Yowamushi Pedal – First Impressions
Streaming Allegiance: Crunchyroll
Reconnaissance Report by: Kuroi
Progress: Episode 1
The start of high school always means selecting a club for new students. For Onoda Sakamichi, it seems like an easy choice. Being a closet otaku to whom Akihabara is the promised land, and wanting nothing more than to have friends he can talk about anime and manga with, it’s definitely be the anime club. However, due to a lack of interest and membership, it’s been shut down.
Even so, Sakamichi won’t be beat down. Akiba will have just the thing to pick him up: new blu-rays of his favorite show! And if he bikes there instead of taking the train, he’ll save enough money to buy five more capsule toys! Difficulty level: his new school in Chiba is on a steep slope, and Akihabara is 45 kilometers away. Of course, for an otaku, this isn’t a problem; he doesn’t even notice, singing anime openings as he bikes up a 20% incline. He might not be the fastest biker, but he doesn’t even seem to notice what he’s accomplishing.
However, he catches the eye of another of his classmates, Imaizumi Shunsuke, who is an intense racer obsessed with winning and with the defeat he suffered in middle school. In his last race, he happens to have been beaten during the uphill climb. Seeing Sakamichi is almost like a kick while he’s down, and he quickly challenges him to a race, giving us our first cliffhanger.
All in all, Yowapeda is cute. The character designs are nothing new or great— they’re your basic shounen high school designs, with the cute female manager, the nerdy otaku with big glasses, the cool loner all the girls want to ask out, and so on. However, the direction and music are cute, and it’s a neat twist on the “no-name joins an athletic club and brings them to victory” type of sports anime. It’ll be interesting, learning the cycling world through Sakamichi’s eyes.