Super Cub Anime Review

Super Cub Anime Review - (Extra)Ordinary People

The Super Cub anime is based on a Japanese light novel series originally written by Tone Koken. Animated by Studio Kai in 2021, the series follows a shy and reserved girl Koguma, currently attending her second year in high school. However, Koguma is vastly different when compared to the average high schooler. She has no friends, no hobbies, goals or even parents. As a result, lives a very sheltered and reclusive lifestyle. However, one day she decides to purchase a Super Cub, a small and historcially very successful Honda motorcycle. Slowly she begins to build invaluable friendships in the riding community and finds a new, profound outlook on life.

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In the very first episode, we are introduced to our the main character, Koguma. Immediately, a sense of monotony and lifelessness befalls upon the viewer. We are taken aback by the drabness of her world, evidenced by the monochrome colors, tediousness of going to school without any friends and lack of a familiar figure to support her. More than enough reason for us as viewers to empathize with Koguma for her despondent and dull lifestyle. Yet, despite such harrowing circumstances. Koguma can still find joy in the little things in life, such as smiling along the way to school riding her beloved bicycle.



• Super Cub Anime Plot

The series also delves in to explore the struggles of quiet, shyer students within school. The silent treatment they are dealt with and forced to accept on a daily basis. Koguma is archetypical of quiet kid at school, and many of her fellow students regard her with questionable intrigue and mocks her reclusive behavior. Showing what Koguma’s school life is typically on a daily basis. Surprisingly, Koguma’ s decision to purchase a motorbike has caught the attention of a fellow biker and soon to be best friend, Reiko. She’s the antithesis of Reiko in almost every way – vivacious, outgoing and confident. Yet, despite their vastly contrasting personalities, Koguma feels a direct connection to Reiko due to their shared interests in biking and even wishes that they would speak again tomorrow at school.

The very next day at school, Koguma is forcefully dragged by Reiko to eat lunch together as “friends”. They share an endearing and genuinely fun time together conversing about their shared interests in motorbikes. After school, Koguma can’t help but to reminisce of her new friend’s quote that on her bike, “it feels like I can go anywhere I like, as far away as I like…” When deciding to make a turn to either go home or somewhere unknown. Koguma decides to embrace the unknown and steps out of her comfort zone to push new boundaries. Turns out, this was the start of something great. She drives aimlessly around the city, with the refreshing wind blowing her hair, seeing new places she’s never been before. It’s exhilarating and she’s glad to step out of her comfort zone. 

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Super Cub also tackles the concept that adventure does not need to be complicated. Some people strive to pursue hedonistic lifestyles such as gambling, partying and being around social events. On the contrary, Koguma is the personification of the “little things in life.” Whether it be filling up petrol at the local gas station, exploring the vastness of the city or simply grabbing lunch with friends. Koguma strives for focusing on what nurtures and sustains you in life, things that can bring you even the smallest amount of pleasure and satisfaction.

The adventure hallmarks of perseverance through adversity are also aspects explored through Super Cub. The standout scene being in episode five, where Reiko decides to climb Mt Fuji with her Super Cub. Reiko is so dedicated to this arbitrary, ill-defined aim that she can't stop crashing, getting up, mending her bike and trying again. Again, and again. And it's heartbreaking to see her get injured and her bike wrecked, but as she struggles towards the summit, she begins to doubt herself.

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For the first time in her life, she becomes a little unmotivated. It feels like this is some of Reiko's first genuine struggles, and she handles it as...well, a teenage girl would. She gives it her all. However, after soul searching, Reiko discovers the rationale behind why she is doing this at all. She doubles down on two things that made the message of this episode so significant to me: first, that she wants to do it and see it through, but second, that she can always try again next year.

You want her to succeed, but in the end, it doesn't matter since she gave it her all, and that's all that truly matters! She's come this far, and she should be proud of herself, whether she succeeds or not. I'm impressed with how nicely that message was conveyed.

Reiko ultimately ends up with a new fuel injected Super Cub (which looks like a new Trail 125 in the U.S.) and swaps out the exhaust for a similar titanium unit which was a signature upgrade on her old bike. it's also nice they took the time to show what it's like to upgrade these bikes for year round use.  Bulky fairing and hand covers may not look good, but sometimes practicality is more important than aesthetics and this becomes especially true when a vehicle like this becomes your four season friend.  

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• Conclusion

As for some criticism, having some involvement from Honda motorcycle company in the production titled "Cooperation/Supervision," it's not clear if Honda provided any financial support for the series. It is clear that the show sometimes feels a bit like a plug/advertisement for the Super Cub motorcycle model which has recently been updated and re-introduced. Although it's great to introduce a wide range of viewers to the operating details of a motorcycle, the attempt to make these humble but capable machines "exciting" can go a little over the top at times. This is to be expected though as modern audiences want/need some form of action to stay entertained. 

We'd love to see more factories support riding related creative endeavors like Far-Rider Comics outside of marketing to the current motorcycle community.  With a wide spectrum of models and sizes available, we whole-heartedly belive motorcycling can be for everyone.

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Compared to almost every other slice-of-life anime out there, littered with rambunctious and vivacious characters and a bubbly, vibrant atmosphere. Super Cub stands out greatly in these departments. In stark contrast, Super Cub is at heart a slow-paced and tender show, if not at times a bit contrived. Much of the dialogue is depicted through quiet and hesitant inflections, especially through the main character Koguma.

However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s what separates Super Cub from the average slice-of-life anime is its direct outlook on the mundanity of life, subtle reflections of amalgamated depression and just how wholesome a simple thing such as purchasing a motorcycle can completely change your life in the best possible way.

This is essentially what makes Super Cub such a pleasant experience. Seeing Koguma and the others actively pursue their aspirations genuinely thrilled and invigorated me, something which very few shows can achieve. Furthermore, all of our main characters exhibit a surprising level of realism and relatability, and I quickly found myself actually caring and cheering for them.

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One small event shaped Koguma’ s experience throughout the series. Motorcycling is never made out to be the main element, but Koguma acknowledges that it is. In actuality, it didn't matter what happened or what she did — what mattered was that she did it. She only needed to take the first step out of her shell, and the grandness of the world would be waiting.

The world was already out there waiting to be discovered and life was waiting to be lived. All it needed was one small trigger, one small moment of freedom, to move forward and embrace everything worth living for. When all these moments of compassion, camaraderie, catharsis, friendship, overcoming and achievement are then coupled to a modest story of blossoming horizons, that is what genuinely distinguishes Super Cub from the average slice-of-life anime.

Have you watched Super Cub and have some thoughts about it?  Got a favorite motorcycle anime we may have missed? Let us know in the comments below!

• Where to watch Super Cub Anime

Funimation

Amazon.com


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• Super Cub Anime Episode List

  1. The Girl with Nothing - A young high school girl buys a Honda Super Club, this ultimately leads to her life opening up and finds herself making friends because of it.
  2. Reiko - When Koguma lets in slip in class that she owns a motorbike, she attracts the attention of Reiko, one of the girls who sits near her. Reiko insists on seeing Koguma's Cub, as well as showing off her own, and is pleased to meet a fellow Cub rider.
  3. Things Received - As Koguma slowly adjusts to life with her Cub, she mentions to Reiko that her luggage case seems convenient, so Reiko makes a call. After school, the pair visit a credit union, where the manager has an old Cub with a luggage case available to them.
  4. The Job - With summer vacation approaching, Koguma plans to spend it working for the school, shuttling papers back and forth to a high school in Kofu. Along the way, she finds herself learning more about maintaining her Cub, and the perils of inclement weather.
  5. Reiko's Summer - Koguma visits Reiko at her home, and the two have dinner together. Reiko recounts the story of how she took a job at the Mountain Hut Kikuya over the summer as a means to pursue her own dream, something which proved to be more difficult than expected.
  6. My Cub - The night before the class excursion to Kamakura, Koguma comes down with a fever, and must cancel. The next morning, after her fever is gone, she makes the bold decision to hop on her Cub and set out on the long journey to catch up to her class.
  7. The Girl of Summer-Sky Aqua - With the arrival of autumn, Koguma and Reiko's attention turns to getting ready for winter. When the class culture festival committee runs into a snag getting what they need for their activity, the pair volunteer to use their Cubs to come to the rescue.
  8. Shii's Place - Shii invites Koguma and Reiko over to her family's shop for coffee, to allow her father to thank them for their help with the culture festival. The girls continue to look for ways to prepare for riding their Cubs during the upcoming winter months.
  9. In Ice - With the colder weather taking its toll, Shii comes up with a way to provide both Koguma and Reiko with a little relief. But when the temperature dips even lower, the pair are faced with adopting measures for their Cubs that they are reluctant to accept.
  10. Snow - After a snowy night during winter vacation, Reiko invites Koguma over to her house for a surprise. The pair equip their Cubs for the snow, and enjoy a day of fun outside. Shii's father reveals how much of an influence the girls are having on Shii.
  11. A Distant Spring - Koguma rushes to the narrow dirt road on her Cub to find Shii, who is half-submerged in a freezing river. She takes her back to her apartment to warm her up and dry her out, but Shii soon reveals that she has other, deeper issues with the winter weather.
  12. Super Cub - The girls pack up and depart on a road trip to Kyushu, the most distant location their Cubs will take them, in order to shake off their winter doldrums and embrace spring. Along the way, Shii finds what she needs to help her continue her café project.

 

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