What is it about? Koguma is a high school girl living in Hokuto City, located in Yamanashi Prefecture. Unlike most girls her age, she has no parents, no friends, no hobbies, and nothing to enjoy in her life. That is, until she gets a used–and somewhat unusual–Honda Super Cub motorcycle that opens up her world and helps her start living again.
Super Cub is a Studio KAI production. Studio KAI is known for loads of anime, including Winter 2021’s Umamusume: Pretty Derby Season 2. They also did work on Winter 2021’s Wonder Egg Priority. Super Cub will be directed by Fujii Toshiro (Boruto), with series composition by Nemoto Toshizo. Additionally, Super Cub’s music will be done by Ishikawa Tomohisa (Kite Liberator) and ZAQ (Please tell me! Galko-chan), with character design by Imanishi Toru (Cannon Busters). Finally, Sue Nobuhito will be serving as the series’ art director, with editing by Saito Akari.
I have to admit that I was quite hyped when Super Cub dropped, even though I didn’t know a single thing about it. An atmospheric anime about her girl and her bike? Call me a Kino’s Journey stan, but the part of my brain that likes young folks and peaceful vistas was activated. That being said, let’s see how episode 1, “The Girl with Nothing,” goes.
Koguma is a high school girl living in Yamanashi Prefecture, which I know for Mt. Fuji, and Mt. Fuji alone. For her, the world is an empty place, bereft of friends, family, or anything that makes her feel alive. She spends her days thus: wake up, eat, go to school, come home, and do it all over again. It’s a lonesome existence, but an intensely relatable one. I think that we all feel this way as teenagers, and heck: even as adults.
However, Koguma’s world opens up when she gets a blighted Honda Super Cub from a local bike shop in what was honestly a quite comedic, but earnest, scene. From there, she slowly starts to live again, existing beyond sighs and internal monologue as she learns how to ride a motorbike.
Naturally, there’s lots of foibles as she learns how to ride her new bike. They’re all beautifully executed, to the point that I cheered Koguma on as she struggled to learn the ins and outs of her new super cub. I think it’s great when a show can make you feel that intensely. I suppose that’s why if we gave out ratings, I’d give Super Cub a 10/10, easily.
I’m just gonna say it: Super Cub is beautiful. From its deeply atmospheric sound design to the lilting background music to the beautiful animation and Koguma herself, it’s a gorgeous show that hits all the right beats. I loved the ambient noises the most: the whir of her single speed mamachari bike, the sound of the cicadas, the noise of the countryside, the click of her rice cooker… gosh, it’s all so good. And it blends together to show just how lonesome Koguma is during this premiere episode, but also, how much potential she has for change.
Coupled with the animation–did I mention it’s really pretty, because it is–Super Cub is easily one of this season’s strongest premieres. It was good enough that I ended up ordering the first novel and volume 1 of the manga (they’re still Japanese-only) five minutes after my inaugural watch. I was that touched by this intensely thoughtful series.
You’ve heard it here first: don’t sleep on Super Cub.
While slice of life isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I get the sense that this slice of life series is going to be quite impactful. I’m going to suggest that you don’t sleep on it, even though Spring 2021 is packed to the proverbial gills with lots of sequels and new titles alike. I highly suggest going out of your typical comfort zone with genres and watching this show, at least for three episodes to get a good feel for it. I think it goes without saying, but… count me in for the entire cour. I’m super ride or die for Super Cub.