Maiharu Hiromi has moved from Nagasaki to Kamakura to attend high school. Her new residence means a new school and new friends, and all of her exciting new encounters from day to day happen when she's on her bicycle! Kamakura is the stage for these high school girls who have devoted their youth to cycling!
Positive *The first thing that I immediately liked, right from the first episode, was the animation and art style of this anime. JC Staff makes some of my favorite art, it’s so colorful and vibrant. And this immediately caught my attention in Minami Kamakura. The color palette emphasized what this anime wants to convey being the joy of cycling with your friends. For a video review, check out my Youtube channel. Link on my profile page. *And another thing that was way more surprising when it came to the animation was the excellent use of 3D animation in this anime. If you are familiar with my channel, you must have picked up that I don’t like 3D animation. But once in a while, there’s an anime that uses good 3D animation. And Minami Kamakura was one of those rare cases. When we see that 3D shot of the sea in the first episode, I was sold completely on the animation of this anime. *There’s another positive point about the animation that I want to address. In my review of Long Riders!, another cycling anime, I complained about the robotic and unnatural cycling animation. Well here in Minami Kamakura, the cycling was way more natural. The bodies of the characters had a more natural and non forced position on the bike. So the, probably, higher budget that a studio like JC Staff could invest in this anime made it possible to deliver better animation than that one of Long Riders! where the budget, most likely, was a lot lower. *Next positive point is that it seems that this anime was sponsored, or at least supported, by actual bike brands. The names on the bike frames were actual brands instead of slightly adapted ones like we see in Yowamushi Pedal. And when an anime is supported by actual companies, usually it means higher quality, take Hibike! Euphonium for example which was supported by Yamaha. This extra support means extra quality when it comes to the final design and animation of the companies product, in this case the bikes. *The last positive point I have to say about Minami Kamakura was that at the end of each episode, the anime would give us live action bike information about all kinds of maintenance going from fixing punctures to finding your ideal position on the bike. So this was truly an anime that wanted to inspire and help people to get on a bike. I do have to mention that the 2 female hosts were quite cringy to watch. I don’t understand why Japanese women always have to act so cringy in live action things. But adding this information to the anime was pure bike propaganda. Negative *Now my negative points are basically the same ones as I mentioned in my review of Long Riders!. 1) If you’re not into cycling than there’s no real reason for you to watch this anime and you won’t find a lot of enjoyment in it. I think that explains the low score that this anime received on A-P. It’s a niche anime that only applies to the fans of slightly moe cycling anime’s. *And 2, just like in Long Riders! there’s no development towards an ultimate goal. In Long Riders!, we do have the prospect of the big flèche that Ami wants to ride but in Minami Kamakura, there’s no future goal at all which again added to the “boringness” of this anime if you’re not into the world of cycling. Conclusion So as a conclusion, Minami Kamakura was like Long Riders!, missing a long term goal and some excitement, but the way how everything was presented was way better. The animation felt more natural, was smoother and had a more vibrant color palette. So overall I’m ging to rate Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu at 3,5 stars. As a cycling fan, I had fun watching this anime but I can understand that not everyone found it to be so interesting.
J.C.Staff/ACGT’s 2017 girl’s High School after-school club tale is fairly formulaic and sleep-walks itself to conclusion. Those of us who loved shows like “Super Cub” (Studio KAI 2021) and “Laid Back Camp” (C-Station 2018) will know that it is a formula that has yielded up some truly outstanding classics. Sadly, this story of High School cyclists doesn’t break the mould in featuring the clutzy “new girl in town” Hiromi Maiharu starting at High School and simply being unable to cycle. Determined to ride her bike to school every day she soon befriends school mate Tomoe Akitsuki who helps her get up to speed. They soon hook up with keen cyclist Natsumi Higa and other fellow first year Fuyune Kamikura. Kamikura’s grandmother is school principal who resides in an old club room above the school that used to be the cycling club’s room back in the 1970’s. Inspired by the example the girls form a Cycling Club and the story relates their battle to become accepted as a proper “club”. The show is far from being dire but it goes through a check-box exercise of pulling in random anime tropes in order to spice up what is otherwise a dull story. Check out, for example, the owner of the local bike shop who is a tiny adult lady in cute cat ears. Seriously. Why? Then there is the obligatory blond foreign student “Sandy McDougal” who speaks apparent perfect Japanese yet whose English is barely intelligible. And, of course, we have the sexy-but-single-cycling-sensei to guide the girls through it all. So off they all go in an effort to get the “results” they need to be a true club. Nobody really has the obvious conversation about what sort of “results” these should be. Are they a touring cycling club intent on long journeys for tourism. Or are they road racers in it for the competition? The matter is not even discussed, let alone resolved, with the girls ending up doing both. Then there are the girl’s personalities that are moe-to-the-max. It is excruciating to witness them squealing at each other at fever-high pitch about just how freaking happy they are about cycling. Everything is a delightful surprise to them. They greet each new stunning fact about bicycles like it is an amazing revelation. They are like incredibly naïve school girls suddenly learning the facts of life and loving it. None of them even have a puncture repair kit. Anybody who has spent part of their life on a bike will find these girls very irritating as they seem to be unable to work out even the basics for themselves through any process of common sense. The original manga ran from 2011 to 2018 so no doubt it contained a lot of material from which the show was culled. There is a degree of realism in the show and -yes – you will learn a lot about cycling. Yet there is no real drama and they all leave pretty charmed lives where their idiotic naivety seems to ever hurt them. This show is not a patch on the fine example I quoted above. There is a right way of doing this and a mediocre way. This is definitely the latter. It goes through the motions. It is tiresome but just about watchable.
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