Manga Review: Bakuon!!

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Title: Bakuon!!

Author & Illustrator: Orimoto Mimana

Publishing Years: 2011 – Ongoing

Ah, the open road with a motorcycle. An experience that anyone could enjoy. Even high school girls!

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Any form of personal transport would be great for a teen just entering high school. So naturally, when a school in Japan “allows” for the use of motorcycles for their commutes, some get at the chance at riding and forming a club based on this mode of transport. Yes, motorcycles. But what does is mean by having a club in a high school? Well, all sorts of activities involving motorcycles are discussed by these girls from various levels of interests; from those that are experts, to brand loyalists, to those interested in the culture of bikes.

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That title. Sound familiar to something? If you guessed something akin to K-On!, then you are at a great start. Orimoto makes no effort to emulate (or perhaps pay homage to) the characters of K-On! with that of Bakuon!!’s cast. Hane has an aloof personality but quickly gains the ability to ride a motorcycle, similar to that of Yui and her quick guitar learning skills. They even have the “responsible younger sister” archetype shared between them. And it’s not just them, numerous other characters in both franchises look alike or have similar personalities. Have a read for yourself with the knowledge of K-On! and you’ll be amused.  But don’t expect Bakuon!! to share the same laid-back demeanor of K-On! There is fanservice moments with Bakuon!! set to an unrealistic, comedy laden, plot when compared to that of K-On!’s ways of doing things.

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But what else makes this manga a fun read? Why the motorcycles themselves of course! And they’re real ones too! You get true and real bikes like Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, etc. Even helmet brands such as Simpson and Arai make it into the manga as well. Some bikes not used by the girls are even on pin-up style pages with full details such as engine displacement and price. I wonder what kind of license agreements were made to have these manufacture’s likenesses represented in manga form. And one in particular seems to be the “butt” of the joke, a lot…

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Having real bikes brings a great deal of realism. Not only is it good for advertising, but it’ll also bring the inevitable comparisons as well. Match-ups between bikes, competitions, and manufacture pride are represented well by the actions of these girls. And with this comedy setting I’ll just say it now: It’s Japan’s version of Top Gear, but with schoolgirls and motorcycles. There’s even  a Stig-like character in the manga, or rather: “Not the Stig, but the Stig’s motorcycle-riding Japanese cousin.” This is going to be fun! There’s even Top  Gear-like “challenges” and moments cleverly peppered throughout the series.

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So, if you are a motorcycle enthusiast, have read K-On!, and watched Top Gear (UK), then Bakuon!! will be a great addition to your hobbies by melding them together in one manga (and anime) package! Being more of a car guy, this manga actually helped raise my interests with motorcycles and give greater respect to those who ride them. But you won’t see me on one soon, I’m not that adventurous of an otaku! But if the anime shows some motorcycle fanservice, then it may get me to look at a local dealer sooner than later…bakuon07

Here is a PV from the OP/ED of the anime adaptation of Bakuon!!:

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