OK, I allowed myself to be suckered into this show. I mean, not only is it a sports show, it is also what I call a Squealing Girl Show, as a divergent bunch of ladies find a commonality and bond. In one sense, this show is NO DIFFERENT than “Roar!” That show was ladies on motorcycles; this show, “Long Riders!” (“Rongu Raidāsu!”), is girls on bicycles.
We start off with Ami Kurata, (sweaty at the bottom) a brand new college student. Walking to school is a drag and taking the bus or subway doubly moreso. She sees someone biking to class and decides that it the way to go. It’s just that she did not know how expensive such a venture would be. Still, she ends up purchasing a folding commute bike. Now that she has a bike, she goes on a trip with her friend, Aoi Niigaki, (black hair to her left). Well, Ami has never done anything this strenuous and collapses from not having enough energy. However, a cycling squad passes by and Hinako Saijo (blondie to her right), gives her some energy packs to complete the trip.
The next day, at college, she not only sees Hinako again, but HER friend, Yayoi Ichinose (purple hair in back) and they learn they all go to college together and they should all ride together. They do, but a lot of this is not only beyond Ami’s ability, but her bike (a commute bike) is not that good for road cycling. They are helped, again, this time by Saki Takamiya (back row bottle), who is also a friend of Hinako. Together, they discover the joys of biking together, seeing the countryside, partaking in delicious food and pushing oneself both physically and mentally.
And financially. Ami comes to learn that bikes and their accoutrements are expensive, as she upgrades to a road bike. But the friendships she has forged are worth it, as they decide to take on the Autumn Ride, a 160 kilometer one-day ride to see if you have what it takes to be serious enough to want to do a flèche later on. It’s explained, but you ride the maximum distance (360 km) in a fixed time (24 hours).
Go see my “Roar!” review and you will see that things are pretty much a carbon copy. Yes, there are some minor differences, but the similarities outweigh those. It’s not a bad series, as we see the rather sheltered and naïve Ami becomes more self-reliant and takes command of her life. They also seem to spend a huge amount of time eating hither and thither, especially during the Autumn Ride. It almost is less a road race and more a snacking sojourn.
It’s not a fully good series, as it lacks a degree of bite or edge. There is nothing too terrible that happens to Ami, there is no huge argument and a falling out of the friends and even when things get tough, by working together, they can overcome it all. It certainly comes with far less baggage that “Yowamusha Pedal”, in that we focus in less on the racing/biking aspect and more how Ami grows emotionally, but that could change during the second season (and you can bet your derailleurs that is going to happen).
It’s just that I was expecting a bit more to be going on. Perhaps some grumblings from them that Ami isn’t pulling her weight or that Ami feels that her ‘friends’ are looking down at her for being a tyro. Something along those lines, but since it is a kind of female empowerment series, we all have to work together for the common good. Much like their biking trips.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Can anyone explain those massive eyes?)
Plot 7 (Rode there, saw that)
Pacing 7 (Sometimes riding in the wrong gear)
Effectiveness 7 (At least we see Ami mature)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 7 (Good story, but needed more of an edge)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. It costs how much?