Image source: TVアニメ『風夏』公式 on Twitter/YouTube

Fuuka is an extremely popular manga and anime series, mostly due to the fact that it never fails to tug at both readers’ and viewers’ heartstrings, especially when it comes to one pivotal moment in the manga that had set the tone for the anime series before it even aired. But with the airing of the first season of Fuuka, that’s completely changed, and many a fan is absolutely shocked.

[Note: This article contains major spoilers for Fuuka.]

For the uninitiated, there’s an important, heartrending moment in the Fuuka manga series where you’re meant to have your heart absolutely shattered. In fact, it’s one of the most famous scenes some readers like to spoil the most, or taunt newcomers with: “Truck-kun,” which sounds innocent but hides quite sinister implications.

After ramping up during the manga to have protagonist Yu Haruna and Fuuka Akitsuki fall in love and being dating, the two actually form a band together. It’s a central focal point of the story, called “Fallen Moon” and refers to Fuuka’s last name. It’s during chapter 36 of the manga that Fuuka’s heading to a concert at a nightclub when a truck strikes her and she ends up passing away.

It’s a swift gut punch to readers, especially those who have learned to love Fuuka and Yu together as she builds a future with the new band and the world of music. Things seem so bright, and then the young star and woman and the budding relationship are all cut down in the blink of an eye. It’s meant to bring tears to your eyes, of course, but it also acts as a turning point in the story so new and exciting things can happen.

Some readers never saw it that way, but it’s certainly an interesting twist, especially since it breaks convention and what you think you know about stories like this one and forces you to get used to a whole new set of characters. It’s extremely clever, actually, and something I’ve respected about Fuuka since I sat down to read the manga.

But instead, the Fuuka anime has gone in an entirely different path — one, it seems, that I inadvertently predicted when I wrote a piece about how the show seemed to be headed in a new direction. I suppose I really kicked off that thought train when I wished that the show would focus more on Yu’s childhood friend and pop idol Koyuki and the relationship that could have formed between then. In fact, that does seem to be what’s happening, at least in a way. There’s a huge change that no one could have seen coming–and it all involves “Truck-kun.”

Fuuka, at least the anime series, has shifted focus to the love triangle between Yu, Koyuki, and Fuuka now, with Fuuka having narrowly missed being hit by the truck that would have taken her life. Now she’s survived, to presumably live through the rest of the anime. This decision has launched a very different narrative that means new and exciting things for Fuuka — most importantly, a chance at weaving an inventive and interesting tale outside of its preconceived plot threads.

Creator Kōji Seo even weighed in on the change from manga to anime and the blatant lack of Truck-kun in an interview that can be read on the official Fuuka website. He explained that the anime has been altered because he was interested in seeing “a version of Fuuka Akitsuki that is alive,” going on to explain that Fuuka was removed from the story entirely originally so that Yu could instead grow as a person while focusing on the activities he’d suddenly found himself surrounded by with his band. In fact, in many ways Fuuka’s fans were quite instrumental in reversing this change.

Image source: TVアニメ『風夏』公式 on Twitter

“I got comments from users saying ‘I’m sad that Fuuka died.’ I had some thoughts about how maybe we could write the events in such a way that Fuuka lives, since finally we were able to adapt the story into anime. Right when I was thinking about this, the anime’s producer said to me, ‘We want to give the anime a story in which Fuuka lives.’ It was just the push I needed.”

Seo ended up making some extremely courageous decisions here, even when director Keizō Kusakawa wasn’t so sure they were great ideas: “I didn’t want fans of the source material or the viewers of the anime to get upset by us doing something different from the original story. At the time production on the anime was greenlit, there were only around six volumes of the manga out in Japan, and making a 12-episode series where Fuuka just dies at the end seemed implausible. There wasn’t enough material with Fuuka Aoi in it either. That lead us to think that a story in which Fuuka didn’t die was doable.”

These are all very important points that Kusakawa raised, especially the fact that pumping a 12-episode series out wasn’t very feasible. Imagine the way the anime has continued on so far and finding out Fuuka has been killed at the end of the first season, then waiting another entire year for the next to roll around. By then you’d lose interest in the series, the character, and the story in general. So perhaps this change has been more than an important decision by the director and creator, and a logistical decision that allowed everyone to stretch their creative wings while putting together a product both manga fans and newcomers to Fuuka in general could enjoy.

“Please pay attention to how the love triangle plays out until the very end,” continued Kusakawa in his interview. It’s certainly going to be an interesting ride from here, as viewers are all in at this point. Hopefully nothing absolutely insane happens like Fuuka dying in another shocking manner. Fans probably couldn’t take going through that very thing again.

Fuuka can be seen with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.

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