Super Cub

Title:Super Cub
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Studio KAI
HIOKA Natsumi
Koguma is 'the girl with nothing'. She has no parents, no siblings, no friends, little money, and no goals for her future. Little did she expect that her empty and apathetic life would be turned around by the unlikely event of her acquiring a cheap used 'Super Cub' motor scooter.

12 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch Stretch [series:4301#628]
(All episodes watched):

'Good artwork' was my first observation made while watching this show. Other things soon became apparent: even though not a word is spoken for several minutes into the episode, you get the distinct feeling that a definite story is being told here, a story that is deeper than most anime will tell. A story being skillfully told largely with images rather than with a preamble or dialogue. I noticed that Koguma never smiles until she gets accustomed to her new possession. I had feared that there might be an occult element to this show, because the reason the Super Cub was so cheap was because rumor has it that it had been involved in a fatal accident and nobody wants to touch it. But there is no sign of such a thing (we later learn the story was somewhat exaggerated), which was a relief to me since this show was doing a fine job as a moving slice-of-life show. It's possible that Honda, maker of the Super Cub, financed some of this as the scooter offers Koguma a new freedom and sort of becomes her best friend (though it looks like it will be her gateway to making conventional friends later on). We learn things like there's a reserve supply of fuel in case you run out. This had been one of the last new shows of a batch that I had watched since the title alone didn't seem exciting, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised at how fun and moving it can be. I quickly decided to watch this one in it's entirety.

In episode two Koguma meets another girl, Seiko, who rides a somewhat fancier motorbike and they strike up a sort of a friendship based on this thing they have in common. This girl sort of scares her at first but doesn't turn out to be bad. I bet a lot of anime wouldn't be able to convey the nuanced emotions that we see here (or wouldn't even try). Koguma is urged to make use of her 'bike to go see places she wouldn't otherwise be able to go to. We Americans who often have access to a full fledged automobile may have never thought about how 'liberating' this would be to a poor person, but this show manages to put that idea forward. This may all be a fancy commercial for Honda motorbikes, but it's a fun and entertaining one.

However, I got the feeling in episode three that the show was becoming less about Koguma and more about her scooter as time is spent on mundane things like getting a luggage box for it and a pair of ad hoc goggles for her. That is, feeling more like a commercial and less like the moving story that episode one seemed to promise. Episode four is largely about when to change your oil. It's still fun (sort of), but I wonder if the main conflict of the show came and went in episode one and the rest will be little more than filler. Episode four is about how Koguma used her bike to make some money over summer break and five is mainly about Seiko and the somewhat more ambitious thing she did with her bike over the same period. We learn about how these bikes can be souped up for some extra power and some unusual uses they are put to. Most important, of course, is main character Koguma who uses her Cub to save herself from missing a once-in-a-lifetime school trip. This show is not as touching and exceptional as I had initially thought it would be.

In episode seven we meet the girl who, all the signs suggest, will get a motorbike herself and join Koguma and Seiko as a friend. In general, this show takes a pretty laid back approach to storytelling. No big conflict seems to be looming, instead the girls just find new uses for their bikes and new tricks to make them more useful. Episode nine, which is largely about preparing for winter scooter riding, felt distinctly boring. So much attention has been paid to the bikes and so little to the characters that I wonder, if Koguma and Seiko had their bikes taken away from them, would they remain friends? This show, which I had initially thought would be about a seemingly innocuous event setting in motion the making of friends and solving of problems by a shy girl, has actually turned out to be arguably more about the scooter than about the main character. Come to think of it, maybe the scooter is the main character, not Koguma. Has her personality really changed noticeably since episode one? The 'rescue' that she performs in episode 11 seemed distinctly unconvincing--especially the way she insists that it is her bike that deserves the credit, not her. In the final episode the three girls go on an ambitious cherry blossom viewing tour of Japan, which was vaguely moving in a laid-back way. But in general, I would say that if I had only watched episode one of this show I would still have gotten something like 3/4 of the entertainment in exchange for 1/12 of the time.

Last updated Thursday, July 01 2021. Created Monday, April 12 2021.

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