OP: 「♡㎞/h」 by Ray
「小さな奇跡」 (Chisana Kiseki)
“A Small Miracle”
For whatever reason, I was expected Long Riders! to be a more serious sports series than you might assume by first glance. Turns out I was a little too optimistic, as Long Riders! is more slice of slice than sports anime – like Yama no Susume and Bakuon!! had a college-aged baby. If that sounds like a match made in heaven for you, then you’re likely to enjoy the tempo and tone of this episode. I enjoyed it enough, but after expecting something more substantive I’m not sure if it’s something worth betting on changing anytime soon. What’s most peculiar is that scenes from the OP indicate this could be a serious girls biking anime – like the female version of Yowamushi Pedal. If that’s the turn things take, I’ll be all aboard, but for now it seems like we’re more on the moe side of the spectrum.
Even if expectations weren’t matched, there were details and elements to this premiere that worked well. For one, I appreciate that these characters are college aged; they may not look it, but it’s always nice to have a look at some actual adults (or young adults) rather than high schoolers. It doesn’t solely determine quality, but that setting could prove a little more unique than your typical Japanese high school. Another thing that is hard to ignore is how pretty this show is. The Yama no Susume comparison comes from the fluidity of the character animation and the vibrant spring colours. It’s pleasing to the eye, and there were some genuinely impressive scenes in this episode. The 3D bikes are not one of them, but I’ll take moments like these for that trade.
The plot is basically the beginning of any moe seinen manga of this ilk: We get introduced to a quirky lead girl – in this case the out-there and clumsy Kurata Ami (Touyama Nao) – as she discovers a new-found love for some niche hobby. It doesn’t matter whether it’s guitars, mountain climbing, motorcycles, or fold-down bikes, you’ve likely seen this routine before, and Long Riders! didn’t aim to push past the boundaries. It’s cute, plenty of scenes are visually appealing, and there’s comedy that’s more likely to make you smile than roar with laughter. If you want a classic moe anime with a hint of sports interest, Long Riders! is for you. It’s not what I signed up for, but if the show actually decides to become what the OP advertises, then I’ll hop back on and see where it leads.
As such, there are currently no plans to blog this on a weekly basis.
ED: 「ハッピーアイスクリーム！」 (Happy Ice Cream) by Ami Kurata (Nao Touyama), Aoi Niigaki ( Hiromi Igarashi), Honako Saijou (Rumi Ookubo), Yayoi Ichinose (Yurika Kurosawa), Saki Takamiya (Yoko Hikasa)