While trying to ride her bicycle up a large hill on her way to school, Hane Sakura becomes awed upon seeing another student ride to school on a motorcycle. Taking an interest, Hane joins her school’s motorcycle club and gets a motorcycle licence. After buying her own bike, Hane begins her exciting, two-wheeled, motorised high-school life along with her new friends; Onsa Amano, Rin Suzunoki, Raimu Kawazaki and Hijiri Minowa.
Bakuon!! is a light-hearted motorbike promotion about an all-girls school that allows its students to learn and ride motorcycles. It’s quickly becoming the Spring 2016 season’s off-beat comedy series. Its first episode went down relatively well, grabbing my attention with its unusual subject matter and the fact that it doesn’t take too much effort just to kick back and watch the schoolgirl/motorcycle antics. Though a little predictable, cliched and riddled with motorbike in-humour, the execution is consistently amusing to keep in my queue.
The characters we meet are all basic stereotypes and aren’t ashamed to admit it. We have Hane the optimistic and enthusiastic first-time motorcyclist; the bike evangelist Onsa Amano; the eccentric, mysterious Bike Club President Rima-senpai (who we never see not wearing her helmet); the busty and experienced Suzuki-brand fanatic Rin Suzunoki and the naive and insanely-rich ojou Hijiri.
If this were all that Bakuon!! could offer us, it would be largely forgettable in the midst of all the other seasonal anime competing for attention. Despite its rather technical content, it makes sure to keep the silliness and light-heartedness of high school girls firmly at the forefront. Whilst Hane was training for her licence, she found that her training motorbike was talking to her inside her head, schooling her in how to ride a motorcycle while at the same time giving her tips on how to attract men.
The show can essentially be summed up with quick, silly jokes and the occasional spatter of fanservice led by suggestive camera angles, hot spring situations and close-ups of the well-endowed Rin zipping up her Suzuki biking suit. The jokes and the fanservice usually mould together, not ever taking itself too seriously.
The supporting cast is limited, but used occasionally to higlight the girls’ families, their homelife and their interest in bikes to help them become more than just the stereotypes they started out as in the first episode. We have seen Hane’s younger sister Yume (who seems to come from the standard Ui Hirasawa from K-ON! Capable Younger Sister mold), Onsa’s crazy family that own a second-hand bike shop and the accident-prone father of Rin.
Visually, the show is quite impressive with its fluid biking animation and some pretty impressive motorcycle designs. I can’t help but keep getting my eye caught on all the bodywork designs and the effective way that we see the sun catching the light on a wing mirror or a piece of chrome finishing. It’s also loaded with all sorts of motorcycle information that interests me, despite my total lack of knowledge in this area. In a way, it’s almost a motorcycle advertisement in itself and therefore draws similarities with Subaru’s peculiar promotions within Wish upon the Pleiades, but not so overt and jarring this time around.
The theme of high school girls with an interest in motorcycles is what drove me to check this one out, but the silly humour is genuinely amusing and the characters aren’t the 2D anime stereotypes I thought they might be. The visuals aren’t skimped on as they sometimes are during these light and fluffy comedy escapades and you learn things that you never wanted to know about motorbikes! If you’re looking for something darker or more sophisticated to get your teeth into, you won’t find it here but if you’re looking for something fun and episodical with no strings attached, I would take a look.