Thoughts and Feelings Column: Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club – Episode Two

This episode promises a tour of Kamakura, and, for what it’s worth, Kamakura really is a beautiful town. However, we get a relatively short amount of time with the girls as they ride to different areas of the town. Instead, the show introduces new characters and focuses too much on Hiromi being lost instead of the scenery she is lost in- which defeats the purpose of her being lost in the first place.

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We start with Tomo and Hiromi visiting a bicycle renting shop where Tomo is planning to rent one for the day. Shiki Mori, their homeroom teacher, approaches the girls, and they mention that Tomo is taking Hiromi on a tour of Kamakura. So, after their teacher weeds her way into their plans- they depart.

I’m starting to get the feeling that every time someone gets on a bike, they have to have trouble of some sort. In Tomo’s case, she didn’t know how the gear shifters worked on the bike she was renting. Hiromi is amazed that other kinds of bicycles exist as we learn about gear shifting and how it affects speed.

2We cut away to see a fancy girl, Fuyune Kamakura (no joke), taking photos of birds. Her shot is interrupted by Hiromi and company shouting on their bikes as they ride by. Fuyune is upset and asks her butler to drive her home, but when they hit some bad traffic Fuyune has a wonderful realization – with the help of her butler. Bicyclists don’t have to wait in traffic, so she should get a bike to fuel her impatient attitude. This very arbitrary reason to purchase a bike leads her to joining this cycling club (not in this episode), and I find it very silly since we establish her personality as flighty and rash at the get-go.

Anyway! Minami Kamakura treats us to some wonderful and beautiful scenery of the famous destinations in the town. It’s a fast paced photo set, but it’s enough to tease you into being hopeful for the show’s direction. That’s quickly forgotten, however, when Hiromi asks to borrow Tomo’s bike so she can play with the gear shifters.

Apparently Hiromi has been gone for some time because Tomo is worried, though she doesn’t think to try and call Hiromi until Shiki says something- While this doesn’t matter since Hiromi forgot her phone, it does shed light on why Tomo and Hiromi are friends. They have a similar brain deficiency.  

So, where has Hiromi been? She chased a squirrel and got lost.

6Hiromi is directed to a completely different temple because she couldn’t remember which of the 14 temples/shrines in Kamakura she was visiting with her friends. This temple is the Sasuke Inari shrine, and it’s up a mountain. This is obviously not the place she was at before.

However, what I want to point out isn’t Hiromi’s inability to remember, but instead I want to point out what the show didn’t do with her being lost. We didn’t get to see beautiful shots of the town as she wandered, confused. This in turn confused me since this was a prime way to show off Kamakura’s city. At least showing more than still frames of alleys.

Maybe it’s the slow-life genre lover in me, but I was getting upset every time we cut away from scenery to Fuyune and the bakery owner. Which brings me to the next section of the show: creepy NEET cyclists.

8Since Hiromi is lost and Tomo and Shiki are worried, Shiki calls her sister, Nagisa, who owns a Bakery. Her sister enlists the help of three NEET-looking cyclists who seem to be regulars to find Hiromi. During this time we learn that Nagisa is also a cyclist as she helps a another prospective member of the Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling club, Natsumi Higa fix a flat tire.

7Nagisa asks Higa, “What do you think is most important to a cyclist”, and when Higa answers “going fast” Nagisa talks about how riding a bike is about getting home safely to be able to ride again. Okay. So. That’s kind of odd, though I understand what she is saying is to enjoy yourself safely, it really just sounds convoluted and odd. Higa is very polite and takes this advice in stride. You go girl.

The episode wraps up with Fuyune borrowing Higa’s bike to test out and the NEETS reuniting Hiromi with their friends before they all ride off to Enoshima. I don’t understand how there is still time in the day for an Enoshima trip because the events during the episode seemed to take hours, but I’m obviously wrong.

I want to leave you with one last thing that Hiromi mentions before the credits. She talks about how bicycles are amazing because she is riding with people she just met. This is a very strange opinion because I have never thought of bike riding as something I do with friends. It’s also strange because they aren’t talking at all, and they aren’t improving any relationships- they are just locomoting to the next destination. What is so special about that?

This was another lackluster episode of Minami Kamakura, but at least we got some more beautiful backgrounds. I am worried that with more characters we are going to start shifting focus to the actual bike club, as indicated in the title of the show, and lose all that pretty scenery porn we’ve been spoiled on. Here’s hoping that’s not the case!

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Read about episode three!

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