- Release Date
- Winter 2017
- No. of Episodes
Fuuka is a 2017 Melodrama romance anime series from Japanese animation studio Diomedea. Whether the studio name is instantly memorable or not, Fantasy anime fans may recall them as the creators of such series as “Problem Children Are Coming From Another World, Aren’t They?” and “The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent.” Though for a studio that has also created series such as “Astarotte’s Toy” brings the manageable yet most challenging question to answer, can a studio with plenty of questionable creations create something heartfelt and entertaining without going for the low-hanging fruit?
The story follows the life of Yuu Haruna, who has recently moved into Tokyo with his sisters after their father is forced to transfer overseas for work. Being the only boy with multiple sisters can be challenging, let alone an easy, social life. A high school girl suddenly crashes into him on his way to buy dinner while looking at his Twitter account. Thinking he was taking upskirt pictures of her, the girl takes Yuu’s phone, breaks it, and slaps him before leaving Yuu lying on the ground. As it turns out, this girl – Fuuka Akitsuki – also happens to go to the same school Yuu is transferring into, and by strange coincidence, she’s even in the same class too.
Unlike most people, Fuuka doesn’t own a cellphone; she even listens to music on a CD player. Eventually, these two become closer than expected and decide to form a with their friends and enter the professional music world. Though there is one major problem, Not only does Yuu not know how to play an instrument, he also is shy. He is worried that he will be a terrible player but doesn’t want to let everyone down. But as he continues to have new friends, the biggest question is constantly present; with Fuuka always in his life, what will become of his own life?
For a story that is easy to describe, the inner story is different from that experienced. Creating something organic from a bare boy meets girl storyline that does not focus on the romance is wonderfully pleasant. Of course, there are the best pieces to the story like character drama, inner conflict, teenage overthinking, but Fuuka is written so clearly that the viewer may not look away, which is something to write home about!
Another positive aspect is that the pacing is better than expected; the story flows very easily from episode to episode without any significant problems. The ability to have all the pieces of a typical high school romance anime but not focus on them is another positive trait this series had. Many anime series have fallen into the trap of setting up all the pieces for a great dramatic series with bits of love throughout, but they abandon it all for the cheap, easy way to please the potential audience. Please don’t underestimate the power of limiting the amount of romance to better a story, primarily when it deals with high schoolers. On a side note, I enjoyed that this series had an openly gay character that was only mentioned twice in the entirety of the series.
Unfortunately, this series had a few problems that some viewers need to be aware of before watching. For starters, the story is a few notches above generic, similar to various musical drama anime series. A story similar to other series is nothing new or terrible, but if one is looking for more than two shots above average, this could be a wrong choice. Another potential negative aspect of this story is that the relationship between Yuu and Fuuka is very rushed at times; the areas that are so fast-paced can be nailed down to episodes ten through the end of the series. In ten minutes, with no build up the drama is solved, and there are no more problems. Honestly, this is where the writing shows its low-level skills.
The art style in Fuuka is genuinely remarkable by all meanings of the word. The colorful atmosphere makes this anime stand out, but what lies underneath is something that can only be seen while watching the series. The high level of detail in the characters in the background is better than what one would expect for any anime, especially since viewers most definitely won’t catch all the little details the artists put in during their first run. One could argue that this level of detail is on par with Teasing Master Takagi-san, if not better.
The production level of this anime series is a mixed bag, some scenes were good, but the ones that were not so good stood out way more. Of course, the music in a musical anime is a crucial point, and they perfectly nailed that aspect. The opening animation was gorgeous and got the significance of the series across without being generic or too revealing. Even the opening theme song was a great choice and highly catchy. The ending animation was significantly toned down compared to the opener, and even though it gave a very college art student feel, it was still decent.
Though the only problem this series had was that they cut corners without evening trying to hide them. Whenever the people are singing, something blocks either their mouth or they focus on a different character. Cutting corners is not a big deal, especially when series have such a tight schedule, but what is a big deal in the anime not even caring to show their best work. This is also very obvious when they use the same animations repeatedly with little to no differences.
However, one aspect of this series that must be praised is the show’s characters, not just the main cast either. Yuu Haruna is a shy transfer student who meets Fuuka Akitsuki one fateful day. After time goes by, he joins her band as a bassist, even though he knows absolutely nothing about playing any instrument. He is best described as the beta male within the friend group, but this is also a positive trait at times. He cares a lot for his friends and wishes them the best of success even though it causes him great anxiety.
Fuuka Akitsuki is the titular heroine of the series and is the positive person in the group. She doesn’t understand the point of having a cellphone, which causes her to stand out towards her peers. But that doesn’t seem to bother her much. She enjoys listening to music through her portable CD player to bands like the Sex Pistols and The Hedgehogs. She is a great singer and was unsure if she should try to be one but with the encouragement she got from Yuu, she got the idea to create a band.
Fuuka Aoi, who mostly goes by Aoi, is the growing musician known as a hard-to-work-with musician. She is often direct in her music and communication to the point that it loses tact. Though she may not seem like a nice person, she is more than willing to help her bandmate whenever she feels like it, in her way. However, the jury is still out on whether she is a good person or not.
Koyuki Hinashi is Yuu’s childhood friend and has become a famous singer. She is a very busy artist who has very little free time between interviews and singing, but she gets a chance to reconnect with Yuu and have a friend again. Though she is more worldly than when she was a child, she is more selfish than other characters in the series. Though Fuuka has an incredible number of characters within the series, these characters pose an enormous screen time. However, the secondary characters are easy as loveable and relatable as the main cast, which is outstanding in a series that’s only twelve episodes long.
Throughout the entire series, the viewers will go through many levels of enjoyment, but how high they go is entirely up to them. The music pieces within this series are excellent and highly catchy to the point they may be listening to them nonstop on Spotify. The viewers will also enjoy the high level of story to cliché ratio, which is exceptionally good to have. This anime series is one that fans of romance, drama, manga and even music can enjoy multiple times without dropping interest. Fuuka has the problem that all anime series have from time to time, and that’s having too many options to end things and needing to pick one quickly.
The rapid fast pacing towards the end of the series could have been better if the series had potentially one episode more. Though since they didn’t, they had to rush everything into a massive ‘here you go” pitch, but it was still entertaining to watch. Is this series a good one to watch as a whole? Absolutely and most definitely should be observed by all. Is it perfect? Not! Though with the series faults, one can’t help but consider them a better outcome than a perverted mess the anime could have been.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.