Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Notables: AKESAKA Satomi
MAEDA Takeshi
MIURA Hatsumi
OOYAMA Takanori
Moving from the Hiroshima area to Tokyo as to attend high school there, Akitsuki Yamato finds himself having to live in a house run by his aunt Fujikawa Ayano and her daughter Miho. He doesn't have to pay a rent but in exchange he has to help the residence. Besides having a public bath it's also occupied by three young and pretty female tenants - Saotome Yuka, Matsumoto Megumi and Asahina Suzuka. Yamato falls quickly for the charm of the beautiful and sporty Suzuka (a talented track&field high jumper going to attend the same class as Yamato) but alas for him everything separates them - and don't forget Yamato's pal Hattori Yasunobu (the ladies' guy), Hashiba Miki (the sprinter girl), and Sakurai Honoka (another female classmate and childhood friend of Yamato). Well, life isn't easy when you're young and inexperienced...
[TV series, 2005, 26 episodes, 23 min; the picture features yamato's best friends, i got this from the manga, and you see yamato and suzuka just after they got married,
1:29min Series Opening - YouTube Video

All 26-episodes of this series are available for viewing at HULU
Episode Details 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 6 9 9 10 9 Silence [series:1113#2939]
At the end of the series, the impression Suzuka left me is that this is as much a rollercoaster ride as it is a siege. At first, Yamato seems like a detestable guy, with his loudmouth and pretentious attitude. But very soon, I can sympathize with him, and really feel his pain when attacked by Asahina at an intensity I have never felt before. Perhaps its his perserverance, perhaps its his moronic behaviour, but I was won over to his side, and started to root for him. True, at times, I really want to scream (or laugh) at his idiocy, but in the end, I am able to understand his feelings, if not stand his stupidity.

Asahina can really be a bitch at times. Nay, make that most of the time. No other girl makes me want to slap her more. Many times I found myself wanting to say "Screw you", or more crude terms, to her. But again, at times, she can be cute as well, especially when she is trying to vie for attention. But the extent of her mental block, and the way she tries to ignore her feelings and lie to herself is a little extreme. Cannot say that I am totally convinced by her final change of heart, despite the prolonged war of attrition.

I liked the part when Yamato and Sakurai got together. It is rare for the main character to go so far with a side, and it is really quite realistic. I would not expect him to just go on despite the repeated rejections. Also, Hattori changed from an obnoxious playboy to a pillar of support and advice for Yamato, a true friend indeed.

The opening and ending themes are not very impressive, but I liked the bgm and how it suited the mood to get me fired up or to feel hurt. The animation is really something else. There are some smooth and well done high jumps, but most are more like frame by frame. The faces can get really screwed up at times, especially while kissing. Also, there is one major conceptual error: pro sprinters do not normally breathe during the 100m events as it slows them down. For high schoolers maybe that standard is a little high, but to pant like Yamato did? Man, he is a 10 year old when never exercised in his life before. How can he possibly still hit sub 11.

Perhaps the main success of this series is how it made me feel for the two main characters. I felt their pain, I can feel their joy. This is what a good drama is all about. Through the entire time, I laughed, teared, felt stabbing in my heart, and towards the very end, even suicidal (sorta). Hell of a ride emotionally, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Last updated Tuesday, November 24 2009. Created Tuesday, November 24 2009.
Rent 8 8 8 7 7 8 Ggultra2764 [series:1113#1552]
I'll give Suzuka some benefit of the doubt in the fact it doesn't fit the usual shounen romance anime mold I've seen of recent titles. There's no slapstick comedy gags or over-the-top plot developments that you would normally expect of the genre to be found in this series. The show explores Yamato's romantic developments with Suzuka and Honoka from his perspective as he tries to figure out how each of the girls are thinking and the inexperience of being in love gets to him. Like any kid at his age, Yamato does have his awkward moments: he's impulsive, has the potential for an activity he has no serious interest in, doesn't know how to approach new situations. Those of us who have been through high school know of such experiences which gives Suzuka a sense of believability. And unlike most shounen romance titles, the guy has a backbone. While Yamato's outbursts often result in him getting in trouble with one of the girls, it's refreshing to see a title not featuring some hapless guy being indecisive and a punching bag. It also explores the pressures of being involved in track and field as characters like Suzuka pride themselves on being at their best for the sport they care for.

Suzuka, however, doesn't completely escape its shounen romance roots as the archetypes are still around. We have two drunk college gals, a self-proclaimed ladies man, the supportive best friend for Suzuka, Suzuka has some tsundere in her and Honoka has some bits of the timid nice anime gal in her. And for a series that does well at looking into Yamato's thoughts, Suzuka is still a fairly predictable series to follow if you have seen enough shounen romance titles, so how the series concludes shouldn't be of much surprise to folks familiar enough with the genre.

Still for a predictable title, Suzuka did well enough to keep my interest on Yamato's relationships with Suzuka and Honoka. It's not a title I like enough to add to my anime collection, but Suzuka was a decent watch.

Last updated Friday, October 09 2009. Created Monday, October 05 2009.
Buy 8 8 8 8 9 9 Dreamer [series:1113#2279]
Reading the synopsis, I figured this one would be just another "clone" if you will, of similar titles like Love Hina. Wow, I was completely wrong.... for the better.

Art, Animation and Character Design
The art wasn't nothing really out of the ordinary. But, at times, it seemed it was falling below par. As for animation, it was about average as well and at times horribly choppy and fuzzy. Now I don't know if it was the copy I picked up or if it was the anime itself. As for character design, they were your typical stereotyped characters... which is okay and not the least bit taking away from the series.

The OP was excellent! I actually enjoyed it. It wasn't your typical high-pitched child-like piece that's found on many other anime. It was an alternative-pop type that made the beginning credits somewhat dramatic... with the "deeper" female vocalist. I loved the voice. As for the rest of the songs, nothing really interesting as most of them were light pieces, sometimes piano pieces.

Series and Episode Story
This is probably one of the best High School dramas out there to date. One the reasons behind it is that this series is more "serious" as far as drama is concerned than your similar titles. You can almost say it's more serious in every aspect. Although you still have humor, it's not really your slapstick type, and sure you have your ecchi moments, but not overdone. You do have your stereotyped characters but they all do serve a good purpose by adding to the plot and not just there for the sake of having characters. Asahina (lead female), is one of my fav anime characters. She's both a serious and determined person but can be charming and fun when needed. The interesting thing about this anime is that almost all the characters bring enough depth into the series that the viewer will be drawn to either love or like them all and ultimately be rooting for one or another. With that said, each episode couldn't come any sooner. The plot progresses quite well with virtually no fillers and by the end of the series, I was quite satisfied at how it turns out and how good of a pick this one turned out to be.

Overall, this is a good buy. If you enjoy High School dramas, or even loosely similar titles (namely Love Hina), then you'll love this one.

Last updated Thursday, March 05 2009. Created Thursday, March 05 2009.
Buy 9 10 10 10 8 10 Anonymous #3031 [series:1113#3031]
This is my favorite anime ever, but the only thing i don't like is that in the manga he even marries suzuka and even get's a daughter called fuka and this is 3 years in the future, anyway this is probably the best anime/manga i've ever watched and i recommend it,

Last updated Thursday, October 09 2008. Created Thursday, October 09 2008.
Unevaluated Forbin [series:1113#1573]
Drama : Low
Comedy : Med
Action : None
SciFi : None
Ecchi : Med

3 Episodes Watched
I will call this Love Hina Light. It's in a hotel with many rooms (And only 3 tenants) who are all girls. There is the blond who is like Kitsune, the Mega Nekko who is like an Old Shinobu, and of course Suzuka who is like Naru on Ritlin.

While I liked Shuffle more, this was good. More after I see more.
Edit : Reading another blog on this I realized something. This is Maison Ikkoku lite. Owells , I hope it keeps up the animation and plot.

Boy is Suzuka a BITCH! This is Maison Ikkoku with Naru as the Manager.

Last updated Tuesday, July 26 2005. Created Friday, July 22 2005.
Unevaluated Jan-Chan [series:1113#967]
Episode 2 has been released as a fansub, in this very fun high school romance story. I am looking forward to the next episode.

Last updated Monday, July 18 2005. Created Monday, July 18 2005.
Buy 8 4 10 7 9 10 Devil Doll [series:1113#752]
[Score: 84% = Buy-. Other recommended non-Fantasy Romance Drama animes: Koi Kaze, Lamune, Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, Hachimitsu to Kuroba II; reversed roles of: Bokura ga Ita]
  • Drama: Med/High (romantic triangle with some dark secret involved)
  • Comedy: Low (occasional funny blunders by Yamato, but mostly a serious teenage romance)
  • Action: Low (no fighting, but sport competition plays a role)
  • SciFi: None (plain old world, normal people - just a lot of track & field)
  • Ecchi: Low (the nudity in episode 1 is an exception)
I always try to compare stories to each other, abstracting what I consider significant. But I really have a problem with this series in this aspect: It doesn't have the fantasy elements of Love Hina or the SF elements of Kimagure Orange Road (TV), and it's more focussed on the leads and less episodic than Boys Be. And despite featuring a major baka as male lead this isn't a "lite" version of any other series, as it apparently has less comedy, less ecchi, more drama and more realistic characters than the average teenage romance story... so maybe the first half of Kareshi Kanojo no Jijoo might actually be the best comparison.
Especially the realism is what's so much better than most other romance series: These 16-year-old youths make horrible mistakes now and then but that's just how they're doing at this age.

The staff indicates the typical light-hearted high-school romance, full of elements we know already:
  • AKIZUKI Yamato - the irresponsible nice guy, bigmouth, prone to embarrassingly loud soliloquies, unable to look at things from any other perspective than his own, thus inadvertently annoying and even hurting people; but he does have his heroic moments in this series every now and then, and grows a spine towards the end of the series, showing quite some determination.
  • ASAHINA Suzuka (a.k.a. "The Ice Queen" or "Miss Perfect") - the popular high-jumper girl living next door whom Yamato falls for at first sight; she can be a bitch at times but a real sweetie as well, with the load of a dark secret on her shoulders, permanently denying her own feelings (to others as well as to herself).
  • HASHIBA Miki - Suzuka's best friend and fellow track&field athlete, an attractive level-headed girl and a care bear, supporting the leads wherever she can; she may be considered the silent star of this series.
  • HATTORI Yasunobu - Yamato's childhood pal and classmate, now a ladies' guy and the personal adviser for Yamato's love life, experienced and knowledgeable but sometimes asking too much of Yamato, and the source of many interesting fundamental statements, mostly about the nature of love.
  • SAKURAI Honoka - a shy classmate and shrine maiden living nearby, secretly in love with Yamato since their childhood; she'll be the character to surprise the audience the most.
  • FUJIKAWA Ayano - Yamato's aunt and landlady, reliable and discreet.
  • FUJIKAWA Miho - Ayano's daughter (age 13 or so), admiring her o-nii-chan but helplessly watching his many blunders (which make her show her "bossy side" at times).
  • SAOTOME Yuka - a fellow lodger girl and student, the perfect kogal, annoying to no end and meddling with Yamato's problems without being asked. If you want to hate a character in this show, she's the one.
  • MATSUMOTO Megumi - a fellow lodger girl and student, the laughing stock of this series, not too bright and extremely susceptible to the effects of alcohol (as we get to see in several episodes).
  • SHIRAKAWA Nana - an teenage idol with her own record contract already, and to everyone's surprise best friends with Honoka.
The ecchi episode 1 is just a blooper (whereas the manga shows more hard facts than the anime), and the silliness of the start will soon be gone. All relevant characters (except for Nana) had their appearance by episode 5 already. No weak episode from no.8 to 21 - the drama rules and Hattori & Miki contribute a lot to the show during their short scenes (especially Miki's performance is exceptional during the last third of the series). I am not really happy about the final episodes with that many scene reruns, it feels more like a war of attrition besieging the Ice Queen's castle, and the inevitable is being delayed for quite a while. Then again, everything makes sense in the end, and that's fine.

As for the Art you can see the nice faces of all characters - but the Animation quality is extremely unstable from episode to episode (they show nice high jump movements but during episode 3 and 7 the faces looked really awkward, and in episodes 17 & 19 it gets really annoying), almost as if they used two animation teams of very different skill levels! Never before have I given that low a rating for Animation for a show I like so much... they should really have been given a larger production budget.

Not much spectacular Music either, rather few patterns repeated frequently - but strangely I cannot ever get enough of listening to the OP and the first ED song at the start resp. end of each episode (while I consider the second ED song with the Asahina highlights just boring), albeit they're probably average J-Pop material. Somehow they're exactly what the series needs at these places: A cheerful tune for the beginning of each episode, a fast & powerful song for the sequence of the episode's highlight scenes at the end for the first half of the series, and a soft ending song for the second half when the ice is slowly beginning to melt.

If you remove the upper layer of the Story and focus on character analysis this series has a lot in common with Love Hina (just without most of the overhead): Yamato (Keitaro, with a little more spine) has immediately fallen for capricious Asahina (Naru, with a verbal "Naru punch" this time) who will have a hard time to understand that she likes this irresponsible guy as well. With a ladies' guy and the fellow athlete trying to help them becoming a couple, and a lovely, shy, caring Honoka (an older version of Shinobu) as Suzuka's potential rival, the stage is set - let the drama begin!
Despite the story being focussed on the lead couple (both of which undergo drastic changes of popularity level in the eyes of the audience, rest assured) some of the Side Characters are shining more brightly. Hattori and Miki set the standard for the leads who have to develop significantly as to reach their level. Megumi and Saotome are horribly irritating but used sparingly (thank god...), Miho-chan has nice appearances now and then. And Honoka-chan... rooting for her makes this series an emotional roller coaster as so many of her efforts go to waste. But her time will come... she's so much more than just another Shinobu-chan! The miko is my favourite character of this show, and she'll be at her top performance when you least expect her to.

But actually the best aspect of this show is that the audience will automatically lead heated debates about which girl is the best and who deserves whom... which means the author designer did a perfect job making the fans get involved in the story! You'll be longing for every forthcoming episode, and many of these episodes end with a sensational bang, earning Episode Story the highest possible rating.

Last updated Sunday, June 12 2011. Created Friday, July 15 2005.

Other Sites
Official Japanese Series Web Site (Funimation)
offers watching certain episodes online for free
Lunar Subforum for Suzuka
Series Forum of the Lunar Fansubbing Group
AnimeSuki Subforum for Suzuka
Series Forum at AnimeSuki, with lots of discussions about the characters' development
Memento: Suzuka Archives
Mentar's insightful episode reviews and comparisons between anime and manga
Lunar Heights
Personal Blog by random_ray, the Suzuka translator for Lunar, with comments on his episode translations
Random Curiosity: Suzuka
Episode reviews with TONS of screen captures.
DEL REY manga series (English language)

Community Anime Reviews

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