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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Is Not a Spectator Sport! (Sad But True)
If your anything like me then high school might stand out in your mind as those four awkward years when you realized you liked someone. Like "LIKE" liked someone. Unless your life was perfect at least one of these realizations probably led to heartbreak of one kind or another. This is where a majority of Suzuka's appeal was for me.

For the price you can get the...
Published on August 18, 2009 by Colin Gross

versus
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre, Yet Good Finish
I remember buying the first DVD of this series at a DVD sale at a local video score. I thought I give it a try. Having not read the manga for Suzuka, my opinion might be a little short-sighted since I heard more rave reviews for the comic strips due its detailed development of the characters and plot. Basically, I bought series this fresh with no background of the...
Published on September 25, 2010 by MarkoSion


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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Is Not a Spectator Sport! (Sad But True), August 18, 2009
If your anything like me then high school might stand out in your mind as those four awkward years when you realized you liked someone. Like "LIKE" liked someone. Unless your life was perfect at least one of these realizations probably led to heartbreak of one kind or another. This is where a majority of Suzuka's appeal was for me.

For the price you can get the entire series for (I believe I purchased it for just over twenty dollars), I would mark it as an excellent buy. Twenty six episodes are contained on four disks which have art(probably from the manga) on them and look quite pretty. The case is plastic and holds four dvds (two overlapping on each side of the inside of the box). Now onto the actual show!

Okay, so maybe that was a little vague. Truthfully this show contains elements of comedy as well as romance, but throughout the series the two are distinctly separated. This is to say, while those looking for a comedy fix might enjoy Suzuka thoroughly for all its awkward approaches by the main character, I found that the heart of the series lay well... in it's heart.

The main reason I found myself following this series was its tendency towards realism. Something not usually found in anime concerning love at first sight. Akitsuki Yamato is an incoming freshmen in high school in Tokyo who, while walking by the track one day, falls for a high jumper named Asahina Suzuka. Unlike many shows where the female lead visibly shows affection from the get go this series is paced so that you honestly can't tell whether all of Akitsuki's efforts to win the girl's heart will pay off until the very last episode. The characters develop at a steady pace and it never feels like the story is being rushed because of it.

While the music and backgrounds of Suzuka weren't awe-inspiring, they weren't bad either. Honestly I was more interested in the character's dialogue than the incidental music which would pop up whenever there was a chance for it to. The music was what you might expect from a romance series; long strings and heartfelt pianos with the commonplace wacky music for frantic scenes. This doesn't mean its bad, it just means that aside from the opening theme, you probably won't grow to remember.

Perhaps these things weren't that much of a downside considering that this series is primarily focused on the relationships (yes there are more than one!) of Akitsuki. I wouldn't really say this is a sports anime because even though the races are heart-pumping and necessary to the plot they only serve as a place for Akitsuki to dwell on his current girl troubles. Having watched this show through to it's 26th episode end, I must say that it left me wanting more. I wanted to further follow the characters I'd become emotionally invested in and see more, but I agree with the decision to end it where it did. It is really rare to find a show with such genuine emotion in it, and while it's not going to work as an alternative to a show like Love Hina which is more comedic, I think that it proves to be a much more memorable experience than its price leads you to believe.
Overall i give it a 4.5 (marred only by the music and lack of many extra features) to show just how under-rated and under-talked about this series is. If it can get a cynical 20 year-old bastard like me to tear up then it receives my highest recommendation.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing anime that caught me off-guard, March 5, 2009
By 
John A. Koerner (Panama City, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Suzuka Box Set (DVD)
This was quite possibly the most amazing and complex romance I've ever seen in anime. The series is completely character-driven (with only the slightest indications of a deus ex machinae to help set up certain situations). The characters all have their own personality flaws, and you really have to pay attention to the dialogue for the subtext that helps you understand these people. Once on that level you can see the chess game being played here to overcome emotional obstacles despite personal flaws. Every moment in this show was very rewarding, and I couldn't stop watching until I got to the end!

This series is not for children, though. There's no real nudity or bad language--it's just not many children would appreciate what's going on here.

Holy cow! I'm in love with Suzuka! This is a great story!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre, Yet Good Finish, September 25, 2010
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This review is from: Suzuka: The Complete Series S.A.V.E. (DVD)
I remember buying the first DVD of this series at a DVD sale at a local video score. I thought I give it a try. Having not read the manga for Suzuka, my opinion might be a little short-sighted since I heard more rave reviews for the comic strips due its detailed development of the characters and plot. Basically, I bought series this fresh with no background of the story.

Overall, its a mixed bag: its plot is enjoyable overall yet you have to be patient for the story to unfold. The Suzuka series here suffers from some pacing issues and slow character development. The story later does give a significant backdrop to Suzuka's personality so we begin to empathize with her more. Yet the beginning starts off rough, with the two main characters not hitting it off and Asahina (Suzuka) seeming so cold that the foundation of their storyline starts awkward. Also, the beginning throws a huge smokescreen with the whole bathhouse comedic sub-plot. It made no sense and makes viewers confused if this is a lovestory or a fan-service ATM machine. Also, Asahina, I felt, was a flat character who spews venom towards everyone and lacks any depth, even with her haunted past. By the time her story is known, I felt it was too late to save her character, she just lacks depth and just runs her mouth. Akitsuki, meanwhile, is portrayed as an annoying loser who just pesters everyone. His internal gripes and love-moments with Suzuka make him seem obsessive rather a lovable/loser hero. The whole point of these "love-chase" kind of series is to believe that the hero has qualities that will ultimately shine. Akitsuki, throughout the anime, doesn't really have that. He just yells and runs back to her over, and over again. We are supposed to believe in him, but in the end we exasperate in desperation at his fallacies and bumpkiss exploits to try to win his crush.

The only major credit I give to the series are the supporting characters. I believe they hold it together where the two main characters lack real substance. Honoka is cute and loveable; you root for her and feel her pain during her roller-coaster feeling battle and towards the end SHE is the lynchpin who makes the story finish well. Miki Hashiba is charming yet a good supporter of both Asahina and Akitsuki. Hattori is as a fool (when it comes to his philosophy on girls) as wise in helping Akitsuki in his troubles. The whole sub-plot of track and field develops well, which I believe in itself is a minor character: the idea of how far you push yourself to reach your goal/love, the pain, the determination, the grit to finish well. The perfection-drive to fix your wrongs in your technique. It fits well and nicely, as Akitsuki realizes the joy of running changes his perspective on his love for Asahina.

Overall, would I recommend this one? If you want a more serious plot line, I think this one will do you well. If you are looking for something more light-hearted, Suzuka is not for you. I thought this was not a bad anime; there were some really great moments of laughter and "ahhhh," but the character development needs work, especially the two main characters. If the producers fleshed a more refined Suzuka, a woman of ambition yet carries a very heavy burden, and Akitsuki, a boy in the making who has a charm and is honest, then I would have enjoyed it more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A realistic romantic comedy...., July 8, 2009
This review is from: Suzuka Box Set (DVD)
Suzuka is probably one of the more original animes I've seen of late because unlike most other series that take place in outer space or in earth-like locations where the laws of physics are just a bit more interesting than on good old planet earth Suzuka takes place in present day Japan. There are no super powers, no cute fuzzy creatures, no robots, and no cute alien women with jiggly body parts. What's left is a very realistic romantic comedy that actually deals with issue that real folks are likely to encounter. Odd that this would actually make an anime unique, but in what is essentially a comic book driven genre in this case - it does.

That said, Suzuka does a masterful job of actually developing its characters and slowly revealing all the complex issues and underlying emotions that drive them. At times it's awkward and uncomfortable, but then again so was high school. So all in all, a great series for folks looking for a story about people and the only regret I have is that I suspect there won't be a follow up to this series.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Anime, October 14, 2008
By 
This review is from: Suzuka Box Set (DVD)
I really enjoy this anime, very emotional at some spots
No action but the story has a really great meaning to it I can see someone going through this in life
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Love Hina without out the slapstick, September 28, 2010
This review is from: Suzuka: The Complete Series S.A.V.E. (DVD)
After watching most of this series on Youtube I came to the conclusion that this series is very similar to Love Hina, but without the physical humor.

The similarities are:

The protagonists live in a dormitory/apartment building.
The hero is a loser who is lacking in self confidence.
The heroine is dysfunctional and can't admit to herself that she loves the hero. She is always putting him down and insulting him, yet feels intense jealousy when other females show any interest in him.
There is a lovable secondary female character who worships the hero but he barely knows she is alive (Honoka is cross between Shinobu and Mutsumi). The hero attempts a half hearted relationship with her, but it falls flat as he remains infatuated with the dysfunctional heroine.
There is sleazeball friend whose advice to the hero is typically disastrous.
The hero and heroine share a common goal (Get into Tokyo U vs. succeed at track and field)

There are differences of course. Suzuka is more serious and delves deeply into teen/young adult angst, insecurity and unrequitted love much more than Love Hina (it is interesting how these teen issues are universal regardless of culture, people are people I guess). Sometimes the situations are all too familiar from one's teenage years past. If you ever had a crush on someone and were afraid to tell them out of fear of rejection this series might hit too close to home.

The characters are less exagerated and there is no physical humor (Suzuka Asahina doesn't beat up Yamato the way Naru is always pummeling Keitaro, with unrealistic blows that send him flying into the sky). And there are no unrealistic characters like Kaolla or Motoko. Another major difference is that while Keitaro is generally upbeat (at least when not confronted by his poor practice entrance exam scores) Yamato is usually not.

I agree with another reviewer that the bath house scene in episode one was gratuitous and pointless, and definitely felt like fan service, which is out of character for this series.

Would I recommend this series? I think it's worth watching once, but for me it lacks the repeatability that Love Hina has. For the right price (as in low) I would buy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Argh. Yamato., January 17, 2013
This review is from: Suzuka: The Complete Series S.A.V.E. (DVD)
I first bought this anime probably 4 or 5 (or maybe more) years ago now. I only watched it once. I decided to rewatch it recently, since it had been such a long time and I didn't remember much of anything about this show besides the fact that it left a bad taste in my mouth. But it had been so long that I really just wanted to rewatch it. And being older the second time around helped me to understand the show better as well, which is probably why I didn't give this 1 star. The first few episodes offer a good introduction to the characters and their relationships to one another. After that, it starts to get...painful.

Yamato confesses his feelings to Suzuka, who rejects him because of reasons explained around a third of the way in and expounded upon slightly near the end, though she does like him. This results in her acting in contradictory ways throughout pretty much the entire show, sending mixed signals to Yamato (who is one of my main problems with this show), even though it's painfully obvious when it shows her face that her words don't match her feelings. While it's understandable, given what is learned about her, it gets really old after a while.

Yamato, meanwhile, manages to make the show almost intolerable at times. For almost the entire show, he's incredibly self-centered and blind to others' feelings. In addition, for a large part of the show it felt like he was like a lost puppy when he didn't get Suzuka's approval. He's incredibly desperate, which is incredibly unappealing to watch. He has certain expectations in his head for how their interactions should go, and gets upset when they don't happen like he envisions, completely ignoring the fact that Suzuka has no knowledge of these expectations, nor any obligation to meet them. A couple times later on, it gets to the point where he becomes very angry with Suzuka. While I understand his frustration, I don't really feel too sorry for him considering that he knows why Suzuka has such mixed feelings about him by that point. You could say that it's okay because they're teenagers, and teenagers are more self-centered and angsty. However, there are other teenagers in the show who have very keen perception of others' feelings and relationships, and who are decidedly not angsty (namely Yasunobu, Miki, and Nana).

My other big complaint with this show is that it milks romantic tension and insecurity for it's own sake, to the point where it eventually becomes devoid of any real meaning. At more than a few points, I noticed myself groaning because it felt so forced. I also said things in a very blunt, matter-of-fact voice to the effect of "I GET IT, X CHARACTER HAS X TRAIT. YOU'VE ALREADY SHOWN THIS CLEARLY" more than a few times to my television. The problem isn't that the show played with my heart strings. It's that it did so in a very contrived manner, with only one or two notable exceptions. I applaud shows that do it well. This is not one of those shows.

Despite all of that, I kept watching. And the last third of the show is really when I enjoyed it most. Yamato was starting to have a brain and Suzuka was starting to be more honest with herself about her feelings, even if she wasn't being honest with any of the other characters yet (that really doesn't happen until the very end). It felt like they were finally starting to come into their own. It was incredibly refreshing, and left me feeling really good after the show was over. I wonder if that's because the middle was so painful and frustrating to watch at times....

I'd give this anime 2.6 or 2.7 stars, but since Amazon only uses whole numbers, I'm rounding up to 3 stars, giving this show the benefit of the doubt. All in all, I think the good parts are more than good enough to outweigh all the frustration I experienced at certain points in this anime. And considering how frustrating it was at times, that's saying a lot. Overall, I enjoyed watching this show. But...Yamato...just...argh....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Romance Series., October 19, 2012
By 
KevinB "The Honey Badger" (High Point, North Carolina) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Suzuka: The Complete Series S.A.V.E. (DVD)
Yamato moves in with his Aunt, who runs an apartment complex and bath house for women. His neighbor, Suzuka, turns out to be a classmate and he becomes captivated by her beauty and determination. He joins the track team to become closer to her and try to understand her. Suzuka is a hard sell with a damaged heart, and Yamato is going to have to get the gold to impress her.

This is one of the best romance animes I've seen. It's a very touching and emotionally heavy story. There are lots of great characters and plot twists. The thing that makes this anime great for me is the character development. You really get a great understanding of th characters and why they think the way do. There is nothing about this anime that isn't fantastic. I think anyone can get a lot of enjoyment out of it. It's a great buy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best dramatic anime I have ever seen., March 19, 2009
This review is from: Suzuka Box Set (DVD)
I just finished watching this yesterday.
I found this anime to be very good and is now, one of my favorites.
This anime is all about character development. Over the course of the series you really get to know and understand Yamato and Suzuka, and the reasons why their relationship is the way it is. The story line is also good and rather believable, and contains a real amount of drama, rather than the overly dramatized plots that are so common in entertainment today. This series is also one of the best acted that I have ever seen. During some episodes you will feel so sympathetic for the characters that you'll need to remind yourself that its just a TV show.
The best part about this anime is that everyone can relate to it in some way. I highly recommend Suzuka to everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Change of Pace, July 23, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Suzuka: The Complete Series S.A.V.E. (DVD)
I really enjoyed watching this anime. Usually I can not watch animes like this though because of how rediculous they are. EX: Love Hina that main character is so ignorant and dorky. There is usually a lot of poor comedy as well. This series is different, sure the main character is a dork, but not too much to where I was turned off.

The story starts out like this. Yamato(the main character) goes to tokyo to attend high school and sees this beautiful girl(Suzuka other main character) on a track field while walking to his new apartment. He instantly falls in love with her. On his way home he trys to figure out ways to introduce himself to her and when he makes it to his new home he finds out she lives next door to him. He goes through many challenges to win over Suzuka's heart, but she is just so stubborn. Then Yamato finally finds out what is the matter with Suzuka.

It is a wonderful story that any one that has been to high school and has liked someone can relate to. This series reminded me of how you are so close to the things you want to have, but yet you can not reach them. If you like drama/comedy series then you will enjoy this one. It only cost me about $15 so it was not much, but it was worth every penny. This is a series that ages 10 and up can watch. There are no dirty scenes in this series and it has mild language.
-J
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Suzuka: The Complete Series S.A.V.E.
Suzuka: The Complete Series S.A.V.E. by Mike McFarland (DVD - 2010)
$19.98 $15.78
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