By Dustin Cabeal
If you’ve listened to the CBMFP or read our Best of 2016 manga list, then you know that I adore the manga that Fuuka is based. I was stupidly excited for it. I should have been more reserved and hesitant because I have wisdom and experience on my side, but every once in a while you just get stupidly excited for an adaptation. It’s why they do them. They know that a percentage of fans will just shit their pants for something and say, “take my money.”
That said, I enjoyed both episodes. Not nearly as much as the manga and try as I could, I was never fully able to shut the manga out and just enjoy what was in front of me. I think if the adaptation had been better, this wouldn’t have been a problem, but then not everything is One-Punch Man.
To address the differences between the manga and the anime, it’s all about pacing. These two episodes cram so much of the story into them that a lot of the charm is lost. At the same time, I understand why they did that. Much like when I read the manga and had no clue what it was about, you don’t know what the show is going to be about until the end of the second episode. What irks me is the way the motivation is changed because it water downed the two main character’s connection.
Summing up these two episodes, Yuu has moved to Tokyo and started a new school. He’s always on his phone but makes a strange connection to Fuuka. A girl that drop kicks him and breaks his phone, but the connect over music. She’s trying to discover what to do with her life, and he’s along for the ride which will eventually break him out of his shell and put him on the same path as her.
The story is all about music, which made the music attached to the show all the more disappointing. It wasn’t catchy, it wasn’t groundbreaking, it wasn’t even new. It was generic and basic. That was the disappointing thing because in the manga it only gives a few examples of lyrics and the rest is left to the reader's imagination; which is why I was partially excited about the anime because it left it open for a band to do something interesting with the music and not be limited. Nothing interesting was done, though, and so that aspect has me worried about the rest of the series.
Even though I understand: A) why they released two episodes at once; and B) why they changed what they did to fit into those two episodes, it still has a stiff pacing. It doesn’t flow very well for an anime and short changes the character development and more importantly the relationship development between Yuu and Fuuka.
The animation is beautiful. It’s as wonderful as the colored artwork that’s been released on the series, but to see it all in color is worth it. I hope that this isn’t a bait and switch in which the first two have a bigger production budget, and we start to see corners cut on the rest of the episodes. Time will tell on that one. In the meantime, it’s the first beautiful anime I’ve seen this season.
While I personally enjoyed the two episodes, it’s hard to ignore its shortcomings as an anime in general, but then also as an adaptation. It’s not terrible, but it’s not very strong currently. There’s still time and plenty of material to work through so here’s hoping they slow down some and focus on the relationships so that the charm of the series comes through, otherwise this could end up being a generic and safe adaptation which isn’t likely to please anyone watching.