book.  This last feature is a reel of stills from the show that lasts slightly less than a minute.

Final Thoughts:

Though I had some problems with Yamato being so thick and Suzuka being such a witch, I did enjoy these episodes.  There are some fun moments and the story has a lot of potential.  While there isn't as much humor as I'd like, there is some.  I'm going to cautiously recommend this series.  I think it will end up being rather memorable.
 

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