Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Suzuka Manga Aftermath

It has been an enjoyable journey blogging Suzuka manga for 71 chapters, accounted for more than 20 months. It was said there's a chapter on the wedding eve and I postponed this post until then. But it turned out to be a Suzuka-mon chapter.

Blogging Suzuka:
My first Suzuka post was on Suzuka OST back in December 2005. I started blogging Suzuka because I loved the story and I wanted to share Suzuka to the EN manga readers. At that time, there was no EN translation nor scanlation so I decided to promote Suzuka to the EN fans who couldn’t get their hands on the latest news. As I'm not fluent in JP and I did not want to infringe copyrights, thus I decided to write summary of the manga weekly. I started with chapter 96 on the 22nd February 2006. However, writing a summary isn’t easy and I’m not fluent in JP. I rely mostly on CH scripts and double checked with JP raw. I couldn’t remember when some EN groups decided to scanlate it. However, since I have started the task, I told myself to continue it rather than dropping it. Throughout the years, there have been several groups that started and dropped the series. This also encouraged me to continue with the blogging.

It was interesting to meet several people who has common interest in Suzuka manga, both here and at animesuki forum. Many were Honoka lovers but I’m more on Kouji side than Suzuka side. Most of the time, visitors would see that I encourage them to support Kouji by purchasing the manga, whether JP, EN or CH. Many might not know I joined 3 different forums and gathered information on Suzuka to present the latest to my visitors. There are some people who whine during my Suzuka blogging. Some wanted to have the raw or the source. Some said that they were desperate but I was able to find both raw and scanlation easily. There’re also times when I gave clue of the source and they just didn’t bother and kept asking about the source.

The highest pageload for Suzuka blog was chapter 147 with 2381 pageload and 1276 unique visitor on the 15th April 2007. It was the chapter where Yamato and Suzuka spent the night together ^^. Chapter 155 which featured Suzuka being pregnant attracted 1762 pageload and 1142 unique. It has the most comments with a total of 40 comments. In the past, the post with the most comments was the Ichigo 100% ending post.

About the series Suzuka:

Suzuka is a romance manga between two high school students involved in track activities. Yamato who came from Hiroshima went to Tokyo to further his study. He went to have a look at his school and saw Suzuka who was practicing high jump. He fell in love with Suzuka on the first sight. He later found out that they lived at the same residence, Yamato’s aunt, Ayano san’s bathhouse residence. There was a few misunderstanding which made Suzuka grew dissent with him at Ayano residence. However, because of tremendous pressure and expectation of others on Suzuka’s achievement she was dehydrated in the sauna and Yamato saved her. From then, they became friends. However, Suzuka was a perfectionist and Yamato who was casual and fell short of her likings. The story can be separated into a few main arcs and several minor arcs. I would consider the 1st confession, Honoka relationship, Suzuka relationship and 2nd confession as the main arcs.

My favourite characters in the series would be Yamato and Suzuka, after all they are the main characters. Arima of course would be the least favourite character. I liked Yui but she could have play more role but to have herself thrown at Yamato and rejected, it's quite illogical for her to make any significant role later on. At least Kouji let her appeared in the last 2 chapters. Saotome is another interesting character to read especially on her relationship with Sasaoka. I liked how Kouji potrayed Honoka with her new confidence when introduced after chapter 117.

My most favourite chapters

1. Chapter 41: Yamato and Suzuka with the fireflies
2. Chapter 72: Suzuka accepted Yamato
3. Chapter 166: Finale, wedding and appearance of Fuuka
4. Chapter 90: Yamato went to see Suzuka and she gave him a kiss and a slap
5. Chapter 158: Suzuka agreed to give birth to Fuuka

My least favourite chapters

1. Chapter 156 & 157: Dinner, Confide and fight with Arima
2. Chapter 165: Yamato proposed to Suzuka (Could have done a better job)
3. Chapter 95: Miho gave chocolate to Tsuyoshi (seem like a filler)

My unexpected events:

1. Chapter 112: Suzuka initiated a break up
2. Chapter 132: Sasaoka told Saotome he was engaged and was slapped
3. Chapter 155: Suzuka found out she was pregnant (Didn't expect that soon)

There were some redundant characters and under-utilized characters. However, they did play a significant role in some development. I consider Saki and Yui pretty redundant. Saki didn’t play a part in Yamato’s decision making to pursue Seijou university. However, we got to know that she was the girl that Yamato had confessed to at childhood and she told Yamato to choose Seijou as well. As for Yui, she did show us that Yamato had deep love for Suzuka and make Yamato casual work more interesting as well. Other than that, having Yui in the story plot won’t make much difference. Though having Yui being rejected by Yamato after going such length broke my heart even though I have expected that Yamato would reject her. I tend to find Megumi and Saki quite redundant, in fact Saki might serve more purpose than Megumi

There were a few things that I didn’t expect. The first was the exposure of all characters, all the female characters have been exposed, including Suzuka. And it was the exposure of Suzuka during her holiday with Yamato that told me that Suzuka was approaching the finale. I also didn’t expect Suzuka’s pregnancy to be such an early plot. I didn’t anticipate it but many fans had speculated that in the forum. I partially accepted the speculation but I really didn’t except it to be that early as I though Kouji would write the university story plot.

Another disappointment would be the competition between Arima and Yamato. I have never expected Yamato to beat Arima but at least another head-to-head race would be nice. However, it might be better to leave their race untold since Yamato's not attending university.

I have speculated a finale ever since Suzuka was exposed in chapter 152. Since the first chapter, almost every of the female characters have been exposed except Suzuka, even when she was at those particular scene. Kouji leave it to Chapter 152 where Yamato pulled of her bikini while having a holiday at Hokane.

It was also fun to see how Suzuka grew more attached to Yamato in the last three chapter. Some have said it's not Suzuka's style or characteristic. People grow and mature, friends. At the wedding, Suzuka even told Yamato how grateful she was that Yamato has not given up on her no matter what had happened. Seeing the wedding was nice but having seeing Fuuka made the conclusion even more enjoyable.

Suzuka has been a great manga to read and collect. In my opinion, Suzuka has been quite logical and realistic in the development (It should be noted that anime and manga has never been realistic unless it's based on real-life story). As suzuka ended, I'm anticipating for Kouji's new work in Spring next year.

As an epilogue, I strongly recommend that you support Kouji Seo and Suzuka by purchasing the manga and related merchadises.


*Do not read below if you don't want to spoil your mood. Highlight if you want to read rants

Over the 20 months of blogging, I also have the "opportunity" of meeting irrational and ridiculous people. Pardon my language or rants.

1. I really loathe the people who kept cursing Yamato and Suzuka for no apparent reason. There were also people who said that they hated the series but every week they read and came back cursing the characters again. Would you be happy if someone called you a b****, f****** or w****? Yes, it’s manga, manga has its up and down, and fans are entitled to criticize it. But to call Suzuka a b,f,w just because she didn’t react to your liking, it’s not rational. One even called me a baby saying I can’t take it. I replied that he/she was worse than a baby to swear at a manga character.

2. To those who like to initiate Arima and Suzuka, you better go and see a psychiatrist. I never even consider that option, it’s just so stupid. After Suzuka came back from US, most fans accepted that nothing would have happened to them. But there’re still some people who either deliberately or just naturally stupid to suggest that Suzuka’s baby belong to Arima. Are they idiot or they just want to agitate Suzuka fans. It would be irrational to suggest that the baby didn’t belong to Yamato. To suggest that it could be Arima's, these people were not Suzuka fans but idiots, and I made no apology for saying that.

3. Someone keeps bringing up Arima and gave these reasons:
Ridiculous 1: He was seen suspiciously talking to Suzuka at the shoe lockers and immediately left when Yamato showed up.
Ans: Arima wasn't suspicious at all. He left because Yamato came and he hated Yamato. He was just forwarding a plead from his senior asking Yamato to join his uni. Suzuka also told Yamato that she dislike him as well.

Ridiculous 2. Arima went to America with Suzuka for a year
Ans: So what. There dozen of boys who went to America to train. Suzuka even mentioned that Arima put her off while in America. If you put two enemy together in a training camp abroad, they would be boy/girlfriends?

Ridiculous 3. Other characters (the old captains) keep bringing him into the story for no good reason.
Ans: So what. He is the only rival character for Yamato and a great athlete. Who else would Kinugasa and Miyamoto bring? Honoka? Saki?

Ridiculous 4. They were walking down the street together at the end of the last chapter.
Ans: Yamato walked in the same direction as Arima in chapter 157, so they are lovers as well? So what if Suzuka happen to be walking in the same direction as Arima. They didn't even talk to each other apart from asking why he's going in the same direction.

To have suggest Suzuka and Arima has affair, these fans are idiots beyond repair. They have not rationality at all. Suzuka suffered the humiliation caused by Arima. Arima is the rival to Yamato. Suzuka loved Yamato and had her first experience with Yamato. With all these, anyone who suggest the possibility of Suzuka and Yamato deserved to be called an idiot, a true idiot.

There's too many immature readers who only ask stupid questions. Even up to last two chapters some people wish for the death of the baby. If you have suggested that, I hope that the curse will happen upon you for suggesting that or wanting Suzuka to die.



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