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Suzuka Vol. 4 episodes 15-18

01/03/2011. Contributed by Phil Jones

Buy Suzuka Vol. 4 episodes 15-18 in the USA - or Buy Suzuka Vol. 4 episodes 15-18 in the UK

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region2 DVD: pub: Revelation Films. FUN73004. 1 DVD 95 minutes 4 episodes plus extras. Price: GBP 15.99 (UK).

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The ‘Suzuka’ series revolves around Yamato Akitsuki and Suzuka Asahina who both attend the same school. Yamato falls for Suzuka after seeing her practising the high jump. Through various trials and tribulations, we see they’re off/on relationship lurch around as Yamato takes up athletics to try and get closer to Suzuka. The last episode had the two of them attending an athletics meet in Hiroshima with the school and they are both left stranded when they the miss the train back. There are no buses to be had but Yamato finally remembers his family live in Hiroshima. He dad turns up to take them home and the two stop over at Yamato's family home for an extra day. With Honoka and Yamato now being officially an item, Yamato decides not to tell Honoka about their extended stopover.

The two go out for an early evening walk and end up at a familiar spot for Yamato, a bridge with a thousand fireflies. Suzuka persuades Yamato to divulge his past with an old girl-friend and he tells her eventually how she rejected him on that bridge. Suzuka plays him, though after saying she really likes him and wants to date him, bursts out laughing and says he's easily fooled.

Honoka greets Yamato at Tokyo station and, to celebrate his return, Honoka goes to his house with a load of groceries and cooks him dinner and he misreads her willingness to be alone with him. Still confused about Suzuka, things get a bit out of hand with Honoka as Yamato tries to take advantage of her but not quite. She pleads with him to stop and eventually he does with Honoka running out of the house crying. We end up later with Yamato going to back to apologise to Honoka which she accepts.

In the final episode, Yamato goes out with Suzuka in tow to help him find a necklace for Honoka's birthday but even then Yamoto is not completely truthful to Honoka about whom he is with.

There is the main love dynamic going on of love and hate. Honoka is a sweet and easily taken advantage of kind of girl. We get the feeling that although this charming shy girl wants to do everything to be with Yamoto, his heart is definitely leaning in a different direction. The love/hate vibe is played off and on with Yamato and Suzuka and some people may find the whole situation annoying as with some of the ludicrous set ups to get the two of them together. It seems a little bit too contrived for them both to end up stranded with no money in Hiroshima. At times, it can be difficult to like any of the characters except maybe Honoka but even then her character kind of feels like just another plot vehicle at times. All of these episodes try to highlight the failings of the Honoka and Yamoto's relationship and even with the negative vibe we get with Suzuka we get hints of how she really feels about Yamoto.

For all of its failings, I do still enjoy this series. Yes, elements are wholly unbelievable but there is still plenty there to keep you hooked. Hopefully, there will be less emphasis on to'ing and fro'ing in future episodes and we can concentrate of more character development.

Phil Jones

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