April 18, 2016

Bakuon!! -- ep 3

This is turning out to be a lot of fun, and ep 3 has several laugh-out-loud moments. (At least I laughed. There are few things as subjective as humor.)

The show is slowly rolling out character backgrounds, and ep 2 gave us Rin's and explained why she's so hooked on Suzuki. Ep 3 gives us a load of background on Onsa. Neither of them are really monstrously tragic or anything like that, but they both explain the characters a lot.

When Rin was little, her father was in love with the Suzuki Katana (full sized version) but had trouble getting his license because he didn't want to shell out for a school. He was out riding, with Rin on the back, and piled up the bike. She came out safely but he was badly injured and for a while I was afraid he had died, but he ended up OK. Anyway, that brings up to the present. He got his license and he has a full-size Katana. She wanted a Katana, too, and he got her a mini-version (400cc) which is what she rides.

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In ep 3, Hane gets her license and so the girls are off to a used motorcycle shop so she can buy one. Hane rides with Raimu, holding onto Raimu's boobs as usual. And the one they end up in turns out to be Onsa's family business. And it is... seedy. Like almost illegal.

They sell their bikes for cheap because they're crap. They seem to have low mileage because Onsa (herself!) rewinds the odometers. Raimu seems to have an uncanny ability to diagnose a bike just by looking at it and she says one of the ones on the show floor has a dead cylinder, one has a crooked frame, and all of them have odometer resets.

Onsa's own bike was built out of parts from two identical scrapped bikes. And it keeps going on like that. Onsa doesn't want Hane to buy from them because... well, it's obvious. But before she gets to that point, Hane has found the Super Four of her dreams (it's pink). Raimu tells her it was painted, but Hane doesn't care.

They haven't revealed it yet but it's obvious that it's the bike she trained on, which talked to her. At the end of ep 2 the school got a new load of bikes in and got rid of the old ones, including the one Hane trained on. I haven't got the slightest doubt that the one she buys in this episode was that one. But we'll find out when her bike starts talking to her.

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Rin is the source of a lot of the comedy in this series, not to mention being the main purveyor of fan service. Her schtick is "I wouldn't join even if you asked me." To which Onsa usually responds, "We didn't ask you."

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When Hane has her bike, the next issue is the bike club itself. Seems there isn't really one. There was one 20 years ago, but after a tragic accident it was disbanded. So our girls apply to create a new one. To create a club you have to have four members, and Rin gets to play her "Well, I'll do you a favor" card, only to find that she isn't needed. They have four without her.

And then there's a big reveal about Raimu. It's a spoiler so I'm putting it below the fold.


We'll get right to the point. Raimu is a ghost. 20 years ago the bike club was into track racing, and one of its members grew up to become the current principal of the school. Raimu was the best rider in the club and there was one race where she was the only member who qualified.

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She was working on her bike, and the other three girls volunteered to do the maintenance since they couldn't race. Well, one of them screwed it up.

Raimu was in the lead and then her engine flamed out.

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But she kept going, wanting to win it for her team.

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And just as she was to cross the finish line, the bike outright exploded, sending her flying. She didn't survive it.

The reason she was in that particular room was because it was the one that the bike club used. The reason she never takes off her helmet is probably because she can't. It's what she was wearing when she died. The reason she never speaks is probably also that she can't. She's been there 20 years, since the accident, and never caused any problems, but I suspect she's the reason no one else ever used that room.

For me, at least, this makes complete sense of everything she did in the first two episodes.

The principal knows she's there and knows why. The principal doesn't want to approve the application for the new bike club, but after talking with Raimu (who replies in writing) and getting Raimu to promise to protect the girls, she decides to approve it. So now we're a real, official, club.

And Rin still isn't a member.

It's nice that this show isn't completely, thoroughly frothy. There's a serious side to it but it doesn't descend into pathos. And it's nice that the characters are more complex than just "the blonde with big boobs" and "the frizzy hair one who likes to bait the blonde".

This show is turning out to be a lot better than I thought it would be.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 04:39 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 919 words, total size 5 kb.

1

One thing I really like is that the plentiful comedy is deriving from character interaction, rather than from stupid contrivance.

So far it's mostly Rin and Onsa, but I'm sure the others will contribute before it's all over.

And I'm as sure as I can be that there will be a beach episode. Onsa has had the upper hand with Rin, and that's going to be an opportunity for Rin to get even.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 18, 2016 05:04 PM (+rSRq)

2 Manga takes a different tack and it appears the author didn't have an exact idea what Raimu was. So anime changes it yet again.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at April 18, 2016 05:59 PM (XOPVE)

3

I was just looking at it, and the manga isn't really very far along (23 chapters translated as of March 28). Not enough to base even one cour on. So this is a case where they've borrowed the basic idea but proceeded to rewrite it.

That can turn out well or badly. Only time will tell.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 18, 2016 06:04 PM (+rSRq)

4 7 volumes of the manga have been released in Japan, so maybe it is far enough along for one cour.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 18, 2016 06:08 PM (+rSRq)

5 I just read chapter 9 of the manga and it tells Raimu's story pretty much exactly as it was presented in the anime.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 18, 2016 08:20 PM (+rSRq)

6 Just watched all three episodes based on your review Steven. I haven't laughed this much at an anime in years, probably since Natsu no Arashi!

Posted by: Tex Lovera at April 19, 2016 09:23 AM (tKEz9)

7 Raimu being a ghost is almost certainly a fake-out, like Rin's dad and Hane's parents.

Posted by: muon at April 19, 2016 08:13 PM (IUHrD)

8

Please be careful about spoilers.

About Raimu:

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 19, 2016 09:40 PM (+rSRq)

9 In the manga .

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at April 20, 2016 11:32 AM (XOPVE)

10 I didn't really think of a spoiler since it's speculation about Reimu, but

Posted by: muon at April 20, 2016 08:37 PM (IUHrD)

11 I've been considering the possibility that

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 20, 2016 09:25 PM (+rSRq)

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