First Look: BAKUON!!

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Alternative titles: Bakuon!!
Manga Adaptation by TMS Entertainment
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Sakura Hane is persuaded to join the motorcycle club at school. Shenanigans ensue whilst The Stig silently watches.

Euri’s verdict: Get Your Motor Running

If you’re one to browse anime charts before a new season, I’d say it’s pretty unlikely that this show stood out to you. Not only is it on a pretty niche topic, but it’s easy to write it off as another anime that follows the “<blank> club” at “<blank> highschool” template, or even an attempt to win over some of the Yowamushi Pedal fanbase. Fortunately, Bakuon!! seems to be a comedy show with motorbikes in it rather than a motorbike show with comedy in it, and I think it’s all the better for it. It’s a show that still manages to maintain a broad appeal.

That’s not to say there isn’t gratuitous amounts of motorbike porn. Each machine has been lovingly drawn and animated, and the right company licenses have been acquired to allow the cast to talk about them, which turns out to be rather unfortunate for Suzuki if episode one was anything to go by. This is all well and good, but with it being a comedy the show needs to have a decent cast of characters, no matter how nice the motorbikes look. While only a few characters were introduced in the first episode, things are looking good.

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Sakura Hane, our protagonist, is your run-of-the-mill ditzy airhead of a character. The wing hairclips she wears don’t help with that image either, as it keeps reminding me of Yuki from School Live!, a very similar character on the surface. Boring as that may be, she provides enthusiasm from a character who isn’t already a motorbike fan. She’ll be the one asking the questions, silly or otherwise, and acts as the gateway between the show’s love for motorbikes and the segment of the audience that doesn’t know a thing about them.

Onsa Amano is a tomboy-ish character with a massive passion for motorbikes, and the newly-found rival of Rin Suzunoki, a twin-tailed girl with conflicting opinions. There also seems to be a tribute to Top Gear‘s The Stig in the form of Lime Kawasaki, a silent character that sports a motorcycle helmet with a large pink ribbon on the back. Putting silent characters in comedies is a big plus from me, especially to contrast the loud rivalry between Amano and Suzunoki.

The cast is there, the concept is sound and episode one was pretty darn fun. Let’s hope that the show can keep it together for the rest of the season.

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Jel’s verdict: Some Say… That This Show is Pretty Good…

…but all we know is SENPAI IS THE STIG!!! Top Gear references aside, this was basically the best possible outcome for a premise this shallow. Between Stig Senpai and talking motorcycles, it has just the right amount of weird to be interesting. More importantly though, the characters are surprisingly not obnoxious, and their passion for motorcycles is kind of endearing. They could probably get by on charm and enthusiasm alone. Add in a dash of creativity, pretty nice animation, and some solid jokes and I’d say Bakuon!! is a keeper.

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Iro’s verdict: Surprising

I think on some level we’re all at our patience’s end with boring schoolgirl club comedies, so it’s nice to see one with a bit of heart and some decent jokes. I could see the ultra-ditz protagonist becoming super grating as we move forward, but for now her utter ignorance works in the show’s favor as a foil to everyone else being over-the-top motorbike fangirls. The few dashes of absurdity like the telepathic bike-neesan and Stig-senpai make for some honest laughs, so I’ll at least keep an eye on Bakuon!!.

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