Original Run: April 7, 2021 - June 23, 2021 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Slice of Life Based on the Series Created By: Tone Kouken
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Super Cub. Reader discretion is advised.***
Koguma (voiced by Yuki Yomichi) is quick to describe herself as a girl with no parents, hobbies, friends, or goals. In her life, there is nothing, and she wonders if there is a way to change that.
One day after school, Koguma visits a local bike shop. There she finds a pre-owned Honda Super Cub for an incredibly low price. Thinking this is her chance to give her daily existence the change it needs, Koguma purchases the Cub.
Soon, Koguma realizes how much work and extra cost goes into keeping her ride running. Although the task is daunting, she begins to experience something she hasn’t felt in a long time – fulfillment. Sure enough, Koguma’s Super Cub transforms her in ways she once thought unimaginable.
Super Cub had an atmosphere cut from the same cloth as Yuru Camp, and I say that as a great compliment. Although Yuru Camp is far superior to Super Cub (try changing my mind on that), this series was quite exemplary in its own right.
This show wasn’t just good; it was relaxing.
No matter how you interpret my meaning, Super Cub was in no rush; fast, edge-of-your-seat excitement was not its forte. While I would agree the narrative sometimes went as fast as a snail (there were instances where almost nothing happened), by and large, I thought this series’s slow pace was a strength.
Super Cub will surprise you with how thoroughly captivating it can be.
Labeling this series as a slice-of-life story is the only thing we can do. Sure, Super Cub had humor, but it was not a comedy. This show also had tension, but it was not a drama. No, this series was merely a snapshot into the lives of a handful of motorbike enthusiasts, and I cannot conjure up a better word to describe them.
I don’t know anything about bikes – or cars, or trains, or anything mechanical. So, the significance of the titular Super Cub goes over my head. Whenever I see one of these bikes in the real world, I often dismiss them as simple mopeds. And since I started driving in Japan back in 2017, my opinions on mopeds are slightly skewed. I don’t like them, they hog up a ton of space on narrow country roads, and I have yet to encounter a moped driver who I thought was fully aware of what was happening around them.
That was why I liked it when Koguma upgraded her Super Cub’s engine so that it was powerful enough to travel at the speed limit. She was no longer riding a glorified bicycle.
And speaking of Koguma, she was the best thing about Super Cub. I loved how much she loved her bike.
Koguma may have bought her Cub on a whim, but she understood the amount of care and effort she would need to keep it road-worthy. Before the events of this series, it would not surprise me to learn Koguma had never held a screwdriver or wrench in her life. But as this show continued, she became a well-versed mechanic, for her ride at least.
There is an adage I learned back in my Scouting days: Take care of the gear that takes care of you.
You would think a story going out of its way to illustrate equipment upkeep would be the dullest thing in the world. Perhaps if presented in the wrong light, that could be true. And yet, that wasn’t a problem for this series. Standard maintenance, though hard work, need not be tedious work if you’re enjoying it. Shows like Super Cub capture that meaning well.
Koguma had this enduring smile that was proof of how much fun she was having. This hobby she had stumbled into had become a part of who she was. As a result, Super Cub was wonderfully comforting.
It was also great to see the growth of both Koguma and her Cub. When we first met them, they were unassuming and possessed the bare minimum to function. Over time, with a slight adjustment here and a tiny tweak there, we could see the makings of a bike and rider who were ready to take on any road before them.
Mostly, though, Super Cub got me wanting to go back outside again. This series and this review came out in 2021; therefore, as we all know, the pandemic has made going out much more difficult. It is incredible how this low-energy slice-of-life story kindled my sense of adventure more than any recent high-fantasy epic.
That is what I am trying to get across. Super Cub is not exciting, but that is not a bad thing. This is a series I hope gets another chance. I would like to see Koguma and her friends do more exploring on their bikes; what they did in episode twelve doesn’t count, and we’ll get to that momentarily.
Regardless, Super Cub did not need to be large, so it wasn’t. Consequently, that left a far more significant impression than I could have ever guessed.
This show’s animation was not great. Okay, things were fine as long as this series had close-up shots of its characters and there wasn’t much background movement. But the second the bikes started driving around, the CGI went to crap.
This was such a shame to see since it was impossible not to notice it. Whenever Super Cub did this, everything came off as lazy and underfunded.
As of this review going live (September 2021), the studio that produced this series, Studio Kai, doesn’t have much to its name. Thus, I don’t want to dismiss this company outright. After all, Super Cub was a good show; it was just that sometimes its visuals looked like garbage.
Aside from the animation, I hated how this series was so localized. Super Cub did a thorough job of hyping up the riding life. I won’t act as though the bug has bitten me, but the thought, “Hey, why don’t I go out and buy a bike,” did pop into my head while watching this show. Part of that build-up came from Koguma saying how her Cub could take her anywhere.
Then why not go somewhere?
There were only two notable road trips in this entire series, and what was here was in montage-form. That was such a tease, and a better detailing of these excursions would have transformed this show into something far more interesting.
And then there was episode twelve, which was a complete letdown. Yeah, I am talking about Super Cub’s final episode, so, sure, SPOILER WARNING, but this isn’t really a series you can spoil. Anyway, Koguma and her friends did this ambitious trip (for high schoolers) from Mt. Fuji to Kyushu, roughly 920 km (or about 570 miles if you speak American). They did this in one episode, which was a waste since this single outing could have filled half the season.
I will happily eat my words should it come to pass, but I don’t see Super Cub getting a continuation. This show was a one-and-done affair. Granted, it was a well-done affair, but because of that, this series never got the chance to live up to its full potential.
I don’t believe my hopes were high for this show. I don’t know why that was the case, but sometimes this sort of thing happens. As luck would have it, though, that meant I found myself with a pleasant surprise.
Don’t let this series slip under your radar; it has a lot to offer.
With a calming story, likable characters, and a comforting atmosphere, this was a nice breath of fresh air.
Super Cub has earned a recommendation.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Super Cub? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
If you liked what you have read, be sure to follow Anime Hajime on our social media sites so that you never miss a post or update. Also, please share this review across the internet to help add to the discussion.
Plus, if you wish to add your voice to Anime Hajime, why not consider writing for us? If you would like to contribute, check out our Write For Anime Hajime page. We welcome your style.
For Anime Hajime, I’m Odyssey, and I’ll see you next time.