First Impressions – Fuuka


You know, I am a fan of straight up romance, but I usually like it more when it’s part of a genre blend, especially when I blog about it. But there was quite enough going on during these two episodes to fuel a First Impression…

Take Fight!

It begins, as so many of these things do…with a Crash Into Hello. Fuuka, ever in the rush all story heroines are, brings the beat down to our male lead, Yuu, in short order. Usually this sort of “girl get’s unreasonably violent after panty exposure” is a deal breaker for many viewers, and I’ll admit that was my first blush response, as well. But I soldiered on, duty bound in my hobby watching to power past such things. I’m glad I did, because it was a nice trick to do that right off the bat, in series of nice visual tricks the show likes to take. It had less to do with underwear indiscretion and a lot more to do with Fuuka’s defense over her perceived lack of identity, so the slap was all about the universal dignity all girls must defend. As we later find, out, peeking at panties is something that Yuu doesn’t really have to try hard to accomplish. Well, if the fool could ever get over himself long enough to get off his phone/Twitter.

It was this connection, this sort of one-two punch of characterization, that kept my attention, and it was all about the execution. None of the dialogue or direction points these things out. Being a romance, and being a romance about young people, the story wants us to put the random pieces together to come up with as big a picture as we can. It’s one of my favorite features of the show. In a scene next to the famous akita, Hachiko, we see the two circle each other, making assumptions about where the other is, on a meeting which isn’t yet a date. It’s only by pulling back and taking a larger look do we see the connection; with the special bonus of Fuuka’s already outgoing personality literally shouting to Yuu for attention, a detail which will bloom in the future, if I’m any sort of guess…

When is three going to be a crowd?

Those are just a few examples of how the show likes to give us the details. I especially enjoyed seeing both the happiness and touch of jealousy Mikasa exhibits when he sees our two leads getting along; which is a complication given his own orientation and level headedness around girls. But I do wonder how else that will play along later. At first I thought it was going to be a love triangle, then when he spills the beans about being gay, that flipped the script. But, well, there is so much room for some slow burning drama there. Then you add the fact that this is going to be a band/music themed show. Then you add the childhood friend (good to hear Saori Hayami in so many roles this season) with a crush on Yuu. The childhood friend that Fuuka happens to adore cause that friend is a famous idol singer. The idol singer that doesn’t know there’s a love triangle forming, and that she has inspired Fuuka to aspire to being a singer herself, leaving behind her potential as an athlete, one that she pursued to be close to her father. Why do we do the things we do, and is any of it to bridge the gap between the people we love and have come to love?

Just a bit of service…(MNSFW)

Hey, Yuu-kun, do you like panties or not?

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So, one thing to note about this series is that it is part of Kouji Seo’s long running and interconnected manga work. I’m not overly familiar with any of his stuff, but a cursory reading over at AniDB’s entry for Suzuka, shows that both manga/shows share a setting; with that show being a direct prequel to Fuuka. For now, that’s going to be enough for me, but if you care to discuss, please mark any of your comments with spoiler tags so we don’t snare the unwary. Suffice it to say the title’s of both are for the main female leads, and that Suzuka is Fuuka’s mother, and she even has a brief cameo these episodes. But, as is common with all manga and anime, we got to get the adults out of the room, as the younger ones have the story to tell.

Which is the Fuuka you want, Yuu?

For that story, the devil is in the details, and so are all the hopes and dreams of friendship, romance, accomplishment, and all the things that make this sort of story matter, even the frustration, especially the frustration, Fuuka manages to bring a great deal to the table, and made it look easy to boot. It’s got it’s fair share of tropey tropes right out of the gate, and leans on them pretty hard all things considered. But it’s puts them in the right focus, and builds it’s own story on top of that. That’s a good mark for a well cared for story, that concentrates on characters beats, and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out. Queue the music! The girls can sing, Yuu-kun wants to play bass! Let’s see how the ranks fill out…


All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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11 Responses to “First Impressions – Fuuka”

  1. zztop says:

    One thing to note about this series is that it is part of Kouji Seo’s long running and interconnected manga work.

    An ANN reviewer said this about Seo Kouji:

    “…It would be different if [Fuuka] was an in-depth exploration of complex feelings between adolescent characters, but Seo has never [been] interested in that kind of writing. He’s a man of simple tastes…who carved his niche in romance by writing basic teen dramas mired in the melodrama of love, just aimed more directly at a male audience than the female audience that tends to dominate that genre sphere. ”

    In short, Seo writes romance stories that appeal to dudes.

    • skylion says:

      Good, I think it’s a good thing for dudes to read romance of any sort. It’s nice to have one aimed at them, with an author using his skill to appeal to that market. Broaden those horizons fellas…

  2. Overcooled says:

    I was also extremely turned off by the typical opening with a panty shot and Fuuka calling Yuu a pervert. Yikes. I also soldiered on though, mostly because I was just too tired to reach for the mouse…

    It’s not a terrible show, it just has some terrible moments I need to fast forward through. Other than that, the movie date ended up being kind of cute and Koyuki throwing herself into the mix to complicate things had some good timing. I didn’t watch episode 2 yet, but it does look like a nice little romance show with a dash of music in there (maybe more later?). I don’t think I’ll continue since I’m not a big fan of shows this focused on romance (and uncreative panty shots), but I will admit I’m curious how this one ends. I’ll tune in again for the final episode lol

  3. Highway says:

    I liked these two episodes, but having skipped ahead a bit in the manga, I don’t know if I’m really interested in watching the show. Kouji Seo is far too interested in “near misses” in his romantic stories for my taste, and you get stuff like Kimi no iru machi, where the OTP never gets together, but he won’t let you forget that they’re the OTP, and proceeds to make everyone live in this continuous state of limbo far longer than any reasonable, or even somewhat unreasonable, person would just say “ok, I’m going to move on.”

    • skylion says:

      So he loves the hunt, but won’t bring the prey to heel, nor to the table? I guess he just thinks that as long as it sells, so maybe, just maybe they’ll let me finish it this one time?

  4. belatkuro says:

    Beware of spoilers floating around regarding this show. It’s kind of a big one and caused quite a bit of stir before. It was shocking to say the least which might ruin your enjoyment of the show. Then again, it’s Seo we’re talking about. If you’ve gone through all his works, there’s a point where you’ll go past enjoyment and just be pure exhausted with everything he does. Results may vary. It’s pretty much too late for me to get off his wild ride and so I still religiously keep up with his works. And it’s because I enjoyed Suzuka before and KnIM to an extent before it became such a ragefest. I’m still keeping that sliver of hope that he might do something that will awe me again. But alas, he just improved a lot in his art and not so much in his writing.

    All I can say is that Yuu needs to step up a whole lot to be able to keep up with Fuuka. She’s the one carrying the show. While she’s the namesake of the show, we’re following Yuu’s PoV after all and he’s just so dull. Fuuka might be that change but it’s going to take a while and it’ll depend on her pushing that he might improve. There’s not much to discuss right now about the prequel series Suzuka relating to this series but there’ll be a chance to discuss it in the future when it becomes relevant so that’s it for now.

    • skylion says:

      it’s Seo we’re talking about

      Yeah, it’s become quite obvious to me that I’m in the back of the line, so to speak, on Seo’s techniques. This is the first time I’ve become acquainted with his work as I missed out on everything else. I did watch like maybe two episodes of KnIM , but didn’t really like the overall structure the characters were put in, so I dropped it. But while I’ve resigned myself to being the Johnny come lately, I invite the potential audience to look at the work anew. I mean, it’s a romantic show, nothing ventured nothing gained, and it’s the process that counts, lots of things can happen on the way to “they will or won’t”

      I agree with what you say about Yuu. But I think his lack of motion is meant to compliment Fuuka’s full range of motion. He’s mired on navel and twitter gazing and looking back at a childhood friend, she’s about moving forward, shedding herself of the past, knowing where she is…

    • Rathje says:

      Seo Kouji is much better at the echii romantic comedy genre, than he is at the teen soap opera thing in my opinion.

      He’s a really good artist and does well presenting attractive and sexy female characters. In a shallow echii comedy series, that kind of thing really shines. But in a drama it just winds up being cheap. And Seo’s penchant for tortured drawn out soap-opera plots gets really tiresome really fast.

      I burned out on both Kimi ni Iru, and Suzuka and just wound up annoyed with both stories.

      Honestly, I wish he’d stuck with Princess Lucia rather than going for yet another soap opera – which I can say without dropping any big spoilers – this series definitely falls into the category of. Princess Lucia played to all Seo’s strengths as an artist and writer. But he dropped the series and gave it a terrible death-by-rushed-ending which made the whole series end on a bad note.

      Still… Fuuka could actually be pretty good if they do a good job on the music and actually produce a strong set of original songs to go with it.

      But if they just do a boilerplate forgettable original songs, this anime is going to end up on the scrap-heap. It’s a music-themed series, and is going to live or die on the strength of its soundtrack – kind of like K-ON did.

      • skylion says:

        Yeah, I’m looking at a cheesy poppy youth romance, and I don’t mind all that much. Having not read any of his material before, I have the freedom to take it as I see it, and I like that freedom. As for boilerplate music…that looks like their groove…

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