July 13, 2005

Suzuka 1

Filed under: Suzuka — Ren @ 9:35 am

We begin by viewing our male lead, Akitsuki Yamato, walking past the school in Tokyo he is about to attend, a few days before the semester is to begin. There he sees a girl practicing high jump, and he stops to watch her and marvels at her beauty. Of course he doesn’t believe he could ever get a girl like her.

Cue the OP:

The song was ok, but I wasn’t that big on the singer’s voice. The opening animation was nothing noworthy.

We resume with a young dark-haired girl named Miho who’s waiting in the rain for Yamato. Her mother, Ayako, asks her to wait inside or she’ll catch a cold but she insists that he should be there any minute. He shows up and apologizes, then thanks his Aunt Ayano for taking him in while he’s going to school.

The thing is, Ayako and Miho’s home is an all girls bathhouse, and usually guys are not allowed. But of course they’ve made an exception for Yamato since he’s family, which will no doubt be the cause of many embarassing moments for Yamato and the girls alike.

He promises to work hard at whatever task he’s given since he’s being allowed to stay there rent-free and will even be paid for the work he does. Ayako then gives him his first task - cleaning the baths, which is a bigger job than he’d first anticipated and really makes him regret being so gung ho about offering to do “any” task.

While cleaning he daydreams about the girl he saw practicing the high jump, until he’s scolded by Miho for slacking off. She tells him to hurry up or he’ll be in trouble, as the female college students are “dangerous.”

True to form, a naked girl and her toweled friend show up, much to Yamato’s embarassment. The naked blonde girl remarks that Yamato is cute, and lunges at him but Miho pushes her away. She then shoves Yamato out of the bathroom, but he of course falls right onto the toweled girl and knocks her over and falls on top of her (soooo predictabblllleee).

Then, to continue our predictable trend, he looks up to see the highjump girl staring at him in disgust and then stalking off. Great first impression dude.

To make matters worse, he ends up walking right into highjump girl’s room, thinking it’s his, further pissing her off. Miho and Ayako come running when they hear the girl screaming at Yamato, and we finally learn that her name is Asahina Suzuka.

Yamato apologizes, then joins his family and Suzuka for dinner. They pick on Yamato, and then praise Suzuka for all her talents. Apparently she’s a record breaking highjump star, who even has scouts after her. She might even go to the Olympics.

All her talents and aspirations only serve to make Yamato look more like a good for nothing flunky. She’s obviously not impressed with him and constantly calls him irresponsible.

Later Miho visits Suzuka in her room to try and convince her not to think too badly about Yamato, but it doesn’t seem to have much effect. Miho sees a picture of Suzuka and a boy, both dressed in track clothes, and hasks Suzuka if that’s her boyfriend. Suzuka doesn’t really answer, so Miho assumes it’s just someone Suzuka admires. Miho then bounds out, again asking that Suzuka not hate Yamato too much.

Suzuka remains, staring forlornly at the picture.

Cut to Yamato, who’s lying in bed musing about Suzuka’s rather cold personality. The doorbell rings and he wonders if it’s her coming to apologize for being harsh with him at dinner. Instead, it’s the blonde girl, Saotome, (now clothed) who stumbles in drunk. The toweled girl, Megumi, (also clothed) follows behind though she obviously doesn’t want to be there. They make a lot of noise which Suzuka can hear through the wall as she does some stretches.

She decides to go to the steam room, and thinks about all the things people said to her before entering high school.

She obviously has a lot of pressure on her, which must account for some of her so-called “coldness” to other people. She has to hold herself to incredibly high standards, since everyone around her is.

Poor Yamato is still trapped with the two girls who are now both drunk. When they finally pass out and Yamato goes to clean the bath.

He notices that all the lights are still on, as well as the sauna. When he looks inside he sees that Suzuka has passed out and he bangs on the door to try to wake her, but she doesn’t respond. He tries to push the door open, but it won’t budge, so he breaks it down and worriedly tries to wake up Suzuka.

We next see her lying in bed, with Ayako assuring Yamato that she’ll be alright as she was just dehydrated.

Oh, and it turns out the sauna door opens if you *pull* it.. so he broke it for nothing. Haha.. The guy really can’t catch a break.

Suzuka wakes up. She doesn’t say thank you to him for helping her. She basically acts like a cow. Yamato scolds her until she breaks down in tears and apologizes. I’m really glad that Yamato told her off instead of acting like a little wimpy man with his tail between his legs.

Turns out she thought she’d be able to jump higher if she lost some weight, so she stayed in the sauna longer than she should have on purpose. At this moment she became less annoying to me and a bit more real. It’s hard to have so many expectations on one person’s shoulders, and high school is already a time of such insecurity that it can make it even worse. Everyone already thinks she’s a star, so now she has to keep on doing whatever it takes for people to keep thinking of her that way or she’ll be a “failure.” Her whole identity is wrapped up in her talent with high jump.

Yamato tries to encourage her by telling her to focus on the fact that she enjoys it, rather than what other people are saying. As he leaves she begs him not to tell anyone that she cried.

The next day Yamato accompanies Suzuka to her morning high-jump practice. Her record-breaking goal is 169cm, but she starts off at 164cm, which she usually breezes over. This morning however, she touches the bar on her way over and immediately begins beeating herself up over it.

Yamato again tries to encourage her, but she won’t have any of it.

However, in the midst of their arguing Suzuka looks at the bar and sees that Yamato didn’t align it right. It wasn’t at 164cm at all - it was at 173cm! A new record, though they were the only two to see it for now.

Suzuka smiles gently, which Yamato thinks suits her much more than the cold and determined look she usually has. I agree! It was the first time in the episode she looked pretty to me.

All in all, an ok first episode. I worry that it’s going to turn too much into a sport series and focus less on relationships and character development. The animation throughout isn’t stunning, the characters aren’t all that attractive, but it’ll be ok as long as they have a solid storyline.

So I’ll give Suzuka a few more episodes to see if it really grabs me.




4 Responses to “Suzuka 1”

  1. Mentar Says:

    Nice writeup, Ren!

    Don’t worry about the too-much-sports-too-little-relationship aspect, rest assured that track and field is just the background keeping it all together, Suzuka is a slice-of-life serious romance drama. The predictable “trippings” will become much less frequent soon ;)

  2. Ren Says:

    Thanks so much! Yours rocks the casbah. And thanks for the reassurance. Now I’m really looking forward to episode 2.

  3. crimson Says:

    i’m downloading this at the moment.

    the op scenes looks pretty enchanting.
    I wonder if the song that goes with it is as suiting.

  4. Theoneanonly Says:

    i think u guys will like this anime is has twist that are sometimes uncomfortable to watch but all in all its ok

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