OP: 「まほうのかぜ」 (Mahou no Kaze) by (Akane Kumada)
“From here onwards, I want to see what is possible for me.”
Changing your behavior in a sustainable way is a slow process. Meaning that life won’t spin 180° right on the spot once you start doing things differently. But it will start to turn.
I noticed in our previous comment session that we all agreed Super Cub was set at a great pace. After watching Episode 02 I find myself confident we’ll continue to see character development in every episode, and this will happen quite naturally. Oh, and that quote I used is not from the show but from my analysis of Episode 01. In case you missed it, we went deep into Koguma’s inner thought analysis and had some interesting convos in the comments!
If you’ve ever changed a specific behavior you might agree with me that it’s a slightly awkward and liberating process, because it takes you away from known patterns and expectations. I personally related to Koguma’s stumbling naiveté—with her sudden announcement to the entire class “I drove my bike to school!” for example.
During Home Economics class we now catch a glimpse of introversion, which is often mistaken for shyness. When some girls are poking fun at her and calling her poor while she’s choosing a fabric for her drawstring bag, she replies to the jests without any hint of neuroticism. She replies cooly, “I was thinking of putting my helmet and gloves for my motorbike in it.” The girls are taken aback by her attitude.
I take my hat off to Koguma, I had a much harder time in my social interactions during school and university.
THE OTAKU AND THE BENTO
She has a Honda MD90 Postal Cub. Dark red, blue, and black; she’s pure old school style.
Our supporting role makes an entrance and she knows what she’s talking about. Reiko speaks builds, brands and mechanics that sound like foreign language to the average person *raising my hand here*. Not to take away from her credibility, but what I feel will be Reiko’s strength in this show is not how much she understands about motorbikes but how she inadvertently challenges Koguma’s beliefs and perceptions.
“I wonder if she’ll talk to me again, at least we have our Cubs in common to talk about.” What a nice shift. Kogu-chan is now curiously hoping for tomorrow to come.
I find riding a motorbike for long enough gives you a special sense of self-sufficiency. Sure, someone can ride with you. But most of the time it’s a very personal experience. Your feet touch the ground; you’re supporting this machine; you have the wind on your whole body. Perhaps because she’s been riding for longer than Koguma, Reiko has this mature vibe. Her speech during their bento time felt like a small window into her experience thus far: “…it feels like I can go anywhere I like.”
We often see Reiko reading by herself, which made me think that she might be the type who really enjoys spending time with herself. Because we also see that she is on good terms with her classmates (when she’s invited to have lunch with some girls). So it doesn’t seem like the case that she’s disconnected or isolated.
Reiko-san does her own thing.
LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW
In two days of interactions between our two main characters, Koguma realizes that even with her Cub she’s only been driving back and forth between home and school. So after her conversation with Reiko she decides to do something different: she turns right at the intersection where she always goes straight.
Koguma opens the door to newfound experiences, thoughts and feelings. Taken in by this feeling she decides not to buy her keychain on that day, but rather come back tomorrow.
By the way, I absolutely loved how we got to see so many of Koguma’s emotions today. She’s really blooming into herself~
ED: 「春への伝言」 (Haru e no Dengon) by (Yuki Yomichi, Ayaka Nanase, Natsumi Hioka)
I like how you’re encouraging a “journal club” type of community in the comments. 🙂
Also, not currently watching, just reading your summaries, but this show seems quite nice! Good characterization and metaphors.
I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for taking your time to write this comment~
I joined RC to become a better writer, but the community has taken me by surprise. It brings so much joy to my day that I can’t help myself (ง ื▿ ื)ว
Glad to have you in our club!!
In case anyone missed it, she doesn’t actually announce to the entire class out of nowhere that she rode her bike to school by the way, that was just her imagining that she did.
Feel free to address me since I was the one who wrote the post! My big mistake then, I did not catch that when I was watching, thanks for pointing it out!
I’ll make sure to make a note on the next episode about this error. But I still think that the show did a great job at portraying her stumbling naiveté in other scenes; when she left without saying anything when she had agreed to show Reiko her bike after class being one example!
Thinking about it now, that scene happening in her head also makes it very wholesome, but for different reasons! („• ֊ •„)
Two things bother me right now:
Who is the intended demographic for this show?
Has no one heard of Waiting for Godot?
What are we, a random sample of viewers, supposed to get from a twelve or thirteen episode anime in which nothing happens? Not twice, but ever?!
Yuru Camp was driven by Nadeshiko imposing her outgoing personality on Shima-rin. Here, our lead is overwhelmed and tries to run away from possible friendship. We can try to imagine Koguma’s dilemmas, but all we truly know comes from her reactions to those around her, and her internal monologues. Koguma’s line from the first episode, “… orphan, no friends, hobbies, goals,” is a simple statement of fact. I can understand Koguma might be considered introverted or shy, but there’s also the possibility of Koguma not wanting to associate with a crowd of meaningless strangers.
Koguma isn’t alone; she’s separate.
And so is Reiko.
Reiko doesn’t have friends, she has acquaintances. Reiko sits alone, reading a book about motorbikes, and ditches those acquaintances for Koguma because they have one thing in common. And, perhaps, because those around them are bland, their conversations dull and self-centered, whereas Koguma is practical and, with her new Cub, looking to expand her horizons beyond TV and the internet.
We are presented with two blank slates on which anything can be written.
So what do we get from our journey with our brave little bear cub?
For a grumpy old computer nerd, it’s about reminiscing. About opportunities and accomplishments. Missed, achieved, or otherwise. For someone much, much, closer to Koguma’s age, it might provide a small spark of hope or inspiration.
Anyway, all that aside:
What I’m enjoying most so far are reminders of other anime: Nobue from Strawberry Marshmallow; Sora from Sketchbook Full Colors; Ami’s love of her bike from Long Riders; the peacefulness and gentle tones of Mushishi. And, because I’m just as cynical, being reminded of Jijii from Pani Poni Dash 😉
Oh, and that ED! Absolutely beautiful, beautiful, art! Screen capture and crop each one for perfect wallpaper.
Whoever their intended demographic was, if we stop to think, then there is so much that can be appreciated from this simple, slow, slice of life. Just because there are so many stereotypes doesn’t mean a series needs any of them. Or dialogue. The only problem Super Cub is going to have is the pace: how far can Koguma go in (I assume) twelve or thirteen episodes? And is it too soon to ask for an S2?
I think you’re pretty spot on with this being a simple, slow, slice of life.
No parents, no hobbies, no money, no friends, no goals. what caught my attention about this story that coincides with the truth was two things. 1) why are these grouped together? 2) what is the intention motivating this when it comes to the plot?
Koguma being unsure about leaving or approaching Reiko to show her bike reminded me a lot of when I made new friends and they invited me to go do something and once the time “of promise” approached I would get extremely anxious thinking that maybe they hadn’t really meant it; that if I approached them about it I would be a bother and in the end I would run. So I’m guilty as charged of doing the same thing and just like her, once she gets down the stairs, the truth was that she wanted to get together.
Regarding Reiko I’m afraid that I don’t have enough information about her to really understand how she really is. Anything said on my part are just assumptions based on what I was shown. She seems a certain way, but if you’ve read the manga you surely know more about her than I do. On Koguma’s end this quote “I wonder if she’ll talk to me again, at least we have our Cubs in common to talk about.” made me think that what really made her happy was the fact that Reiko talked to her rather than their shared hobby (which seems to have been Reiko’s main motivator for approaching Koguma).
When the guys asked me to pick up a spring show, I watched the trailer for Super Cub and my first thought was “oh, this seems like a sweet show about coming of age”. I have a hunch that each character will have something to add to the other (I know we still have one more cast member to meet) and challenge each other in some way. With that said, I do find myself nostalgic about certain aspects of it!
Koguma isn’t alone; she’s separate.
If I can steal more of your time, what would be the biggest difference between the belief of being alone and being separate?
Haha I’m as curious as you are to see how far Koguma can go and also wondering if the pace might speed up a little bit once we have the main cast together. And as for Waiting for Godot: all I can say is that I’m having a very interesting read in Wikipedia! I’m quite unknowledgeable when it comes to plays, but if it’s ballet and classical compositions, I’m your girl.
Thank you very much for taking your time to engage in my comment section! I have loads of fun talking to you and I feel like I’ve gotten new insights from all interactions we’ve had! I’ll try something different for the next review.
Quickly, because I’m busier than usual this week,
For example, you’re on a train, surrounded by other passengers; you’re not alone on your journey, but you’re journey is separate from theirs. Koguma is surrounded by classmates at school, but their journeys are also separate.
There’s a new reviewer at ANN who’s also been smitten by Super Cub, who also thinks that Koguma is depressed and lonely. Alone doesn’t necessarily equal depressed or being lonely.
My journey is my own, and I choose who I let in to journey with me. Of course, it isn’t easy, as we see with Koguma and Reiko.
Really, it’s semantics and conflating different concepts.
Koguma, Reiko, and the rest are in a set we label “classmates”. Reiko and those she would eat lunch with are in a set we label “friends”. Koguma is in a set all on her own we label “alone”.
Now, we also have another set, comprising Koguma and Reiko, that we’ll label “bikers”. As far as the rest of the class probably don’t care, Koguma and Reiko are alone in their set. If we break down the set that is “classmates” based on interests or interactions, we’ll have several separate sets, of which Reiko is a member of at least two. That’s the semantics.
The problem is the label “alone”. Others have described Koguma as “sad”, “lonely”, or “depressed”, which are each separate sets. What we have is “mental state” by “social group”, or lack thereof. And vice versa. If Koguma had tattoos, she’d be a Yankee. If she is “A” then she must be, well, pick any letter from the alphabet. That’s the conflation.
I’d prefer replacing “alone” with “on her own”. The same number of people, but this time with a sense of achievement: Koguma got her bike license, not alone (how sad), but on her own (how courageous).
Quoting out of sequence,
My knowledge is from English Literature at school 45 years ago. A reviewer described it as a two act play in which nothing happened twice, which is usually taken out of context, implying that it was dull. Instead, it was actually a compliment not a criticism. Keeping us enthralled for a whole cour will not be easy. So far, so much better than expected.
It states the bare facts, and asks if she needs any of these. Give her any one, how would her future be different? But give her a Super Cub, and the whole world (well, maybe not just yet) opens up before her. And, by leaving it vague – open to assumptions and interpretation – we might learn something about ourselves by following her journey. If we have an open mind. Everything we believe is based on our own experiences; we could wonder if the writers and producers are challenging our preconceived ideas and offering just a little bit of hope and inspiration.
Sometimes, we can be too introspective or philosophical. Really, the journey is everything. The trick here is not to oversell the reasonably priced, best-selling, world-beating, Honda Super Cub. Good scenery, honest characters, and a simple story is all we need; not an expensive car or super-fast motorbike. Making new friends, and going to exotic, new places; or the supermarket. We’re investing in a girl who had nothing, but whose future is much more open. It’s a simple formula, but takes real skill to get it right.
We are all different. The most important thing is simply to be yourself.
Thank you so much for taking your time to share your thoughts!