Hiromi Maiharu moves to Kamakura and quickly learns the joy of riding a bicycle. She makes quick friends with other girls at her school, and they all create a cycling club so everyone who is interested can experience the excitement and happiness a bicycle can bring.
Hiromi then takes out a sandwich because she is hungry, only to have that sandwich ripped from her claws by a kite. Upset and confused, even though Tomo is now repeating herself to a brick wall, Hiromi takes out another sandwich and races uphill to school. Now that’s a true a testament to Hiromi’s inability to follow directions or listen.
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.Episode Three
Another week goes by and another set of anime premieres. Luckily this Minami Kamakura episode delves into creating the actual club, but in moving into plot steers us away from the beautiful landscapes I had quickly fallen in love with.
Overall this episode was a step down. I thought I was starting to like the show, but instead I realize that I was insane to think that.
This week’s episode establishes that no one told the girls what is involved in making a club, and that clubs have to provide their own funds for any activities they wish to participate in. At least, this seems to be the case with the cycling club.
Finally, after five episodes of slow-moving “plot” we get to see the girls race! Kind of- actually, we only get the start of the race at the very end of the episode. What amazes me most about each episode of Minami Kamakura is how much time the show manages to waste on subjects that legitimately don’t matter. There is little character development, if any, since each girl remains exactly the same as our first impression of them.
Minami Kamakura does what other shows dare not- it extends the race to a third episode. We do not get a conclusion, and are instead treated with a cliff hanger that leaves me wondering what Hiromi can possibly do.
This MK episode reminds me of the biggest problem with the series, just in case I managed to forget, Hiromi.
Now, I realize that I have a special place in my heart for my distaste with this girl, but I do think it’s largely justified by her characterization and the overall lackadaisical attitude in which she is often portrayed that leaves me thinking of ways I would help give more depth or interest to this girl.
What amazes me most about Minami Kamakura is how it can make a whole episode out of the content it presents. I don’t necessarily mean this as a slight, but I also totally mean it as a slight.
It’s episode nine, and we finally get an introduction to Sandy, the blonde girl from the opening. This solidifies my idea that the show is counting on at least one more season since they have roughly sixty minutes left to characterize and integrate Sandy into the Cycling Club.
Way back when we first started out on this journey, we learned from the principal that the original Cycling Club actually rode around Japan. From what I understand (based on what this show presents) cycling isn’t the act of just riding a bike. It’s about experiences, travel, and enjoying yourself. If you look at cycling in that light, it makes sense why the club isn’t officially sanctioned by the school just yet. The Cycling Club hasn’t done anything but a short race.
Minami Kamakura continues to deprive us of character growth with its last breaths before the season end. We don’t get development like we should after putting the characters in a trying situation, instead we only get smiles and praise. I want to see someone sad or mad- just those basic emotions would really help this show out in a big way. The more I reflect on this episode’s events, the most I get creeped out by the Stepford Wives-ness of it all.
It’s been twelve episodes since Minami Kamakura began, and I still hold out hope every installment that I will get some character development- no matter how small. I am again given no such happiness, but instead reminded that the girls love each other and that the club creation bureaucracy at the high school needs to be updated.