Let’s cut right to the chase: Minami Kamakura High School Cycling Club is a ridiculously long name and I will not be referring to it as such in anything but the titles of my episodic reviews. Alternatively, I will be using what I believe to be a much more suiting name: Girls Gone Bike. If a better nickname for this show decides to present itself sometime in the future (although I doubt one will), I am open to changing what I call it. Until then, here is episode 1.
Girls Gone Bike is off to a nice start as we follow Hiromi Maihoru heading off on her first day of school. The new semester isn’t her only “first” of the episode however, because it turns this was her first time trying to ride a bike in a very long time. They say riding a bicycle is something you can never forget, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Hiromi. As she barrels down a hill, she nearly crashes into Tomoe Akitsuki, a kind, young girl who manages to tell Hiromi how to brake just in time. Because Tomoe is so friendly, she offers to help her learn to ride before the entrance ceremony. They hit it off and become friends almost instantaneously.
On their way to school, they stop and gaze at the ocean. It’s fairly clear at this point that Girls Gone Bike likes to show off a little bit when it comes to its scenery. Still, the show has every right to, because these environments are all quite picturesque. It’s almost as if the stunning backgrounds are there to distract us from the less impressive character models and computer animated graphics at play. That isn’t to say the characters look bad by any stretch, but they aren’t particularly astounding either. The CG is actually pretty well done though, and used sparingly during only bicycling sequences. From a distance, it’s barely noticeable at all, and it’s never at all jarring, as some CG anime tend to be. Oh, and added to all that, during most (if not all) of the scenes in forested areas, a subtle effect of falling sakura petals is overlaid to give shots a more dynamic feel. It’s a very easy trick, but a pretty one nonetheless.
Back to where the girls are, Tomoe informs Hiromi of some aggressive birds that like to circle around the beach. Hiromi then foolishly decides to pull a sandwich out, which then gets swooped up by one of the birds. After not learning her lesson, Hiromi pulls out her backup sandwich, and frantic shenanigans ensue. The show seems to rely on slapstick comedy more than any other type of humor so far, and I’m not really against it. It’s silly, lighthearted, and the main protagonist reminds me of Honoka from Love Live!. So it kinda works for me.
Anyway, after meeting the birds (and their homeroom teacher), Hiromi and Tomoe sit through the entrance ceremony. Once that’s over, their teacher Shiki Mori had a few inspirational words to give them in class, words that seem to implant into Hiromi’s head what may just be the central theme to the show: Racing towards freedom. Or put more broadly, reaching the freedom to choose what one wants to do in life. On the walk home, some cyclists whiz past the two girls, and that’s where Hiromi not-so-subtly combines the concepts of freedom and biking together.
And that’s pretty much it for the first episode. I like it a lot so far. Girls Gone Bike feels much more like a slice of life right now, which I enjoy, so I hope it manages to balance that with the sports genre aspects that are sure to come later.
Oh! There’s also a live action bit at the end that’s educational for cycling novices. This week they talked about picking the right frame. I appreciated it, but maybe that’s just because I don’t know squat about biking. Oh well. Thanks for reading!