Genre(s): Slice-of-life, Comedy, Sports
Aired: Oct 2016 – Feb 2017
Also Known As: ろんぐらいだぁす！
Summary: Kurata Ami, a university student who sucks at athletics, becomes enamored with bicycles after seeing a folding bicycle in front of a train station. Motivated by her newfound passion, Ami begins to save up money for her own bike.
Review: I guess the first thing I should mention is the fact that Long Riders! had a strange airing duration. It started during the Fall 2016 season yet ended early in the Winter 2017 season. What’s up with that?
Well, the show encountered some difficulties and had to show two recap episodes during Fall 2016. As a result, the last two episodes were released directly to Blu-ray in Feburary. Fans were left hanging for two months!
Was the wait justified? Was Long Riders! actually worth your time?
The last two episodes were excellent, in my opinion. We were shown how Ami and her friends handle difficult bicycling experiences, such as riding through the night and through rainy weather. Furthermore, we get to see how Ami has progessed and can now help others with the basics (when it comes to bicycles). The last few minutes of episode 12 made me extremely happy for her.
However, the series as a whole failed to really showcase Ami’s progression as a character. To me, it seemed like Ami was always a gung-ho kind of girl who merely learned a bit about bicycles. As such, she continued to charge forward without thinking things through and didn’t really change all that much after 12 episodes. The other characters also supposedly changed for the better after becoming friends with Ami, but that also seems a bit of a stretch to me since they largely acted the same throughout the entire season.
That being said, the girls had great chemistry with one another despite being largely static characters. I enjoyed their small talk and their personalities. Were you aware, by the way, that Kurosawa Yurika is a rookie seiyuu and that her role as Ichinose Yayoi is her first time voicing a main character? I think she did a decent job playing a role that demanded a “motherly” onee-san voice, but you could definitely tell she was new (I noticed after a few episodes since I usually don’t check up on these things). Perhaps she’s more suited for a different kind of role.
The show resorted to the same sort of gags through its entire run. Hinako and Saki (and the girl who works at the shop) loved making Ami go bankrupt buying bike equipment, Ami’s sister would always overhear and see Ami talking to herself or embarrassing herself, etc. This resulted in the show seemingly revolving around Ami. All of the characters reacted to Ami’s actions or thoughts! I guess this makes sense considering how she starts off knowing nothing about bicycles and thus has to be filled in, but Long Riders! makes it abundantly clear that Ami is the main main character.
One issue I had with Long Riders! was the pacing. To be fair, it’s better that the show properly took its time instead of rushing through scenes, but I found myself a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see if Team Fortuna (Ami and her friends formed a team under that moniker, you see) would ever achieve their goal of riding as a team in a major flèche (a team cycling competition). Still, Ami made big yet believable strides towards said goal within these 12 episodes, so it’s actually rather realistic. Nevertheless, I find myself wondering what would have happened (pacing-wise) if each episode didn’t use the same tried-and-true gags or showed the girls stuffing their faces.
Another issue would be the animation. Don’t get me wrong: the bikes looked great, which was surprising to me. The CG was very well-done! It’s just that sometimes the characters’ faces looked off. The studio, Actas, was also busy with finishing Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars and it shows (Regalia also had experienced a schedule slip and finished in Fall 2016 despite starting in Summer 2016. This studio is basically a meme at this point since something similiar happened with Girls Und Panzer, a show that Actas was also involved with). The backgrounds were very pretty, however!
The yuri remained gentle and unintrusive. The girls joked around and a lot of blushing happened, but the focus was on bikes, not dykes! It is quite clear that Aoi really, really likes her klutzy childhood friend, Ami, however.
As for the music, the OP was a good song, but not one I went out of my way to repeat. I never skipped the OP, if that means anything to you. The ED and the instrumental OST did its job but weren’t very remarkable.
Oh, check out the new subsection! Well, it’s been a while since I’ve done an anime series review so I figured I could try something out…
A-anyways, one of the stong points of Long Riders! is how the show give viewers a bit of insight in regards to riding bicycles. Some of the information has been simplified, sure, but I still feel like I know more about bicycles after this show! The characters are also quite charming and endearing.
That being said, they’re also rather static and any sort of development seems more informed and is actually shown on-screen (besides the fact that Ami learns more about bicycles as the series progresses). The pacing is slow yet realistic.
If you like easygoing and comedic Slice-of-Life, I would recommend you to watch YuruYuri or Non Non Biyori before Long Riders! YuruYuri and Non Non Biyori are also slower-paced shows, but they’re not so reliant on the same old gags. Non Non Biyori also has beautiful scenery.
Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu is shaping up to be a possible alternative to Long Riders! (and with a lot of overlap), but that remains to be seen since the show is currently simulcast.