Long Riders! – Preview
Original Air Dates: October 8th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Ami Kurata is a first year college student with no outstanding talents. However, one day on her way out of class with her best friend, Aoi, Ami notices another student riding a folding bike and immediately falls in love with it, using up all her savings to buy her very own. From there Aoi introduces her to the world of long-distance bicycling, forming up a cycling team named Fortuna, with four other girls from their college.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: The girls in Long Riders! are drawn with youthful faces and in Ami’s case, her behaviour and personality only reinforces the feeling that these girls look to be starting high school and rather than college. In fact, even in the case of Aoi, Ami’s friend, her face reminds me strongly of Mio Akiyama from K-on! , another factor that further contributed to my brain constantly struggling to believe the girls were in fact in college.
Tom: Despite the girls looking a tad too youthful, Long Riders has some very pretty backgrounds, giving off the feeling of a real and standard Japanese suburban landscape. They’ve done a great job seeing as biking is going to cover a lot of ground, although keen eyed viewers might be a tad distracted during these sequences as the brief usage of CGI to depict Ami and Aoi on bike, generally hidden quite well with quick cuts, is basic and stilted.
Linny: Going back to the girls, Ami is my least favourite because of how fickle she is. I’m sure she’ll appeal to other viewers as the cute and quirky type, but I could not get over how little effort or brains she put into anything. She is described as lacking any skills and says so in the episode, but her behaviour in this first episode makes it seem more likely that she never put in enough effort or thought into anything to actually test herself. For example, she decides to try cycling and buys a bike simply because she saw one she found irresistibly cute.
Tom: Ami is an idiot. There’s really no way around it. Signs of her true levels of incompetence start early on as Ami, we discover, must never have been tired before in her life, or is, at least, completely unaware the effects of an empty stomach while exercising can have on you. Part of Ami’s sheer idiocy stems from Long Riders!’ attempts to focus on biking as a sport, going into detail on subject. Trouble is in this effort Long Riders! starts stupidly basic, detailing information that’s so painfully obvious it becomes comical. But maybe that’s the idea, as Long Riders! is tagged as a comedy, so perhaps this self-deprecating gag of Ami’s sheer ineptitude, while not played traditionally and obviously, is indeed intentional.
Linny: Long Riders! also does that typically anime thing where the protagonist tries a new hobby/activity and suddenly seems to be on drugs, overreacting to everyday stimulants and sights like the wind or the sky. It’s supposed to make their new experience come across as magical, or perhaps life changing or maybe make them super moe but if you were already annoyed at Ami for coming off as a simpleton, watching her reactions only makes her sound like even more of one. And then when she finds herself getting tired from biking, she declares that biking is impossible…this is coming from a girl who apparently mastered biking on her first try without any help or training wheels. She claims she has never ever tried biking before but after getting a new bike, she’s immediately riding it smoothly. It’s small inconsistencies like that and fickleness that might make Long Riders! come off as inept and annoying.
Tom: Aoi, Ami’s best friend and natural biker, is pretty tame compared to Ami, bordering on undefined with how subdued her reactions to everything are. Outside of that portrayal I think Long Riders! has a potentially nice and light tale about a girl trying to change and better herself. Although that angle, at least for the moment, feels downplayed as Long Riders! goes hard in on exploring the sport of biking, right down to the most basic aspects most anyone would already be familiar with.
Linny: Based on how Ami and Aoi meet and interact with friendly and helpful fellow girl bikers, it’s obvious that Long Riders! will be all about a group of cute girls with varying bust sizes (you know this because there’s literally a shot in the OP where the camera pans across the bust of the girls and not their faces) having cute adventures together while educating the viewers about cycling and how magical cycling can be.
Tom: Overall I’m of the mind that Long Riders! is sort of a ‘dumb’ watch. And by that I mean that the enjoyment comes not so much from the show’s exploration of biking as a sport, or the comradery of the girls, but rather just how inept Ami can be in her portrayal and the sheer levels of idiocy on display. I’m not entirely convinced that it’s unintentional, and I’m hoping the series eventually makes it clear we’re meant to enjoy the characters, particularly Ami, in this manner.
Linny: Some characters can be enjoyed and adored for their ineptitude, happy go lucky personas, and Ami seems to fall right into that category. If characters like that appeal to you, Long Riders! in general may turn out to be an enjoyable watch. It’s got all the classic staple of moe feel good shows, i.e, a group of cute girls, blathering on and on about how something (in this case biking and yogurt) is a mind blowing experience, becoming best friends and engaging in super best activity of all times together.
Long Riders! is available for streaming via Daisuki.net