Yoko HikasaSaori OnishiMai NakaharaDaisuke Hirakawa
Fuuka
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Director: Keizou Kusakawa
Writer: Aoi Akashiro, Touko Machida
Actor: Daisuke Hirakawa, Daisuke Nakamura, Daisuke Ono, Kaede Hondo, Kanako Mitsuhashi, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Lynn, Mai Nakahara, Manami Numakura, Mikako Komatsu, Mikako Takahashi, Saori Hayami, Saori Onishi, Soma Saito, Yoko Hikasa, Yusuke Kobayashi
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=18879
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 4 August 2018
fuu ka
I thought it was excellent. It's better, richer and more complicated than its apparent genre. It's toying with tragedy, which makes it developments feel more earned.
The genre appears to be "high school students start a band". Yuu Haruna is a loser protagonist who has trouble engaging with anything that's not his mobile phone. One day he bumps into a girl called Fuuka, who likes standing in high places in a short skirt. This leads to a misunderstanding, but that doesn't last long because Fuuka's an irrepressible soul who blasts through life as if she's going to make all your papers blow away. She also sees colours when she hears music. Haruna thinks she's got a great singing voice and suggests that she start a band, which sets a lot of things rolling.
I say "apparent genre", though, because it's ultimately about romance. It's not smoothing anyone's path, either. This isn't the kind of safe, fictional romance where everyone will be neatly paired off and there will never be complications. It's going to be impossible for everyone here to get a happy ending, because that's what happens when real people meet and have to make choices.
The result of this is a story with two genres. On one level, it's a romance that's not always being played for warm fuzzies. However our heroes are also trying to put a band together, which is done well enough that I enjoyed that more than most shows of this genre. It's the show's supporting structure rather than its focus, if you like. There isn't that feeling of genre-driven inevitability, so it's perfectly possible that someone might quit the band, return to what they were doing before and/or simply be uninterested in making music. When the band accepts an invitation to play somewhere, this isn't guaranteed to be a good idea. The band members who join later on can also be funny. The contrast between Sara Iwami's two personalities made me laugh out loud, although she ends up being a relatively minor character. This show has all sorts of undercurrents. It's got the pressures of fame and agents who damage their clients by making bad decisions about their lives. It also addresses toxic fandom. Haruna used to have a childhood friend (Koyuki) who's become since a famous singer, of whom Fuuka is a huge fan. (The only part of this show that I was questioning was the peculiarity of Fuuka apparently being uninterested in meeting her heroine Koyuki, but this gets sort of addressed in ep.6. Some of it's just Fuuka being Fuuka, while the rest of it is those undercurrents I mentioned.)
This is technically a sequel, by the way. It's based on a manga by Kouji Seo, whose work usually has a strong romantic element and tends to be set all in the same fictional universe. Thus the character Fuuka is actually the daughter of the lead couple from his 2004 manga, Suzuka. (Other works of his include Half & Half, W's, Cross Over, Kimi no Iru Machi, Princess Lucia and Love Plus Rinko Days.) Oh, and be warned that the anime has made significant changes from the original. One controversial development in particular is waiting for anyone who buys the manga. There's been quite a lot of fan debate about the fact that the anime changed that story point, but... well, personally I'm happy with what I watched. Both choices seem valid and in-character for this story.
If you were blind, you could argue that this is a harem show. Yuu Haruna's oddly popular for a dweeb. I don't think there's any main female character who never shows interest in him on some level, while in addition he lives with his three exhibitionist sisters and has to put up with them walking around in just a towel and knickers. However I think the writing's far more mature than that, with Kouji Seo's interest in tragedy immediately going beyond any traditional definition of the harem genre. (Admittedly there's a censored bath scene in ep.6 that made me wonder if they'd be adding nipples for the Blu-ray, though.) I think it's a strong story. I'd recommend this and I'm now considering a search for other Kouji Seo shows.