「エースのプライド」 (Ace no Pride)
“The Ace’s Pride”
For our second episode of Kandagawa Jet Girls, we finally get the mechanics behind Jet Racing as Rin and Misa conclude their race against Kaguya and Kuromaru. But as their race ends, Rin finds herself overwhelmed with her next step of legitimizing Kandagawa Academy as a school involved with Jet Racing when it requires her to start a club from the ground-up.
The anime might have been holding out on us in the first episode, but it’s great to see a more straightforward guide on what the sport of Jet Racing entails. The anime is honesty a great marketing tool for the upcoming videogame as the mechanics look like they would make for a fun racing game. It follows the same structure as racing with jetskis, using them to navigate from one checkpoint to the next. However, the secret spice that keeps the game exciting is in giving each pilot a gunner that aims to rake up points and slow down an opponent’s vehicle with turbo-powered water guns. Because it is from the Senran Kagura company, the guns also have a function similar to flag football in being able to remove protective gear from other racers/gunners, allowing for them to be stripped in the process of making it towards the finish line. On paper, it sounds absurd and convoluted, but the racing and gunning aspects of Jet Racing do make it exciting to see how more intense races will be captured, providing high stakes tension and alluring fanservice to the most rigorous races that the girls face.
What elevates the material though is how basic yet interesting a majority of the cast is so far. Rin’s enthusiasm and simple mindset is further expressed with what she brings to the table for the race, using her mother’s racing prowess and her unfamiliarity with newer boats to hold her own in a tough competition. Much of her obstacles that come in the way directly challenge her inexperience with the city life as her unfamiliarity with newer tech or an advanced education system that gives schools with Jet Racing teams incentives starts her off on the wrong page with her student body and competition. Driven only on the idea of being able to reserve professional courses or race as she wishes, Rin overlooks the fact that she needs to gather students to a club in order to have it formally accepted. But her weaknesses ultimately give her something to work with as her flaws make it easier to cheer her on as the show suggests the idea that it takes more than innate talent to be able to fulfill your dreams. For Rin, it makes the show a little more sophisticated by not making her 100% unbeatable or infallible. Similarly, it is satisfying to see the mental blocks that keep Misa from enjoying Jet Racing slowly come down with Rin’s influence. It may take a while for Misa to come around to joining a hypothetical Jet Racing club, but her journey is great to follow as her discouragement doesn’t make her as surly or cold as characters from other anime who share her gloomy and cynical outlook on the otherwise enjoyable sports they begrudgingly participate in. On top of this, Kaguya and Kuromaru were interesting to follow as well since the close competition they faced with Rin and Misa gives them a reason to get back into taking their efforts seriously. Complicated thoughts are especially brewing within Kaguya as she is far more focused on her training now that she’s finally raced with Misa. Unfortunately, the show has a bad tendency of finishing far too early, but with Misa’s connection with their coach, it’ll be fascinating to see how Misa’s relationship with their coach ends up coming into the fold in future episodes.