By Dustin Cabeal
There is a reason I don’t read manga and then watch the anime adaptation, and it’s because of series like Fuuka. I have had a hate-hate relationship with this series if you refer to my single episode reviews. The music was bad and yet the entire premise centered around music. The love-triangle was being forced heavily even though readers of the manga know it was pointless.
The story focuses on a guy (I don’t care to use their names anymore) that’s absorbed in his phone until he meets a girl (the title character of the show) that shows him that living life off the phone is pretty great. He sorta helps her find direction in life, and that direction is starting a band like the Hedgehogs, which was a 90s alternative rock group that was big in Japan in this storyline.
They build a relationship and a band together why the dude's childhood friend comes back into the picture. She’s a famous singer now, and after a lot of different opportunities in the story, she reveals that she’s written all the songs about him and loves him.
None of this is different from the manga, but the manga doesn’t spend the same amount of time building the three relationships. The manga is balanced and brilliant, whereas the anime just wanted to cram as much of it could into the first six episodes. In the manga, the title character dies, and her death motivates the characters and the entire story that follows. It’s brilliant, sudden and amazing because Fuuka is the reason the story is enjoyable and yet the creator found a way to carry on without her and make the story even better.
In the anime… not so much. Instead, they keep her alive which was something I figured they would do, but instead of building anything of value they make her selfish and leave the band. All because she and the dude can’t just say they love each other. There are entire episodes of filler, which was particularly strange given that so much was rushed in the beginning. They try to keep the same scenes of the band breaking up and getting back together, but because there’s no character death tied to the scene it is completely devoid of emotion. It is the most pointless addition to the story.
Another result of this focus on the love triangle is that none of the other characters are developed. They’re just there, which granted is how they are for most of the manga, but there’s still moments in which they’re developed and important to the story. Fuuka living, also changes the importance the Hedgehogs play to the story. As in, they’re completely useless to the story.
Fuuka living robs the story of any challenges, of any twists that can produce great drama. Instead, everything’s just a bit too easy. The animation looks amazing from beginning to end, but that can’t save a bad story, which is exactly what this anime turned into. Maybe if I weren't familiar with the source material, I would score this one point higher, but overall it’s just bad. They try to cover a lot of it up with the animation, but at the end of the day, they produced a poor story which is a shame considering how amazing the manga is; read the manga and save yourself the time.
Fuuka – Season 1
Creator: Koji Seo
Director: Keizo Kusakawa
Writer: Aoi Akashiro