Bakuon!! anime review promo

Hane is a high school girl you’ve known – I mean as long as you’ve known some impressively stupid high school girls. I have! Hane gets by in her school life without too much problems except her daily commute, which she considers her life greatest hardship. One day she sees a classmate ride to school on a motorcycle and realizes just how cool that looks. She soon finds herself roped into the school’s motorcycle club and spending all her free time practicing to get her license.

I’m pretty sure my thought process for deciding to watch this show went a little something like this: “A fanservicey comedy about high school girl’s forming a motorcycle club? That’s going to be sexy. I bet there’s gonna be some yuri. Imma gonna watch it”.

Bakuon!! anime review
Yup, that’s what I signed up for!

As you can see the artwork here is pretty decent and does provide some nice eye candy if that’s what you’re looking for. The animation was good but don’t expect too much out of those crazy motorcycle races. First there are only a couple of actual racing scenes and these only have a handful of competitors each. This said they are fun to watch but I wish there had been more. Mind you they aren’t a racing club. The voice acting and sound design is also petty good if not particularly memorable. What actually hit me when first watching this show is that Amano’s design really stood out. Is it just me or do we rarely see characters with really curly hair like that. Especially female. In a very smart move. The animators put plenty of time and effort into really adding neat detailing to all the motorcycles and those machines all look great. I bet I could recognize a real motorcycle engine now…ok maybe not.

Bakuon!! anime review amano
Feel free to ship away

The plot, such as it is, revolves around Hane’s attempt at getting her very own motorcycle license, but the show is mostly a slice of life with most storylines self-contained within single episodes. Mostly this is a loving tribute to motorcycles which gets right down to the nitty gritty of specific brands and years of manufacture. There is a certain motorcycle snobbery wafting from the show as these young ladies argue over which very precise engine part is better or what modifications should be made. You can feel the exclusivity. The inherent cool of bikes and their riders is continuously insisted upon. We get some pretty detailed motorcycle history lessons and don’t even think about insulting Suzuki in front of Rin, she will school you! It’s quite obvious that the writers had a lot to say on the subject and honestly think it’s interesting.

Bakuon!! anime review
Darn, that IS cool

However, motorcycles were never really my thing. I mean they’re fine but it’s not like I’m rebuilding engines in my free time. Maybe you noticed that I talk about engines a lot. That’s because although I can muster up some interest for the mechanics, the actual riding is another story. I am really not a fan of racing and since the rider stays more or less stationary, the animation is only interesting if they do tricks. Which admittedly they do sometimes, as a Mario kart like race takes place in the last few episodes. But all in all, the delivery just didn’t manage to really elicit my interest.

Bakuon!! anime review
something, something pistons!

If like me, the bikes themselves don’t hold enough appeal to carry the show, you will probably turn to the characters… Let me see if I can explain this, you know how in a lot of sports animes you will have 1 or 2 token female characters which tend to be either reductive or outright caricatures? Ok, now imagine a show entirely populated by them. They play off each other well enough but it doesn’t seem like any of them have fully formed personalities and they are often frighteningly dull witted. The inclusion of a mysterious female Stig was interesting though and I enjoyed her antics. My conspiracy theory is that someone on the production team was replaced during the development of this series. The pretty and well-endowed character designs, mixed with the agreeably vacuous personalities would seem to suggest a show geared towards generous amounts of ecchi but the fanservice was actually surprisingly rare. Don’t get me wrong Rin’s character design is basically entirely fanservice but only a handful of scenes are really overtly geared to it.

Bakuon!! anime review fan service
and of course I got one of those scenes for you guys – who loves you!

The yuri is even less conspicuous and really only apparent in a super uncomfortable sexual harassment scene with the girls’ teacher…There’s a whole story around it, and it kinda works in context but it was still not OK. It should be noted that this episode was a one time departure from the series’ usual tone and really 96% of it is generally innocent.

Bakuon!! anime review

In sum, this show is for motorcycle enthusiasts. If the subject interests you, I really think you will enjoy this. Otherwise, well it’s like listening to someone talk to you about bikes for 6 hours, enthusiastically….

Random thought: When did double exclamation points become mandatory in sports anime titles!!

Favorite character: Baita

What this anime taught me: A lot about motorcycles.

I am not drunk, just chemically imbalanced

Suggested drink: Sidecar

  • Every time you spot the CG – take a sip
  • Every time we see Hijiri’s butler – take a sip
  • Every time Rin gets tsun – take a sip
  • Every time Baita talks – take a sip
  • Every time we get an instance of magical realism – furrow your brow
  • Every time the savior appears – take a sip
  • Every time we see Onsa’s family shop – take a sip
  • Every time Rin falshbacks to “the incident” – take a sip
  • Every time a helicopter flies in a new bike – take a sip
  • Every time Chisame gets self-conscious about her height – confort a shorty

Bakuon!! anime review


10 thoughts

  1. Yeah, I think the series was a decent watch, but the drunken teacher scene was distasteful. She’s making us drinkers look bad!

    I did think the show was really funny at times but maybe it was because I binge-watched it while being sick.

    Great and fair review! I gotta admit that Baita was the best onee-san there ever was (nice pick).

  2. That scene where the girls are, uh, washing their bikes with their bodies? That’s when I dropped the show. There were elements I liked, but not enough of them to last me an entire season. If you help Biker Jesus you get the holy grail; if you break for red foxes, you get parasites. Life’s unfair.

    Also, it’s obivous: the exclamation shows tell you that the show is good. The more the better. This is why Keijo!!!!!!!! is, so far, the best sports anime. [Aside: Yes, that’s a joke. But I really did enjoy Keijo!!!!!!!!; liked it better than Yuri!! on Ice, even, which only had two exclamation marks.]

  3. Good review, and very fair, I think. I found this show a pretty mixed bag. I do like racing, though not so much motorcycle racing, and some of the jokes were really funny, but I could never shake the feeling that I was watching a low-budget version of “K-On with bikes.” Between that and the occasionally off-putting scenes like the harassment scene you mentioned, I could only muster up a limited amount of enthusiasm for it.

    Things I did like: Raimu-senpai (and how even the old geezers at the track called her “senpai”), Biker Jesus, Onsa and Rin’s fanatical brand loyalism/tribalism (every racing fan in every racing series from NASCAR to Superbikes knows people like that – “Ford guy,” “Honda guy,” etc.), Baita, pretty much every scene with Onsa’s or Rin’s dads.

    1. Yeah there were a lot of surreal elements in the show that were pretty fun but I don’t think they managed to bring everything together.

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