DVD Review: Bakuon!! – The Complete Collection

We take a ride on a motorbike to see what MVM Entertainment’s DVD release of Bakuon!! – The Complete Collection has to offer; but is it a joy ride of fun or does it crash and burn? Well let’s find out.

Synopsis:

Riding a bicycle may be better than walking, but when another girl zips past her on the way to class, Sakura Hane realizes that there’s an even better option: motorcycles! Fortunately, Sakura’s all-girl school just happens to have a motorcycle club! It only has one member though: the mysterious Raimu Kawasaki, who’s never been seen without her face-obscuring helmet. But that changes immediately once Sakura and the girl who passed her, Onsa Amano, sign up and start recruiting!

It won’t all be easy riding… Sakura still has to earn her license, and there are problems like the club’s official status having slipped, and the need to recruit a faculty sponsor. But when the rubber hits the road, those are just little potholes as six student bikers take a ride on the wild side.

Our View:

Adapted from Mimana Orimoto’s manga series of the same name Bakuon!! is one of those anime series that manages to provide a few interesting surprises; even if it does feel very familiar to previously released franchises available on the market. If you enjoyed what K-ON!, Laid Back Camp and Girls Und Panzer had to offer then you’ll enjoy the story that Bakuon!! has to share; as the similarities are quite noticeable.

Taking place in modern-day Japan Bakuon!! follows the story of Sakura Hane; a seemingly average high-school-student who, while travelling to class, becomes infatuated with motorbikes after seeing a classmate using one on her way to school. It’s here where the journey of a lifetime begins; as Hane finds that her high-school-girl not only allows motorbikes to be ridden to school but it even has its own club; ran by the mysterious Raimu Kawasaki, or Raimu-senpai. Oddly enough Ramiu isn’t the focus of this story, although we do begin to learn about her incredible past with motorbikes, as the story focuses more on Hane and the activities of the Motorbike club.

In this case Hane, alongside the student she encountered on her first day Onsa Amano, join the motorbike club alongside Raimu. At which point a fourth character, known as Rin Suzunoki, and a fifth character, known as Hijiri Minowa, eventually join the club; each with their own personalities and favourite bikes.  At first Rin and Onsa do not get along; as they each have different tastes in motorbikes and performance choices; but as the series progresses they eventually see eye to eye.

So why is this similar to K-ON!, Laid Back Camp or Girls Und Panzer? Well it sees the very cheerful, almost empty-headed, Hane become in love with motorbrikes and as such not only learns how to ride one at the motorbike school but also buys her own bike – all of which is supported by her friends and younger sister. Sound familiar? Well if you’ve seen the aforementioned series it should do. As a result each episode is a new form of challenge or event; whether it be a journey to hokkiado, a race during the school festival or becoming acquainted with other friends through social interactions of a similar sport – its all here.

That’s not all that Bakuon!! has to offer; as eventually when the series starts to slowdown with its “moe” styled nature of presentation it adds another character to the mix; yet again with a different personality and taste of motorbike equipment. On the surface Bakuon!! may seem like a colourful sports bike anime with a serious motive; but in actuality it is a light-hearted slice of life styled moe anime that puts the focues on selective motorbikes and the characters that ride them. Furthermore unlike K-ON! it can actually teach you about motorbikes; that’s if you like biased opinions for each character.

This is where Bakuon!! manages to shine; not with the storyline – of which seemingly goes nowhere and quickly becomes stale – but the comical banter between each characters, their rather unbelievable back stories, and the rather mysterious sempai that seems to be feared throughout the land in the motorbike world. It’s not an ambitious storyline but it is fun to watch and offers more than what you would expect to receive.

Extras:

Whether or not the contents of Bakuon!! offer you the anime entertainment you crave, although if you enjoy moe slice-of-life anime with a twist then it’s probably up your street, you have to admit that the selection of supplementary content on offer is impressive – as we receive a lot across the three DVD discs.

Majority of the bonus content can be found on the first disc and while the usual inclusion of textless songs and trailers for other Sentai Filmwork releases can be found we also have a selection of bonus content related to the series.

In this case we have Japanese Promotional videos, Warnings and Bumpers – of which helped promote and warn people the dangers of driving dangerously but we also have a “behind the scenes” video which illustrates the work that went into making the anime a reality.

In addition the third dvd disc also features numerous ‘short’ episodes featuring the notable characters; with each short focusing on a different topic of choice. A wide variety of content is included on these discs and it is impressive that they have been brought over in this UK release of the series.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x3
Region: 2
Running Time: 1:37:24 (Disc 1, 2 & 3)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 480 (480p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Bakuon!! puts viewers into the driving seat of a moe-styled anime that focuses on exploring the popularity of motorbikes and the wounders that they can bring. In this case the series follows Hane as she goes from an ditzy high-school-girl to someone who is passionate about riding bikes and as such we see her learn how to ride a brike, buy a brike and engage in road trips with her new found friends.

In addition to this journey of self-discovery of learning a new a skill we learn more about the characters she interacts with and engage with on a daily basis; whether it be her newfound best friend Onsa and her “dirty garage of used bikes” or Rin and she obsession for Suzuki bikes with a mysterious father and her questionable backstories. Something different, and similar, always happens with banter between characters oftern resulting in a heated discussion that ends in some form of race later on. This continues to expand with the arrival of a new character; albeit one that is conscious about her size compared to the bikes she really wants to drive.

In one aspect Bakuon!! doesn’t have an end goal or a ‘real developing story’ with an end point; it’s simply several high-school friends learning about themselves and enjoying their new found passion in motorbikes. In relation to this DVD release meanwhile, of which has been mastered by Sentai Filmworks for UK release via MVM Entertainment, we have NTSC format discs with correct subtitle displays in yellow (English) text. It’s obviously one of the better DVD releases and with the large amounts of bonus features included it’s also one of the better overall products.

Overall Bakuon!! is an entertaining series that delivers traits from franchises such as K-ON!, Laid Back Camp and Girls Und Panzer; but instead of focusing on Music, Campaign or Tank Battles the focus here is Motorbikes and the passion for them. The moe slice of life one would expect is all here; and we even have different character personalities that one would expect from a franchise of this kind Light-hearted-fun with motorbikes is one way t look at Bakuon!! but regardless the amount of supplementary content is well-worth the price of admission.

Score: review-stars-4

Bakuon!! – The Complete Collection will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 20th August 2018 within the UK via MVM Entertainment UK.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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