Take a bike trip down some pretty streets!
|More Girls on Bikes! Can Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu live up to its long name?|
The First Thing You Notice
The main thing that you see when you start watching MinaKama (cause there’s no way you want to read that whole name the whole post, and I don’t need word count in my posts that much) is that it is gorgeous. Like completely knocked out of the park. This is a little surprising, one because JC Staff is not really known for making lush visual shows, and two because the Art Director for MinaKama is Tomonori Kuroda, a long-time JC Staff Art Director who’s worked on a lot of their notable shows like Index and Railgun, but when you look through the list you don’t see anything that would indicate “This is going to be a beautiful show.” In fact, the only thing on the list that I think is anywhere near the same level is Witch Craft Works, which was also beautiful, but not in this photo-realistic way.
Just a random mascot head outside the school
And the next thing that worked really well with the show is that even with these beautiful backgrounds, the characters fit into the world. Sometimes when the art is really pretty, the characters just feel like they’re drawn on top, or are out of place. That doesn’t happen here, and gives you a great feeling watching the show throughout with nothing to distract you from just watching. I think that a lot of it is that they don’t make the characters too shiny. They just look really good for the series. Even the CG sequences in the OP and the rest of the show look consistent and terrific.
What’s It All About?
Running into someone is a tried-and-true method for introductions
Our first main character here in this first episode is Hane Sakura… er, no. This time it’s Hiromi Maiharu, but one might be excused for thinking that Hiromi is like that other rather goofy character who drove her pink Honda. Sporting a similar look – brown hair twin hair decorations – and the same voice actor in Reina Ueda, as well as a bit of a similar goofy personality, Hiromi is taking her bike to her new high school, even though she doesn’t even remember how to ride it. They do say that you never really forget how to ride a bike, but when you don’t even remember that you need to pedal it, I think maybe you have forgotten how to ride, a fact that Hiromi admits. On her way, she ends up in a meet crash with Tomoe, another new student to South Kamakura High School, who is pressed into service helping Hiromi learn to ride her bike again. And after a few trials, Hiromi finally gets it.
Some help learning to ride
And later practice (I love those parking space markings)
The rest of the episode is a nice relaxing trip through coastal Kamakura in the Shichirigahama area, with Tomoe pointing out Fuji-san and Enoshima to the newcomer. They also end up meeting a new teacher to the school, Shiki Mori, who is biking to her first day as well, but with not a very good map. All three manage to make it to school, with only an incident with the local scavenging Black Kites to throw some unwanted excitement in. This isn’t the kind of show that’s going to make the kids miss their entrance ceremony, and indeed the message of the show seems to be the same as the message from Shiki as she addresses her homeroom class: Enjoy the experiences that come your way, and use your freedom to explore your world.
Escaping the beach birds
A cool new teacher to be a club advisor, huh?
This was a nice relaxing show, beautiful to look at, and conflict-free. It also included a bit at the end which seems like it will be a recurring part, how to choose your own bike. I don’t know any beginner who is going to buy a carbon-framed bike, but there you go. I’d expect that we’re going to get the introduction to the club next week, and follow a similar path to the other shows we’ve had featuring girls on two wheels lately. But the feel of this one seems to be a bit more laid back and calm, as opposed to the comedy and argumentation of Bakuon! or the clownish antics of Ami in Long Riders!And if they keep it this pretty, then it’ll be nice and relaxing to watch, even if it gets more serious about the club, which it seems like they might, but hopefully not to a full sports anime style.