I started this on a whim on Monday night. I didn’t want to start catching up with Kuzu no Honkai and Rakugo because I didn’t want to be emotionally invested nor did I want to think too much. I just wanted something light and fun – I usually find the sports genre to be pretty carefree and chock-full of entertainment. I noticed I’m lacking in the series’ review department outside of the attempt to do a weekly episodic recap. So I thought I’d start doing these more often.
So, I know one of my readers out there had suggested this to me, but I can’t remember who exactly. I just remember them telling me to watch it so that we can fangirl together. So please, if it was you please say something because I have give you a big big hug for recommending this one to me. So let’s get started!
Yowamushi Pedal is a sport genre anime centered around competitive Road Cycling.
Sakamichi Onoda is a cheerful otaku looking to join his new school’s anime club, eager to finally make some friends. Unfortunately, the club has been disbanded and he takes it upon himself to revive it by finding students who are willing to join. Without much luck, Onoda decides to make a round trip to Akihabara on his old, bulky city bicycle, a weekly 90-kilometer ride he has been completing since fourth grade.
This is when he meets fellow first year student, Shunsuke Imaizumi, a determined cyclist who is using the school’s steep incline for practice. Surprised by Onoda’s ability to climb the hill with his specific type of bicycle, Imaizumi challenges him to a race, with the proposition of joining the anime club should Onoda win. And thus begins the young boy’s first foray into the world of high school bicycle racing! – MAL
I’m more of the mountain biking type; but I can still relate to this show nevertheless. I just need to start a tennis anime to round out the sports I’ve personally played. I’m not sure if it’s been shown (enough), but I am a sports fanatic in real life. I follow all San Francisco Bay Area sports teams. I fell into the Sports Genre of Anime by accident. I always wondered, why would I watch an anime about sports when I watch the real thing? Thank you Kuroko No Basket for dragging me into sports anime hell! I was so wrong to judge the sports genre like that. Also, it’s probably good to note here that I’ve developed a sports anime bias. It’s an ongoing condition that I can’t seem to get rid of, so I just embrace it.
The struggle of the uphill climb, the thrill of going fast in flat stretches; the burning in your lungs and legs as you climb higher and higher. Learning to set a pace or “cadence,” as you pedal trying not to tire out before you can reach the top! You start to give yourself pep talks, telling yourself not to give up, to keep going, don’t let your feet touch the ground. That moment of bliss you feel when you’ve reached the peak, but you don’t stop there. You coast for a few seconds, catching your breath, mentally patting yourself on the back for making it to the top non-stop. It’s like a moment of clarity as you take in the sights and re-adjust as you start to approach the icing on the cake of the uphill climb: the descent. Feeling the wind against your skin as you fly down the hill, your legs can finally take a break! There’s no need to pedal anymore, the hardest part is already behind you, now you just have to enjoy the ride down!
Ah, I got such a thrill from the duo’s first race uphill!
If you couldn’t tell, I’m already on board the yowamushi pedal hype train. As I’ve said, I have a sports bias, I love sports. I may not play them often but I watch them enough in real life. In terms of anime, Haikyuu!! has been my “standard,” so to speak, in terms of what I look for in a great sports anime; plot, and characters and how the sport is integrated are done really well in it.
Again, I’m biased because of my enjoyment of such series but yes, I do realize a lot of the sports anime’s out there are fairly generic and formulaic. You have the inexperienced character that just happens to be a natural at the sport, paired up with the character that envies the other’s natural God-given talent when they’ve worked hard for themselves. A conflict appears as baggage for one of the characters and that spurs on the entire plot of teamwork and togetherness.
So what do I think of Yowamushi in regards to my standard? So far so good! I’m four episodes in and I think they’ve done fairly well in the first few episodes conveying the type of thrill you get from cycling, alongside setting up the story. The characters are all pretty adorable in their own right; but I’ll discuss that more in a little bit. What I especially love though, is the integration of cycling itself. We learn about the sport as we continue to watch the story unfold; granted some of it might be common knowledge; but we learn about it in the context of competitive cycling, and that alone scores major points on my anime watching scale (if I even really had one).
Okay, so there are not a lot of bishies in this one so far, I guess it’s still too early to say that. The art style is a bit different for me in terms of character design; but let’s be real I’ve already found one to claim as my favorite but hmm, he seems familiar…I think I’ve seen him somewhere?
His name is
Nanase Haruka I mean, Kageyama Tobio. No! still wrong, Fujiwara Takeru. No, no it’s Imaizumi Shunsuke. LOL I’m sorry, I couldn’t help doing that, because just look at this meme! and you’ll understand why I can laugh at this:
I get it, he’s that ONE character in every sports anime. The handsome, dark haired, blue-eyed, stoic, unsmiling bishounen that’s clinically obsessed with their sport! Now, now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but it’s pretty clear that this is a staple character needed in every sports anime.
Imaizumi is pretty identical to Kageyama (of Haikyuu!) in this meme in terms of personality. Haru stands alone I think because…Haru is Haru, he exists to swim and eat mackerel. Imaizumi’s similar to Takeru but not quite, maybe the obsession with legs? Anyways, he’s very much like Kags because Imaizumi’s a cycling “idiot” that only thinks in terms of bikes and anything related. He’s experienced the bitter loss of coming in second and wanting to fight to be the best on his own; but eventually he’ll learn to trust their teammates and rely on a group effort. Sounds about right, right?
The other character, our protagonist Onoda Sakamichi, O.M.G. I mean, this character to me has to be the most
adorkable adorably oblivious Otaku in the world. He had me in stitches the entire time. He may be over the top in terms of his love for anime; but my gosh was he accurate. The one thing I kind of regret while I lived in Tokyo was not going to Akihabara every weekend, so thanks Onoda for rubbing that in my face a bit. He’s also another staple character, an accidental genius at a sport. He has the potential to be even greater, he just needs the proper training; Hinata, is that you?
Our third character, Shoukichi Naruko. Ah, another loveable character! The overly excited character that will drag you into his pace. He’s outgoing, and a cycling expert who wants to teach Onoda. He’s a senpai, but not really a senpai. He sees the potential in Onoda in a chance encounter in Akihabara and encourages him and inspires the interest in cycling! Seriously, Nishinoya is that you?
The scene above is probably my favorite from episode 1. Imaizumi caught up to Onoda on an uphill climb and was laughing at how slow he was; all of a sudden Onada breaks into song and the scene cuts to this angle; I could NOT stop laughing. I think it captures the personality of these two pretty well so far; as well as the gif above. They both love to bike but for incredibly different reasons. They both have no friends; therefore they’ll be each other friends through the love of sport. They’re polar opposites of one another. One’s silly and one’s super serious; one’s carefree while one’s too focused. I think you can tell who is who.
I’m only 4 episodes in, but man I’m hooked on this anime so far. I feel like this first impression came off as bit ranty and sarcastic due to the predictable characters and predictable plot. I swear sports anime’s follow a formula! But I DO like this show, a lot! How else can I emphasize that I do enjoy this despite it’s flaws?! I find it entertaining and a blast to watch so far. The characters all have their distinct personalities. It may be formulaic but it still has it’s own story! Either way, it’s off to a strong start, so let’s see what happens as we go on. I may check-in mid-way or maybe just do an overall series review of season 1. Thankfully, Crunchyroll has just about everything related to Yowamushi so I can really immerse myself in this cycling world!
Have you seen Yowamushi Pedal? What did you think of it? Would you want to see me continue with more periodic reviews of my journey into Yowamushi Pedal? Let me know in the comments below!