「ないないの女の子」 (Nainai no Onnanoko)
“The Girl With Nothing”

Prelude

The dawn of a new day. In the Japanese countryside the birds are singing, an empty train arrives at the station and we travel across the landscape while being led by a piano’s touching notes. Our mood has been set. From the macro we delve into the micro: an apartment. The stillness of a moment in between moments, a glint of sunlight seeps through the curtains.

Two scenes caught my eye, the first one when Koguma (Yomichi Yuki) opens her window, sighs while looking at the sky, almost in search of a meaning, The second, while riding her bicycle, as the wind blows her hair and she closes her eyes, she breathes in and smiles peacefully. This momentary oneness of an individual living in the present was so beautiful. I was ultimately won over. This show will tap into a very personal experience of slowly blooming into oneself.

The Girl With Nothing

No parents, no hobbies, no money, no friends, no goals.

Or “I am alone because I am disconnected from others and I have no purpose”. Parents and friends mean connection, hobbies and goals are within the category of purpose. Money is a means to achieving something, so I’m categorizing it with purpose too. This story that our main character tells about herself is a story that she has permanently attached to her identity. As a result, she’s constantly behaving as if this identity is true and will always be true.

The Super Cub

We’re panting, sweating, suffering, it’s summer and it’s terrible to ride this bicycle. In comes the bike shop. In comes the old man character. Please become my Jiichan. Teach me how to build custom bikes while we wear matching onesies smeared with oil. And share onigiris during lunch break with Enka music playing in the background.

She’s green, white and black. She’s a second-hand Super Cub. The price? 10k.

But, why? Second-hand shopping lessons: If it’s too cheap there’s a why. And that why has to be taken into consideration. A friend of mine recently bought a cheap Honda C70, never asked any questions and now she’s spent more on fixing the bike than what she initially paid for. Back to our story; the reason? Some people died in it. Oh, all good then. Just superstition, no technical malfunctions, awesome find. Our Jiichan gives her a helmet and pair of gloves to which she skeptically asks “how many people did these kill?”. Genius.

Blooming Into a Rider

You’re driving for the first time, getting it all right, a car passes by, you feel kind of cheeky and think of speeding up only to have a truck scare you to death. I hated driving next to trucks when I drove a car and that feeling intensified when I changed to a bike.
It was very sweet to see Koguma moving her bike so it’s parked right outside of her window, so that her curtains—once closed to the world—are now open (for all to see). I resonated a lot with Koguma wanting to drive her bike to the home center, but feeling insecure due to something that scared her (the truck).  It took me a long time to feel confident enough to do longer distances on my bike!

Our day comes to an end… Or does it? Come on! Night rides! They are the best! YES!

Rudeus himself said it so well “The worse I am at something, the better I feel when I work at it and learn how to do it”.

“Up until yesterday, I didn’t have anything. But starting today, I have my Cub. I wonder how far my Cub will take me”.

Afterthoughts

I’d like to make an analogy with that last sentence. For me the Cub represents what she is capable of doing once she lets go of her attachment to what she believes is permanently true about her identity. “I am alone because I am disconnected from others and I have no purpose”. So, a nice little twist for me would be “Up until yesterday, I was stuck in what I believed to be true about myself. But starting today, I am no longer attached to that idea. From here onwards, I want to see what is possible for me”.

Super Cub’s first episode was a beautiful slow-paced character introduction and development. It has definitely set the mood for a wholesome show about understanding oneself and finding purpose.

Observing and understanding human behavior is something that fascinates me very much. Though, every once in a while shows can get pretty deep and heavy—especially when also dealing with personal life problems—Super Cub comes as a breath of fresh air in that sense.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode!

Big love,

 

 

23 Comments

  1. I already was in so good Mood that i made spontaneous an AMV right of the First Episode. I took some Initial D song and cut the Scenes. They came out of my Mind

    But then after i wanted it to share, YT put me back into reality. Kadokawa has blocked worldwide. If i could i wanted to ask if there is an exception, but then i am a little small Firefly

    Oh well

    Yes, i like this “Bakoun!!” little Sister so far. My Rating is 8/10

    Worldwidedepp
      1. Hi there! What’s your name on YouTube? There are some Super Cub AMVs available! I’d love to check it out if it’s on.

        I definitely agree that there should be some exceptions to copywriting in YouTube!

          1. I watched it! Thanks for the link!

            Not only am I happy to be able to watch it, I’m also surprised that Reddit actually opened in my browser without VPN (it’s usually blocked here in Indonesia).

            What a creative and fun bunch we otakus are! I liked how you speeded it up on some parts so it vibed more with the track ٩(◕‿◕。)۶

            Otsukaresamadeshita!

  2. Don’t know if quote tags work, but this:

    [quote]the wind blows her hair and she closes her eyes, she breathes in and smiles peacefully[/quote]

    Other reviews and.comments I’ve read assume that because she’s an orphan living alone she must be depressed, and ignore this moment. They also conflate the soft palette with sadness instead of the time of day. [i]That[/i] is depressing. Especially because at the end she’s wondering how far she can travel.

    And:

    [quote]”how many people did these kill?”[/quote]

    Pure genius. A meme in waiting.

    As long as we ignore the money aspect, everything about this episode is almost perfect. The scenery is gorgeous, the animation is smooth, quite detailed in places, and the piano complements and lifts the mood and tone. There were a couple of wobbles, but if Yuru Camp was ideal for winter, Super Cub is even more so for spring. Really looking forward to the journey, too.

    Also enjoyed the review and style. Thoughtful, if a little bit flowery. But that’s cool. Good to read something engaging, not the same old to plug a book no one will read.

    Now, to watch the episode for a sixth time.

    Grumpy old man
    1. Hiii Grumpy Jiji!

      Regarding the quote tag, maybe it works if it’s like this -> and (but no spaces)
      Let’s test it;

      testing this quoting tag-a-lo

      About other reviewers labeling Koguma-chan as depressed: I think that’s just the easier route for some people. “Oh she’s sad, she’s depressed”. I don’t think that most people who label others as depressive even understand what depression is. They have conceptual ideas about it, but most of these ideas are conflated with social anxiety, bipolar disorder, mood/anxiety disorder, etc. So I wouldn’t take these people too seriously.

      My understanding is that one of the hallmarks of major depressive disorder is struggling or being unable to experience joy and fulfillment in experiences that would normally bring joy and fulfillment—for example, riding a bicycle with the wind in your face, watching a sunset, or a hillside of blossoming trees, or getting a hug from someone you care about. And if my intention, as a writer, were to portray this condition I would show the character struggling to enjoy these sorts of moments (e.g: Shinji from Evangelion).

      Hahaha, I’m glad you enjoyed it even if it’s not your preferred style. Thank you for your feedback, it meant a lot to me ♡

      1. It looks like regular HTML tags work, except that this site’s blockquote isn’t indented.

        Jijii wrote:

        Also enjoyed the review and style. (Emphasis added)

        I like flowers, too.

        And since I mentioned reminders below, Jijii reminds me of the old teacher in Pani Poni Dashthe best comedy ever that no one ever watched. So, thanks for that ♥

        Depression is best left to psychologists who earn connive a living from mis-analyzing it, and pharmaceuticals companies that push drugs with side effects that do more harm than good — he writes with a lonely, melancholic, but hopeful smile 😉

        Grumpy old man
        1. Jijii (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

          Thank you for emphasizing again your previous comment!

          Yours is a very befitting screen name, I have a suspicion that many grumpy Jijii appreciate the beautiful things in life, like flowers, animals, good food and time in nature. One of my favorite flowers is Calla Lilly~

          I HAVE seen Pani Poni Dash! *raises hand enthusiastically* it was around fifth grade for me, so all I can remember is “Massh…Masch….Masss…” (Massachusetts) and glimpses of the main cast. I do remember that I laughed a lot! Maybe I should rewatch that show. Speaking about comedies, have you seen Hinamatsuri? (ง ื▿ ื)ว I’ve never laughed out loud with an anime as much as I did with that one. And I feel that it’s quite unknown!

          1. Day off work for me today, so catching up…

            Yeah, I watched Hinamatsuri up to about episode four then… kinda forgot about it.

            Pani Poni Dash has the longest set-up for the best one-line gag (realised in the school festival, episode 17) that I can remember. Problem is the best sub is an old fansub, and you have to keep pausing it to read all the references. Not half as many as the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei fansubs, but just as read-worthy. I tend to binge-watch it once or twice a year.

            If Koguma ever gets on her bike ands says “Let’s-la-go,” it’ll be the homage of the year.

            Jijii ; -)
  3. Koguma reminds me of Yui from K-ON! when she purchased her electrical guitar where she couldn’t take her eyes off it and just smiles. Somehow she looks a bit like Yui but speaks like the Misaka sisters. 🙂

    The anime art is amazing, several background scenes look so realistic. I thought it would be dragging right off the bat but I’m glad I decided to stick it out. It was so refreshing. Hope it gets more interesting.

    Yuhsaku
  4. Yuhsaku wrote:

    Koguma reminds me of Yui from K-ON!

    For me, reminders of other shows is one of the joys of watching anime.

    Koguma reminds me of Nobue from Strawberry Marshmallow. Her love of her cub is the same as Kurata Ami’s for her bike in Long Riders (an anime about cycling that few people watched). And I don’t know why, but seeing hair moving in the breeze always makes me think of KyoAni’s Air.

    Yuhsaku wrote:

    Hope it gets more interesting.

    Given that the original was commissioned by Honda, it probably will be if you like Super Cubs. They’ve already changed and improved a few things from the manga, and it looks like they’ve taken the gorgeous scenery hints from Yuru Camp, so it looks promising.

    Grumpy old man
  5. @Ep 02

    I think i fallen in Love with this Anime. The pacing is Slow, and calm. Like Yuru Camp with “Super Cub”.

    I hook on this Anime

    Episode 2/3 passed. Got Hooked with the Pacing and Mood

    Worldwidedepp
    1. Episode 02 really kept up with the expectations I had!

      You guys mention Yuru Camp so much that I can see it’s a must watch for me, I’ll download the first episodes for dinner time tonight (ง ื▿ ื)ว

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