Yowamushi Pedal – 10

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It’s all starting to make sense now.

It’s kind of a depressing day for fans of good anime, as we can say that Kyousogiga has joined the seemingly endless ranks of quality series that tank commercially (final week 1 results Thursday, but we know it sold less than 1647 Blu-rays and 502 DVDs, which underperforms its stalker points).  Happily it appears that Yowamushi Pedal is going to do somewhat better, unless it too lags its stalker numbers pretty substantially.  That seems unlikely, as this series has always had a strong following in the fujoshi world, which seems to be the key to success for any sports anime these days – at least on disk.  A show like Daiya no A primarily exists to push manga and the production committee won’t be disappointed when it doesn’t sell many disks, even though in terms of manga sales it dwarfs Yowapeda.

It’s always interesting to ponder why such things happen – I mean with Kurobas or Oofuri it’s pretty obvious, but until this week I couldn’t really see why this series clicks with that fandom as well as it does.  But as I said in my haiku last week, it’s all about the pairings – and this episode was all about the pairings.  In fact we had some pretty obvious winking at the audience here, as the fujoshi-in-training were fangirling all over Imaizumi and Kinjou just for having a conversation in the classroom.  Maybe I’m reading too much into it but there generally seemed to be a knowing tone to Yowapeda in this episode where that particular subject is concerned.

There’s certainly no explanation needed for why Kinjou chose to pair off the riders as he did for the first official joint training of the Cycling Club – it makes perfect sense.  He teamed the surviving first-years with second-years – not surprisingly the competent if overbearing Suginami ended up finishing “first among the rest” in the welcome race – except for the three that matter.  The sprinter got paired with the sprinter (that’s the #1 pairing as of last year’s Winter Comiket, by-the-way) the all-rounder with the all-rounder, and the climber got the climber.  Way to connect the dots for the doujin buyers, Watanabe-sensei – and let the mentorship begin.

The goings-on in the episode itself were pretty self-explanatory, really – but highly entertaining just the same.  Sports series trying to be funny is a hit-and-miss proposition, though the good ones can usually nail it – and Yowapeda is probably the funniest straight-up sports anime since the last (and only, as far as TV series are concerned) cycling anime, Over Drive.  Most of the laughs came courtesy of Makishima (I still hear Honda Goro every time he talks), and the way the little first-years react to his quirks.  He reveals that he’s the one who put the giant hole in the club room wall – though it turns out to have been for a very silly reason he reveals to Onoda later, I think he likes the fear it buys him from the first-years.

Makishima is a tough guy to get to know – by his own admission he sucks at small-talk, and his efforts to put Onoda at ease during their training ride are a dismal failure (especially funny is when he reveals his hobby as “gravure”, to stony silence).  It’s not until Onoda sees his strange “Peak Spider” climbing style – he leans the bike ridiculously far with every rotation of the pedals as he dances – and tries to copy it that the ice is really broken.  The results are disastrous, but just as with the welcome race it’s Onoda’s relentless positivity that wears Makishima down.  The kid is fun to be around, especially when riding a bike, and it’s probably the first time in a while that Makishima has really enjoyed himself in a non-competitive race.

This kind of training is crucial for all the first years, of course, but especially for Onoda as he’s wildly inexperienced.  As good as they are none of the three rookies are a match for the third-years, which isn’t at all surprising, but being exposed to just how much room they have to improve is the best motivation for them going forward.  And I suspect in the end it will be these three (sorry, Suginami) who get added to the inter-high roster (how all three of them will be added is a variable I haven’t figured out yet), as each has something to offer as domestiques to the third-years who’re the real contenders.  Speaking of the inter-highs, we also get our first look at what figures to be the white whale of this series, the powerhouse Hakone High.  There are some big seiyuu names in that group, but the one called out by name here is Toudou Jinpachi (Kakihara Tetsuya) a fellow climber and apparent friend of Makishima.  That group seems to fall under the “bitter but respectful rival” category – there’s another rival team in the OP (Kyoto?  Nara?) about which that may or may not be true (their smiles are a little more evil).

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  1. i

    I'm not sure but I think the wall busting thing is anime original and technically this wasn't the first look at Hakone as the OVA showed them quite a bit.

  2. t

    I think you're right about the wall busting if I recall right. THO there is a possibility that it was said in a further point in the manga, where we haven't read yet.
    but anyway, it's a nice addition. and I think it's not the only addition in the anime. but well, it's nice..isn't it?it actually fits to Makishima's image as was presented in the manga as well..so..(:

    about Hakone – well, from what I have seen, the time in which to OVA took place is a bit later than now (THO arguable). besides, as I have mentioned in my comment, we saw them before this season (ep #5 if I am not mistaken).

  3. i

    Also I started reading Baby Steps (one getaway from exams is enough) and I am already jealous of E-chan. Something about short haired girls, especially blonde ones, are real life moe…

  4. t

    well, after the intense ep #09, this one seemed to be a bit more relaxing, lowering our adrenaline level. but for sure, it still continue to ignite the fire within us(and of our characters) with the upcoming(not that much of upcoming, but it's quite clear) inter-high and the rivals, which will cause a lot of hard work and training for our fellow.

    we've discussed it once, but now it's more relevant – the Senpais of YP. I really like them, and I like how sports anime,YP included, are giving enough time-screen for secondary cast. it's not just like that of bringing character and develop him/her with some flashback. it's common motif of sports anime and it has a much deeper intent to the story and all.
    and the third-years are kinda scary, but not scary-scary and real badass types. they have a soft side too, like that Makishima, deep down he is like Onoda – not so sure what to do in a regular situation, but when it's come to race..he'll be there with his "peak spider" (really cool).
    and they sure are monsters in terms of racing. not surprising that the champions of Hakone(BTW, it's not the first time. we also saw them before. I think it was ep 05) respect them enough.

    speaking of Senpais, clearly a team is important here. and there is meaning that this is called the bicycle club. it's supposed to be a team.
    you've mentioned that our fellows for now are no match for third years, not to mention the champions. but for sure the key here is also team work. and it's not for nothing that spefific pairing. yeah, it works more on the individual part. but it also establish a bond between them. and the rookies have a lot to learn from their Senpais.

    I liked how Onoda tried to mimic Makishima's technique, but in the end he failed. I think the point here is very clear and important. in order to grow up and become a good experienced cyclist – you must train hard on your advantages and disadvantages; so you'll develop your own style. to have a specialist in climbing isn't enough, he has strengths and weakness, and he'll have to work on that since he is the most inexperienced, and put out the "finishing touch"/fine tuning of his style.

  5. K

    I'm shocked! Kyousogiga sales are so low! D:

  6. t

    to be honest, I didn't think it would sell that good.
    yes, I thought it would sell OK, but it didn't surprised me.
    let's remember something of this year – Red Data Girl (aka RDG) sales were really low, simply because the series didn't reach anything, nothing really was explained and so. it felt…meaningless in a way.
    if I am not mistaken, even uchouten kazoku (the eccentric family) sales were not that something .

    speaking of both PA anime this year (uchouten and RDG) we have NnA which its sales are now the big question – is it gonna be able to sell well?let's not forget that it's in the middle of all Thursday's animes.
    I hope for the best. but it proves that sometimes series can be quite good, but fail in terms of sales.

    what's the cause for this?it's hard to say since we aren't japanese.
    I think a common element worth to point out is the first episodes. they are crucial, it's all about first impressions. all three mentioned above (RDG, uchouten, kyosogiga) had a..little bit weird beginning – as "Athos" in the comment beneath mentioned about kyosogiga – first episode made a feeling of nothing in particular – sure it's a subjective, but let's talk In general as possible. and really, a lot of people were confused with that. same with Uchouten (and really first episode was weird, with the ears and all).
    also, another related element – complexity and depth aren't necessary an issue for more sales. Kyousogiga, RDG, uchouten are somehow complicated to understand and the theme is a bit too much wrapped up sometimes (mostly in first episodes) and it's not necessary talking to the japanese. we can see it in kyosogiga and uchouten. moreover, sometimes it takes too much time till we reach something (uchouten took a while, sure it was in purpose in way, but it's affecting).
    RDG actually had an interesting thing about the whole spirit world and so, but in the end nothing was developed. the theme has gone with too much plot.

    if you want a much more relevant example – coppelion. before the fall season has started, it was almost as hyped. but in the end, the series is more of reciting the script and it's not able to reach the content and the purpose as the manga convey.

    sure, a series can have a lousy start and sell well. but it should be really good in order to fix first wrong impression (for me uchouten did that really great).

  7. Nagi is also on target to be a sales disaster, if the stalker numbers are to be believed.

  8. i

    There is of course one way to fix this injustice. Find it on Amazon and gangan kaemasho. We'll need some redirecting on GE's part for that though.

  9. Well, I gave all y'all links to the Kyousogiga BD but it didn't seem to move the needle much…

  10. i

    Ok now I've cracked the reason behind why great shows fail. People don't but the shows with best critical reception or universal qualities, they buy their favorites. I won't buy Kyousogiga because while I think it's a great show it doesn't fall under the category of anime like Chihayafuru or Oofuri or D. Gray Man, where my favorites and only DVD/BD buys are. I don't have a seemingly endless amount of cash like some Otaku do so I am picky and I buy based on two criteria: do I absolutely love an anime and is it an anime I could watch a hundred times over and never get bored. Because DVD's are not pokemon cards, they're not for looking nice in a collection on the wall, they're for viewing again and again because otherwise why buy them? I bought all the GoT books some eight months ago. In that time I have not finished the series but I have read the Artemis Fowl series twice and after I finish reading GoT I want to sell the books. It's not something I could read again and again and thus is not something I feel the need to keep, however brilliant it is. In some ways this thinking is like moe anime lovers. To me Chihayafuru, Uchouten Kazoku, Oofuri, D. Gray Man and a select few others are moe and thus I buy their stuff. But other people might buy Kyousogiga and other will buy K-ON. Which all bring me back to that fact that anime should be looking to increase in viewership if some types of anime are to survive. The more people the better odds they have right?

  11. R

    How about the rating of those good show? Maybe many people actually watching & enjoyed them but don't want to spend cash on the disc.

  12. t

    it also (might) means they didn't enjoy enough. or enjoy watching but not seeing it as something special enough. in other words, it's nice to watch, but not that great.

    and it's true, there is actually a huge difference between enjoying and loving a series. "enjoying" is nice and all, you might say "it's fun to watch" and say it was good or even great. but it doesn't necessary mean you really loved it with all your might/
    loving a series is for better or worse. even the "bad parts" are part of loving a series.
    for example, for me, LB is a series I LOVE. no matter what, I enjoy what I am watching on screen. even as a VN veteran when sometimes the are omissions here and there.
    whenever I watch my beloved fellows on screen, it can't be help, I love them. I love it.

  13. Z

    That and sometimes a person's opinion of a series is at odds with the critical reception it receives.

  14. R

    Ah, yes. I'm just thinking that maybe if the rating is high then they don't have to worry about the disc sales? (dunno how the rating system works though, is the TV station pay the producer/studio based on the show's rating?)

  15. t

    well, I don't know how the rating works there in japan. but sure, rating is also a good way.
    however, considering anime are broadcasted at night mostly, it's even harder to get appropriate rating (again, I don't really know..but I am guessing it's a factor too).
    moreover, the top list of rating in japan is kinda permanent, consisting of detective conan, OP, pokemon, naruto and the never-ending #1 sazae-san (it's already in Guinness World Record as the longest anime or something). of course you can see there some others like space brothers, toriko. but the top ten is kinda permanent. but hey, the rest is count as well. I believe HxH had great rating back there. even now (THO most likely less).

    so, not only disc sales are important, but also rating, however it's harder to stand out with among other established anime. especially since we're talking about new anime like kyosogiga/YP/whatever cross your mind.

  16. TV ratings are meaningless for late-night anime like Kyousougiga. They're basically infomercials – the studios pay for the broadcast time. Ratings really only matter for weekend-morning shows and prime-time shows.

    With some late-night series the publishers of the source material cover some of the cost if they get an expected bounce in sales – though that's not a factor with an original series like this. Merchandising is another alternative way to make money but it's mostly the shows that sell on disk that move merch, too.

  17. A

    Even though Kyousogiga had probably /the/ best first episode I've watched in years, I can say with all honesty that I had way more fun with this one as it went on. If you were to ask me why, I'd probably say it's because Yowapeda makes me want to cheer, while Kyousogiga makes me feel nothing in particular.

    Maybe I thought the characters were more endearing, maybe the themes explored were more appealing to me– maybe it's just something as simple as not knowing how the episode is going to end. Maybe I just like underdog stories. I mean– here I really, really wanted to see Onoda be acknowledged, whereas in Kyousogiga, well… the only thing keeping me is the lingering curiosity as to how the fairy tale ends.

  18. M

    A growing apathy towards kyousougiga seems to be trending, whereas interest is improving with Yowapeda, especially since the increased screen time we get with Makishima-senpai. Ufufufu~

  19. Z

    Well put.

    I'm not even a big sports person but I prefer this one as well. I think part of it is that the main characters aren't (or at least don't come across as) arrogant. They're competitive, but they enjoy what they're doing first and foremost. I can get behind that.

  20. e

    Well, this was the perfect closure and contrast after a HxH and Kindom afternoon. A bit of Onoda&Co. to bring the on the cheerful :D.
    I was left with one language question here about Makishima's hobby. As an etching fan and maker myself is 'gravure' the 'gravure idol' kind here or a more general one? I wouldn't be surprised by the former but in terms of oddball past time I must admit I'd love if it were the latter.
    Also hooray for looooooong hair in fiction. Oh glorious green stream. Even if let loose they never get caught or tangled while dancing on the bike that way :p.

  21. In context it basically means he likes looking at dirty pictures.

  22. e

    *tearfully shelving the Piranesi plates* Ahah. Thanks.

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