Bakuon! – Preview
Original Air Dates: April 4th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Sakura Hane has just transferred into high school and she’s a bit of an airhead. Biking to school for her first day, Hane sees a girl, Onsa Amano riding a motorcycle. Hane follows her to school and discovers they’re both obsessed with motorcycles. From there the two decide to join the school’s motorcycle club. Only one problem: Hane still needs to get her license!
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Bakuon! has a niche premise and employs a quirky cast to work with it. We get Hane, who makes for a nice protagonist if you like the innocent simpleton who just wants to get along with everyone, and is also a ditz. Then you have Onsa, who is extremely passionate and serious about bikes, if terrible at explaining her love for them. Next is Rin, who’s similar to Onsa, being obsessed with bikes too. Except Rin’s obsession seems to be blindly focused on the Suzuki brand of bikes, something that makes her clash with Onsa, who dislikes the Suzuki brand just as passionately. Wrapping it all up is Lime Senpai, who is as weird as her name, always quiet and always hidden behind her bike helmet. The first episode clearly teases the addition of a possible new bike club member, but thanks to her negligible airtime, we don’t know what she’ll be adding to the cast.
Tom: If it hasn’t already become obvious the entire cast of girls is obsessed, obsessed with bikes (or motorcycles to clarify things here.) It’s amusing, and our lead Hane is kinda funny, if a bit too oblivious for my tastes. The rest of the cast is okay, but it felt increasingly like I needed to be a bike enthusiast to really appreciate what Bakuon! was offering. The girls are all very quirky, but enough of the humor revolves around motorcycles, a topic I’m not really into, that it made it a disconnected watch. But I think the real issue is the characters, because beyond Hane being oblivious, Onsa and Rin are both loud mouthed about their bike obsession and there just isn’t enough to differentiate them, besides the Suzuki joke, to build them up as characters beyond their obsessions. I have trouble wanting to sit down and watch them be crazy for bikes.
Linny: There is a surplus of motorcycle talk and motorcycle jokes to ensure you have no doubts about who the show is aiming for. A few of the jokes have universal appeal and even take some weird potshots at motorbikes, but it’s clear that bikes are the centrepiece of the show. It’s hard to shake off the feeling that you need some basic knowledge or interest in bikes to fully enjoy Bakuon!. If you’re like us and have zero interest/knowledge regarding motorbikes, you’re likely going to end up feeling like you’re trapped in bike-apalooza as the show rants and raves about bikes nonstop.
Tom: Bakuon! starts bland as we’re treated to Hane heading off to her first day at school and meeting Onsa on the way, where she begins to see the appeal of motorcycles. It only picks up once Hane has decided she really wants her license. It’s in this second half that we get some really crazy jokes, that cross lines, after Hane starts hearing her bike talk to her (honestly these jokes were the best and most outrageous part.) I think Bakuon! is potentially interesting, but I feel like it’s missing something to ensure it has broader appeal beyond the core-motorcycle fandom.
Linny: The high focus on the motorbikes seems like it would surely appeal to and please bike enthusiasts who also happen to be into anime and cute anime high school girls. The cast are cute to look at for the most part, except in certain sequences when Hane’s face would look a little misaligned and rushed in drawing. And while the bike does make very risque remarks and jokes, the girls themselves seem pretty innocent. There is a scene where Hane grabs and holds onto Lime Senpai’s breasts during a very rocky bike ride, but the show never makes a huge deal of it even then, with neither Lime nor Hane mentioning or acknowledging it in an exaggerated manner.
Tom: Bakuon! has potential to expand with wider appeal, but right now this first episode isn’t making me think it’s worth recommending, outside of bike enthusiasts and comedy seinen obsessives. If neither sounds appealing to you it’s safe to say there’s better offerings this season.
Linny: It’s hard to pass judgement on Bakuon! given that I am clearly not a part of its intended audience. For someone who’s not particularly interested in bikes or high school girls alone, Bakuon! just doesn’t offer enough universal appeal in its first episode.
Bakuon! is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.