Flash Review – Fuuka

Yuu Haruna spends much of his days like most 21st century people: with his eyeballs glued to his phone. He’s got a modest Twitter following and constantly updates them on his daily adventures, though adventures is a strong term, since the boy lives a dull life. But then he meets Fuuka Akitsuki, who, true to her name meaning summer wind, sweeps him along with her antics and her desires, the grandest of which is to stand on stage and sing to thousands. Together, they start a band and chase after the musicians who inspire them the most, encountering the many trials and tribulations the aspiring artist faces.

The Slice-of-Life Start:

It’s actually a while before Fuuka and Haruna get around to founding their band. The story picks up with their crash into hello, but then they dawdle around with the average school life, which I have a mixed opinion about. It makes it hard to get immersed when the characters are just guffing about, but it allows the characters to live like normal people. It’s especially effective in regards to Fuuka, who has struggled to find a passion in life and spends her time staring off into the distance, listening to music and wondering. And once she does realize her passion, the pace gets rolling.

The Competitive Music:

This manga has a strange take on music. Given its length and premise, I went in thinking it would be to music what Bakuman. is to manga creation, but this series is terribly light on music production details. It’s instead the typical shonen competition, but lyrics and musical notes replace swords and fire spells, and it’s somewhat vapid in this approach. I cheered the protagonist’s band on, yes, but there are no concrete determiners for what makes them or any other band a success aside from crowd size or crowd reaction, and it switches these parameters up until the final performance. And I also find the entire approach limiting, because there are so many genres of music, and it’s arrogant to assume that the best music is what makes a live crowd the hypest. It disregards the fact that sometimes you just want some lo-fi to chill to.

The Verdict:

Strange as its use of music is and as abrupt as one of its major turning points is, I quite enjoyed this manga. It isn’t perfect, and sometimes things just work out in the main characters’ favors, but for what it sets up and how it carries out its events, it’s pretty solid.

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