So your just dieing to see some Cycling right? No? (If you happen to be a cyclist do not read further, just find it)
Well, to be honest, I could give a rat's ass about the two wheeled contraptions outside of a few bike trails when I get the notion. So a cycling anime probably would not be what you think someone like myself would reach for...but I did, and it probably is because I do end up reaching for anime that would be something unique, and hard to compare.
This title did all of the above, for the mere cost of 45 minutes of my time. Now a days this is more of a feat than it was previous.
Pepe Benengeli is a cyclist who is leading on one of the many days of racing that is happening in the Tour of Spain. It just so happens this son of Spain is about to race by a small town that he grew up in. But instead of jubilation for leading a leg through his former digs, he instead is dredging up a few sore memories. He can not let this get to him however, and it is only focus that will keep him in front of the pack.
This could be the only weak point in the whole show. I felt as if I was randomly dropped in the middle of a story, with niether a beganing or end. It was like a puzzle that had missing pieces, but still had enough to see the picture. We know that our main lead is in a race, there is a wedding for his brother happening the same day, in the town he is racing to, and there is a hint of a love triangle. But other than that, you are given very little to put together what is going on.
However, with the short running time, I was not expecting a masterstroke of literary marvel.
The animation was not only top notch, it took risks. From crisp shots of bikes switching speeds, to individualy drawn riders speeding across the tarmac, every shot was well thought out. I felt as if I was getting an education in a sport I hardly took note of before. There is also a fantastic flamenco styled dance, that made my jaw drop. It was drawn with loving detail, plenty of frame rate and attention to detail.
The voice actors are marvelous. Inflections of tone and delivery were spot on. You could really feel there were dual meanings behind a possible 3 way love triangle, and the strain that is placed on Pepe to not only do good for his sponsers, but deal with a potententialy painful reunion with a former flame. The absence of sound was also perfect at times. Longshots of desert, and then the all out whizzing sounds of the bikes was amazing.
Small cast of mains, and a short time to build any of them can lend to the weakness but instead Pepe, Carmen and Frankie are all built on enough, that you can understand the elephant that is going to be in the room when the three of them are in the same frame together. All other characters are small 1 dimensional stereotypes that are not delved into, But I did not feel it was a necessity.
There were loads of questions that were not answered; plenty of story left to tell. The movie comes to such an abrupt halt I was frantically searching to see if there was a sequel or a continuation (which thankfully there is) so I could know how it all turned out. And for a title to do that to me, usually means it has fulfilled it's goal of making me care about the tale in the first place.
Anyhow, even if Biking is not the droids your looking for, you might still find this an entertaining title. If only for the education.