Argh, time loop/reversal stories! My weakness! Quite unusually for TV anime, the premiere of this show was over twice the length of a regular anime episode. The purpose of this was to show two sides of the same story in detail (using the time loop/reversal to have the main character experience both sides), and I guess it worked because by the end of it I was absolutely captivated by the story about the stolen insignia. I also really liked the world design. On most levels it’s a really generic kind of fantasy world, but unlike most fantasy worlds it’s filled with people. And dog people. And lizardmen. And many other kinds of fantasy creatures. In terms of content, this may be my favourite fantasy world in anime in quite a while.
Which is why it annoyed me so much when I got to know who I presume will be the main characters. Rom and Felt were ok, but they kept disappearing and/or dying and I doubt they will end up being main characters. Natsuki and Satella, however, are generic LN characters. And while I immediately gave up hope on Natsuki because I know he will never ever be interesting, I was disappointed by Satella’s relationship with him because Satella could actually be an interesting character were she in a show of her own. Puck, Satella’s familiar (or whatever he/she is), is cute and occasionally funny, but he/she can’t carry the show. So, in conclusion, I desperately want to like this show, but because of the characters, I can’t. And also because I have a sneaking suspicion that the next episode will be far less interesting than this first episode.
Verdict: I will check out the next episode but only to confirm/deny the suspicion that it’ll be much less interesting than the first episode.
As I said in the preview post, I’m not the biggest fan of the manga, mostly because the story dragged so much that it became boring. What I was hoping to get out of the anime was visual flair, good voice acting and decent background music. Well, the background music didn’t end up being the best thing, it mostly reminds me of VNs set in high school, but the visuals were surprisingly great, especially the bike art and the reaction faces. The voice acting was serviceable and occasionally spirited in a good way, but I can’t really say that it’s better than average in general. I was also pleased to see that the story did turn out to be streamlined compared to the manga, or at the very least compared to how I remember the manga.
The problem with the show, then, is not on the technical side or in the story regarding the bikes (though I do have to admit that I’m not very excited about bikes, so some of the related dialogue bores me). It’s in the fact that as the show that the show is trying to be, it’s not outstanding or even particularly great. As a K-On clone (and I am going to call it a K-On clone), it’s so much worse than K-On at everything. Hane is obviously Yui (and Yume is Ui), Rin and Onsa are Ritsu and Mio, and Raimu is… The Stig (yeah, the Top Gear references are actually somewhat funny at first). Bakuon tries very hard to be a certain kind of show where the gimmick is bikes. It’s great at its gimmick, but as a slice of life show it frankly sucks, and it bores me. On the bright side, though, the faces are good enough to keep me on board for now, and it’s a very livetweetable show, i.e. joking about it on Twitter is fun.
Verdict: Suffers from exactly the same problems as the manga, but the added elements improve it a little bit. Continuing for now.