January 9, 2006

Suzuka 26

Filed under: Suzuka — Ren @ 1:14 pm

Our final episode begins with Suzuka beating the crap out of Yamato more to express her internal conflict than because she hated him kissing her. She’s just really really bad at dealing with her emotions and reacts instead of acts.

Later, Yamato goes to apologize but decides not to. This, to me, is a mark of growth as, even though he feels that he wasn’t out of line in what he said and did, instead of rushing in and justifying his actions until he’s blue in the face he just leaves it alone.

I loved when Suzuka asks Yamato to come with her to visit Kazuki’s grave one final time so that she can truly say goodbye, let go, and look to the future. It’s only fitting that standing next to her is the guy who she will be moving foward with.

The completely silence during the grave scene was more powerful than any background music could have been. And later the simple gesture of them holding hands more moving than any passionate confession of love.

While it was in tiny, often excrutiating and frustrating, baby steps, Suzuka’s growth is apparent throughout the series. I’m actually glad it took her so long because when you’re dealing with deep pain like that it would be completely unrealistic for her to just get over it in a second.

As for Honoka, I feel her theme has been that old saying, “if you really love something, set it it free. If it comes back it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, it was never yours to begin with.” I’m sad for her that she couldn’t have the person she loves. But I know she’ll find better, and boy did she learn a ton in this whole process.

I feel that Yamato has grown the least of all the characters in the series, but he has changed and can only go up from here.

Put simply, Suzuka is a wonderful series where not only do the characters grow up, they mature. I thank Mentar again for encouraging me to watch this.

Suzuka 25

Filed under: Suzuka — Ren @ 9:34 am

Honoka’s character really has come a long way. We all know this. But I think this fact was further emphasized when she got out of the bathtub and went to call Yamato. However, instead of calling and potentially setting herself up to be hurt/disappointed, she calmly admitted that he’s going for Suzuka now, and hung up the phone.

Later on though is one of the best scenes in anime/life. I call it the “long time in coming super mega reality check” scene.

There are two key lines in this scene that absolutely riveted me.

1.) Spoken by Honoka to Suzuka: “You always lie and run away from important issues.”

Amen! Way to call her on it. Finally someone had the guts to just come right out and say it to her. And I couldn’t be happier that the person who did it was Honoka. Not only is it a tiny way for Honoka to get back at Suzuka a bit by causing her some pain, but it’s a perfectly honest, perfectly necessary truth that desperately needed to be spoken.

2.) Spoken by Suzuka to Honoka: “What I do doesn’t influence anything.”

Oh ho ho, and here we see one of the major reasons why Suzuka doesn’t think before she acts/speaks. A sense of powerlessness. Despite her high and mighty attitude, and all her athletic talent, underneath we have a girl who doesn’t feel important at all. Who doesn’t feel that her words or actions have the ability to change the world around her. After all, her feelings didn’t keep Kazuki from dying now did they? And they certainly won’t keep something bad from happening to Yamato, or between her and Yamato.

This simple sentence does much to help us understand the woman that is Suzuka Asahina. In her sports career, academic life, and personal life she strives for perfect control because she feels that life is so utterly out of control. Is this a natural and understandable reaction to emotional pain? Absolutely. Is it justification for some of the cruel things she has said and done? Absolutely not. But can we really judge her when at the root of it all she is simply a human being in incredible pain, like many of us? Of course not. What’s key, now that Suzuka is a tad more self aware, is what she does with this knowledge.

Man this episode was just full of character revelations. But I’m simply going to focus on those two points because I’m dying to see the final episode.

December 23, 2005

Suzuka 24

Filed under: Suzuka — Ren @ 8:16 pm

So Yamato’s plan was to be number #1 so he can show Suzuka that he’s worth her time, and that would give him justification for confessing to her again. However, both the race and his second confession go terribly wrong.

You know, I really agree with Kabitzin: “Unlike in less realistic shows, Yamato doesn’t just power up overnight; in fact, for all his talk about pushing his body past the limit he ends up sucking out and crying on the floor after yet another rejection.”

I also love the small things that show how Suzuka is softening - not only did she go to make Yamato eggs because she knew he was bummed, but she washed his dishes too. It was also sweet of her to tell him stories of her own struggles when she first started track so he wouldn’t be so hard on himself. At last she is beginning to truly look beyond her own pain to see those around her, though when she realizes people are seeing the cracks in her rough exterior she throws up her walls again.

December 15, 2005

Suzuka 23

Filed under: Suzuka — Ren @ 4:17 am

It must’ve been weird for Suzuka to hear Yamato so hell bent on becoming number one. After all, wasn’t her main complaint about him at the beginning of the series that he had no goals and he was too careless about everything? Boy, things sure have changed haven’t they.

In fact, all the girls have noticed the change in him. Miki marvels that he’s so determined and correctly figures out that winning Suzuka’s praise is the motivation. Honoka watches from the shadows, overhears their conversation, and her heart is broken once again. She admits to Nana that she had intended to confess to Yamato again, but now she doesn’t know if she should bother. Nana gives some great advice at this point - forget about a guy who won’t even look at you because, darlin, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

I’m glad that Yamato told Suzuka to shut up for once when she was criticizing him. And kudos to him for asking her point blank just what it is about him that irks her sooo much. Too bad she didn’t have the guts to answer. ;-). Still, he shook her up enough to make her stop him from leaving so she could apologize in a truly sincere tone.

Ah, our poor conflicted heroine.. will you ever sort your feelings out?

December 6, 2005

Suzuka 22

Filed under: Suzuka — Ren @ 8:54 pm

So now that Yamato has admitted to himself that he still likes Suzuka, he wrestles with the pros and cons of confessing to her a second time. He figures it’ll probably just turn out like last time so he shouldn’t bother at this point.

Now, that guy on the track team (who’s name escapes me at the moment) describes Kazuki as stupid, irresponsible, overconfident, anad he fought with Suzuka all the time. Going by that description there is one difference between Yamato and Kazuki - the latter was serious about track.

Seems Yamato gets this because this episode he is dead serious about becoming number one. Second place is not good enough, he’s going to be the number one athlete in Japan.

A lot of people probably will criticize his motivation here. Heck, I’m sure I have in previous posts. But when I think about it a little bit more how many people in sports have truly pure motivations? How many athletes out there are playing just for the love of the game? I’m sure there are some, but the vast majority are undoubtedly fueled by the desire for success, recognition, money, acceptance, etc. etc. I won’t harp on Yamato for wanting to be good at track just to impress Suzuka.

In any case, it seems to be working. I think she is impressed, though she’s not really showing it at the moment, at least not to him. At the very least he’s getting her to think about him more.

December 2, 2005

Suzuka 21

Filed under: Suzuka — Ren @ 8:41 am

Yamato is upset that Suzuka is mad at him and it’s affecting his performance on the track team. Miki tries to help him out, but he’s still distracted.

This causes him to reflect on all the mistakes he’s made in his relationships with Suzuka and Honoka. He then asks himself the all important question of, “What is it that I really want?” His immediate need is to be friends with Suzuka again, so he decides to come clean with her but he can’t figure out how to tell her.

In the end, he just goes for it. He’s never been the most eloquent speaker but at least he finally tells her the truth. She’s understandably upset. He keeps trying to lighten things up betweeen them, but Suzuka, in typical i’m-confused-about-my-emotions-so-
i’ll-just-turn-them-off fashion, reacts coldly to all his attempts. Also typically, she eventually breaks down and ends up screaming at him.

Cutest Suzuka moment: her being too embarassed to take out her laundry when Yamato is there because he might see her underwear.

Yamato may be dumb, but man Suzuka doesn’t help lessen any confusion. “I’m not hungry, stop talking to me.” “I am hungry, give me some of your food.” “Leave so I can take my laundry out, I’m embarassed!” “Where do you think you’re going? I can’t eat alone!”

At least he figured out in the end that he still likes her. Maybe now we’ll see some real progression in their relationship? C’mon people there’s only 5 episodes to go! (Wait, only five more? Booooo)

Suzuka 20

Filed under: Suzuka — Ren @ 8:11 am

A depressed Yamato blames his own self-centredness for the demise of his relationship with Honoka. Hattori tries to cheer him up by saying that it’s never just one person’s fault, but Yamato firmly believes that it’s his fault alone. I’m not sure if I agree or not. Hattori is right that responsibility doesn’t usually lie in just one person when a relationship fails. But in this case, maybe it was just Yamato. Honoka was certainly assertive, kind, sweet, affectionate, and honest from start to finish. But she couldn’t force him to like her more than he likes Suzuka, and she certainly couldn’t (although I think she would like to), make his feelings for Suzuka just disappear. They were always there, and she knew it from the beginning. Still, she took a chance and I think she should be commended for that.

I love how Miki correctly pegs Hattori as a perverted man and how irate he got. Bahaha. Actually, I loved all of the Miki moments in this episode. From her thinking that Yamato was bummed over doing bad in a test, to her correct assertion that what he told Suzuka about the breakup was a lie, to her hilarious antics at the restaurant and efforts to cheer Yamato up. She’s great.

Hattori may have fallen from his pedestal of perfection in my eyes, but at least he didn’t tell Miki about Yamato and Honoka. Sometimes he’s dumb, but at the end of the day I think he’s a good friend, or at least tries to be.

I firmly disagree with Nana saying the problem is that Honoka doesn’t have enough confidence in herself. If we look at her from the beginning of the series until now, she’s practically a different person. It’s because she has gained so much confidence that she was able to break up with Yamato. Heck, it was because of confidence she was able to ask him out in the first place. All of her actions thus far show incredible courage. Of course she still has her insecurities, but I think in the case of worrying about whether Yamato still liked Suzuka they were well founded. It’s obvious that he does. Not that I doubt that he liked/likes Honoka, I just believe that Suzuka is still his “first choice” and he remains infatuatated with her.

On to episode 21..and then I’m all caught up.

November 18, 2005

Suzuka 19

Filed under: Suzuka — Ren @ 3:29 am

Why oh why does this show have to be so poorly animated? It’s such a shame.

I liked Suzuka in this episode. She apologized. She cheered him on. She seemed softer.

Honoka tells Yamato off (good on her!) and breaks up with him.

Yamato continues to be a lunkhead and a big fat liar. (He dumped her, riiiiiiiiiiiight. Ok so he did it to protect Suzuka’s feelings, but stillllllll.)

I’m tired, so that’s all I’m saying.

November 9, 2005

Suzuka 18

Filed under: Suzuka — Ren @ 10:02 pm

We start off with Yamato sitting in his room brooding over the things that Nana had said to him. For a moment he really seemed to grab hold of the fact that he hasn’t invested any time in really getting to know Honoka and was pretty remorseful. However, at the end of the scene his motivation for going to buy Honoka a great birthday present wasn’t to make Honoka happy just to make her happy, but once again just to be a so-called “good boyfriend”, which puts the focus back on him. So even though in the next scene he asked himself what present would make her happy, I had difficulty believing his sincerity. And oh my goodness how unintentionally cruel it was of Yamato to make Suzuka try on that necklace.

And Mentar, you are so right. Hattori has definitely fallen from the pedestal I had him on. But in a way that’s great, the fact that he can be so insightful in some areas and so completely retarded in others makes him a much more realistic, much more human, character. He did say some smart stuff this time around though, like when he told Yamato to put his own embarassment aside and not just think about himself when going to buy Honoka a present.

Oh, and have I mentioned that Honoka’s outfits are so cute? That white sweater with the yellow shirt underneath paired with the adorable blue pleated skirt. Adorable! And then the pink and white outfit? Where does she shop? Do you think such stores exist in reality? I need her wardrobe.

It’s too bad she’s so horribly insecure. She knew Yamato was shopping for her birthday present, and she even heard him say “thanks for your help today” and yet she still had a little freakout, though she seemed to be over it by the next day. That is of course until Yamato blabbered too much and went on and on and on about his shopping excursion with Suzuka, which served to only make her feel insecure again.

Way to ruin her birthday Yamato.

October 30, 2005

Suzuka 17

Filed under: Suzuka — Ren @ 7:46 pm

Wow, the animation was really off this time around. Their faces looked practically deformed most of the time. So disappointing..

Go Miki! That’s right Hattori is a big fat hentai! (read: typical teenage boy). This is the first conversation where I thought Yamato was smarter than Hattori. “We have our own pace for these things.” Amen! You don’t need to rush anything! Look you can say smart things! That’s a good boy. *pat pat*

On the Suzuka front: Suzuka overhears Yamato and Honoka. Suzuka sees a chance to walk home alone with Yamato under her umbrella. Miki is like a mosquito that you just can’t slap away, but finally Suzuka gets rid of her, only to lose her nerve and offer Yamato her umbrella while she goes off with Miki instead. Suzuka acts like a typical girl in emotional turmoil and decides to eat cake. Heh.

I really enjoyed the little reality check Nana gave Yamato at the end. He thinks he’s working so hard to be the perfect boyfriend, but he’s not taking any time to actually get to know her better. He doesn’t know when her birthday is, her favourite colour, her favourite song, he doesn’t know what makes her happy or what makes her sad. He really doesn’t know her. But he’s been feeling satisfied with himself this whole time because he thought he was playing the role of boyfriend well.

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