A very much younger me once read a manga named Suzuka, it was a very stereotypical romance, with all the tropes and girls you would imagine. But there was something different about it, there was realistic drama and struggles, the characters actually mattered to me. Well spoiler, the guy gets the girl but they have to make sacrifices when she becomes pregnant. The ending was not a hundred percent happy but it was good and I was satisfied.
Now I learn that a sequel has come out featuring the daughter of the two main characters, this daughter and manga are both names Fuuka. I get super excited as it continues a story I enjoyed so much and dive right in reading all the way up to chapter 146 in just a couple of days. Now I will warn in advance that this will contain very heavy spoilers for both the manga and anime of Fuuka. It is very important to mention spoilers are for both, this is because they actually take very different directions, and this is what I actually wish to talk about in this article.
So I get to chapter 36, and damn. My whole world is ruined for a moment. Fuuka, the character I enjoyed so much, the girl that was the happy end for two characters I loved so damn much dies. I was not expecting it at all, she was the title character for crying out loud. But as I read on I am drawn more and more towards Yuu, the actual main character of the manga. Before her death Fuuka and Yuu start a close friendship and band, eventually falling in love and dating. Yuu becomes understandably saddened by Fuuka’s death, but after months of depression he eventually brings himself around and reforms the band, replacing Fuuka as the lead vocalist. Eventually another Fuuka enters the fray and they form another band with her after a lot of hesitating for obvious reasons. This Fuuka Aoi (rather than Akitsuki if you haven’t actually read Susuka) also ends up falling in love with Yuu and that is where about the manga is up to.
Now the anime is only going to be twelve episodes long, we are currently up to episode 10. This is where things get weird, in the anime Fuuka has survived the accident unharmed. But not only is she alive, she has also not started dating Yuu, losing out to his childhood friend. She has just written a song telling him her feelings and then decided to leave the band to start a solo career.
At first I was so happy, the character I loved so much got to live, this was great news. But in actual fact this was the worst way the anime could have gone. The death of Fuuka was so much more than pure shock value; her death drove the rest of the story, to the point that even before Aoi appeared and there was no actual Fuuka around it still felt fine that the manga was named after her. Her wish drove Yuu, he took what she wanted to do and made it his reason to live. This took what is still anime Yuu, a shy and outspoken boy and turned him into a man with a fire in his heart. He became a character I loved far more than the girl that brought me to the manga in the first place, the one I thought I wanted to see. But in the end Yuu was the one to take the centre stage, the one who I cared about. And this was all done about because of his growth as a character. He became something so much more, and as it stands his anime equivalent is just plain boring. He has no real drive; he is just pulled around by the girls in his life and honestly has not really shown why these girls would be interested in him in the first place other than ‘he is nice’.
I feel the anime has taken what is one of the most interesting protagonists I have ever seen and reduced him to an unchanging trope. He is just that shy guy that finds himself in situations all out of his control. While as the real Yuu, the one that has gone through so much is the one that shined, the one that became great. Hell I was even saddened that Aoi joined the band at all, I wanted more growth from him as a lead vocalist. But still Yuu Haruna is an amazing character that the anime adaption has failed to capture at all.
Also shout out to Makoto Mikasa, the best gay character in a manga ever. Seriously.
Read the manga.