Suzuka episodes 6-10

March 7, 2006 on 6:43 pm | In Suzuka | 3 Comments

Images come from episodes 8, 9 and 10

I got some great feedback from my last Suzuka ramblings: “I liked it too, at first,” was the gist of the arguments, “But by the end I wished all of the characters were dead.”
As a result I’ve decided to return to my old style of writing completed series in instalments as it’s a hell of a lot easier to write and my initial goal in writing this site was to chart how I felt towards a series as it progressed (hence “pilgrimage”). Basically it’s selfish writing, but I like it.

Right now, Suzuka is walking a very fine line between frustration and enjoyable drama. There are surprises in these episodes, and a new character, but Suzuka partially reverts to type in a big disappointment.

Yamato takes Suzuka to Fantasy Land, where he confesses to her. She rejects him, so he decides to take drastic measures by joining the track team to get closer to her. Idiot that he is, he confesses that this is his motive for joining the team, which angers her to no end.
When he actually joins the team and his results turn out to be quite satisfactory, well … Suzuka’s on ice.

For a few episodes it’s like this, and the only reason not to slam your head through the computer screen is the character of Hashiba Miki, a long haired athlete who is friends with Suzuka and becomes friends with Yamato very quickly. Miki is kind and has amusing arguments with Hattori; Akitsuki needs some discipline and Miki is precisely the character to do that. The way she admitted that she had liked Yamato but didn’t worry about it was a good indication of how these characters should react; she’s the most grounded of the characters without the sleaze factor inherent in thingo.

With the focus shifting to the sporting field, there needs to be a way to keep Honoka around; she satisfies this requirement by becoming a manager on the track team. This is not only a thankless task, but it is also an even more blatantly obvious way to get close to Yamato.
Hattori had a point about stalkers …

For the most part, Yamato is clueless about that which goes on around him. It took some guts to confess to Suzuka at the episode six mark, rather than leaving it to the last second after far too many episodes of recrimination. The change affected in Suzuka is understandable, but she becomes less of a human being and more of a stone as a result – and angry stones aren’t that fun to watch, even on a dramatic level. The way that she judges Yamato is painful to watch as she is physically incapable of keeping a civil tongue in her head.

The misgivings of episodes 7-9 are further forgiven by the adventures of episode 10, “Love Rivals”. The story of Tsuda Kazuki gave a good level of rationalisation to Suzuka’s behaviour, even if it is amongst the most clichéd scenarios possible. The confrontation between Suzuka and Yamato in this episode worked because, unlike Suzuka, Akitsuki became capable of letting Suzuka know exactly why he’s angry at her.
Yamato’s behaviour and outburst were, perhaps, paranoia; based in truth, but worded too strongly. Suzuka, on the other hand, cannot even begin to tell Yamato the problems that she has with him, and she hides behind ultimately meaningless words. Suzuka is still in denial, but it is good to see a character who realises what he wants and why he’s pissed off so early in the piece.
That said, I really won’t like Suzuka if it turns out to be a series of these neighbours yelling at each other and taking turns at being the angrier of the two.

The other new aspect of the episode was that the second half was presented from Suzuka’s perspective, with her providing the monologue for a change. You get no indication of her present situation, but you can get a better feel for the character and she earns some much needed sympathy from her scenes here.
What one must remember in a story is that you only see what the writers and directors want you to see; allowing us to see a calmer, gentler Suzuka was a welcome reveal.

Suzuka is a whirlpool. It fell into the trap of “needlessly angry woman” in more time than most series took, but as long as she’s not violent it’s not a lost cause. The character set remains intriguing, and the track team are nice enough people too. If the sports become more earnest, and less of a tool to work the characters around (you know, a genuine sports romance drama series), well … we’ll be just dandy.


  1. “but she becomes less of a human being and more of a stone as a result – and angry stones aren’t that fun to watch, even on a dramatic level.”

    You just brought up some painful memories from the time when I watched Suzuka. Man, I really loathed Suzuka (the character) for that and I still do. The real fun is yet to come.

    Comment by Mohammad — March 8, 2006 #

  2. So I failed to finish the series(instead I picked up Eureka Seven which I enjoy immensely) I’ve finally acknowledged my feeling of apathy toward this series…I could care less how Suzuka ends up with Yamato. Also, if I remember correctly, Yamato’s confession was an accident on his part. He was telling himself to shut up and to not say it but got caught up in the moment. Anyway, I’ll leave by saying the series does get better…but then just bottoms out at the end(or what I’ve seen of the end).

    Comment by Chairman Zhang — March 8, 2006 #

  3. I don’t think he confessed by accident. He was merely thinking if he were to stop now, he could pass it off as a joke.

    I really liked Suzuka, but it is fun to read what you have to say, Alex. Your points are totally correct.

    But you are in for some disappointment. “If the sports become more earnest, we’ll be dandy.” The sports continues to be an aspect of the anime that makes it different from another romance that just focuses on school kids and their romantic plights.

    Comment by Altema — March 8, 2006 #

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