Suzuka Manga Fanservice Review

How many confessions does it take to charm a tsundere? At least three if Suzuka is any indication.

Seo Kouji is famous for writing very theatrical teenage romantic dramas, usually filled to the brim with contrived obstacles that are later resolved in happy and conclusive endings. What makes him particularly special is his willingness to gorge the reader with fanservice, sometimes even of the nude variety, while still portraying an otherwise serious love story.  Suzuka is probably his best and most famous attempt at striking that balance, though Kimi No Iru Machi has an argument of its own.

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There are no explicit sex scenes within Suzuka, but any scene with a bath and/or a functioning shower in the vicinity guarantees some form of nudity in a Seo Kouji universe. He loves creating moments of belligerent sexual tension between two potential lovers who obviously want to bang each other, but not before a dozen or so volumes of flirting and dancing around the issue. Kouji also loves short haired girls. Some of the cutest in the existence of manga are drawn by that man, best of which being the namesake of this manga.

Suzuka is an ice queen track star with a perfectly toned body who slooooowly turns the corner to allowing herself to be charmed by the persistent protagonist Yamamoto. Some days she hates him. Other days she likes him a little more than she hates him. Because male readers have likely met an extremely attractive, extremely frustrating girl like Suzuka who you can’t quite figure out whether she loves or hates you (with no in between), it becomes easy to put ourselves in the shoes of the MC and experience gratification when he does eventually win her over.

Kouji is a big sports nerd, and this is often reflected in his works that deal with the topic in some way (Cross Over being the obvious companion to Suzuka). In this manga, track and field serves as an excuse for us to see athletic girls stretching and leaping in skin tight uniforms. It’s never not entertaining seeing Suzuka and her pony tailed best friend Miki on page together.

I suspect that Suzuka is one of first forays into fanservice for many readers, especially for those who began to explore the medium around the mid 2000s. Before this manga I didn’t know that eroticism and a compelling romantic tale could even fit in the same plane of existence. Though I hold some issues with how hammy his stories wind up becoming, Kouji deserves credit for successfully combining genres that are often thought to be antithetical.