First Impression – Bakuon!!

Bakuon - What riding is all about

The Thrill is what it’s all about!

winter15-highw Welcome to the Fuel Injection for Ba… wait a sec, the First Impression for Bakuon!! (note the two exclamation points, also).  FI can mean so many things! Shows about clubs aren’t new, but shows about girls riding motorcycles? That’s pretty new. So how did this show get off the line?

Insert One Airhead…

Bakuon - Hane makes a weirdo impression

Hane makes a weirdo first impression in her middle school helmet and mommy bike

The main character of the show is Hane, a girl who might be a few pounds low in the tires. She’s cheerful, she’s energetic, and she’s kinda gullible, at least that’s how she seems at the beginning. Seeing another girl, the frizzy-haired Onsa, riding a motorcycle to school, she’s captivated by the idea of… not having to pedal up the hill. Well, not only that, but that’s the main reason she gives. I think she’s probably a lot more interested in how ‘cool’ Onsa’s motorcycle (a Yamaha XT-225 Serow) seems, and that common interest makes them pretty quickly friends.

Bakuon - Hane grabs a handful

Hane grabbin’ a double handful…

But I think they do a pretty good job of dispelling that idea that Hane is just following along with Onsa, as she quickly finds her own passion for the open road, with a little help from the current member in the Bike-bu, Stig-senpai (actually, her name is Lime Kawasaki, who rides… a green Kawasaki. Might be tough to remember that). While Onsa frets that all the things she can come up with about bikes are terrible (you get soaked when it rains, it’s always too cold or hot, your bike will always break down, and last of all, it’s the only thing high school girls are allowed to drive), Stig-senpai takes Hane for the ride that will change her life. Despite the rough ride, the smacking her face into the driver’s helmet, the hair whipping her in the face, and the scariness of leaning into the turn, Hane is completely hooked by the exciting nature of it.

Bakuon - shning

Don’t mess with Stig-senpai

Add Some Revs…

Bakuon - Meek Stig-senpai

It’s meek Lime-senpai

And this show is about the Bike Club. It’s not about “Hane takes forever to get her motorcycle license”, so they get her into class right away, and have a little bit of fun with that. How does a little Japanese high school girl pick up a bike? Man, I dunno, those things are heavy (I have tried to help bump-start my friend’s Harley… btw, don’t ever try to help bump-start your friend’s fuel injected Harley. If the battery is dead, there’s no fuel pressure, so it’s never going to work). But Hane is able to get over that hurdle, after Stig-chan uses the opportunity to take the piss out of Onsa by making her lift the big Kawasaki ZX12R (which was, at the time of its production, the fastest production bike available, and weighs about 550 pounds), and Hane is on her way to her license, with a little help from Baita, her school Honda CB400 that’s, er, been around the block a few times, or at least talks like she has (and voiced by the peerless Kikuko Inoue).

Bakuon - it's not that heavy

It looks easier than it really is

Some Rough Pavement…

Bakuon - What we got here is failure to communicate

What we got here is… failure to communicate

Riding school also introduces us to another new member, also in Onsa and Hane’s class, Rin Suzunoki. And here’s where the conflict, such as it is in a show like this, is going to come from. Rin loves Suzuki. Onsa hates Suzuki. Stig-chan’s not going to back up either one of them, and Hane’s happy with the Honda. I can’t say if there’s a particular enmity for Suzuki in Japan, although I do know that the Suzuki GSX-R is somewhat looked down on in sportbike circles due to its popularity with “squids” (irresponsible and inexperienced riders).

Bakuon - like cats and water

Some people just don’t get along

From watching the OVA that was released before the season, I know that Rin loves her Suzuki Katana, a bike that is now over 30 years old (and was, also, the fastest bike when it was made, there’s a theme here). In reality it’s probably more that Rin and Onsa just have opposing fandoms. You’ve gotten into the same thing with your friends, where they loooooove something that you just think is terrible, right? It’s just one of those things, and you jab each other with it all the time.

Bakuon - Rin

Of course she’s wearing a race suit, isn’t she. With bells on…

And Enjoy The Ride!

Bakuon - Joining the club

Old-style character models

There is another girl in school who will join the club, and we got a brief glimpse of her, but we’ll talk about her when they formally introduce her. But even so, I think the show’s gotten off to a good start so far. Produced by TMS Entertainment, the show really gives a bit of a classic feel, with straight up rock music backing scenes, rather flat character drawings, and just the way it’s directed with positioning and feel. It’s not really something you can point out individual aspects of, but the overall feel is of a show with current character designs informed by anime presentation style from the 90s and early 2000s. I don’t think it makes the show feel dated, just gives it a style. That the subject matter is mechanical adds to that, since a lot of those shows were focused on the ‘things’ that the characters had: cars, guns, even mechs.


This first episode kinda blazed through a lot of exposition, but I thought it did it in an interesting way, and while I’ll be sad to see Baita (the freely-talking riding school Honda Super Four) move on from the show, I think it would be interesting to see Hane continue to listen to her bike, especially if it is a good character. It feels like a very Hane way to represent the idea of “Listen to what your bike is telling you.” The OVA episode gave a nice feeling of what the chemistry of this show will be when it gets going, and I’m really looking forward to that.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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18 Responses to “First Impression – Bakuon!!”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Some say she’s actually a man…
    And wears G-cups.
    Others say she’s the lovechild of Rossi and Hamilton.
    All we know she’s Stig-chan.

  2. Namaewoinai says:

    “Don’t mess with Stig-senpai” or Should i called her Ms. Lime-Face Girl….OOPS….and what’s with the uh…

    Show ▼

    and…Dat Suzuki(tm) Suit Girl…HAH. Every time that she saw broken and mess up things that related to “SUZUKI(tm)”
    she is kinda freak out (Hint: Watch the OVA and you’ll see)

    • Highway says:

      There’s a LOT of product placement in this show. I don’t know how much of it is paid and how much of it is for authenticity, but they’re certainly not going with “Bland Name Products” when they’ve got a box on the shelf. And Lime is probably more interested in a racing helmet than the others (BTW, it’s a Simpson Street Bandit, a design that’s been around since the 70’s, but hers has a bow).

      And Bill Simpson can be a bit of a tough pill to swallow, but a guy who would set himself on fire to prove to drivers the effectiveness of his fireproof suit has gotta get some respect.

      • Blademoor says:

        Actually, the Simpson helmet is a shout-out to The Stig… who uses a Simpson helmet. So yeah, she’s Stig-senpai.

  3. HannoX says:

    Looks like I’ve found my “cute girls messing around” show for the season.

    • Highway says:

      I don’t know if you watched the OVA that was released before the season premiere, but I think it gave a bit of an insight into how the show’s going to go, with kind of an “Adventure of the Week” format. Whether they go elsewhere, or just do it at the school, I think that’ll be how they continue the show.

  4. skylion says:

    I think what I like most about this is how well it shows off what it wants to do. It could be a blatant K-ON ripoff. But instead we get to see that the author of the property understands the genres well enough that he can blend them to suit good taste. The biggest part about what makes a ripoff a ripoff is the opposite of just that; a big dumb bump of uglies of two things that someone assumes will go great together but doesn’t do any legwork much beyond that.

    I think Bakuon takes the correct approach and says “it’s not just the cute girls, it’s about the enthusiasm in which the approach the subject matter AND (with this being the important part) how they share the subject matter.

    • Highway says:

      And I think that having success with that approach is the only one that a show like Bakuon!! is going to elevate above just the people who are already interested in the subject. Girls und Panzer got lots of people interested in tanks through making the show really interesting and making the tanks really interesting. But a show like Upotte! just didn’t make that other part (guns) interesting.

  5. No one here has mentioned the way Rin gainaxes. She’s clearly the big fan-service draw.

  6. zztop says:

    Bakuon’s creator, Orimoto Mimana, mostly draws hentai manga.

  7. Wanderer says:

    rather flat character drawings

    I dunno, when I look at Rin one thing I don’t think is “flat.” 😛

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