Bakuon!!

Sometimes, one’s attention to a show is caught by a rather weird combination that shouldn’t really be all that unusual. In Bakuon!!‘s case, that is high school girls and motorbikes. The somewhat sexist or sexualized notion of “biker chicks” aside (the second one of which I’m at least fractionally guilty), the show seems solely dedicated to the weird concept of motorcycles and all its weird appeals.

As the series pointed out, motorcycles are not the idea transport vehicles as you are enduring the full force of the elements. Especially in a four seasons country like Japan. Those snow-filled will be cold and dangerous to drive in. As the show also points out, being a motorbike rider also means you literally have to experience the elements to their full extents.

Going into the show, I come to understand one thing: the characters are all idiots. Hane is just mentally-detached with all common sense. She still socially aware and intelligent enough to do well in class, but she still has trouble following instructions during her license exam. Hane is similar to me in that she is not familiar with the history of bikes, but still, thinks it is awesome to ride one as compared to walking or cycling. Part of her lineup of comedy gags is various comments flying right over her head. In the end, she brought a pink Su-Four because she likes pink? I just don’t know.

Her first friend is Amano Onsa, “affectionally” referred to as “Frizzy” (due to her hair.) She’s the owner of a Yamaha and tends to be the most self-conscious about the idiosyncrasies of being a biker… for both good and bad.

The third character we meet is Suzunoki Rin, who, if this show is anything to go by, is a Suzuki snob. She’s riding a Suzuki Katana GSX400S, which she inherited from her father, and she’s fiercely devoted to the Suzuki brand. She is a bit of a tsundere, particularly when it comes to her bike, and she’s sort of the opposite of Frizzy; she’s mostly friendly, even to strangers, but her tsundere temper and pride makes her turn rudely defensive.

Raimu-Senpai is the weirdest character in the series. We don’t get to see her face as it is always covered with a bike helmet. Does she sleep with it on? And there this weird gag with her age because even the principal of the school calls her “senpai”. She is the best rider of the cast being recognised by professional riders, but she has this weird thing where she doesn’t talk but talked by writing signs.

There’s also Hijiri Minowa, the almost stereotypical rich girl. She joins the bike club to fulfil her dream of being a delinquent, but she doesn’t actually drive a bike herself. Instead, she relies on her butler and a bike with a sidecar attached to it.

I almost have to admire Bakuon‘s tendency to not idealise people. Among the ones you see on a regular basis, you’ll be introduced to both their good and bad traits, and the show will shamefully exploit them all if it feels like it. To its credit, all the traits, both positive and negative in it which makes it more believable because everyone has good and bad traits in them.

The show does have a lot of cliched elements in it too like the girls’ homeroom teacher being the single woman in her thirties”; she’s a pathetic creature, bitter and rash, not to mention a terrible drunk.  The first time we see her if when is drunk and starting to sexually harass her students.  Her morals and pride as a teacher are questionable, to say the least.

This show is surprisingly  lacking in terms of fanservice, and most of the kinds of stuff that were showed were pretty standard stuffs-girls in swimsuits, girls in hot springs and the girls washing their bikes by rubbing them against them.

The show is actually lucky enough to be graced with some pretty good animation, which works pretty well for the scenes where the girls are riding their bikes. It really sells the appeal of riding motorcycles as they rode together on their trips.

All in all, I’m… fairly happy with the show.

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