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Suzuka Vol. 3 episodes 11-14

01/10/2009. Contributed by Phil Jones

Buy Suzuka in the USA - or Buy Suzuka in the UK

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region2 DVD: pub: Revelation Films. FUN73003. 1 DVD 95 minutes 4 episodes plus extras. Price: 15.99 (UK).

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I think that the 'Suzuka' series, along with many other romantic anime series, spends a very long time focusing on the process of getting to the actual relationship than the full-blown relationship itself. Mind you, this can also be applied to a lot of romantic films generally. The episodes on this DVD still focus primarily on Yamato Akitsuki, as has the series so far. He is still struggling to come to terms with his feelings for Suzuka and the same is true for his attempts at athletics. His feelings of insecurity mean he tends to ponder every event and meeting with Suzuka. Yamoto spends a lot of time reflecting on interactions with Suzuka and what it could all mean. Whereas Suzuka is well, basically a lot more focused and clear how she feels about things.

Yamato gets some free tickets to the local water park from the paper girl and she encourages him to take a girl with him. He, surprisingly, ends up going with Honoka, who unbeknown to Yamoto has feelings for him. This sort of date is thrown off balance when the rest of the gang including Suzuka ends up going to the water park as well. Cue compulsory swimsuit episode...

Well, initially Yamato's training is thrown off kilter and he fails to practice for the preliminaries. The team head off to Hiroshima for the track meet. There is raised competition when both Suzuka and her former deceased boyfriend are mocked and demeaned by an opposing track team. Yomato jumps to her defence and the race is on.

With Yamoto having to practice more, it comes as a pleasant surprise when Suzuka offers to help with his stretches. Could this mean that Suzuka has some feelings for him? Yet again Yamoto spends time reflecting and this as usual slows down the proceedings somewhat. We are still left with Honoka desperately wanting to be with Yamoto and things turnaround when she finally plucks up the courage to ask Suzuka if she is OK dating Yamoto. The two start dating and this changes the dynamic of the series and its direction. We have at last a proper relationship of sorts.

There feels a bit more development going on in these episodes. Characters start to act on events rather than just sit and ponder. There seems to be a bit more depth especially with secondary characters like Miki expressing her feelings about Honoka and Yamoto's new relationship and the fact of Suzuka being ditched. The increased focus of sport is a welcome return as this is really the secondary facet to the whole series.

Overall, a better and more enjoyable group of episodes and we are left with an interesting situation at the end. With Honoka now firmly in the mix things could start to get interesting.

Phil Jones

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