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Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu

January 9, 2017

Last season, was enthusiastic about “Long Riders!”, the anime about a young girl who discovers the joy of cycling and forms a team with her college friends, it had the potential of being a lovely, heart-warming slice-of-life series. Unfortunately, it was plagued with severe production issues, its animation quality visibly deteriorated, some episodes were delayed and the show ultimately could not become a memorable, truly enjoyable slice-of-life anime.

Hence, am wholeheartedly hoping that this season’s “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” will manage to achieve what “Long Riders!” could not. Based on the “南鎌倉高校女子自転車部” manga by Matsumoto Noriyuki, the story revolves around new high school student Hiromi who after moving to Kamakura, decides to bicycle to school even though she has not ridden for years.
She soon befriends another girl on that fateful first commute to school and everything begins to move for the girls.

Loved the first episode of “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu”, this series might very well turn out to be the type of slice-of-life show that I adore, like “Non Non Biyori”, “Flying Witch” or “Barakamon”. If its opening episode is a trendsetter, this anime might become one of my favourites this season.

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What surprised me the most was how this opening episode reminded me of “Amanchu!”. Although Hiromi and Tomoe do not seem that alike to Futaba and Hikari, the classroom scene and inspiring speech by the girls’ teacher, as well as the foreshadowing of Hiromi discovering a new passion all felt quite familiar to scenes in the opening episode of “Amanchu!”.

The fact that this first episode featured elaborate and truly enchanting backgrounds, making the town where the story takes place a key element in the story, reinforced that impression of likeness to “Amanchu!” and other leisurely slice-of-life shows like “Tamayura” or “Flying Witch” that focus on the Japanese sea- or countryside. With such a first episode “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” firmly set itself apart from “Long Riders!”.

Compared to the typical character design styles used in similar slice-of-life anime and the soft backgrounds seen throughout the episode, the character designs felt a bit angular and harsh, even though they seem quite faithful to the designs by Matsumoto Noriyuki from the original manga. The use of 3D CGI by studio JC Staff and ACGT here is much better compared to what we saw in “Long Riders!” and near seamlessly integrated with the classic animation.

If you are looking for a lovely slice-of-life series of cute girls doing cute things, with idyllic views of a Japanese coastal town, then definitely give “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” a try!
You can watch “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” on Crunchyroll.

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