Winter 2017 First Impressions: Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club – Episode 01 Review

Whoa, it’s Hiromi Maiharu’s first day at high school!  She wants to ride there on her bicycle, but she hasn’t ridden it in so long that she’s literally forgotten what pedals even are.  Not one to be deterred, she soldiers on anyway and is rewarded for her trouble by throwing herself down a hill and crashing in front of the train station.  While she’s there she makes a new friend, Tomoe Akitsuki, who joins her on her quest to walk her bike to school because she’s too much of a major road hazard to be trusted to ride it near a road.  Fourteen minutes into the twenty-three minute episode they finally reach the school, have their entrance ceremony and embark on the first school day of the year!

I honestly found this episode about as boring as that episode of Saga of Tanya the Evil that I watched.  This is coming from a woman who loves sleepy slice of life shows and the occasional Cute Girls Doing Cute Things anime.  Surely this should be right in my wheelhouse?

Unfortunately, the first episode of Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club (say that fast ten times) has very little going on.  We meet Hiromi, she spends a couple of minutes screaming on her bicycle, we meet Tomoe, she watches for another few minutes as Hiromi screams on her bicycle, and then they walk the bike to school in an interminably long scene, and once they get there Hiromi has a silent breakdown in the entrance ceremony wondering if anybody actually likes her, after school she practices cycling again with Tomoe and then that’s sort of it.

There’s not a lot to say about the characters. They are what you would expect from this sort of show – chirpy, sweet and inoffensive, always trying their best.  The first episode only introduces Hiromi, Tomoe and their teacher, Mori Shiki, who will presumably become the club’s sponsor/coach.  It’s hard to say much about them because they haven’t been allowed to do anything yet.

The creators do try and distract you from how tedious and lacking in substance this episode is by filling the screen with pretty colours and incredibly beautiful backdrops.  There are plenty of rich cherry blossoms floating in the wind, and beautiful ocean vistas galore.  The scenery vaguely reminds me of Hanayamata with its bright, sometimes dreamlike colours and dramatic use of light.  It’s just a shame that this anime is way more boring and I’d rather sit and look through screenshots after each episode to appreciate the artistry rather than actually watch the thing.

I watched this show first thing in the morning and it still almost put me back to sleep.  Despite my intense appreciation for seeing an anime character that is Just Like Me in that I also somehow forgot how to ride a bike (it can happen!) I don’t have a burning desire to find out what happens next. Presumably, they will eventually cycle competently and go to a regional competition.  Quelle Surprise.

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