241 : Schoolgirl Strikers & Minami Kamakura Cycling : Episode 1

Double up for two new shows from J.C. Staff (one also made by A.C.G.T.). School girls riding bikes (again) and school girls fighting monsters. Oh man.

Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club

Reina Ueda! Everyone watch out for this girl, she’s a great up an coming seiyuu. Ueda is in another biking anime now! First she was Sakura in Bakuon! and now she’s almost the same character, Hiromi, in Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club. The exciting story of a new high school student who breaks out her old bicycle only to find she sucks at it. By chance she comes across a fellow first year, Tomoe, on her way to the school’s opening ceremonies. Tomoe gives her a hand and shows where some sights on their way to school. Hiromi is new to town also. The two meet a biking teacher on the way there and it ends with Hiromi determined to learn to bike! This show is a slow moving and very pretty cute girls slice of life about biking. Imagine Long Riders but with good production, Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club.

Hiromi is our standard lead, she’s a bit of an airhead and clumsy but kind and good natured. Scattered brained but passionate. She tries to learn to bike again but literally doesn’t even know she needs to pedal and has no concept of breaks. She makes quick friends with Tomoe who shows her some biking tips. It’s the typical new kid in town meets a new friend set-up but what makes it work is the absolutely beautiful backgrounds. Animated by J.C. Staff and A.C.G.T. you can tell who’s making the backgrounds. The settings are colourful, vivid, and thanks to the good directing you can almost smell the air as they approach the beachside. I was so impressed by the visuals, it was a stunning summer vibe I got from this.

The character art can be a bit dopey at times but the lines are very crisp and the designs are nice. I like the style, it looks older then it is, which is a look I’m fond of. Nice and simple designs. The animation was fairly good as well, J.C. Staff has done well using CGI only at the right times, like the backgrounds in Flying Witch you barely even notice when there’s CG as it’s very smoothly integrated. The voice acting was excellent, Reina Ueda is seriously one of my top voice actresses now, she killed it in Bakuon and ReLIFE and while it’s funny to see her get cast as virtually the same character as Hane, she still sounds a bit different. She has this perfect dorky tone. The OP had a great composition with some twists here and there. I was so shocked that the ED was sang by a guy. I can count on one or two hands the amount of cute girl shows I’ve seen that feature male vocal songs. It was a decently fit tune as well.

We’ve seen an increase in cute girl bike shows recently, coming off of Long Riders last season it seems odd to have another, however this one is setting up to be a real pleasant watch. The settings are so good and to see the characters explore more and build a passion for biking, that could be really good. I found the characters to be likable and I got some chuckles out of Hiromi’s bike fail montage. It dragged a bit and many times I felt like I was watching something I’d already seen. Like the classroom scene was so similar to Amanchu’s first episode. The teacher is just like the one in that show as well. There is little new to the set-up but what really drew me in was the seaside bits. I will watch this show for the backgrounds because wow that was nice.

Overall the first episode of Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club was pretty good. It’s typical for a show of it’s kind and the only real shock is in the scenery. However the set-up is enough for me, I like the two characters introduced and the overall theme. I feel like this show is going to hit some nice slice of life feels. The rest of the cast is seen in the OP, they look like an amusing bunch. We’ve seen this stuff before but with a presentation this pretty I don’t mind! We’ll see how it goes.

Schoolgirl Strikers

I hate it when I’m just trying to have a good time in school when suddenly monsters attack and I have to transform into a skimpy outfit to engage in battle. Schoolgirl Strikers is the story of a private girls’ school with it’s own fighting unit. Some kind of monsters have stricken generic action set piece town #309 and the students are all divided into units with their own areas to cover. We follow one group who aren’t amazing but I guess they don’t totally suck. We meet our cast in this episode and watch them do poorly in battle before being saved by another squad of bikini clad battle babes. We learn one member of the main team, Tsubama, has lost her memories and doesn’t really go to school…and um, I kinda zoned out a bit here.

Schoolgirl Strikers is another fairly underwhelming battle academy show that happens to have great animation. We have our cast of fairly likable school girls and some kind of weird menace they fight against. They enter another dimension to fight them, I guess so it doesn’t slip into ours? This is only the “near future” to and there is inter dimension travel and pocket item transformations. Yes this show has magical girl transformations. I would not classify it as a magical girl show but our heroines take these objects out of their pockets which change them into battle outfits of varying colouring. Each squad has a different theme. The main one is pretty standard, another group are straight up maids and in the end we meet the elite bikini team. Girls in bikinis with machine guns.

The characters that pop are Yuumi, she seems to be our center. She’s right into the schools seven mysterious and puts a sword in the gardens for fun to see who can pull it. Yuumi is dorky and excitable and voiced by…guess who, KanaHana! As normal she gives a great performance but her passion doesn’t quite translate through the relatively dull mouth flaps. The rest of the girls have fairly normal and relaxed personalities. Mana is playful twintails, Tsubame is the slightly unsure but nice leader, Io is the mom and…I don’t remember what Satoka did. The cast is likable and I like their position. They are not amazing but recognize the talent of others and strive to be better. The AI is voiced by the same seiyuu as the one in Magical Girl Raising Project and she does the SAME VOICE. Please no. Never again.

Now the best part about this show is the art. Damn J.C. Staff delivers, the action looked great here. Some dorky long shots but in battle everything was smooth and very cool. The character designs are fairly nice and they wear similar school uniforms to the Snafu students. Their battle outfits are pretty tame, not too outrageous, but the one team with maid outfits…that was kind of odd. The bikini girls where just straight up cool though. There is a bit of fanservice here. A shower scene with nothing more then arms and necks and the busty teacher in tight clothes. Magical girl transformations always manage to look somehow sexual, even when they’re as quick and nude free as this.

Overall the first episode of Schoolgirl Strikers was relatively good but also not overly memorable. The tone of this episode was well balanced. Unlike Ange Vierge which was a clumsy mess, this kept a light tone, even in battle. I like that, not too serious but not totally ridiculous. The cast is more grounded and even though things weren’t explained in much of an interesting manner, they have their enemies to fight. This episode didn’t really grab me too much but it wasn’t bad or anything. I don’t even want to call it average because it has nice animation and a good cast, but all the plot and that mumbo jumbo made me kind of tune out. It wasn’t too interesting. I will watch a few more episodes and see where it goes. I’m down for school girls kicking buttock as long as it’s fun.

About Kanttila

I like to talk about things and stuff. It's cool.
This entry was posted in Anime Reviews/Reflections, Seasonal Anime Reviews, Winter 2017 Anime and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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