Girls….with bikes. Is the basic premise of Bakuon. A type of plot I’ve noticed a lot lately , Girls with guns , Girls with magic. Now don’t get me wrong a lot of this shows I highly enjoy for example Sabagebu survival games club A.K.A girls with guns is one of my top ten comedy anime. However this kind of show has to be treated with the right balance since it can easily fall into the trap of generic-ness and tropes. So how well does Bakuon tread the line? Pretty well actually, if not a bit safely.
Girls with bikes, as I said above is the main premise of the show. To expand on that, our main character is Sakura a 15 soon to be 16 year old who has just started high school. She meets Amano a biker girl who attends the same school as her. They hit it off through a mutual interest in bikes and so Sakura's journey into the world of Motor biking begins. It’s not the thickest of plots, but it doesn’t need to be in fact the simpler it is the more it can focus on the characters and comedy
The sound design and music are both good with the strongest point being the precision of the bike sounds which sound almost life-like. The OP isn’t much more than some character shots at some scenes of the cast driving against a sun-set backdrop. But it’s still a fun way to start a show that’s meant to be pure fun. The end credits are a fairly standard set of the main cast riding their bikes in a tracking shot along to some poppy music.
Naturally a comedy show must be funny and Bakuons’ sense of humour can be hit and miss but even at its lowest points it got a smile out of me , what really got me giggling was the lewd talking bike and the repeated abuse of the cyclist. But it’s mostly visual jokes and character gags. Since this was only the first episode I assume as the series goes on the characters will be placed in situations with more comedic potential.
As expected of a slice of life comedy there’s a lot of references to other anime sprinkled in which viewers can look for.
The character designs of the main cast stand out and are creative and while they may not be the most original archetypes ( the energetic one , the ditzy one , the mysterious one ) but they are different enough to be inventive as well as entertaining in their own right.
The animation and backgrounds are very modern looking nothing to complain about but also nothing particularly interesting. The driving looked smooth if not a bit stiff. The real meat or machinery of the art lies in the motorbikes themselves as expected there’s a lot of bike fan-service like insanely detailed designs and the realistic roaring and revving of engines and squealing tires
One down-side which seems strange writing about it now , was the in your face product placement something I don’t really notice / see a lot of. But in one scene at the bike club-house in the background there was an fairly standard background of cardboard boxes , every boxes was plain except for one with “ Amazon.co.jp “ written boldly on it. The next shot a bike with the logo “ Kawasaki “ splashed across the side. An odd complaint but something that irked me throughout. As well as a shameless plug for Honda during the break art. Now I can understand naming specific brands to gain a sort of credibility but this felt like pushing it for me.
If anyone who wants to get into this show because the thought of badass girls riding bikes seems appealing I’m sorry to disappoint but not 7 minutes in and there’s a girl grabbing another’s chest to hold on while complaining that the sound of a motorbike makes her butt shake,oh and the MC has a fixation with every girl's bra size. However despite all that there managed to be a few profound moments namely Amanos’ monologue about why people choose to ride motorbikes which I feel the bikers in the audience will be able to empathize with.
If you’re looking to waste 20 minutes of your life and have already watched Sabagebu with nothing better to do Bakuon is a harmless if not a bit plain show which has a lot of potential to expand from.
Sadly a lot of these slice of life shows don’t receive another season but we should be able to at least hope for some OVA’s when the blu-ray releases. That being said I can’t say that I wouldn’t be up for more Bakuon.