I knew from the very moment that I read the synopsis on LiveChart.me, that I was going to love Bakuon!!, everything about the show, the setting, the characters, the animation style and the pure absurdity of the idea of high school girls and motorcycles, it grabbed my attention and I knew this was a show I had to watch.
“The story revolves around high school girls who discover the appeal of motorcycles. Sakura Hane is a high school student who looks a little bit like an airhead. On the way to her all-female high school one day, she is worn-out climbing a hilly road with a bicycle, but she sees a girl named Onsa Amano who is riding a motorcycle. Sakura immediately becomes interested in motorcycles, and she and Onsa join the motorcycle club at the school. Then, Sakura sets out to get her license.”
It sounds absolutely retarded and ridiculous, doesn’t it? Well for me, that is a giant flashing light above it telling me “WATCH THIS!!!” because it will be over-the-top, hilarious and full of life, where so many anime shows end up being depressing, violent, horrific and boring instead and making me get beyond disinterested in the show. When I read that synopsis, my initial reaction before even watching the trailer was “Well this is super interesting!” and then after watching the preview, I was all-in on Bakuon.
The initial couple episodes where Hane is working towards getting her license is a solid introduction to the characters and their various quirks, both in the personalities and their specific motorcycle fandoms. The first few episodes are nowhere near as entertaining as the other three-quarters of the series once the real shenanigans start, but it’s a nice starting point for a show that eventually takes the kid motorcycle gloves off and goes full-on over-the-top comedy ecchi anime. You have the airhead in Hane, the tomboy mechanic in Onsa, the loudmouth brat in Rin, the “I want to be bad too” rich girl in Hijiri and then, well…Raimu-senpai.
Raimu is like if you took The Stig from the popular UK car show, Top Gear, turned him into a high school girl (even though in actuality she’s in her 30s) and made her just as badass, if not more and on a motorcycle, of course. She never takes her helmet off, doesn’t matter if she’s going to sleep, wearing a bikini, or even being completely naked in a hot spring, that helmet stays on. She never speaks either, the only dialogue she ever offers in the show is through writing it down for all to see. And yet she probably has the most charisma out of all the girls and that shouldn’t be possible given the over-the-top nature that girls like Onsa and Rin have. But Raimu-senpai is the best and there’s not a person that could tell me otherwise.
Sticking with the Top Gear theme, Bakuon almost comes off like an anime version of the show, if it 100% starred high school girls. Every episode is devoted to talking about the perks and defects of specific motorcycles, not just companies, specific models. There’s a lot of jargon that the majority of people are not going to understand when it comes to specific parts and terms that are motorcycle-related, but at the same time if that’s your focus on the show, you’re probably not watching it for the right reasons. But it is super cool to see the show actually take the time to properly represent what motorcycle fandoms probably talk about when they’re going off about how much they love or hate a certain motorcycle or how they’ve customized their own bikes, when in reality the show could’ve just been five girls doing random stuff and once in a while riding motorcycles.
Instead, the show really does put motorcycling as the main focus of the show every episode, regardless of what’s going on to distract people, whether it’s slapstick comedy, ecchi scenes, or anything else of a similar sort. There are episodes they go touring from place to place, they have races all the time, they do silly custom jobs on their bikes, you really get the sense that every member of the Bike Club (except Rin, who’s never officially made a member, she just doesn’t leave them alone) isn’t just there because they happen to own a motorcycle, they legitimately love their bike and riding and could spend every hour of every day talking about it.
It’s obvious that there were going to be few people that would watch an anime if it was just five girls on motorcycles, even if they were all attractive. They couldn’t just have them in normal high school outfits and racing suits, no matter how big Rin’s breasts are. Without an excess of ecchi content, the show wouldn’t have worked with most audiences, as sad as it is. Maybe the comedy could’ve held up, but a lot of the comedy did also lie in its ecchi content, so it’s a tough call to make. But since I’m open to ecchi content with those of any gender, not just girls (regardless of the fact it’s solely girls in this specific case), I did enjoy the additional content, especially in the lunacy of some of the more random moments, including Hane and Rin having a boob wash battle in proving how much they love their bikes and the shocking discovery of a Suzuki logo brand on Rin’s ass. The ecchi content really does add to the ridiculous humour the show often displays and again it’s not just because it was a bunch of high school girls, I would’ve been no different on this if there were also a couple guys in speedos washing their bikes or naked in a hot spring, bare butt and all. It’s a wonderful product of not being ashamed of the human body and not being homophobic.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said this in my various Anime Spotlights, but I’ll say it again. If you are a grownup and can separate reality from anime, there’s a lot to enjoy in this anime, regardless of the amount of ecchi content in it, which I make it sound like it’s super bad, it’s not Queen’s Blade or Highschool DxD levels of bad. But for a show that is realistically about five (eventually six) girls who love motorcycles, it’s extremely entertaining and deserves a watch.