343rd and 344th Double Slammy: Long Riders! + Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club

It has been a long time since I posted a double review. To commemorate the return of this review style of mine we will be taking a look at two “Cycling Girls” themed anime that aired back to back. Not only that but they share several similarities yet each show has one defining element that sets them apart (besides the age difference). This is “Long Riders!” and “Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club”

Long Riders LeadsMinami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club Leads

Cycling Club Alternate Title: Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu (Japanese)

Genres: Comedy, Slice of Life (More so in Cycling Club), Tournament (More so in LR!)

Themes: Cycling, Sports

Number of Episodes: 12 (Long Riders!) 12 + 1 OVA (Cycling Club)

G-Rating: 8/10 for both.

Plot Summary Long Riders!: Ami Kurata is a first year college student with no special qualities. One day she happens to notice someone riding a folding bike, immediately falls in love with it, and uses all her savings to buy one. She eventually gets introduced to the world of long-distance bicycling and road racer bikes, and she forms a cycling team called Fortuna with four other female college students from the same school. Their goal is to ride in a “brevet” or long-distance event called “Fresh.”

Plot Summary Cycling Club: Hiromi Maiharu moved from Nagasaki to Kamakura. She begins her new life in Kamakura and her first day in high school by bicycling to her school, but she has not ridden a bicycle since she was young. On the way to the ceremony for the first day, she meets Tomoe Akitsuki, and Tomoe helps her train to be better at bicycling.

Long Riders and Cycling Club Leads.jpg

Leading ladies Ami Kurata and Hiromi Maiharu

Let us first cover the similarities:

  • Both shows are about a group of cute girls who come together to form a cycling team/club and have fun riding through the scenic vistas of Japan as both they and viewers get to enjoy well animated vistas (though animation critics are better judges of which did the animation better as I thought both did a good job myself).
  • Both protagonists along with the viewers learn about different kinds of bicycles and the “dos and do nots” about riding them, be it casually or professionally. They even share similar tips, just at different intervals. For example the first valuable lesson Ami learns is about hunger knock in Episode 1 whereas the CC brings this up around the 3rd quarter or so. One minor difference is that CC has post-ED live-action segments where Himari and Tomoe’s (I think) seiyu talk to a bike shop owner and learn more about them.
  • Both shows act like little infomercials for the different vistas each group visits along with benefits specially suited for amateur and professional cyclists.
  • Both shows feature a mild level of sexiness with booty shots, some nice costumes…though I suppose LR! is a bit sexier, which is surprising considering the images found when looking up CC.
  • Both shows feature one big race two-parter.
  • Both shows have a Yuri ship though one gives off stronger vibes than the other.
  • Both use CG during parts of the cycling. I think LR! uses it more. Not sure. Not much of a nuisance for most I am sure.
  • Both have decent soundtracks with pretty good OPs and EDs.
  • Both have a likable cast and side-characters…though I imagine for some the mileage may vary for both shows.

I am certain other similarities can be pointed out but these are the most prevalent.

Before we get to the defining element that sets both shows apart let me briefly mention something I found amusing. If Wikipedia is to be believed CC’s manga came first…and then LR!’ anime aired/was adapted before CC’s. Huh.

Exhausted Ami.jpg

Expect to see Ami down for the count often as she works hard to achieve her goals.

Okay. On to that defining element. What sets the two shows apart is the kind of story they are telling. CC is what I thought LR! was going to be at first, a fun Girls Club show about cute girls riding bicycles together and having fun doing so. That it exactly what it was. LR! on the other hand is about Ami’s journey to become great at long distance bicycling, more importantly to become good enough to ride together with her friends (and future girlfriend) and not hold them back. Viewers follow Ami as she works incredibly hard enduring plenty of hardships alongside her victories, especially stiff muscles and muscle cramps…lots and lots and post-exercise stiffness. Ami’s enthusiasm, passion and determination to become a great long-rider are so great that not only will she get many to root for her but on numerous occasions have her imouto question her sanity. Basically Ami’s heart is LR!’s defining element. Her friends and future spouse all have their own goals and motivations to “ride the bike” but Ami’s journey is what truly defines the show and makes it special. That may sound like Ami steals the spotlight from the others but that is not so as each one gets their time to shine and show off their quirkiness, though Yayoi prefers the “mysterious busty megane” vibe where the only things known about her are what Hinako tells viewers or what Yayoi is willing to say.

Cycling Club on the other hand goes for a more straightforward route. It is all about a group of girls coming together to form a high school bicycle riding club. The girls do not always go cycling. While LR! was, for the most part, a five woman show, CC gave side-characters more time to shine though they made sure not to take away too much from the main five…actually four as the fifth member does not join until much later…then again they give a decent enough crash course introduction for the fifth member so it does not feel like she was shoved in at the last minute. Anyway the point of this show is more about the girls finding the “heart of the bike” than a grand scale goal like LR! What this means is the best way to approach CC is “chilled”. Watch the show to relax after a long day’s work. The same can be done with LR! of course but CC is more laid back essentially…which might be a bad thing for some having seen LR! before it. Personally both shows have their own charm that made them equally enjoyable to me.

So…no I did not feel like one ripped off the other even though I found out about this after having seen both shows back to back. Personally I see them as different enough to stand on their own. The reason I did not make this a “Versus” review instead of a double review is because I do not feel it necessary determining which is better. I enjoyed both equally because the took the same concept and did their own thing with it despite having several similarities. To be more specific, Himari is not an Ami clone or vice-versa. Tomoe is not an Aoi clone, etc.

Now for the main event.

Fuyune X NatsumiAoi X Ami.jpg

As I said in the similarities section both shows have a yuri ship, one being stronger than the other. CC has Fuyune X Natsumi while LR! has Aoi X Ami. Guess from the two pics which ship gives off the strongest yuri vibes…then again I already gave it away earlier.

Overall I found both Long Riders! and Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club to be enjoyable Girls Club Bike Shows. Think of them as a combined 25-episode two-cour anime about bike girls and you are good. If I were to take a guess Long Riders! would be the more liked one of the two but I wholeheartedly recommend both to Girls Club aficionados and “chillaxed” peeps as they both have their unique charm despite sharing several similarities.

PS: My LR! fav is Aoi and CC fav is Fuyune.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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21 Responses to 343rd and 344th Double Slammy: Long Riders! + Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club

  1. Denny Sinnoh says:

    There should be a special “detective” episode where the bicycle seats keep mysteriously disappearing after a big race, and the girls are just baffled. That could be a great “who dunnit” mystery story arc …
    … but then again … I’m a pervert.

    Like

    • OG-Man says:

      Sounds like an interesting episode concept for Cycling Club. Doubt it’ll work for LR! as that has more of an ongoing plot rather than fun little adventures.

      Like

  2. cirno9fan says:

    I couldn’t really get into the show until best girl finally saved it, and also offered important educational advice about Colorado and horses 😉

    Long Riders though….I fell in deep love from the start. My only actual issue is they cut all the ecchiservice out. It’s not like th emanga was drenched in it, but it had one great scene per chapter. And those were all axed. Other than that, it was just plain amazing. Never a dull moment. Just a riveting experience from start to finish~

    Minamikura was fun, but lacked much impact. The impact was stronger once Best girl arrived, but still just could not compare to Long Riders.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mauron says:

    Both excellent shows.

    I could never completely get past the use of “training” for drafting.

    I watched an unsubtitled version of the Tomoe teaches Hiromi to ride scene as a preview, and was on board with them since then.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I might be one of those ones who actually liked Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu (managed to recite it from memory here almost correctly! Yay! Memorizing it for my anime club and trying hard to say it all in one breath paid off!) more than Long Riders! Only a little more though. They were, as you indeed said, relatively equally good.

    I think the thing I liked the most about CC was that one race they had and how they all worked together to get to the finish line and such, as well as what exactly that strategy was like.

    Also, interestingly, this time we have exactly the same favorite characters in each of the two shows.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Rare to find someone who shares this sentiment of them being as good. After the hundredth “Long Riders! was superior” I said “It’ll probably make little difference but eh, why not tell everyone why I liked both impending barrage of LR! is superior comments waiting to be posted”.

      That was a really cool race.

      Also very rare when it comes to my fans and I, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Diversity in opinion and all that.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Ren says:

    I watched LR! and liked it. The yuri ship was a bonus. I enjoyed Ami’s journey and all the pretty-looking food in each episode. It could’ve been a food show on top of a bicycle show, because it seems at times that Ami’s motivation is rooted on the food, haha.

    CC on the other hand, I started but have no finished. I felt that LR! had better pacing, whereas CC was a little too chill in the beginning. Perhaps I missed out on the good parts later on. As you have said, I found myself invested in Ami’s journey, while I didn’t really care for what happened in CC. Maybe I should go back and give the show another shot.

    Like

  6. LuzeriP says:

    I liked them both but If I had to pick I’d slightly leaning toward Long Riders. Just because there was more yuri in it. I liked Ami and Aoi interaction. I’m rooting for them so hard. And Ami’s journey also enjoyable. And because of that animation problem back then that forced the creators to split the show between season, this season they’re airing it again with better animation. So this review came in the right time.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Liddo-kun says:

    I like Long Riders, finished it to the end. Their opening theme is cool, with interesting characters and bike adventures. As for the other one.. dropped Minami Kamakura at episode 4…it’s just a terrible anime.

    Like

  8. yurimylove says:

    the cycling club has something the cute bicyclists from long riders can’t compare — the cute “bearcyclist” 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Christian Appel says:

    I watched both anime and liked CC more, because Fuyune X Natsumi have more yuri couple vibes in my eyes.

    Especially of two certain scenes, but all of them give me more yuri vibes than Ami X Aoi, which is a cute best friends yuri couple, but Ami is too dense to see that Aoi has feelings for her. Even when the others tease Aoi with that in front of her.

    Fuyune X Natsumi on the other hand, seem to have feelings for each other since they first met, when they looked each other right into the eyes. I would count a certain scene as (love) confession. I guess you know, which one I mean and in which episode it happens.

    The night race is the other highlight of the anime and even Hiromi X Sandy have some cute – and even hot – moments together.

    I would really like to see a second season of both anime, but more of CC. The Taiwan OVA was ok.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Generally, for good reason, Long Riders is the more popular of the two. You gave valid points on which of the two was gayer.

      More fun times with the girls, it was. Not much else. More from both shows would be nice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Christian Appel says:

        What I also like about the relationship (development) of Fuyune X Natsumi – with the love at first sight moment on the bike – is the fact, that at the beginning, Fuyune is the offensive and Natsumi the defensive one.

        But after spending more time and talking with each other, Natsumi begins to open to Fuyune more and more and they take care of each other.

        After meeting her future sister-in-law at the hospital and being asked a very important favor – and gives a cute answer – she finally has the courage to confess to Fuyune in a cute way and at a romantic place.

        The train scene is a cute bonus and typical for yuri manga and anime, because you can say that the two girls who are leaning on each other in such a scene, come together at the end.

        Similar to two girls in THE – translated – anime series movie of the year. No name needed.

        Liked by 2 people

      • OG-Man says:

        Nicely summarized dood.

        Like

      • Christian Appel says:

        If you watch the ending, you can see that the only two bikes which face each other, are the ones of Fuyune (pink Pinarello) and Natsumi (green Cannondale).

        They are also the two, who are the closest ones sitting next to each other on the stone steps.

        Same happens in episode 10, when they arrive at the park. This goes for the bikes as well as for F x N sitting next to each other.

        Liked by 1 person

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