It is the Andalusian section of the 'Vuelta a España' bicycle race around Spain, and Pepe Benengeli is in trouble. As his brother is getting married to Pepe's former girlfriend, Pepe faces a grueling ride in burning hot weather, through his hometown. In the sunbaked hills of his native Andalusia, Pepe launches a make-or-break effort to win the day. At stake is Pepe's career and, more importantly, his self-respect. All of this, against the backdrop of the majestic beauty of Andalusia's arid terrain... and pickled eggplants.
Taichi Keaton, a former British special forces operative, now works as an insurance investigator for the world-renowned insurance agency Lloyd's; but his true passion is history and archaeology, which he fulfills by teaching at universities and visiting various ruins. Make no mistake though, there is far more to Mr. Keaton's job than simply filing insurance forms and writing reports! His investigations take him around the world and into situations ranging from run-ins with the Russian mafia to solving murders and even foiling terrorist plots. There's never a dull moment, much to Keaton's dismay!
Call me crazy, but Nasu: Summer in Andalusia is the episode of Master Keaton that wasn't. From the attention to detail regarding regional European customs, to the mostly genial and affecting seinen tone, and with extremely similar character designs, all Nasu would need to be an episode for Taichi Hiraga-Keaton to happen by and make insightful remarks from the sidelines.
Dr Kenzo Tenma is a genius surgeon working in post-Cold War Germany who has a bright future ahead of him. He is admired by his colleagues, loved by his patients, and due to marry his boss' daughter, the beautiful Eva Heinemann. One day, when two patients in desperate need of emergency surgery are wheeled into his hospital, Tenma faces a terrible choice of saving the orphaned boy who came first or the mayor of Düsseldorf, whose recovery would raise the hospital's profile and boost his own career. Against the demands of his superior, Tenma does what he believes is right and saves the child. However, his decision not only damages his prospects, but unleashes a chain of events so horrific that it might have come from the depths of his worst nightmares. Laden with guilt, Tenma begins a journey across Germany in search of a formidable young man who will challenge his morals, his love for life, and his very sanity.
If you enjoyed the European setting, realistic art style and plausible plot, then I highly recommend Monster. While Nasu is a film about a bicycle marathon in Spain, Monster is about a fugitive's marathon across central Europe. When it comes to modern-based realistic anime aimed at the older generations seeking an intellectual show, nothing beats Monster.
Mikoto Shinozaki is a normal high student with unfortunate normal problems: he's terrible at sports, has no special talents and is bullied by everyone at his school. That is, until one day Yuki, his beautiful, long-time crush, asks the boy if he'll join her brother's cycling team. Desperate to gain her affection, Mikoto tries his best to learn how to ride a bike to not look foolish in the process, soon discovering that he actually enjoys the sport! Now, Mikoto will try his hardest to become the best cyclist in the world, encountering hardships, trials and successes along the way.
Both series are focused on cycling, wich is a not-so common sport, and especially is not common for the anime world. Plus, both series express very well the feelings of the racers, their efforts, their sufferings, their satisfactions, etc. The characters' profiles are different, same for the animation; even so, they both emphasize on the same stuffs. Nasu, as a more realistic approach, since Over Drive reminds a bit of Captain Tsubasa's impossible events (here, instead of not-really-realistic shots, there are some improbable comebacks) but still, they both make a great work on conveying to the watcher the great aspects of this wonderful sport.
Born into the wealthy family of a famous musician, Shu Amamiya feels it is his fate to become a professional pianist. But when he transfers to a new elementary school, his goal is threatened by an obnoxious classmate, Ichinose Kai, who has the ability to produce beautiful sound from a piano that was thought to be broken. The two quickly become friends; however, their friendship is tested when they face off in a competition to determine who has the better skill, greatest ambition, and the strongest love for the piano.
Forget for a minute that one movie concerns school kids while the other features professional cyclists; they're both stories about people being in a competition, their drive, motivation and passion for the thing they love (piano and cycling, respectively, if that wasn't obvious already). Nasu is more centered around the competition itself, though.
Both are also presented in the same unidealised way: the character designs are not very stylized and the animation feels very natural and realistic.