June 22, 2016

Bakuon!! -- Lime sempai

Let's get something clear from the get-go: I don't think the mangaka is trying to hide a serious story here. It's an ecchi comedy and that isn't going to change. But I do think there's a lot of story background here he's only revealing slowly. It's the skeleton onto which he's hanging a lot of good jokes and it's going to stay that way.

Nonetheless, I think it's there. And in particular I think there's something pretty interesting about Lime sempai. She's always been strange and mysterious, and I don't think that's random or haphazard. The mangaka knows the truth about her, and all the things that happen relating to her are consistent and driven by his unrevealed back story about her.

This is a monstrous spoiler about the whole series so it all goes below the fold.


My theory is that Lime is a kami, of girls who like motorcycles. This is sort of like the kami in Kamichu where they look like the job they do or the thing they're related to, and Lime looks like a high school girl because that's what she's about as a kami.

The series starts on the first day of school for Hane, the audience viewpoint character. She's riding her bicycle to school for her first day, and meets (and is passed by) Onsa who is riding her motorcycle. The school doesn't have a rule against students commuting on motorcycles. Hane is impressed and they fall in together because Onsa tries to get Hane to become a motorcycle otaku like Onsa is.

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Well, it pretty much works. Onsa thinks there's a motorcycle club which uses one of the rooms in some utility buildings at the back of the campus. The sign on the door says "バイク部" baikubu which means "Bike Club".

Onsa and Hane open the door and enter. It's dark and a bit dusty inside, and there's someone sitting in there, alone in the dark.

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We later learn that right at this moment there isn't a motorcycle club. There was one, twenty years ago, and it was closed down after a tragic accident, which should have killed Lime but didn't. Even then Lime was mysterious, but it appears that the other girls who were part of the club back then now know at least part of the truth about her. Chisame's mother, for instance, isn't surprised when she learns that Lime is still there.

So now to begin the speculation: IMO Lime has been sitting in that room for 20 years, waiting for girls to show up who are interested in motorcycles. When two show up, she activates (saying she "wakens" implies she was asleep, which doesn't fit the theory).

The room has been there, unused, with that sign on it, for 20 years. Whenever anyone was inclined to enter it for reasons other than motorcycles they lost interest in doing so and didn't. So that's why the room wasn't reclaimed and used for something else.

There are several instances in the series where Lime only does something when someone else wants her to, or subconsciously calls out to her. Usually it's Hane, which turns out to be a plot point.

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So after being startled and crying out in fear, the light turns on and Hane and Onsa meet Lime and get to know her, at least as well as they can given that she never speaks and never takes her helmet off.

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Hane still isn't sure she wants a motorcycle, and Lime takes her for a ride, which convinces her. So doing some skipping here, Hane goes to a driver school, learns to ride, and gets her license. So the time has come for her to buy a motorcycle.

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They end up at Nicoichi Motors, which is run by Onsa's dad. It's shady; the motorcycles are all used and usually abused, and they sell for cheap because mostly they're crap.

Lime walks into the store and starts putting signs on motorcycles telling what's wrong with them. She does this without inspecting them, and Onsa's father admits she's right every time.

Hane sees one she likes. It's the same model as the ones she trained on at the school.

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Onsa is embarassed and scandalized, but Lime says it's OK. (She holds up a sign that says "bacchigu" which means "Just right! Excellent!")

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But before she'll let Hane buy it, Onsa spends an entire evening working on that particular motorcycle. And Lime watches her. That scene is an interesting one. Onsa does some talking but she's talking to herself. There's no indication that she realizes that Lime is there, and IMO she does not in fact know it. Lime is watching in order to make sure the bike is right but since Onsa is doing a good job, Lime doesn't interfere or reveal herself.

Skipping ahead again, the club decides to take a trip to Hokkaido. The original plan is to catch a ferry at Ooarai but they get to the dock late, just as the ferry is leaving. Lime rides up a ramp and does a jump onto the ferry but the other girls are not so brave. So Lime ends up at the ferry depot on Hokkaido, waiting for the others. The others ride their bikes to a different ferry terminal 700 km north and ride a different ferry to Hokkaido, landing at a different ferry terminal.

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Lime sits, alone, waiting for them to come. In the inn where the girls are staying, the shower is broken and Hijiri mentions that there's an onsen near there. They decide to visit it the next morning. Then Hane cries out that they've forgotten Lime.

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And at that moment, Lime stands up, gets on her Ninja, and starts riding. When the girls get to the onsen, she's there waiting for them. And she and her Ninja are in a place that should be impossible to reach on a bike. Let alone that there is no obvious way that she should even know they were going to that onsen since they only decided it at the last moment.

Something like this keeps happening with her. When someone subconsciously calls out to her, she knows it. And when that happens she often is able to do things which are extraordinary, like teleporting to that rock.

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In particular she seems especially attracted to Hane, and looks out for her.

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She also looks out for their motorcycles. At one point Hane mentions that Lime has been doing all the oil changes and maintenance on Hane's bike. And she also spends a lot of time keeping all the motorcycles clean.

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When everyone has been told they have to customize their bikes for the school race, Lime helps Hane install extra mirrors, turn signals, and mufflers.

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So it's the day of the race, and the four of them are at the start line. Lime gets a good start but her bike hiccups (it's from Nicoichi, after all) and she crashes.

No one comes to help her. No one is cheering for her. So she lays there unmoving while the others do a lap and a half. Finally, the principal calls out to her (for sordid reasons, but still) and then Lime stands up and starts racing. Until that happened, Lime didn't move. I think that's very suggestive.

And now we get to the series finish. There's another supernatural character in this story. In the manga his helmet says "I'm Jesus" and he has a halo. For the anime I guess they decided that was a bit blatant, not to mention sacrilegious, so they changed his helmet so it had a picture of a crown of thorns and they lost the halo entirely. The voice credit is for a character called "Kami-sama" and that's what I will call him.

He shows up four times and the last time was in the last episode when he moves Hane into a world with no motorcycles. He's done miracles before, to Hane, and she tends to go with the flow even when it's weird, so it doesn't take her long to figure out that she's in a different world, one with no motorcycles.

She ends up meeting Rin and Onsa and talks to them for a while, ultimately learning that they don't recognize the name "Lime sempai" as being anyone they know. Then they ride off (Hane is walking) and Hane starts to cry.

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There's no room in this world for Lime since there aren't any motorcycles. Hane is crying because of the motorcycles but she's also crying because there isn't any Lime.

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And Lime hears her and comes to her. Hane doesn't see Lime, just like Onsa didn't, but Lime takes Hane back to the other time line, with motorcycles.

What does all this suggest? Lime is a minor kami. On some level Hane knows it. Chisame's mom and the current principal at the school were both students there twenty years before, and they both knew Lime then and know now that she isn't normal.

She doesn't change because her job doesn't change. As long as there are girls at that school who ride motorcycles, Lime will be active. When there aren't any but the possibility exists that there might be some in future, Lime will sit in the room and wait. Presumably when there are no more motorcycles, Lime will be gone, but at the very end Kami-sama says he isn't going to do that, for the time being.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Engineer's Disease at 09:29 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 1582 words, total size 10 kb.

1 So the Stig's Japanese School Girl Cousin is a kami.
Makes a lot of sense, actually.  (There's a joke about Zen & the Art of Motorcycle maintenance in there.)

Posted by: sqa at June 23, 2016 05:19 AM (hkh1W)

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