Maybe I'm just getting too old for these high school melodramas. Alright, I AM too old for them. Which may be the problem I have with these sorts of shows. Because Suzuka is filled with so much melodrama and teenage angst that only Peach Girl has so far topped for me.
So here's the story:
Yamato Akitsuki has transferred to a new school. He is going to live at his aunt's boarding house/bath house, where only females live (can't remember if that's a rule, or that's just how it turned out). Rather like Love Hina (and Ai Yori Aoshi, and every other damn story like this), he somehow becomes a live in handy man and janitor. On his way to his aunt's building, he passes by the school he will be attending and witnesses a girl performing the high jump. He falls instantly in love with this nameless girl. And boy is he surprised when he gets to his new home to find out that she rents the room right next to his. This is Suzuka Asahina, one of the stars of the track team.
For ridiculously complicated reasons that are revealed later, Suzuka is incredibly cold to Yamato, who is basically throwing himself at her at every opportunity. In fact, in order to gain her admiration, he joins the track team as a sprinter (but it completely back fires and she hates him even more). Turns out he's an excellent runner, and soon rises to the top of the team; but his sole purpose for running is Suzuka's affections, and you better bet his talent waxes and wanes depending on the current status of their relationship (or lack thereof). The guy is a total tool. He's not doing it for himself, or for his team, but all for the sake of a girl who often will barely speak a word to him. A girl who, in fact, he himself wonders why he even likes. He admits to himself that Suzuka isn't at all charming, that she has a bad temper, throws tantrums, is incredibly inconsistent with her feelings, and is in fact rather a bitch (MAN she's a freakin' bitch). "She's not charming at all. But I still like her." Er, what? Sounds like Yamato needs a good smack. OH WAIT. Suzuka already did that NUMEROUS times, and it didn't help.
Suzuka is so frustrating. She leads Yamato on for a few hours, and then the very next day glares and yells at him. She goes to him for comfort during a storm, and then "bitch bitch bitch" all the next day. He confesses, she turns him down. He confesses again, she starts screaming at him. He tries to call her on her shit, she slaps him across the face...repeatedly. When he finally decides to try another girl (an adorable and sweet girl named Honoka who has been in love with him for years), she gets crazy jealous and tries to put herself into his life. What. The. Fuck. I would never put up with a crazy bitch like that if I were a guy, no matter how hot she was (and she's really not that great looking; there are other female characters far more attractive than Suzuka who are all over Yamato). She's been emotionally scarred by events of her past, but that gives her no reason to treat Yamato the way she does. It's a small excuse for her behavior, but it hardly excuses all of it.
The animation of the show is so-so. Music is average. The story is all over the place. The athletic events are not at all well represented. Yamato runs the 100 meter sprint, which takes like 11 seconds. I swear they spent 3 minutes on him running some race, plotting out his moves, etc. There's no way he'd ever have time to think about it that much in 11 freaking seconds. Even if you consider the idea that time "slows" in those situations, to the person, there's still no way for him to think through that much in one race, or to change what he's doing within the race.
It's not a good sign when the main characters of a show are completely unlikeable. The only thing that makes it tolerable is Honoka, and she really gets a bum deal in the story. I should also note that Todd Haberkorn (who I mentioned before in my xxxHolic review) voices Yamato in the English dub. He's still annoying. If this interests you at all, all 26 episodes are currently available from FUNimation.
Image: Honoka, Yamato, Suzuka