Fuuka: “Fuuka!” (Season 1, Episode 1)

Kōji Seo has created some very interesting manga series. A majority of the ones that I have read have been about growing up and the difficulties that one faces in life, especially when it comes to love. His characters can be frustrating to watch at points, and it would not be a Kōji series if you did not want to try and punch one or more of the characters at some point in the story. It is not because they are bad people. It is because they are people. They make mistakes, they act out when hurt, they do not always know what they want. That is the beauty of Kōji’s stories. Even when everything is said and done, you can look back fondly on seeing these characters live their life because they feel realistic.

I have not seen any anime adaptations of Kōji’s works, but I have been following Fuuka for a while, so I was looking forward to seeing how it translated into an anime series. Would it capture the same feelings that the manga does so well? Would it be able to convey the emotions that the characters go through?  Would it make their personalities shine? Well…

The Characters

Yuu Haruna lives his life stuck to his phone. His sisters make fun of him for it, but apart from his family, it does not seem to affect his daily life. As of the first episode his personality has not really been established. We know he is on his phone more often then not, but from what is shown, this does not cause him to be an outcast or a loner. We do not see his interaction with other students. He seems shy, and that is about it.

Fuuka Akitsuki on the other hand is shown to be a brash young woman. She does not know what she wants to do in life, but that does not stop her from enjoying herself. That involves listening to music whenever possible. However, she is quick to judge and tends to talk rather loudly, much to the discomfort of Yuu.

The Conflict

There is no real conflict as of the first episode. After Fuuka accidentally bumps into Yuu while he is on his phone, she thinks that Yuu is taking lewd shots of her while she is on the floor. This causes friction between the two which only escalate when it turns out that the school that Yuu is transferring to is where Fuuka attends as well. However, before this becomes the focal point, the two make up and end up going on a date together. So with no real friction there anymore, the plot seems to be  leading up to something else.

The Criticism

The show has terrible pacing. It does not know how to properly tell a story. This is not the fault of the source material, which as far as I remember, never really had a pacing problem. The show tends to make a lot of its scenes very awkward. It is almost as if the creators were not sure what to focus on. Instead of telling a story, the show tries to throw in pointless comedy when it is not necessary. What is worse is that it is not even funny comedy; it falls into the cliché pitfall of misunderstanding. Fuuka misunderstands Yuu’s intention when his phone is out. Yuu misunderstands the situation when he sees another guy trying to drag Fuuka somewhere. There is a misunderstanding by both of them when they are supposed to meet for their date. The show so far has been trying to use this misunderstanding to try and make the show funny, instead of making it just a part of the story. It is awkward and clumsy and makes me dread what they do next.

The Conjecture

Seeing as I have read the source material, I do not want to ruin what comes next, especially since there is a big twist that happens early on in the story. I will mention that this series ultimately becomes a show about music. When I first picked it up I did not realize that that is where it was going when I read it. So far, the anime has been doing a better job of conveying that music is what the show is about, but in case you missed it—there it is.

The Conclusion

I am torn. In many ways, I want to recommend the show since I really enjoy the manga. On the other hand, if I had watched this without knowing the source material, I would have dropped it right then and there. If you have the patience for bad pacing, there is some interesting story moments coming up. Whether the show manages to make them effective is something only time will tell.

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About Jan-Michael

I love movies, video games, and anime. Don't mistake my love for weakness. I am very much a critic, and if something does not impress, I will tell you so. View all posts by Jan-Michael

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