OP: 「Heart to Heart」 by Sphere
Side-car racing, or kneeler racing, is often overlooked. There are a couple appearances it’d have here and there in some films and TV shows, but tends to be overshadowed by racing other locomotives like stock cars, bikes and motorcycles, Formula 1, and souped up sports-cars. However, Two Car plans to give side-car racing it’s time in the sun, and luckily, it’s able to shine bright enough to leave a good impression.
The main plotline of the first episode focuses on the pairing between Megumi Meguro (Tanaka Aimi) and Yuri Miyata (Koga Aoi) as they enter the national division for side-car racing on behalf of their hometown and their faceless legendary coach. The two compliment each other as Yuri can drive, accelerate, and brake with ease while Megumi is strong enough to handle cornering as a passenger. They are compatible in almost every way except for their utter contempt for one another as they have a hard time dealing with each other’s bickering. Will this odd couple manage to strengthen the bonds they have together, or will they be too angry with one another to be the ideal partner?
It’s starting out as a pretty standard sports anime, but it’s format works well with its subject matter. What I’ve found myself repeating within the last couple seasons of watching sports shows is that the reason I gravitate towards some over others is how much dedication or love the anime has for the sport it’s featuring. The most effective sports series gives the viewer incentive to see from the cast’s eyes why they fell in love with the sport. Whether it’s the character’s in-detail descriptions of what they love about the sport or how well it’s animated, my favorite sports anime are the ones that give you a newfound appreciation for the sports the characters are obsessed with.
After watching the first episode of Two Car, I can say one of the show’s best attributes is how much effort they put into capturing side-car racing. Yuri and Megumi’s aptitude as driver and passenger help explain why they are ideal for excelling as partners in the sport. The chemistry between the two is problematic as they are shown fighting among themselves frequently, and are at each other’s throats about most of their private lives, but as racers, they show a deeper passion for knowing when to turn or when to adjust their speed based off of the race track and their opponents’ movement.
The story in Two Car isn’t too intricate as the two racers aim to live up to the prestige their town has as a historically-renowned village in side-car racing where many legends reside, including their coach. The coach’s side-story of making it to the TT didn’t reel me in, especially because he remains faceless during the entire episode, but the anime shows a lot of promise in seeing if Yuri and Megumi’s relationship will eventually develop into something meaningful and deep. There is some ship-teasing between the two, which should be interesting if Two Car decides to take the yuri path more seriously. To see the two go from being vitriolic partners to loving partners would make for some neat chemistry, but I wouldn’t mind settling for a close friendship if they don’t follow through.
My personal favorite aspect of the show is how they introduce the other racers that Yuri and Megumi will continue to encounter throughout the episode. There are some fun archetypes that the other characters play around with such as gothic lolita racers, a sadist/masochist pairing, identical twins, the fanged girl with a regional dialect, and the suave, androgynous racer. As a supporting characters kind of person, it is exciting to see the anime begin with a good chunk of our side racers introduced with quirks to make the plot and races fun to see unfold. I’d hope that they commit some time into fleshing them out as well as Yuri and Megumi, though I’d suppose it’d always be good to make sure the main two still have the spotlight.
Two Car isn’t the most original anime of the season, but it’s a fun racing show you can add to your schedule if you can fit it in. The cast looks like they’d be fun to follow up with, the premise tackles the unique subject of side-car racing efficiently, and it’ll be entertaining to see how the chemistry between Yuri and Megumi builds up throughout the series. There are some CG and butt shots that can be distracting, but the animation is spot-on, and there are numerous still-shots that look gorgeous. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds as Yuri and Megumi continue their uphill battle to become side-car champions.
ED: 「Angelica Wind」by Void_Chords