I filtered into the room at Animazement 2007 like the rest of the fans, we all looked at each other and wore the same face. Absolute clueless-ness, none of us really knew what Suzuka was, we were mostly there because we wanted to be the first to see a preview and the event was run by the talented Ms. Caitlin Glass (voice actor and director).
After a short and absolutely energetic introduction by Caitlin we discovered that not only was this was a show about love, sports and high school life, but this was also Caitlin’s first project as a director. The lights lowered and the “play” button was pressed and we were tossed into the first episode of Suzuka.
Yamato is an average high school guy with an anything but average life. He works for his aunt for his room board by cleaning a rather large public bath that she owns. Walking home one night he sees a beautiful girl practicing the high jump on the school field. He’s awe stuck by her grace, talent, beauty and drive to succeed and he falls in love with her. But the road to love is always a rocky path and after making a horrible first impression he discovers that he lives next to his one true love, Suzuka.
On first glance this could be mistaken for a harem anime. The main character is surrounded by beautiful women who can’t seem to leave him alone. But Suzuka is so much more then that. It has depth and emotion, and the character designs are not stock and generic. Its funny, it’s serious, its heart warming.
The animation was stunning. Most of the time I’m blown away superb action scenes, awesome battle mechs or quick paced sword fights, Suzuka had none of that. The background and scenery was just breath taking adding in atmosphere, and the characters portrayed emotion without being over the top. The artwork just sucks you right into the story and makes you feel like you were there.
The sound was a beautiful combination of both music and voice acting. The music set the scenes and the voice acting was a beautiful blend of both old and new talent. I didn’t have a chance to look at any of the extras on the DVD but Caitlin hinted that they were trying to get some spectacular things for the discs, though she made no promises.
In short, this series is going to become a fan favorite among shoujo lovers very quickly. I’m looking forward to watching Yamato’s journey in winning Suzuka ‘s heart, and seeing what a wonderful job the entire staff did on preserving the original Japanese culture in this series.