The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Reiko (Super Cub)

Super Cub: Whole-Series Review and Reflection

“Happiness is the frequency, not the intensity, of positive versus negative affect.” –Ed Diener, Ed Sandvik, William Pavot, Assessing well-being: The collected works of Ed Diener (2009)

Koguma, Reiko and Shii head off on their trip to Kagoshima. Koguma had planned out a route along the Nakasendo, and after their first hour, Reiko and Koguma stop briefly to inspect their vehicles. They explain to Shii that this is to ensure their vehicles are in proper condition and that there’s also a bit of a superstitious piece, too. As they drive further south, Koguma notices that Shii is looking uncomfortable and suggests they stop for lunch. Koguma had fully intended on whipping up some rice for lunch, disappointing Reiko, but Shii’s picked up some smoked salmon and decides to enjoy the loaf of komissbrot that Shii’s father had given them. Shii is all smiles during their journey: the group passes through Nagoya, Kyoto, Tottori and into Japan’s sothernmost reaches. Koguma had intended to hit Cape Sata, japan’s southernmost point, and on their third day, they arrive in time to admire the cherry blossoms, which are in full bloom. By the time Koguma, Shii and Reiko return to Yamanashi, the first signs of spring also begin appearing, with cherry blossoms beginning to bloom here, as well. Inspired, Shii ends up buying her own Little Cub and joins the other two on their adventures. Koguma feels that, while the Super Cub is an amazing asset, it was ultimately something in herself that allowed her to open up and have such experiences. This brings Super Cub to an end, and the finale proved quite surprising in condensing an entire journey into the span of a regular episode, speaking to the fact that in this series, having come far enough to go on such a trip is a significant accomplishment, and that with the sum of their experiences, Reiko, Koguma and Shii are going to be fine as they get spend more time with one another and continue enjoying the liberty that having a bike confers. This finale is therefore a satisfying and well-deserved conclusion to a series that, while possessing its share of controversy, was one that nonetheless conveys a very meaningful message in a clean and direct manner, doing more with less.

Koguma’s final monologue in Super Cub speaks volumes to what the series’ themes were; after the first three episodes, I’d suggested that Super Cub was going to be about the experiences and discoveries Koguma has as a result of her own initiative. Early on, she hadn’t met Reiko yet, but instead, takes it upon herself to get an operator’s license, and spends time familiarising herself with her new ride. Meeting Reiko and Shii accelerates Koguma’s growth, allowing her to expand her horizons and appreciate friendship in the process, but the journey had begin because Koguma herself chose to do so. Thus, while Koguma is fond of praising her Cub for a job well done whenever a situation arises where her Cub had been helpful, it is clear that Koguma is aware of the fact that the Super Cub itself is simply a sixty kilogram amalgamation of stamped steel and plastic, unable to do anything if there were no operator. However, because she’s able to see new horizons with her Cub, Koguma becomes more open-minded and inquisitive, eager to push her limits further while at the same time, doing so at her own pace. Super Cub thus remains incredibly consistent in its themes throughout its run, and it becomes apparent that while Koguma began the series with nothing, a part of her had always yearned for something. Here, that something turns out to be anything that breaks up the monotony of her everyday life. From her first ride to the convenience store at night, to a full-scale road-trip with her friends, Reiko and Shii, Koguma has come very far in the series; while perhaps not always the most tactful or able to read the moment, Koguma comes to demonstrate that she also has a sense of playfulness and her own sense of humour. Having something to cherish and look forwards to opens Koguma’s mind, but ultimately, full credit goes to Koguma for having chosen to take that first step of her own volition. For her troubles, Koguma begins to discover the joys and costs of friendship, as well as the fact that there is much more to the world than she’d initially thought.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Before we accompany Shii, Koguma and Reiko on their capstone experience of the season, I will note here that Super Cub‘s author, Tone Kōken, had initially written Shii to be a secondary character. However, Shii eventually became a very intriguing character to write for, and Kōken began to feel that with her love of coffee, intent to become a barista and small stature, she was the equivalent of GochiUsa‘s Chino Kafuu. Shii thus gained a more substantial role in Super Cub, acting as the younger sister figure of sorts, someone who Koguma could also impart her own knowledge on and look after as a part of her own growth.

  • Reiko, being a boisterous and experienced biker, acts more of a mentor to Koguma, but it is often suggested that people really learn the most when they are asked to teach, so Kōken’s choice to make Shii a more regular character serves to really drive things forward. On the day of their big road trip to Kagoshima, Reiko and Koguma swing by BEURRE to pick Shii up and assure her parents that in their company, Shii’s going to be fine. Koguma’s Super Cub is a single-seater, so for the duration of the journey, Shii rides with Reiko.

  • At the series’ halfway point, Japanese viewers on Twitter called out Super Cub for portraying Reiko riding with Koguma despite Koguma’s bike being only built for one. This snowballed into outrage, but the movement was met with a swift and immediate response from Kadokawa, who reminded viewers that this had been a work of fiction, where liberties would naturally be taken to accentuate the themes and motifs the story intended to tell. The series is therefore free to do what is required to convey the character’s story, and in no way endorses a course of action that violates traffic law. This was an excellent move on Kadokawa’s part – rather than yield to outrage, they came out, stood their ground and reminded people of what Super Cub was intended to accomplish as a work of fiction.

  • Further to this, Kadokawa openly states that there is a distinction between fiction and reality, and that Super Cub falls squarely in the realm of the former. In mentioning this, Kadokawa subtly implies that those making the complaints are unable to differentiate between reality and fantasy. This was a mic drop moment for Super Cub, and subsequently, all complaints about realism became much more muted. This has always been a longstanding problem with fiction, and while I’ve got no qualms with realism being sacrificed for the narrative, this is a thought that not everyone shares; some insist on realism over authenticity, and I’m admittedly curious to hear the rational behind this mode of thinking.

  • The entirety of Koguma, Shii and Reiko’s road trip is vividly coloured – Super Cub‘s finale conveys a great sense of warmth that was absent throughout the anime’s run, and it really does feel like Spring thanks to the richer palette that accompanies Koguma. While some feel that the colour is meant to symbolise moments where Koguma is particularly happy, it is more appropriate to say that such moments are memorable. Sharp-eyed viewers would have noticed that colour became increasingly frequent as Super Cub progressed, corresponding to the fact that Koguma was finding more to appreciate each and every day.

  • While the moments might not be very intense, they become more frequent – this brings to mind a 2009 publication by Ed Diener, who argued that well-being is characterised by how often people experience positive feelings, rather than how strong these feelings were. In this publication, it was supposed that the amount of time people have with positive feelings would contribute to an overall sense of happiness, whereas intense moments of happiness and the associated expectations can cause seemingly minor negative moments to feel that much worse. Super Cub definitely seems to follow in this publication’s path: while Koguma does not experience overwhelming joy after buying her Cub, she gradually opens up, learns new things, has new experiences and ultimately, improves her well-being.

  • Thus, viewers come to look forward to each and every moment that Koguma smiles: while not as dazzling as Reiko’s grins, or adorable as Shii’s moments of bliss, Koguma’s smiles are special because they represent a moment that she finds significant. The finale isn’t euphoria, but rather, a steady and consistent sense of contentment and fulfillment for Koguma; this is why much of the episode is rendered with stronger colours. One of the things I did feel as a result of the saturation was that the anime felt a lot warmer than it actually was, and Koguma’s snowsuit seemed a bit overkill for the weather. This is because in other anime, colour and lighting is often used to denote temperatures. Yuru Camp△ is an excellent example of this – colder conditions are reflected by reduced saturation, while warm weather features more vivid colours.

  • As a part of their journey, Koguma, Reiko and Shii arrive in Narai-juku, the thirty-fourth of the famous sixty-nine stations on the Nakasendō, one of the five routes that linked Kyoto to Tokyo. This particular route runs inland through mountainous terrain, but because of how well-maintained it is, was a very popular one. Narai-juku has the highest elevation of all the stops on the Nakasendō, and owing to its positioning, had a flourishing postal service. Much of the buildings here are preserved from the Edo period, and Koguma had chosen this route so she could check out some of the spots. As a break, the girls stop in a teahouse along the route.

  • In 2017, while visiting Japan, I had the pleasure of travelling along the Nakasendō, as well: my route was a little different, and I ended up swinging by Magome-juku, the forty-third station with a well-preserved old town along a steep slope that offered stunning views of Mount Ena. After travelling from the top of the road to the bottom, we stopped here for a traditional Japanese lunch, which was completely rejuvenating and set the stage for our travels onward into Nagoya and Gifu.

  • Once their tea break is over, Koguma, Reiko and Shii press on. The previous episodes might’ve suggested that Koguma is quite unable to read how others are feeling, but in the finale, viewers see that Koguma is changing gradually – after spotting Shii squirming on Reiko’s bike, she conjectures that Shii must be feeling uncomfortable after a long ride and suggests to Reiko that they break for lunch, without embarrassing Shii in the process. While much vitriol has been directed at Koguma in the past few weeks, I’ve long felt this to be unwarranted: people make mistakes and choose courses of action that, in hind-sight, might not be the best, but the fact is that Koguma cares for those around her and is simply doing what she can in that moment. Experience and maturity will allow Koguma to better handle challenges in the future.

  • Of course, wherever money is concerned, Koguma remains rather touchy about things, and she looks on disapprovingly at thought of having to spend money on lunch. This is understandable: things’ve always been a little tight on Koguma’s end, and she prefers doing whatever it takes to save money where possible. However, Super Cub also deliberately speaks to the importance of friendship; friends look out for one another, and before Koguma can reply to Reiko, Shii reappears with some smoked salmon in tow.

  • The time has therefore come to put the komissbrot to use: this German rye-and-wheat bread is renowned for its shelf life, and has been a military staple since the sixteenth century. After World War One, the bread became available to civilians, and the recipe was modified to make it more palatable. I imagine Shii’s father would’ve baked this softer, post World War One version; komissbrot is presently served with things like sausage, cold cuts or cheese.

  • Shii’s recipe, of cream cheese and smoked salmon, is reminiscent of the classic lox bagel, which is renowned for its omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B as well as a rich flavour. The end result is delicious, and I recall a company trip some two years earlier, where I ordered such a bagel while out in the mountains. One of the things that Reiko therefore comes to appreciate is that, while she may always be fond of going big, there is something to be said about getting creative while on a budget. As a result of spending time with Koguma, Reiko finds herself doing things that would’ve appeared unthinkable, and this was most noticeable when she does end up buying handlebar covers and a windscreen despite her vehement objections to it.

  • Koguma et al. reach Nagoya, which was one of the stops during my 2017 Japan trip: in fact, they pass under the Nagoya Expressway No. 3 Odaka Route (a toll road), and a sign here indicates they’re headed westward towards Atsuta Shrine, which I did end up visiting. Super Cub‘s time spent in Nagoya was as brief as mine: the objective that day was Gifu, where we spent our fourth night. I immediately recognised the elevated freeway in Nagoya here; the No. 3 Odaka Route cuts right through the heart of the city, Japan’s fourth largest in terms of population.

  • While Koguma prepares dinner, Reiko takes a shower. Her nonchalance about walking around sans clothing was something that readers had noticed: she’s very carefree and at home with herself, possessing enough confidence to wander about without worrying about what others might think of her. Koguma, possessing a more ordinary sense of modesty, pushes Reiko back into the bathroom so she can finish changing (and not get water everywhere), before turning to glance at Shii, who’s absolutely enthralled by their room’s view of the harbour. Shii’s amazement suggests that she’s not accustomed to other sights, and so, an opportunity to travel like this would be a turning point in her life, sparking in her a renewed sense of motivation.

  • Travelling further south, Koguma, Reiko and Shii pass by floating torii. The Itsukushima Shrine near Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima prefecture and its floating torii are the first attraction that comes to mind, but a cursory glance at Itsukushima Shrine suggests that the floating torii seen in Super Cub might not be Itsukushima owing to the placement of roads around the real world shrine. Super Cub‘s largely been faithful with its real world locations, to the point where I’ve located Koguma’s apartment and school, but I imagine that like Yuru Camp△, some liberties may have been taken to accommodate the story.

  • Down in Hiroshima, the weather is very mild, with temperatures in March hovering between 4°C and 14°C: by the time the crew reaches the Sea of Japan, it’s warm enough for surfers to be out and about. Koguma is seen gazing at some surfers, and Koguma wonders if Reiko might be thinking to herself, wouldn’t it be nice if she could trade her Cub for a surfboard and frolic in the waters. However, when Reiko turns the tables on Koguma, Koguma actually wonders how much she could fetch for her Cub. Despite her no-nonsense manner, Koguma has begun having more flights of fancy of late.

  • Whereas I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Super Cub, discussions out there have been generally lacking, being quite boorish and immature in many cases. Outside of folks like myself, who simply wish to kick back and relax, slice-of-life anime always seems to attract a people of a certain mindset, who have something to prove by aggressively criticising a series and pointing out flaws each and every week. I can never be sure as to why this is the case, but what is certain is that I am likely to have a better time of watching slice-of-life shows if I pay no mind to the polarising discussions out there. For the summer season’s Aquatope of the White Sands, I will be watching the series in a vacuum, since I’ve heard that the dislike for P.A. Works is particularly strong, and I have no desire to trade with folks who have unlimited leisure time.

  • While browsing about at a fish market, Reiko and Shii share a laugh when they spot Koguma’s reaction to the price of fresh-caught Red King Crab and attempt to photograph her, only for Koguma to go after Reiko, who seems quite unconcerned that Koguma’s salty. The moment is all in good fun, and Reiko is subsequently seen posing with some of the staff and fishermen with a fish in hand. The cost of seafood is indeed nothing to sneeze at, especially somewhere as land-locked as the foothills of Canada; seafood is a pricey and therefore infrequent treat, so whenever I have it, I take care to really enjoy the moment.

  • While I’m a major fan of seafood, I’m not quite as adventurous as Reiko, who poses for the camera with their crab dinner. Crab and rice go very well together, and while I’m most familiar with Dungeness Crab, which is best served by steaming it with spring onion and ginger, larger crab like Alaskan King Crab or Red King Crab is very juicy and succulent: even without anything, they’re absolutely delicious (and with some clarified butter, it becomes heaven on Earth). Super Cub‘s portrayal of Koguma and company’s adventures in a montage-like fashion shows the highlights to viewers and suggests that this trip is definitely one to remember.

  • This is Kanmon Bridge, which links Honshū to Kyūshū: the bridge opened in 1973 was incorporated into the Kyūshū Expressway nine years later. With a span of 1068 metres, it is one of the largest suspension bridges in the world, and here, Shii, Koguma and Reiko stand at the Honshū end of the bridge looking over. Their final destination is Cape Sata, the southernmost point of Kyūshū. Shortly after arriving, Shii, Koguma and Reiko are left speechless at the sight of blossoming sakura, a sight that Japan is particularly famous for. Koguma would be happy to know that until 2013, there was an admissions fee of 300 yen, but since the site is now public, the fee’s been removed.

  • While Shii marvels at the sight of cherry blossoms as far as the eye can see, Koguma reflects on the path that led to this moment; Reiko had been sure that Koguma would decline her suggestion of travelling all the way to Kagoshima for the cherry blossoms, and the old Koguma might’ve indeed done so. However, recalling that cold winter night with Shii, Koguma felt compelled to see what was possible with her Cub. The end result of this speaks for itself; all too often, people miss out on something when wondering about its feasibility, but those who have the courage to take a step forwards and push themselves ever so slightly may find that what seemed impossible was actually just a few steps away.

  • It is worth reiterating that, while Koguma has a Cub, it was ultimately Koguma herself who made the decision to undergo such a trip and then make said trip possible. From the first episode, Super Cub had always been about how the initiative and the will to change one’s circumstance is key. Most slice-of-life anime have characters supporting and encouraging one another, but this can occasionally give the impression that one necessarily needs to have people in their corner prior to setting out on their journey. By comparison, Super Cub shows how one will find people along the way, but first, must start their own journey.

  • By the time Koguma, Reiko and Shii return to Yamanashi three days later, the warm weather and cherry blossoms have reached further north, filling the land with colour. Yuru Camp△‘s Yamanashi was set in winter, with the land dominated by a dull brownish-yellow of slumbering trees. However, a few episodes did show what Yamanashi had looked like: Rin’s flashback to when she’d gotten her camping gear in middle school, and Nadeshiko running into Rin on the shores of Lake Motosu have Yamanashi during the warmer months of the year, and it is indeed a beautiful place to be.

  • Having seen Super Cub‘s Yamanashi by spring and summer, one of my hopes will be that Yuru Camp△ The Movie will be set in the spring or summer, as well. There’s been precious little detail about what the movie will cover, and all I know is that it’s coming out in 2022. I ended up preordering the Yuru Camp△ 2 Official Guide Book a few weeks earlier, an artbook that showcases locations, concept art, cast interviews and other details to greatly augment one’s understanding of the effort that went into the series. Unlike the previous season’s artbook, the second season’s artbook costs 500 yen more: I am hoping this means that there’ll be more materials covered (perhaps, even from Heya Camp△).

  • Shii returns home safely at the end of their journey. Having gone through such a wonderful experience, Shii’s life had changed completely. She’s seen admiring the bikes that had made so much possible, foreshadowing what happens next. A few days later, she has a surprise for both Reiko and Koguma. I’d actually hazarded a guess that Shii would pick her bike out before the trip, but in retrospect, it makes sense that Shii’s adventure would be the final experience that inspires her to invest in a new bike.

  • Shii ends up buying a Little Cub in her signature colours, shelling out half up front and borrowing the remainder from her parents. With this, Shii’s spark and motivation have returned to her in full. The accelerated pace of Shii’s journey suggests that she’s in good company; with Koguma and Reiko to help her out and answer questions, Shii would’ve acquired her operator’s license quickly and is well on her way to riding the open roads with the others. Shii looks forwards to kitting out her Little Cub and making it easier to pick up the supplies she needs for her Italian Café project.

  • For the time being, however, Koguma, Shii and Reiko hit the open roads together, ready to explore the reaches of Yamanashi they’d not previously checked out. With the warm weather back, Koguma and Reiko have both removed the handlebar covers and windscreens from their bikes. It suddenly strikes me that, after nearly a full episode with everything in vivid colour, things suddenly feel much flatter. These more subdued moments, however, do not indicate melancholy: they’re simply to show that for Koguma, things are quite ordinary.

  • With this post now in the books, the only thing left on my schedule for June will be Yakunara Mug Cup Mo: a few upcoming posts require my undivided attention, including my reflections of Yuru Camp△ 2‘s live action drama at the halfway point, as well as a large talk on Gundam SEED now that I’ve finished the entire series. For Gundam SEED, this was a journey some sixteen years in the making, and I do wish to do things justice. Beyond this, with the Steam Summer Sale on, and DOOM Eternal going for two thirds off, I’m wondering if I should go for the base game Koguma-style, or, like Reiko, step things up a little and then get the expanded edition with Year One content for 50 percent more coin. The Steam sale will run until July 8, so I’ll have at least some time to make this decision.

  • Overall, Super Cub earns an A grade (four of four points, or 9 of 10 points); the series excels in its intended purpose and conveys themes of possibility, as well as the importance of taking the initiative to change one’s circumstance and make something new happen even where there is nothing. In conjunction with the consistent (if minimalist) artwork and a soundtrack that shows up only during the more emotional moments, Super Cub is an excellent example of how more can be done with less. With this in mind, Super Cub is a series that does require a modicum of patience and empathy from its viewers to fully enjoy.

Altogether, Super Cub is a fine anime series, one that is highly cathartic and relaxing. While Koguma’s inexperience and manner oftentimes gives viewers an uneasy feeling, Super Cub takes the effort to dispel doubts in viewers – the anime is about giving people a chance to try their strengths and learn in a low-risk environment. The gentle artwork and use of classical music, plus minimal dialogue, reinforces the idea that learning can be a solo journey, one where touching and feeling one’s way around, in conjunction with a little external guidance, can oftentimes help people to figure out their own approaches and styles. This stands in comparison to other series, which emphasise the importance of collaboration and group efforts to make new discoveries – Super Cub indicates that, while there’s nothing wrong with teamwork and conquering challenges together, there are times where knowing how to approach a problem as an individual is also valuable. Anime tend to focus on the former, but in the case of Super Cub, it’s a combination of individual and group learning that helps Koguma to step forwards. The series, per its namesake, does lean very heavily on Honda’s most well-known bike, and Super Cub is very much a love letter to the venerable motorbike it is named after, but mention of the bike simply acts as a metaphor for having the right tools and right know-how when the moment calls for it. Koguma is very much aware of this fact, and the synergy between her and her Cub shows how with the right nudge, people can reach new heights they previously thought were impossible. Consequently, Super Cub is simultaneously inspiring and laid-back, acting as a superb slice-of-life series that speaks to how much can be done, and enjoyed, with a little bit of initiative and effort. When one is learning and treading new ground, every win feels monumental, enough to light one’s day up – with each success, one is encouraged one to travel a little further next time.

Super Cub: Review and Reflection At The Penultimate Episode

“Patience is when you are supposed to be mad, but you choose to understand.” –Unknown

On a snowy day, Koguma is reluctant to go out, but when Reiko shows her a new acquisition (tire chains), Koguma braves the snow to swing by Reiko’s place. Once their chains are installed, Reiko convinces Koguma to accompany her to a snow-covered field, where the pair spend an afternoon doing stunts on the field and share lunch together. Later, inspired by Koguma and Reiko, Shii decides to take a mountain path into town, but falls into a frigid creek while biking and makes a call to Koguma for help. Upon arriving, Koguma pulls Shii from the water and sets her in her Super Cub’s front basket before whisking her away for home. She also asks Reiko to retrieve Shii’s Alex Moulton from the river. After Shii’s had a chance to warm up with a bath, she settles down for curry udon with Koguma and Reiko. However, Shii bursts into tears after it hits her that her Alex Moulton’s been totalled. She begs Koguma to bring her into spring, but Kogama laments that even a Super Cub can’t accelerate the passage of time. Shii thus begins riding a loaner bike to school, and the days begin passing by in the blink of an eye. Soon, winter retreats, and spring gradually returns to the world. However, Shii’s melancholy seems to persist – Koguma notices that she’s lost her drive to work on her Italian café. She realises that Shii had impacted her life in ways she couldn’t imagine after recalling it had been Shii who’d passed her en route to school, encouraging her to get a Super Cub. Grateful to have befriended Shii, and also to help bring the colour back into Shii’s world, Koguma suggests that Shii accompanies them on a ride to Kagoshima, where the cherry blossoms are in bloom and the sun is warm. This is Super Cub on the eve of its finale, a gentle tale of discovery, of ups and downs that accompany learning, and of unexpected friendships that grow as disparate people, unified by a common love, get to know one another better. Here at the penultimate episode, Super Cub has proven to be a slow journey that is quite unlike the more spirited pacing of other slice-of-life series, where energy and curiosity creates much of the excitement. Instead, with its more gradual development, Super Cub conveys a more unconventional experience, which is something that not all minds will appreciate.

Towards its ending, Super Cub chooses to go in a more dramatic direction by having Shii plummet down a slope into a frigid river when she takes a ride up a narrow trail. This sets the stage for Koguma to go in and rescue her; whereas Super Cub had largely been about Koguma’s own discoveries and helping those along the way with her Cub, this final incident seems to be the author’s wish to suggest that particularly strong friendships and large changes to one’s world-views are only brought on by equally extraordinary circumstances. To create a plausible reason for why Shii ends up purchasing a Super Cub of her own and admiring Koguma to the extent that she does, the writers elected to go in a direction that prima facie seems quite out of place in the slow-placed Super Cub. The end result of this is that it gives Koguma a chance to really step back and appreciate what her Super Cub means to her, as well as understand what she means to Shii (and vise versa). Having now saved Shii from a difficult situation, Koguma is similarly forced to reflect on how chance encounters have set her down a completely different path, one where she now has something of value in her life worth looking forward to. While perhaps a bit jarring, having Koguma save Shii unequivocally removes any doubt that Koguma’s changed – she’s resourceful and caring, even if her outward appearance speaks otherwise, and this suggests that as Koguma spends more time with Shii, her heart and manner will begin softening up, as well. We recall Koguma has a very blunt manner because of how little she interacts with others, and since Shii’s personality is the opposite, being a right ray of sunshine that had spurred Koguma on. The ensuing friendship can only be a positive thing for Koguma and Shii as we move towards the future, and like Koguma, Super Cub may seem a little rough around the edges, but the intents are clear enough.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Shii has now become a regular part of the main group in Super Cub, and I’ve definitely come to enjoy her presence. It suddenly strikes me that Super Cub could be done as a live-action series and it likely would’ve worked just as well as Yuru Camp△‘s live action: both are set in Yamanashi, deal with a very down-to-earth story and doesn’t require much in the way of special effects. Moreover, the anime’s saturation effect isn’t too tricky to replicate. On top of this, because Koguma, Reiko and Shii lack the over-the-top designs of other anime, their real-world appearances would closely resemble those seen in the anime.

  • While Koguma is reluctant to head out on a snowy day, since her Cub’s by no means equipped to deal with snow, Reiko manages to persuade her anyways. In Yuru Camp△, Yamanashi’s snow is what led Saki to call Rin and ask her to stay a few extra days in Shizuoka until her grandfather could pick her up, speaking to how treacherous the roads can get, and Koguma, presumably having lived in Yamanashi for quite some time, would likely be aware of this. When she sets off, Koguma struggles to safely get her Cub down the private road, but once she hits the main road, things become smoother for her.

  • Super Cub shows that the solution Rin would’ve likely employed, had the story called for it, would be tire chains for her Vespa. Chains work by increasing the tire’s surface area and corresponding traction, allowing the wheels to grip the ground more firmly and transfer the force to propel the vehicle forward. However, chains can fail, and typically, they are recommended for use only with lower speeds (50 km/h or lower). In my neck of the woods, there are no specific laws that require chains to be used (or prohibiting their use), but people can get a traffic citation if it is found that their use of chains is causing unreasonable damage to a road surface.

  • With their chains equipped, Reiko and Koguma decide to head to a secret field that Reiko’s particularly fond of. Having the chains dramatically increases stability even on snowy surfaces, allowing the pair to climb up the mountain switchbacks that lead up to the field that Reiko is so fond of. The tenth episode ends up being one of the most relaxed and easygoing episode in Super Cub – Koguma has nothing else on her mind and is able to really have fun in a bigger way, quite unlike anything she’d previously done.

  • The folks at AnimeSuki, in their infinite wisdom, have suggested that Koguma and Reiko are riding around on a frozen lake’s surface and therefore, are doing something incredibly boneheaded. For the purposes of discussion, let’s suppose that Koguma and Reiko are indeed on a lake or pond with a maximum depth of three metres. Then, using the Ashton Ice Growth Prediction Method, and working with the assumption that the mountains are an average of 4ºC cooler than the valleys of Yamanashi, where the winter average low is -3ºC, we can go with an average temperature of -7ºC or so. Supposing the temperature holds constant for a week or so, the ice thickness of a pond would reach about six inches.

  • Since it’s winter, we can suppose that even with a bit of variation in the temperature, there’d be enough time for six to seven inches of ice to form, and this thickness is satisfactory for supporting a Super Cub (which has a dry mass of 55 to 90 kilograms depending on the model), and assuming Koguma herself is around 50 kilograms or less, the total mass doesn’t exceed what is safe for six inches of ice. So, even if Koguma and Reiko had been horsing around on a frozen lake, assuming that Reiko had measured the ice earlier, they would’ve been fine anyways. Of course, owing to the terrain, it’s clear that this is no frozen lake: bumps in the land indicate this is a field.

  • While Koguma’s always played it safe with her Cub, here, she is able to let loose and really just ride around on the makeshift ramps for some air time. Until now, we’ve not seen Koguma this relaxed or willing to do tricks with her Super Cub. The vivid blue skies show that Koguma is completely at peace here, completely immersed in the moment, and given how far she’s come in Super Cub, I’m content to watch her have a bit of fun.

  • As thanks for sharing with her this experience, Koguma offers Reiko half of her lunch. Koguma is still evidently unaccustomed to sharing – her mannerisms and attitudes understandably come from her limited budget, and she usually only buys just enough for herself, since she doesn’t have the funds for extra. Reiko is very understanding of Koguma, though, and is likely just pulling her leg. Jokes notwithstanding, the pair share food and drink under a brilliant winter day, whose colour palette is precisely what I’m accustomed to seeing for up to eight months of the year.

  • As the girls continue riding their bikes and ramping off piles of snow, they begin warming up to the point where they can take their jackets off. Where I’m from, winters are rarely warm enough for me to do that – while -16ºC is downright balmy after a week of -35ºC, it’s still cold enough to catch a chill, so I tend to leave my coat, scarf, gloves and toque on unless temperatures rise above -2ºC. I imagine that in Yamanashi, with their comparatively mild winters (no match for Real Canadian™ Winters, at any rate), one could stay reasonably comfortable outside without a full winter coat.

  • Speaking to Koguma’s changes, when Reiko begins throwing snowballs at her, she retaliates by using her Cub to kick up a cloud of snow like a snow blower, overwhelming Reiko. Super Cub is, in every sense of the word, a true slice-of-life anime whose lessons come not from anything grandiose or life changing, but rather, an appreciation of the smaller things in life. I therefore stand by my thoughts that Super Cub is not too different from 2007’s Sketchbook in that both series portray particularly standout moments in the characters’ lives in an otherwise minimalist setting.

  • This approach allows viewers to really focus on what’s happening in a given moment and what it means for Koguma; while perhaps not connected together in a narrative sense, the various moments and Koguma’s thoughts on them show the gradual shift in her world views. Having her and Reiko spend an afternoon just riding around with no destination in mind shows that Koguma’s become more open-minded and more willing to live in the moment, whereas previously, she seemed to be just going through the motions with no clear destination.

  • As the sun sets, Koguma and Reiko head for home. Such a sight evokes memories of home; in Alberta, it’s winter eight months of the year. For the bitterly cold and dark days, winter is my least favourite season. However, in the past year, thanks to working from home, I’ve found that my distaste of winter waned, and it becomes clear that far more than anything symbolic, my dislike of winter comes purely from the impact it has on my commute. As Super Cub demonstrates, with the right gear, even the cold of winter can be mitigated somewhat.

  • Koguma ends up picking up a waterproof snowsuit so she can continue riding even in Yamanashi’s most bitter weather. Snowsuits are no joke: a cursory glance finds that a decent one goes for around 170 CAD. They’re intended for use when one spends a sustained amount of time outside, and the price tag demonstrates that by this point in time, Koguma’s become pretty serious about getting as much out of her Cub as possible.

  • One evening, after returning home from BEURRE, Koguma gets a call from Shii. It turns out that she’d suffered an accident and had fallen off the trail into the river below. Without skipping a beat, Koguma immediately heads off, with an inkling of where Shii might be. As she travels along the dark, narrow road, the terrain becomes tricky. What followed resulted in some of the most immature and disappointing discussions surrounding Super Cub to date, with people lecturing both Shii and Koguma as though they were in a position to do so. While Shii and Koguma might not have made the best decisions given the circumstances, I found the moment was meant to show that in spite of her manner, Koguma cares for those around her.

  • Going from the terrain, the biggest danger Shii would’ve faced was hypothermia: being immersed in cold water for extended periods of time will strip heat from the body and create a highly dangerous situation. Immersion in water at 10°C will cause death within an hour, while freezing water can kill in fifteen minutes (if the cold shock doesn’t happen first). Folks feel that because Super Cub does not necessarily conform wholly to what is counted as realistic physiology, the anime was irreparably ruined here and saw fit to deliver endless complaints about the choice to use such a moment. Things were exacerbated by the fact that Koguma appears quite unsympathetic to Shii’s situation when she asks Shii to climb out of the ravine herself and subsequently slaps sense into her.

  • However, first and foremost, we recall that Shii and Koguma are still high school students, and the parts of the brain responsible for rational, reasoned thought involved in making long-term decisions and careful assessments don’t fully develop until one is 25-30. Any adult would see fit to call for first responders, assess Shii’s condition and only extract Shii from the water if it is clear that it is safe to do so, then keep her warm until medical first responders arrive. Conversely, if Shii’s state could not be ascertained, it would actually be better to leave her retrieval to the specialists, since there’s no way of knowing how injured Shii could potentially be. Koguma, being a youth, wouldn’t have the cerebral cortex for that sort of assessment and decision-making. As such, I do not have any problems with how things unfolded here.

  • A lack of understanding in brain development and chemistry thus causes some folks to immediately jump to conclusions (“that’s not what I’d do!”). With this in mind, Koguma’s decisions were unsound: rescuing Shii herself means disregarding the fact that since it’s dark, she herself could become injured, and moreover, transporting Shii, who’s probably weakened from the ordeal might worsen any injuries that had occurred. However, Super Cub is not aiming to be a realistic portrayal of emergency management: the hazardous scenario presented is purely meant to create a dramatic moment that cements the moment where Shii and Koguma really become friends as a result of their shared experiences.

  • The motivation for choosing this page quote is therefore simple – almost all of the discussions I have seen for Super Cub disparage Koguma and the series’ lack of realism. However, all of these assertions are made without any semblance of patience, nor a desire to understand why the author chose to take such a path. Someone with compassion and understanding would take a step back and acknowledge that while what Koguma chooses to was very risky, the moments were chosen for the narrative’s sake. Koguma is clearly still inexperienced when it comes to dealing with people, let alone people in emergency situations, but this requires that viewers be understanding and patient with Koguma, since the moment was meant to be a learning process for her.

  • If folks watching slice-of-life do not accept that they’re watching youth earning their stripes and demand that said youth are every bit as experienced and rational as adults, then genre is evidently not for them. It is a pointless exercise to try and talk down on anime characters, since the characters are written to convey an idea across: any meaningful discussion to be had surrounding a characters’ actions would entail considering whether or not the author’s choice was effective, and if not, what (reasonable) alternatives would’ve been appropriate. Super Cub begins returning to its usual aesthetic shortly after, once Shii’s had a chance to warm up, and here, she reacts in embarrassment when Koguma nonchalantly handles her clothing.

  • To Shii’s surprise, Reiko is also at Koguma’s place and has made herself at home already. This is the first time Koguma’s seen friends over: she’d previously visited Reiko’s cabin, and befitting of her personality, is very quick to make herself at home. After both Reiko and Shii warm up, they find that Koguma’s prepared a curry udon for them. The gaps in the characters’ mannerisms is a reminder that Koguma is somewhere in the middle: less shy than Shii, but less bold than Reiko.

  • One moment I particularly related to was when Reiko pulls a few hard-boiled eggs from Koguma’s fridge, to her annoyance. While Koguma reluctantly allows this because Shii’s around, the fact is that the eggs were labelled, indicating likely when Koguma had intended to use them. After Reiko pulls the eggs out, an irate Koguma can be seen looking on disapprovingly, even if she says nothing. Despite the relatively lack of dialogue, the composition speaks volumes about Koguma’s personality. This is something that Super Cub had always exceled with, in being able to do more with less.

  • The evening’s events only really begin to sink in once Reiko notes that Shii’s bike is totalled. Overwhelmed with emotions, Shii begins crying and begs Koguma to rescue her from the long dark of winter. As with other slice-of-life series, Super Cub makes extensive use of colour and lighting to convey things that dialog and body language alone do not. Indeed, winter is the most despairing time of year, when light and warmth are both in short supply. For Koguma, even a Cub isn’t enough to overcome winter and make the spring come any sooner.

  • The feeling of overwhelming loss was felt, and seeing Shii, who is normally cheerful, energetic and always walking with a spring in her step, really drove home how much this moment impacts her. Shii, while disinterested in her bike earlier, had become a lot more inquisitive and outgoing after meeting Koguma, Reiko and their Cubs. To lose her bike now is to lose a part of herself, and she worries that Koguma and Reiko will leave her behind. Koguma, however, isn’t much of a people person and isn’t able to spot this; this is meant to show that as far as reading and comforting people go, Koguma has much to learn.

  • In the aftermath, Shii’s parents express their utmost gratitude for having looked out for Shii and bringing her home unharmed. While Koguma is a bit more reserved about things, Reiko seems unabashedly excited about having a free pass to BEURRE’s coffee and baked goods. I suppose that this does feel a little disrespectful, but it also speaks to the quality of BEURRE’s wares and creates a bit of a disconnect in the moment, which is critical in conveying how much Shii’s spirits have fallen since she lost her bike.

  • With the passage of time, winter begins to retreat as sun returns to Yamanashi. Final exams come and go, and for the time being, Shii rides a conventional bicycle that is ill-fitting. Koguma and Reiko both notice that the spring in Shii’s step is gone, and in a monologue, Koguma feels that the traits that made Shii shine appear to have faded; when asked about her Italian menu project, Shii only responds that things are on hold. It would appear that Shii’s on the precipice of a slippery slope; I mentioned this previously for Slow Start, where life is a game of momentum.

  • Motivation obeys the laws of inertia, and people who lose motivation can find it difficult to regain their momentum once it’s lost. That was precisely what had happened to Hiroe, and for Hana, it was through friendship she was able to rediscover her step. Given Super Cub‘s themes, it stands to reason that with Koguma and Reiko around, they’ll end up helping Shii in some way and get her old spirit back in no time at all.

  • Admittedly, watching Super Cub has been a bit of a melancholy experience – the anime itself is spirited, joyful and warm, dealing in the happiness surrounding keeping an open mind and new discoveries, of exploring and trying one’s strengths on their own to see what’s possible, but there’s precious few people around to talk about the show with. Being a slice-of-life series, Super Cub can be a bit trickier to write for, but the flipside is that there’s enough going on so that one could swap stories of parallel experiences in response to what happened in the episode, creating fun discussions.

  • We’re very nearly at the end of the spring season: besides a finale post for Super Cub, I am looking to write about Yakunara Mug Cup Mo (another underrated anime from the season), HigeHiro and 86 EIGHTY SIX. Before these finales happen, Gundam: Hathaway’s Flash released earlier, too, so I am looking to wrap my thoughts up on that one. We’re also now just under a week to the Steam Summer sale, and having finished Black Ops: Cold War, I am looking to seeing if DOOM Eternal will get a decent discount. It looks like my desktop is capable of running it on ultra settings with good framerates, which means I’ll be able to continue on from the journey I started in 2016.

  • Before then, I’d have to finish writing about Super Cub‘s finale, and that means wrapping up this post first. Towards the penultimate episode’s end, Koguma and Reiko offer a suggestion to lift Shii out of her slump, and for her troubles, suddenly recalls that while Shii always looked like she’d aspired to be as adventurous as Koguma, it turns out that Koguma had long admired the diminutive but spirited Shii and probably wanted to befriend her, but never had the courage to do so – a flashback to the first episode shows Shii powering up the same hill on her bike that Koguma had struggled to make it up. After Koguma realises this, her world floods with colour anew.

  • Realising that Shii indirectly inspired her to buy a Cub and set her on the path to becoming friends, Koguma finally understands what friendship is: it’s a bond of trust, empathy, compromise and mutual respect. This is the moment that speaks most loudly to what Koguma has been missing all this time – as she becomes more aware of those around her, the lonesome Koguma begins to realise what she’s gained as a result of spending more time with people. With this post in the books, only one episode remains for Super Cub. It’s been a meaningful and quiet journey, every bit as contemplative as Rin’s solo travels, and I am looking forwards to where the newly-formed friendship between Koguma and Shii will see them go.

An incident as dramatic as a fall into the river, and the subsequent falling action suggests that Super Cub has passed its climax, the tensest of moments, in its story. By demonstrating that Koguma is able to handle emergencies without missing a beat, viewers are assured that whatever adventures (and the unexpected things that accompany them) may present themselves, she’s ready to handle them, whether it be reigning the excitable Reiko back or walking Shii through something she’s never seen before. I therefore anticipate that Super Cub‘s finale will likely have Koguma and Reiko help Shii to get some new wheels – it is evident that Shii has come to greatly treasure her unusual bike, as it reminds her of her newfound friendship with Reiko and Koguma, and with plans to visit Kagoshima, a 1300 kilometre journey requiring a minimum of sixteen hours to traverse one-way, it is improbable that Shii would bike this entire distance on her loaner bike. Having said this, covering such a journey in one episode is unfeasible, and further to this, Shii also needs to earn her operator’s license before any road trip can be had. As such, I anticipate that the finale will be about getting Shii set up for a life-changing journey with Koguma and Reiko, not as a follower, but as a peer. Shii’s new wheels would signify a transformation of sorts, and set the stage for the story to continue: much as how Koguma herself had transformed after getting her Super Cub, the changes she experienced are now beginning to be imparted on Shii, as well, representing a transfer of knowledge and of a great love for one’s hobby. In this way, Super Cub has completely succeeded in presenting its themes, although admittedly, going from the limited discussion out there of this series, it stands to reason that more folks could stand to give this series a go owing to its portrayal of how newfound freedom, and its attendant responsibilities, change people’s circumstances for the better as they get to meet more people.

Super Cub: Review and Reflection at the ¾ mark

“Winter forms our character and brings out our best.” –Tom Allen

While their class prepare for their school’s cultural festival, Koguma and Reiko consider buying new work gloves to combat the cooling weather. Initially disinterested with helping out, they overhear their classmates speaking about how motorbikes lack the capacity to safely transport the coffee-making equipment needed for their class activities. Taking this as a challenge, Reiko and Koguma prepare their respective bikes to take the gear, further suggesting to Shii Eniwa, who’s leading the efforts, to prepare a bar in the event they are unable to get the gear back. In the end, Koguma and Reiko succeed in getting the gear. Shii expresses her appreciation by offering Koguma and Reiko coffee, as well as a desire to one day ride a Cub for herself. To get to know Reiko and Koguma better, Shii invites the two over to her family’s café, an eclectic establishment with European and American influences. After enjoying their coffee, Koguma and Reiko begin frequenting the café more frequently, and despite Shii’s embarrassment, ends up meeting both her parents. As autumn gives way to winter, Koguma and Reiko look for ways to winterise their Cubs. Shii has an unused abrasive wool sweater, and after taking it to their home economics instructor, ends up crafting it into a liner for Koguma and stockings for Reiko. With the leftover materials, Shii gets a thermos-warmer out of it. While the liner and stockings are helpful, the winter chill seeps into the bones anyways, forcing Koguma and Reiko to purchase windshields. Despite their initial reservations, the windshields allow the girls to ride their cubs for far longer than otherwise possible, filling Koguma with the optimism that the winter will be fine. Nine episodes into Super Cub, Koguma’s world has been completely transformed: through the decision to pick up the Cub that day, Koguma’s surprised that she’s now more open to people than before, and more welcoming of new experiences.

Super Cub‘s masterful use of colour has always been a fantastic component of this series – scenes become vividly coloured as Koguma makes a new discovery, or shares in a particularly happy moment. This imagery is plainly intended to decisively indicate that this is a moment worth remembering for Koguma, and of late, such moments begin to dominate the series. If colour is meant to denote noteworthiness, then the increasing presence of colour indicates that Koguma is opening up to her world, ever more willing to look forwards rather than inwards. Moreover, these colourful moments linger for longer and become increasingly indistinguishable from more ordinary moments. Altogether, while Koguma herself may not express it visibly or often, Super Cub makes it clear how she’s feeling about her life now. It is indisputable that the Super Cub has changed Koguma’s life, giving her the means to broaden her horizons both in a figurative and literal sense. The possibility that the Super Cub offers, and the attendant responsibility a vehicle demands forces Koguma out of her box, but at the same time, being a smaller vehicle, also allows Koguma to do things at her own pace. Shii’s introduction into Super Cub is a fine example of this: after impressing her and earning her gratitude, Koguma and Reiko slowly spend more time with Shii.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I’ll open this Super Cub talk with a landscape still: the visuals of Super Cub remain of a very high standard despite not possessing the same saturation as other series typically would. At this point in time, I’ve not considered doing a location hunt for the series yet: while the series’ setting in Yamanashi is common knowledge, unlike Yuru Camp△, the emphasis here isn’t about travel per se, and Super Cub doesn’t have Koguma and Reiko go on a cross-prefecture tour with their bikes the same way Rin would. Instead, Super Cub‘s journey is inward: by exploring outwards, Koguma’s inner life is vastly improved.

  • Reiko replaces her old MD90 with the CT110, a venerable bike with a long history that possesses a four-speed transmission and 2:1 gear ratio that allows it to excel even when climbing slopes. Reiko goes with a red colour scheme to match her MD90’s, and with its distinct colouration, it is somewhat of a surprise that no one’s alluded to Char Aznable and his legendary reputation for pushing red machines to their absolute limits. The similarities between Reiko and Char end here, with the former being more interested in just pushing herself to the limits, and the latter working to exact revenge for his family’s deaths leading up to the One Year War as a result of political theatre.

  • With the culture festival fast approaching, a hint of Koguma’s life at school is hinted at; she’s quite detached from the rest of her classmates and expresses no interest in helping out, being content to be left alone. When her class runs into a challenge with picking up the parts needed for their exhibition, Koguma has no issue in leaving them to figure thing out for themselves, at least until some of her classmates comment that motorbikes are unsuitable for hauling what they need.

  • At this point, Koguma’s pride as a Cub rider is bent; she and Reiko thus set out to prove their bikes’ worth to their classmates, and after setting up the necessary rigs to carry said gear, they head off. The world takes on colour as Koguma experiences pride in showing her classmates that she and her Cub, despite their outwardly mundane, ordinary appearances, are reliable and can pull things off where needed. With their rigs set up, the assignment proves to be no sweat: Koguma carries the smaller stuff, while Reiko and her bike is purposed for hauling heavier gear.

  • While I’m hearing that most readers consider the colouration in Super Cub to be indicative of Koguma being happy, but I will only confer partial credit for this answer. The colour changes indicate any moment of note for Koguma, and the observant viewer will very quickly realise that as Super Cub progresses, these moments become increasingly common and long-lasting. This simple detail speaks volumes about how far Koguma has come since the series started, and she’s really become more attuned to finding things around her to smile about.

  • With their task done, Koguma and Reiko soon learn that their good deed, born out of a wish to say “don’t underestimate my Cub!” to their classmates, has far reaching consequences in a positive direction. The sum of Reiko and Koguma’s experiences, however, do not in any way speak to what is possible with a Cub, but rather, conveys to viewers that an open mind is what makes memories precious. This is why I have no qualms in dismissing any complaints about product placement in Super Cub: the vehicles themselves are merely catalysts for accelerating growth within the characters.

  • As a result of having made their culture festival a total success, classmate Shii ends up treating Koguma and Reiko to coffee by way of saying thank, kicking off a new friendship. When Shii expresses a desire to ride one, Reiko is gung-ho and encourages Shii, while Koguma suggests that Shii should only do so when she’s ready. My speculations from the previous post thus came to pass: as a result of having watched slice-of-life anime for almost as long as I’ve been using Xcode, there are patterns and trends I can immediately pick out now (rather similarly to how certain exceptions and errors in Xcode cause me no alarm on account of how often I see them crop up and subsequently work out solutions for).

  • This is what I find to make my thoughts on anime standout and distinct from other dedicated slice-of-life bloggers out there: rather than merely reacting to how adorbs something is, I strive to also connect a character’s experiences and discoveries with relevant analogs from real life to make clear how, and why, a given slice-of-life work is successful in what it does. I am particularly fierce about defending slice-of-life anime as a result of the community reception to them when I’d gotten into the genre; back then, people insisted that such series were killing the industry and offered nothing of intellectual value, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I’d argue that a slice-of-life faithfully and consistently saying meaningful things about life hold considerably more value than some psychological-drama or socio-political series that incorrectly use real world models to reach a faulty conclusion.

  • This wouldn’t be the case if the series’ authors had properly researched the principles ahead of time, but if not done properly, attempting to fit a story into an incorrect interpretation of a model creates inconsistency. Slice-of-life don’t deal with this, and for this, I find them to be consistently solid even if they don’t aspire to push new boundaries for storytelling. Back in Super Cub, upon returning to the classroom, Koguma sees Shii in her element and realises that Shii’s small stature notwithstanding, she is a bundle of joy as vast as the summer skies. Her class’ event is clearly a success, and the classroom is transformed into a joyful café, an environment that Shii feels completely at home in.

  • From someone as clumsy as Koguma when it comes to speaking of others, this is very high praise indeed. Shii thus becomes closer to Koguma and Reiko, even joining them for lunch. Shii is voiced by Natsumi Hioka: like Yuki Yomichi, who plays Koguma, I’m not terribly familiar with Hioka’s previous roles. In spite of her size, Shii brings a great deal of personality into Super Cub: of everyone, she most resembles the conventional anime high school girl, being energetic, cheerful and ever-accommodating.

  • Shii ends up inviting Koguma and Reiko to her family’s café, a highly unusual establishment named BEURRE. Sporting a mixture of English and American décor, BEURRE also serves Italian and German breads, but has a French name. Discussions in some places immediately suggested that the café is meant to be a stab at Japan’s stances on multiculturalism or similar, but this is almost certainly untrue given the themes in Super Cub. If anything, the café’s distinct menu and décor indicates that there are unusual but notable establishments around, and those who venture off the beaten path will be rewarded. In this case, as Koguma sips her coffee, she’s glad to have met Shii.

  • The brisk autumn weather has Koguma and Reiko in search of gear to keep themselves warm while riding. The swing by a local store to check out handlebar warmers, and Reiko is very resistant to the idea of adding them to her bike on account of their tacky appearance. Instead, she takes an interest in some airsoft guns, prompting Koguma to haul her off. Now that I think about it, Reiko’s personality reminds me of my previous company’s founder, who was similarly outgoing, knowledgeable and excited about new stuff: Reiko remarks that she’s the sort of person who only wants the best and won’t hesitate to pick up something if she’ll have a use for it later, similar to the aforementioned founder.

  • Our dynamic was quite similar to that of Koguma and Reiko’s – whereas Reiko never settles for second best and always wants to try new stuff out, Koguma is more similar to myself, being a lot more conservative with her purchases and only buying something if she’s absolutely certain it will have utility in her life. Ironically, when she comes across a small rice tin meant for camping, she immediately picks it up and, aware of her own words to Reiko moments earlier, changes her mind about how their objective today had been to pick up this rice tin.

  • Eventually, Koguma and Reiko do end up picking up the handlebar warmers, which encase the handlebars with a mitten-like enclosure to keep the wind out. As Super Cub progressed, I began seeing more of myself in Koguma. Frugal and taciturn, Koguma is probably a more exaggerated of how I am in reality: around folks I don’t know, I tend to listen more than I talk, and I speak very bluntly. Of course, experience means I’ve gotten better at conveying my thoughts without stepping on toes, and speaking in a diplomatic fashion to be both honest, but mindful of the feelings of those in the conversation, too.

  • One day, while visiting BEURRE, Shii suddenly becomes uneasy and asks Koguma and Reiko to finish soon so that they can be on their way. When Shii’s father notes that there is no such dinner rush coming, it turns out that Shii is embarrassed about her mother, who’s of European origin. I imagine her mother’s preference for European dresses is probably a bit much. Reiko and Koguma naturally don’t find anything unusual about things, indicating that both are open-minded individuals.

  • Were there to be an equivalent of BEURRE in my area, I’d have no qualms checking it out; having grown up in a country where multiculturalism is not only the norm, but embraced, I’m accustomed to seeing a Peking Duck restaurant beside a Shawarma place, with a German shop across the street. Such a café would, however, impose a unique challenge for me: I’d struggle to pick something off their menu. Here, the distinction in interior décor is immediately apparent: a line can be seen down the floor, splitting the café into the British and American side.

  • In response to Koguma and Reiko meeting her mother, Shii can only pout in classic anime fashion. Shii’s expertise with brewing coffees and cappuccinos mirrors her own aspirations: like GochiUsa‘s Chino Kafuu, Shii aspires to be a barista one day and open a coffee shop of her own. While lacking a motorbike of her own at this point in time, Shii rides an Alex Moulton, a bike of English origin characterised by their small wheels and unique frame design.

  • When the handlebar warmers and work gloves prove inadequate, Koguma and Reiko must turn towards other means of keeping warm. Reiko is adamant about not resorting to use of a windscreen, while Koguma is more open-minded about the idea. However, owing to Reiko’s insistence, Koguma decides to explore other avenues of keeping warm while on a bike. In Yamanashi, having a car would be more than enough for a comfortable ride during the winter, but where I’m from, winters are bitterly cold, and during the coldest parts of the year, where it stays -30°C (-22°F) for up to four weeks at a time, even a car will take ten minutes to warm up to the point where the cabin is comfortable.

  • Conversely, yesterday, we hit our warmest day of the year yet; temperatures soared to 32°C (90°F), and we ended up cooling off with fresh watermelon. Compared to the extremities that characterises the arid Alberta foothills, Kofu’s temperatures aren’t quite as varied, but even then, when the thermometer hovers a few degrees above zero, the effects are noticeable: even with the caffè corretto (coffee with grappa, a brandy), the chill of a late autumn’s day is only just kept at bay. The anime is careful to warn viewers that only a small amount should be added. This marks the first time that Shii’s eaten lunch with Reiko and Koguma, but they swiftly welcome her to join them.

  • When Shii learns that Kuguma and Reiko are looking for something warm for winter, she figures she has something in mind. To speed things up, Reiko offers to take her along on her bike, but since this is Shii’s first time, she immediately feels that even at lower speeds, the world’s moving much too quickly. This isn’t a novel phenomenon: a decade earlier, forty kilometres per hour had been the speed I was most comfortable with as a new driver, but in the present day, I’m typically found at around ten kilometres per hour above the posted speed limit on major thoroughfares, save anywhere there are speed traps. A few days ago, a local law passed to fix the speed limit in residential roads lacking a median to forty kilometres per hour. I welcome this change, as it will make things safer for residents (and for the most part, residential roads are too narrow for higher speeds anyways).

  • It turns out the solution Shii has is a large wool cardigan made with a raw wool that’s only been given the minimum processing. The characters refer to it as abrasive wool, but I imagine this is a bit of wasei-eigo, since abrasive wool refers to steel wool, which is composed of stainless steel or bronze. Such a material, while a marvel of engineering and is an excellent scouring agent for cleaning tough surfaces, would naturally result in a most uncomfortable material as clothing. Conversely, the barely-processed wool cardigan proves warm enough for Koguma to accept it (I’d be happy to hear from folks familiar with tailoring to learn what the proper term is). However, no one in present company has the know-how of properly handling the cardigan, and the pressure doubles in the knowledge that it is made of a very high-grade material.

  • In the end, the girls race back to school and ask their home economics instructor to do it; she accepts since it’s to help her students, and because she’s excited about working with the wool, too. In the end, besides the liner for Koguma and stockings for Reiko, there’s enough leftover materials for Shii to get an adorable thermos cozy. The girls are all smiles, having brought new life into something that Shii otherwise would’ve only rarely had the chance to wear. It typifies Super Cub‘s messages about being creative: even on a limited budget or with constraints on resources, one can nonetheless find ways of achieving what they sought with an open mind and a willingness to adapt.

  • I again relate my story of having transformed an eight-year-old PC into a machine that will last at least another few years though a bit of elbow grease – the modifications I did to the operating system’s environment had prevented all updates and voided my EULA, and I’d hesitated to do a clean install on the virtue that I lacked the external media needed to back everything up and the original activation codes. With a bit of persistence and patience, I ended up finally making the jump from Windows 8 to Windows 10 (owing to how the update works, Windows 8.1 ended up being the shortest I’ve ever had an operating system for, totalling 15 minutes). It took a weekend to get my machine back up, but between the dramatically improved start times and the fact I’m now able to play Cold War, I am satisfied that my desktop should be okay for any DirectX 12-only titles.

  • The fact that Koguma’s jacket liner, Reiko’s stockings and Shii’s thermos cozy are made from the same source also serves as a wonderful symbol for the fact that while each of Koguma, Reiko and Shii might be different, they each share a common love for the Cub. Thus, when they look to their respective liner, stockings and cozy, the three are reminded of their friendship with one another, as well. For Koguma, the liner proves effective up to a certain point. The time has come for Reiko and Koguma to make a tough decision, and while they initially shake themselves out of it, the desire to ride their bikes even during the Yamanashi winter outweighs their original reservations.

  • The attachment Koguma and Reiko had been so reluctant to install was a windshield, which Rin had gratefully accepted from her grandfather ahead of her trip with the Outdoor Activities Club to Izu. Going from Reiko’s reactions, I would suppose that she’s displeased by the aesthetics, and this reminds me of a friend and coworker I worked with long ago – being an even bigger Apple fan than I am, he made it a point to never buy a case for his iPhones, arguing that the iPhone’s sublime aesthetics deserved to be shown in all its glory. While the iPhone is indeed an engineering and aesthetic marvel, I value utility over style and precisely make it a point to get a case whenever I upgrade.

  • In the end, Koguma and Reiko both cave and end up asking the clerk to order windshields compatible with their respective machines. I got the sense that Koguma had been interested in windshields, but simply lacked the funds to install them; it was only Reiko who opposed the idea on account of aesthetics. In the end, since Koguma goes for it and figures she could cut back on food costs, Reiko ends up picking up a windshield for her CT110, as well. Both get their windshields installed right away, in the parking lot of the shop, and in no time at all, the pair’s biked are road-ready.

  • Whereas Reiko has already been tinkering with her bikes for performance and utility, Koguma’s comparatively new to the process, but in spite of this, her Super Cub has seen several upgrades over Super Cub‘s run: after Koguma adds storage, she later changes out the engine and now, has a windshield as well. I’m no mechanic, but seeing Super Cub definitely helped me to appreciate why people are so fond of customising their vehicles and getting the absolute most of their ride. On my end, I completely lack mechanical skills to modify or upgrade a car, but being a computer enthusiast, I have no qualms about RAM and GPU installations, swapping out of hard disks and getting cooling solutions wired up. My old desktop was completely built with utility in mind, but for my next machine, I am considering a fancier case and LED lighting options, as well as dispensing with a CD drive and memory card reader in favour of additional hard drives.

  • With the windshield, Koguma realises that the bitterly cold Yamanashi breeze is no longer a concern. She pushes her Super Cub up to sixty kilometres per hour and marvels at how comfortable the ride is, recounting in a voice-over that the experience was magical, and how that day, they’d ridden long into the evening. Koguma’s world lights up and remains this way for the remainder of the episode. That these colourful moments are now more frequent and more long-lasting speaks volumes to how much Koguma’s outlook on life has changed. She remarks that her Cub has allowed her to speak up, speak with new people and do things that were previously thought to be out of reach.

  • I’ll wrap this post up with another landscape shot as Koguma rides back home under the evening skies. We are entering the last quarter of Super Cub now, and I’m excited to see where things wrap up. This time around, I’ll be doing things slightly differently – since I did not do a post for the first episode, I will return in two weeks to first write about the series leading up to the penultimate episode, and then quite separately, do a post after the finale’s aired. Having found that I can get these posts out in a timely fashion, I don’t expect that this will be too tricky to pull off. With this being said, I ask that readers be patient with me this month; I am expecting to write quite a bit about Black Ops: Cold War, since Higurashi: SOTSU begins airing in July, and Cold War‘s environments will allow me to talk about aspects of GOU in greater detail than would be appropriate for the standalone post I’ve got for GOU.

Shii’s addition to the cast creates a newfound dynamic among the cast – Shii is utterly in awe of Koguma and Reiko’s bikes, often looking to Koguma for answers where Reiko’s tendency to joke around or exaggerate leaves her in doubt. In Super Cub, Shii’s role is denoted by her diminutive stature: Koguma is taller than Shii, and Reiko is tallest of the three. Each character’s physical presence seems to correspond with their familiarity with the Cub, with Reiko being the most relaxed and experienced, and Shii being a novice. Koguma, then, stands in the middle; she’s still a learner, but has accumulated enough experience to impart her own knowledge on Shii, where Reiko might otherwise be irreverent or joking. As such, with Super Cub entering its final quarter, the story is beginning to speak of the same themes that Non Non Biyori: Nonstop covered; the passing of the torch and how everyone begins their journey differently means that learning is an infinitely varied experience, and towards the end of Super Cub, the series’ aims will be to show the sort of positive impact Koguma herself has on others through taking up riding – learning and teaching has made Koguma’s world more colourful, and while she might’ve started out with nothing, having an open mind will make everything that she sought within reach, bringing newfound warmth and colour into her world in ways that she’d never imagined possible prior to purchasing her Super Cub.

Super Cub: Review and Reflection At The Halfway Point

我在牆內 你在牆外
心雖剖宰 但信念仍在
冰結在外 火卻在內
我難忍耐 再沉苦海
想把冰山變改

–Anita Mui, 將冰山劈開 (1986)

Koguma accepts a courier job that sees her ferrying documents between her high school and another school in Kofu. She takes her bike in for maintanence, and later purchases a rain coat to keep dry during the wet Yamanashi summers. Later, Reiko invites Koguma over to check out her place, and Reiko shares with Koguma her summer: it turns out that Reiko had taken up a job surveying road work up the slopes of Mount Fuji, and, inspired by the fact that other Cubs had made the journey, attempts to do the same. The tough mountain trails end up destroying her bike, but undeterred, Reiko intends to buy a new bike. In the meantime, she suggests that Koguma go for her full motorcycle license and helps her to upgrade the Super Cub’s engine. When a school trip comes, Koguma is excited to attend, but develops a fever on the morning of the trip. She recovers and decides to catch up to her classmates, stopping at Mount Fuji’s fifth station along the way, and although she receives a reprimand for doing so, nonetheless is allowed to join the class. After sharing her day’s adventures with Reiko, Koguma and Reiko unwind for the evening, and the next morning, sneak off to ride together. Reiko remarks on how venerable Super Cubs are, and Koguma wishes that she could live in this moment forever with her Super Cub, hoping nothing will change. Here at Super Cub‘s halfway point, Koguma’s world begins to expand as she becomes more familiar with her bike. At its halfway point, Super Cub continues on with its gentle pacing, portraying Koguma’s experiences with great detail and finesse to convey to viewers how Koguma feels with every setback and its attendent discovery. This in turn really allows viewers to feel like they’re there with Koguma, rooting for her every step of the world and bringing her joys to life.

As she encounters new challenges and deals with them in turn, Koguma becomes more resilient, more capable of dealing with unexpected adversity. However, Super Cub warns viewers that Koguma is not to be complacent: while Reiko mentions that the world opens up with a bike, there are also some mountains that cannot be conquered, not without skill, experience, determination and the hardware to do so. While Koguma spends her summer delivering letters between two schools and gradually growing comfortable with her bike, Reiko had foolhardedly attempted to see how far she could take her bike. Unsurprisingly, the rough terrain and Reiko’s inexperience results in her bike being totalled, rendered inoperational. The sharp contrast between Koguma and Reiko’s summers is meant to show that even the means for conferring freedom and liberty have their limits. Some things simply can’t be conquered at one’s current level, and this particular barrier is only overcome with patience and the resolve to work out solutions. Koguma, demonstrates to viewers that she’s certainly aware of her limits, and while she’s much more open-minded, to the point where she creates new memories of her own when she decides to use her bike to catch up with her classmates’ outing, she also knows not to scale Mount Fuji; instead, she takes pride in being able to start the journey and begin seeing what’s possible. In this way, Super Cub suggests to viewers that a part of exploration means being mindful of what the limits are, and continue to grow and learn within these constraints until there is an appropriate time to step outside of one’s comfort zone and begin something new.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Right out of the gates, Super Cub‘s fourth episode had the more sophomoric viewers wondering why a job would just coincidentally line up with Koguma such that she’d be able to make some cash and occupy her otherwise idle summer days. The answer to why such a job would exist is absolutely and utterly irrelevant: the reason why Super Cub tips the scales in Koguma’s favour is so she’s not listless during the summer. A job gives Koguma focus, and with time, as she improves, she comes to look forwards to making the trip between her school and a nearby school.

  • I’m not going to name anyone, but seeing the same people griping about every bit of minutiae in Super Cub each and every week grows tiresome real fast. Slice-of-life anime in particular falls victim to this, with people taking to complaining about aesthetic decisions, lecturing the characters as though they were a concerned parent or qualified instructor, picking apart everything from how the process by which characters do things is somehow wrong, to why the rationale behind why they make certain decisions is supposedly unsound. I fail to see any worth in doing this: unless one’s intent was to prove how much smarter they were than the writers (and the efficacy of this is dubious at best), there’s no interesting discussion to be had by challenging the story at every turn.

  • I will leave this topic on the remark that those folks shouldn’t be watching slice-of-life anime at all if their objective is to try and show other viewers how much cleverer than the writers they are, but if such folks are around, it’s better to tune them out and pay them no mind. The whole point of slice-of-life anime is to present a process of learning, or to give an emphasis on the mundane, things that viewers might otherwise overlook or take for granted in their everyday lives. Why Koguma’s school just happens to have a posting of this sort doesn’t matter: the fact is that in taking up this job, Koguma is given a chance to see that with a bit of elbow grease, she can improve her financial situation.

  • At the beginning of Super Cub, Koguma had given the air of someone who is utterly defeated and resigned themselves to monotony. With her Cub, however, Koguma begins stepping out of her comfort zone, and although she still spends a fair bit of time with a downcast expression on her face, with her world lacking in colour, whenever she’s on her bike, Koguma feels at her happiest, removed from the worries of the world. Her first delivery to the other school in Kofu has her passing by a spirited girl (presumably on the track and field team), speaking to the gap between Koguma’s world and the world of someone who’s a great deal more active.

  • During one of her trips, Koguma gets rained on by a Yamanashi shower, leaving the other school’s teacher to wonder if she’ll be alright: Koguma looks as though she’s on the verge of tears herself after the delivery, and makes to buy a raincoat. The raincoat Koguma picks out costs 5980 Yen (66.45 CAD): while perhaps not as steep as the high-end rain coats (which can go for 200 CAD), this is about three days’ worth of income for her, but she wisely decides to make the purchase.

  • The point of this episode can therefore be seen as a reminder of how self-driven learning is highly effective, especially when one is given the freedom to do so at her own pace. This is how I learn best: everything that I know about iOS development and Swift was self-taught, and although there have been numerous situation where requirements means picking up a new SDK or API up quickly, I’ve now been around the block long enough to know how to approach a problem. Similarly, since Koguma is learning at her own pace, she is able to feel more in charge of a situation and handle things accordingly.

  • Thus, when the next time Koguma heads off on one of her deliveries and another shower appears, This time, she’s better prepared for the shower and pulls over to put her new raincoat on. Arriving at her destination dry, Koguma smiles warmly. It was especially rewarding to see the payoff in this segment of the episode: this is precisely why Super Cub went out of its way to write a job just for Koguma. I’ve long held that the take-away messages in a given anime far exceed realism, and progression can invoke a suspension of disbelief so long as there’s a valid contribution to character growth.

  • With her job, Koguma begins to accumulate the mileage on her bike. She takes it in for maintenance and an oil change, learning that she’s able to do the oil change for herself. While the parts are securely fitted, making it hard for Koguma to unscrew the cap to the oil line, she eventually manages to get the cap off, drains the oil and replaces it on her own. As Koguma does so, colour fills her world anew, speaking to the joys of learning to do things for oneself.

  • The constant shifts in colours in Super Cub speak volumes to Koguma’s feelings, but it also is a metaphor for how certain moments are more memorable, than others. The mundane moments in Super Cub are still coloured, but the saturation is much lower. This is meant to show that there is still life in Koguma’s world, but it is rather more unremarkable. The real world, after all, while decently colourful, isn’t saturated like a painting or HDR photograph would be. Then, especially special moments are vivid precisely because it’s memorable.

  • Use of colour in Super Cub stands in stark contrast with shows like Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?, Yuru Camp△ or Non Non Biyori, where the saturation is cranked up all the way and suggests that in such anime, it’s petal to the metal for conveying joy and energy. Super Cub chooses to show how life has both uneventful and exciting moments with its use of colour, and here, Koguma visits Reiko at her cabin. It marks the first time Koguma’s ever hung out with a friend, and the moment resembles something out of a nostalgic oil painting I might find at a mountain arts store, or perhaps the Western Oasis exhibition during the annual rodeo.

  • Reiko’s cabin is befitting of her style, being tidy and well-organised. That Reiko lives on her own suggests that she can be seen as a parallel to Koguma, although it soon becomes clear that for Reiko, the lifestyle that she leads is by choice rather than circumstance. She recounts that all her life, it felt as though something had been walling her in, and upon learning to ride, these walls finally fell away. Since then, Reiko had been pushing herself further to see what’s possible with her bike.

  • This is what gives the page quote for this talk: the lyrics are from Anita Mui’s “Kicking Icebergs Aside“, a 1986 song based off Sandra Ann Lauer’s In The Heat of the Night. While foreign language covers typically cannot capture the aesthetic of the original, Cantonese covers always seem to retain respect for the original while adding a new flair things, and I absolutely love Anita Mui’s songs. Back in Super Cub, having had nothing but basic curry rice and egg rice, Koguma decides to whip up okonomiyaki when sharing her first dinner with a friend: it is shown that Koguma can hold her own when it comes to cooking, suggesting that were it not for budgetary constraints, Koguma would eat a little better,

  • As Reiko and Koguma share dinner together, Reiko recounts her summer: like Koguma, Reiko had taken up a job with the aim of scaling Mount Fuji, having been inspired by folks who were brave and foolhardy enough to do so. This is that cryptic reply to Koguma’s question earlier, during which she replies she was going “somewhere near, yet far away”. Super Cub thus depicts what Reiko did during her summer, helping road crews with construction and using her bike to scout ahead. Reiko capitalises on this to see how far she can ascend on Mount Fuji.

  • However, each of her attempts fails: whether it be hitting extremely rough terrain or succumbing to altitude sickness, victory eludes Reiko. In spite of this, Reiko continues to push forwards, feeling that success would allow her to fulfil a promise of sorts to both herself and Koguma. As the summer wears on, Reiko draws closer and closer to her goal, but ultimately falls short during a particularly rough run. This last tumble proves too much for Reiko’s MD90, which is totalled in the process. While Reiko’s actions were meant to show how determination has its limits, and it is presumably the case that Reiko was probably exaggerating for Koguma’s sake, the fifth episode left some viewers a trifle disappointed.

  • These individuals argue that Reiko had no right in surviving falling off her bike with that frequency and not be hospitalised .Again, these complaints feel like complaining for complaining’s sake: while Reiko’s attempts to conquer Mount Fuji are a bit noisier than the typical atmosphere in Super Cub, it also offers insight into the sort of person that Reiko is. One of the crew on the construction team had indicated to Reiko that for some things, brute force won’t cut it. This is something that my martial arts club taught us: against physically potent opponents, one will not find it fruitful to resist their force, and instead, must flow with their force to create an opening.

  • This is something that is probably beyond Reiko, and while admirable, folks with a bit more maturity will immediately see the crew’s wisdom: Reiko is trying to square off against Mount Fuji with brute force, but per the crew’s words, Mount Fuji can be conquered differently. He means for Reiko to enjoy it in her own way, rather than trying to fight the mountain. Reiko’s the sort of person who never turns down a challenge, and while admirable, this can also be to her detriment, since she’s so focused on succeeding that she may fail to see alternative approaches.

  • Koguma’s Super Cub is apparently famous for its history, but par the course for such a series, the actual story behind it is more mundane. It turns out that of the previous owners, one drank himself to death, one moved after incurring debt that he could not easily repay, and the third simply sold after his license was revoked. Koguma’s Cub thus has zero fatalities, and is, by all definitions, a regular Super Cub that has found a loving owner. This wasn’t too surprising, since Super Cub isn’t that sort of series. I opted to downplay these stories initially, feeling them to be tertiary to the main themes in Super Cub.

  • Seeing Koguma’s desire to expand her own horizons, Reiko suggests that she go for her full license, which would allow her to operate a full-on motorcycle. Like Canada, engine displacement determines what a two-wheeled motor vehicle is classified as, and with summer drawing to a close, Koguma does indeed go for her full license and takes up Reiko’s offer of modifying her engine, which allows her Super Cub to maintain safe speeds on larger roads. With her engine improved, Koguma feels as though she could now go even further than before.

  • There is certainly joy about modifying and playing with one’s gear: while I’m no biker, I am a bit of a computing enthusiast, now that I think about it: a computing enthusist builds custom computers with hand-picked parts for the job. While the traditional enthusiast has no qualms dropping big bucks on high-end parts, I represent the a subtype interested in optimising performance and cost, choosing parts that do precisely what I need it to do extremely well. My current rig was built a smidgen over eight years ago, and while it is outclassed by even mid-range machines, the fact that it can keep up is because of the fact I’d built it to last, and periodically do modifications to ensure the machine stays powerful.

  • My update over to Windows 10 from a setup that had all of the user profiles redirected, and switching out my original GTX 660 SC for a GTX 1060 have greatly extended the life of my machine, and like Koguma, I immediately appreciate what a little resourcefulness can do for one’s experience. By the sixth episode, Koguma is greatly looking forwards to her class trip, but ends up falling ill. While she’s initially dejected after realising she’s recovered, Koguma recalls that with her Cub, anything is possible. She thus goes on a daring trip to catch up with her classmates: this is something the old Koguma never would’ve done.

  • Reiko is impressed that Koguma is taking such an initiative to make her own memories, and here, speaks with her while at Gotemba. If memory serves, it would’ve been four years since my trip to Japan. Heiwa Park in Gotemba was among the places I visited, and that morning had been gorgeous, save for a layer of cloud obscuring Mount Fuji. I’m not sure I visited the exact park that Reiko’s calling from, but I do remember heading to Lake Yamanaka for a yakiniku lunch, then swinging by Oshino Village and then heading up to the Fifth Station at Mount Fuji.

  • I only have a few photos from the Fifth Station, mainly because we didn’t stay too long here, and most of my time was spent getting photos of my family. It had been quite overcast at the Fifth Station, so it was tricky to actually get a close-up shot of Mount Fuji and the surrounding buildings, so I ended up checking out the shops instead. Yama no Susume also visited Mount Fuji during its second season, but owing to altitude sickness, Aoi had to stand down from her ascent. Kaede accompanies her while Hinata and Kokona ascend to the top. In the aftermath, Aoi falls into a depression, but rediscovers her love for hiking not long after. I’ve heard folks wishing for a Super Cub, Yama no Susume and Yuru Camp△ crossover on account of the fact that all three series now deal with mountains and the outdoors to some capacity.

  • However, I imagine that such a crossover will remain a concept at best, least of all for the fact that reconciling the artwork between the different series would be quite tricky. The smirk here on Koguma’s face was adorable: upon reaching the Fifth Station, she remarks that she’ll spare Mount Fuji and conquer it some other time. In these moments, hints of Koguma’s true personality comes out – far from being downcast and melancholy, Koguma can be confident and capable of looking forwards, as well. Her day’s trip has been quite relaxing thus far, and she makes excellent time, projecting that she’ll actually be able to rendezvous with her classmates earlier than expected.

  • Halfway into Super Cub, it becomes apparent that the soundtrack is of a fine calibre. I would’ve very much liked to have listened to it, but a little bit of investigation finds that it will release on August 25, which is a very long ways off. Tomohisa Ishikawa’s music for Super Cub is excellent, and while the anime is very quiet, strategic use of music, like the shifts in colour, really bring out the emotional tenour of a moment. To put things in perspective, Violet Evergarden: The Movie gets its home release on August 4, ARIA The CREPUSCOLO will release on August 18, and Kiniro Mosaic: Thank you!! premières on August 19.

  • With the extra time on her hands, Koguma decides to pull a Shimarin and heads for the coast to admire the ocean as the sun begins setting. Koguma subsequently heads back and pulls into the ryōkan‘s parking lot right as her classmates arrive. Reiko smiles in pride as their classmates express surprise that Koguma had the nerve to pull off such a stunt. The teachers immediately pull her and Reiko aside to reprimand them and decide to let the two off the hook. Of course, Koguma totally doesn’t regret anything, and decides to talk to Reiko in private about her eventful, enjoyable day.

  • In the quiet of the onsen, away from the teachers’ ears, Koguma shares her story with Reiko. She initially gives the impression that she’d climbed the whole of Mount Fuji, leaving Reiko quite skeptical, but Koguma reveals that she’d only reached the Fifth Station to try out her Super Cub’s new engine. Reiko is nonetheless pleased, happy that Koguma has really begun stretching her wings. After unwinding, Koguma heads for dinner, where she savours the sashimi the ryōkan serves for dinner. Her smile says it all: while she may be accustomed to a minimalist meal, Koguma has by no means lost her enjoyment for things in life, and in fact, the fact that more expensive, unique meals are uncommon for her makes them all the more special.

  • I had a very similar dinner at the Heritage Inn on my first night in Japan – the evening meal was exquisite, and absolutely delicious. The cuisine of Japan does feel like an ocean away now, and with restaurants returning to takeout-only, it does seem like an eternity before I can go grab some okonomiyaki or katsu. With this being said, I absolutely have no qualms about the restaurants I have ordered take-out from: earlier this week, we ended up picking up dinner from my favourite Cantonese restaurant in town, featuring classics such as sweet-and-sour pork, crispy chicken, stir-fried seafood vegetables, yi mein and authentic Hong Kong-style wor-wonton. I’d forgotten how good a properly-made wonton soup is: this restaurant’s wonton soup is excellent, including char siu, whole prawns, scallops, cuttlefish, chicken.

  • The next morning, Koguma and Reiko sneak away from their classmates to go on their own tour of the area. Reiko had secretly brought her own helmet, and what happens next is a pivotal moment in Super Cub: Koguma takes Reiko on a ride. While seemingly trivial, this moment captures the extent that Koguma has changed. While Reiko had been driving Koguma until now (in a metaphoric sense), that Koguma’s matured and learnt enough to give Reiko a ride signifies that Koguma is slowly, but surely, changing.

  • As Koguma and Reiko soar along the coastal highway, the colours are more saturated to mark this as another memorable moment in Super Cub. Unlike the winter drives of Yuru Camp△Super Cub‘s setting during the summer and early autumn means that Yamanashi and the surroundings are still verdant, creating a vastly different atmosphere than what is seen during the winter. The level of saturation here suggests a warm, but not uncomfortably hot day, perfect for taking the wheels out for a spin.

  • Whereas I started this post with a bit of a frown at how lacking most discussions on Super Cub out there are, I conclude with a smile on my face. The smiles of Super Cub are absolutely adorable, and it is perhaps unsurprising that Koguma’s name in kanji, 小熊, translates to “little bear”. I am very fond of bears, as they signify power, but there’s something about bear cubs that make my heart melt, and as a child, I loved watching Little Bear. With this post in the books, I’m now caught up on all my seasonal anime posts for the time being. I’ve been making progress in Kamisama ni Natta Hi, and I take back what I’d previously said about the anime. I’ll be looking to write about this one soon, and in the meantime, will be looking to wrap up both The Division 2‘s Mercury manhunt, as well as finish off a post for Modern Warfare 2: Remastered‘s second act and wrap up the third act.

With Super Cub halfway through, one major character still has yet to make an appearance. Reiko now’s become a familiar face in Koguma’s life, offering support and advice where required, and colouring Koguma’s life in a way that wouldn’t be otherwise possible. Slice-of-life anime typically introduce new characters to mix up the dynamic and drive new discoveries: at this point in Super Cub, Reiko’s become a friendly, familiar face to Koguma, acting as a mentor of sorts for Koguma. However, it would be valuable to have Koguma take the initiative and pass on her own experiences with confidence, as well. Such a dynamic would not work with Reiko simply because Reiko’s been biking for much longer than Koguma has: while Koguma mentions she was able to go up the side of Mount Fuji on her Super Cub, Reiko is immediately aware that Koguma’s trip would have been nowhere near as gruelling as her own. Conversely, with a novice, Koguma’s story could become the balance between adventurousness and safety, inspiring a new rider to explore more thoroughly. Super Cub has not disappointed in any area thus far, and it does feel like Koguma could stand to gain additional maturity as she shares her journey with someone besides Reiko. For now, however, Super Cub foreshadows this by having Koguma give Reiko a ride, which is a change in roles as Koguma is the one who’s got the initiative here. Unsurprisingly, I’m looking forwards to seeing what lies ahead for Super Cub: despite its quiet, contemplative mood, Super Cub is captivating and exciting in its own right. Something new lies around every corner, waiting for Koguma to find it, and with her warm smiles at every new discovery, Super Cub gives viewers plenty to look forwards to.

Super Cub: Review and Reflection After Three

“You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle.” –Dan Aykroyd

Koguma is a high school girl with no family, money or hobbies. Her life is a monotonous routine consisting of going to school and returning home. One day, having grown wearisome of struggling up the hill on her way to school, Koguma swings by a motorcycle shop and learns that the owner is selling a green Super Cub for a mere 10000 Yen. Despite the Super Cub’s checkered past, Koguma purchases the bike and secures her operator’s license. Eager to go for a ride, Koguma ends up stuck at the convenience store and learns that her bike’s run out of gas. She switches over to the reserve tank after consulting the manual and resolves to always keep an eye on her fuel levels. As Koguma begins riding more frequently, she encounters classmate Reiko, who rides a modified MD90. As Koguma gets to know Reiko better, she begins looking forwards to sharing lunch with her together, and learns that while Reiko is a model student and admired by all, Reiko’s yearning is to be out on the open road. One day, while discussing potential plans to tour the countryside on their bikes, Reiko realises that Koguma’s got no trunk-top case, and offers to help her get one, free of change. Koguma also learns that safety goggles from the local hardware store will do the trick for keeping the wind away from her eyes while riding. This is Super Cub, the season’s cathartic series that portrays a journey of discovery and exploration. Unsurprisingly, the premise of motorcycles and biking offers a chance to present the series’ themes in a highly visual manner: new horizons open up for Koguma when she purchases a Super Cub. Super Cub itself wastes no time making the change in her life felt. When viewers first meet Koguma, colours are washed out, and her world is as dead as a doorknob. The moment she boards the Super Cub, starts the engine and makes her way home for the first time, Hokuto, Yamanashi, suddenly takes on a newfound life, and the world comes to life.

Standing in stark contrast with most slice-of-life series I write about, which are characterised by rambunctious characters and humour at every turn, Super Cub is a very subdued, slow-paced anime. Koguma speaks infrequently, and her dialogue is characterised by a quiet, hesitant inflection. Indeed, Super Cub feels a great deal like Sketchbook, in which silence and distance are both utilised to encourage viewers to reflect on a moment. From lingering shots of the Super Cub’s engine and chassis, to Koguma’s smiles, Super Cub intends for viewers to really take in a moment and appreciate what’s going on. Further to this, the soundtrack is very minimal, and for the most part, Koguma’s world is quite faded when it comes to colour. The atmosphere is therefore perfect for introspection, and it becomes evident that after buying the Super Cub, Koguma’s world changes entirely. While she still lacks a family and money, the prospect of being able to come and go as she pleases opens her heart up, and she befriends a classmate who’s got a passion for bikes, extending her horizons even further. However, this journey will not be one of unbridled energy, of being pulled out of one’s comfort zone to push new boundaries. Instead, through its quiet aesthetic, Super Cub shows how people can, and will step past their boundaries at their own pace as they are comfortable. It therefore goes without saying that I am enjoying this series immensely, as it represents a departure from the noisier approach that other series take towards portraying tales of learning and living in the moment.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Koguma is Super Cub‘s protagonist, and in her own words, has nothing. Her life is remarkably austere, consisting of going to school and stopping by the grocery store for provisions. While her world is very drab, evidenced by the washed out colours, there is little to indicate that Koguma is necessarily unhappy: Koguma initially rides a bike to school, and she smiles along the way, showing that she enjoys things.

  • However, heading up the incline leading to her school always renders her exhausted, and one day, after one difficult uphill trip too many, Koguma decides it’s time to change things up. One of the biggest questions surrounding how things work for Koguma is finances: she leads a very frugal lifestyle and says that she has no money, but in spite of this, is able to consider buying a motorbike, which is shown to cost anywhere from 1800 to 12000 CAD at the local dealer. There is, fortunately, a simple answer: until official materials indicate otherwise, my guess is that Koguma lives apart from her other family, but they’ve agreed to give her a small stipend for necessities.

  • Because Koguma herself lives minimally, as seen with her choice of meals (rice with instant curry for lunch, and rice with egg for dinner), it is not inconceivable that she’s saved up quite a bit. As such, when the dealer offers her a Super Cub for 10000 Yen (about 115 CAD), she’s able to jump on the decision. The fact that this particular Super Cub seems cursed (having led its previous owners to fatal accidents) doesn’t dissuade Koguma in the least. The community was immediately up in arms over this, suggesting that Super Cub was going down a route inconsistent with its presentation.

  • I’ve opted not to enter the fray for myself: internet wars are always troublesome, and I’m a little too old to be dealing with that sort of thing. I will simply note that Koguma accepting the Super Cub anyways despite its checkered past shows that she’s ready to get into something new. She subsequently picks up her operator’s license and returns to the dealer ready to make her purchase. Koguma is shown as getting her license very quickly, but I am reminded of how quick it was to pick up the Class VII operator’s license back home: we only need to take a simple written exam and pass a basic vision screening.

  • Of course, owing to the way things work, we must wait for the provincial services to mail us our license card, and until then, use an interim license to operate a vehicle. Since takes no more than two weeks, but the intrim license, being a sheet of paper, is a pain to carry around. Koguma doesn’t appear to have that problem: after securing her license, she’s back at the shop, and ready to roll. The quiet nature of Super Cub and Koguma’s own personality always gave the impression that something unpleasant might befall her.

  • It ultimately took the full length of the first episode to dispel this sense in me. When Koguma ignites the Super Cub’s engine for the first time, her world is thrown into colour. That Koguma’s world was merely subdued, rather than monochrome, indicates that while she was never melancholy or depressed per se, her world was very monotonous, with little to look forwards to. The immediate splash of colour that livens up the scene speaks volumes to the idea of possibility, as Koguma’s world suddenly opens up to her. Haunted bike or not, this marks a turning point in her life, and suddenly, the girl who has nothing now has a Super Cub.

  • As though to reiterate and emphasise the idea that Koguma isn’t depressed in any way, she smiles often and warmly throughout Super Cub: whenever a moment catches her fancy, Koguma breaks out into a smile that is charming and infectious. I’ve come to greatly appreciate these moments, as they show that despite Koguma’s biting words about her situation, she’s still able to spot the joy in a moment, and has taken the very first step of finding happiness anew.

  • It should go without saying that the Honda Super Cub should not be confused with the Piper PA-18 Super Cub, a twin-seat, single-engine monoplane with forty years of history. Had Koguma picked up a Piper Super Cub instead of a Honda Super Cub, this anime would’ve likely been about a flying circus. For that, I still need to finish watching The Magnificent KotobukiSuper Cub is about bikes and open roads, so I imagine that this series is going to place an increased emphasis on the riding aspects of Rin’s adventures in Yuru Camp△.

  • The same night after she buys her Super Cub, Koguma is seized with a desire to suddenly go for a night ride, and decides to swing by the convenience store to explore her newfound freedom. However, she’s gripped with a terrifying situation when her Cub refuses to start. A customer leaving the store drops his change, and this reminds Koguma of the operator’s manual the dealer had placed in a box on her Super Cub. Upon consulting it, she learns that her Cub’s out of fuel, but has a reserve tank for such situations. Moments later, Koguma is back on the road, en route to the nearest gas station.

  • With a full tank, Koguma breathes a sigh of relief. I learned to fill a vehicle up long before I learnt to drive, and I recall that back then, fuel was less than a dollar a litre. Today, thanks to the federal carbon tax, it’s about 1.21 CAD/litre, and on average, I go through about 40 to 50 litres every two weeks. The carbon tax is one of the most maligned aspects of our current government, although I feel that a large part of it stems from poor communication about what the tax is intended to do. In practise, I’m largely neutral towards it – it’s had the effect of increasing the cost of gas, but on the flipside, the government issues all Canadians with a rebate. The idea is that those who use more carbon-emitting resources will pay for it, but those who are under a certain quota will get money back. Of course, I would prefer research be done on alternate energy sources on conjunction with policy, as policy alone doesn’t always address underlying causes of problems.

  • While Koguma’s world has expanded with her acquisition, things are about to become even more interesting. After arriving at school on her Super Cub for the first time, she contemplates announcing to the class that she’s got a bike. Koguma is voiced by Yuki Yomichi, a YouTuber and voice actress hailing from Hokkaido. With no other titles in her resume besides Super Cub, she’s completely new to the realm of voice acting, but as Koguma, she plays this shy, quiet character exceptionally well, capturing all of Koguma’s thoughts and feelings in a compelling manner.

  • During home economics class, Koguma begins working on a bag for her helmet and gloves. Quiet and reserved, Koguma’s classmates regard her as a bit unusual, and their words about her aren’t exactly kind, even if they’re not outright insults. Koguma typically ignores her classmates and pay them no mind, so their remarks don’t exactly bother her, but it did show what Koguma’s life at school is like. Her days of being alone, however, come to a close when her home economics project catches the attention of fellow classmate Reiko, who takes a keen interest in Koguma after learning that Koguma is a fellow biker.

  • Reiko is voiced by Ayaka Nanase, whom I know best as Sakura Quest‘s Yoshino Koharu and Hibike! Euphonium: Oath’s Finale‘s Mirei Suzuki. Reiko brings to mind Hibike! Euphonium‘s Asuka in manner and grace: both are vociferous and energetic. Studious, athletic and beautiful, Reiko comes from a well-off family. She’s the antithesis of Koguma in every way, being outgoing, friendly and cheerful, but despite the vast disparities in their personality, Koguma feels a connection to Reiko because of their shared interest in biking, rather similarly to how Rin and Nadeshiko came to be friends in spite of their opposite personalities.

  • Reiko rocks a modified MD90: the base motorcycle has a 50 cc engine and was extensively used by the US Postal service. However, since Reiko’s extensively modified her bike, its performance exceeds that of the stock model. As a dual-sport motorcycle, the CT110 is robust, being suitable for both urban and off-road usage. Besides an improved engine, Reiko’s also added a large metal box for carrying cargo to her bike, allowing her to bring gear for extended trips.

  • For Reiko, even just sitting on her bike gives her a sense of liberation, that the world is hers to explore, and this is why she begins to haul Koguma out to the bike shelter during lunch breaks; until now, Koguma had heated up her lunch and eaten in the classroom. Koguma’s choice of food mirrors her austere lifestyle, although I will note that I am similar to her in that most days, I have sandwiches and tea for lunch. I choose the sandwich for its ease of consumption, and the fact that I can have the major food groups in a convenient package without needing to microwave it. By comparison, Reiko’s eating a loaded ‘dog from the school’s canteen: I would hazard a guess that the colourful sandwich speaks to Reiko’s own outlook on life, being neatly packaged but full of excitement.

  • The events of Super Cub are set in Hokuto, Yamanashi: this town of forty-seven thousand was formed in 2004 from the merger of Hakushū, Nagasaka, Sutama, Takane and Mukawa. Mukawa is where Koguma lives and attends school: like Yuru Camp△, I imagine that a little bit of elbow grease with the Oculus Quest in the Mukawa area would allow me to find every spot seen in Super Cub with ease. With that being said, the locations seen now are quite unremarkable, and I imagine that as Super Cub progresses, there could be more exciting destinations to check out – for the time being, I have no plans to do location hunts for Super Cub just yet.

  • Since Super Cub makes it a point to portray Koguma preparing her meals, placing an emphasis on how aside from cooking the rice, her meals are usually heat-and-serve, I imagine that as Koguma presses on with her journey, she’ll also begin eating better, as well. One’s diet is often tied with their well-being, and folks who eat well (loosely defined as consuming the right variety, quality and quantity of foods) report better mental health on top of feeling better physically. Koguma’s meals give her just enough nutrients to get by, but I imagine that she’s not getting the most out of her food. Meeting Reiko likely will change this – while Reiko wonders if Koguma is actively enjoying her meals, the latter initially has no response.

  • I imagine that the choice of setting in Yamanashi was deliberate: the combination of decently-sized urban areas and remote mountain creates a sense of quiet that sets the tone for introspection. Here, Reiko stops at a viewpoint from which Mount Fuji is visible: the sight of Mount Fuji is what compelled Nadeshiko to bike all the way to Lake Motosu from Nambucho, and I imagine that this spot is probably Wada Mountain Path Miharashi Viewpoint, with Kofu being the town below. Assuming this to be true, Fuefuki Fruit Park is a mere nine kilometres to the east.

  • While there’s a homeliness about Koguma, her smiles are warm and sincere. Watching her light up like a Christmas tree was a large part of the appeal in Super Cub: small victories in her day serve to make an otherwise unremarkable day extraordinary, and it shows that, bit by bit, Koguma’s world is changing. What makes her journey especially noteworthy is that Koguma took the initiative to start something new herself – in most anime, it is usually at a friend’s urging or witnessing something special that the protagonist kicks off a new adventure. Meeting Rin leads Nadeshiko to camp, and watching the light music club play convinces Yui to join the light music club. However, there is no such catalyst here in Super Cub.

  • Because of this, Koguma is able to start her journey on her own terms, at her own pace. Everything that happens subsequently results from her taking these modest first steps forward, and as such, all of the learnings she makes will be the consequence of her own motivation. It’s a pleasant thought, to know that one can have such profound experiences whether they’re solo or with a group, and in Super Cub, Koguma’s becoming friends with Reiko is seen as the result of her willingly taking those first steps. When Reiko mentions the benefit of having a trunk-top case for her bike, she realises that she could probably get in touch with a contact who has a spare box lying around.

  • Before going to grab the trunk-top case, Reiko asks that they swing by the grocery store first and pick up some sweets: by habit, Koguma’s inclined to go without the bag, but Reiko steps in and states that Koguma will be taking the bag, too. I initially felt that this could introduce a bit of a challenge for Koguma, who doesn’t spend more than she has to, as well as suggesting that Reiko could be a bit pushy when the moment calls for it. Such a combination could be the setup for conflict, but I am quite happy to report that on this count, I was wrong.

  • As it turns out, the candies are a gift for the fellow who’s trying to get rid of an old bike, and as thanks for allowing them to take the trunk-top case, Koguma gifts him the candies. The moral of this is that judgement shouldn’t be passed on a character’s actions until after there is sufficient context. While I aim to write my blog posts with this in mind, when I’m watching a series for the first time, I am still susceptible to reacting to things in the moment. This is why I never live-Tweet my reactions to things – a reaction to a moment may prove inappropriate moments later, once the context is given, and the advantage of having a blog means being able to fairly assess everything that I see, without being unfair to the writers and characters.

  • There’s a certain satisfaction from doing things for oneself, and here, Reiko walks Koguma through removing the truck-top case from an old bike that’s being sold for scrap. Reiko contemplates salvaging the windshield, but this windshield has clearly seen better days; it’s become brittle from exposure and cracks when touched. However, the trunk-top case is in excellent condition, and in no time at all, Koguma manages to unscrew the screws holding it in. She and Reiko thank the fellow, return to school and installs the case on Koguma’s Super Cub.

  • As it turns out, one of the teachers had caught wind of the fact that Koguma had a Super Cub, and he happened to have a spare front basket for her. Koguma thus leaves school in possession of two new storage additions – Reiko notes that things can have a habit of just turning up in the moment and help people when they least expect it, and she’d personally had experiences where, tired of looking for a part, ended up buying it, only for someone to appear and say that they’ve got a lead or the part in hand. This speaks to life’s unpredictability and is Reiko’s way of suggesting that Koguma keep an open mind.

  • While riding home, Koguma decides to push her Cub up to an exhilarating 30 km/h (the speed for most playground zones), only to find that things become a lot colder. She discovers that her own helmet has mounts for a face shield after finding a QA inspection slip, and the next day, she asks Reiko about helmets. Reiko’s helmet is a more sophisticated one, and when Koguma inquires about the price, Reiko states that the price of a helmet is whatever price one places on their own safety. With this in mind, the fact that Koguma’s helmet passed QA is meant to be reassuring to viewers, that Koguma’s going to be fine, and is simply looking for a solution to keep the wind from her face.

  • Reiko decides to help Koguma look for face shields she can mount onto her existing helmet, but gets a little carried away in looking at various other helmets, which are outside of Koguma’s price range. Serendipitously, a contractor working on the library is wearing a pair of safety goggles, and when Koguma asks him whether or not those are rated for riding a motorcycle, the man replies that he’s seen people do so all the time. A good pair of bike goggles goes for anywhere from 40-80 CAD in my area, but with a bit of ingenuity and open-mindedness, Koguma works out an alternate solution that works for her price range.

  • She thus sets off for the local hardware store and picks up safety googles for a comparatively inexpensive 12 CAD, along with a bike chain to assure her bike’s safety while unattended. With this, Koguma is able to now visit a wider range of places without worrying about the wind getting in her eyes, or her bike being stolen. The stage is therefore set for adventure, which I imagine that Super Cub will focus on in the coming episodes. I have plans to write about this series: since I’m now back to a regular work schedule, I can’t guarantee I’ll be anywhere as efficient as I had been with Yuru Camp△ last season, but I will try to be consistent and see about offering unique insights.

  • With the goggles, 30 km/h suddenly doesn’t seem too fast anymore, and this moment signifies how Koguma’s slowly learning to run after mastering the art of walking. Able to travel faster now, Koguma hits the accelerator with a grin on her face. Being able to travel faster changes everything, and although Koguma still isn’t hitting the same speeds as a car, she’ll at least be able to keep up on a longer road trip with those she travel with.

  • The third episode concludes with Reiko giving Koguma her phone number, allowing the two to stay in touch more easily. This single act sets Koguma thinking, that in this moment, she’s made more than just a friend; she’s now become closer to someone who shares her interests and has a contact in her, someone she can ask for help from and share concerns with. This is a watershed moment in Super Cub, as Koguma now has someone to really share in her hobby with. Her path is no longer one of loneliness, and the stage is set for increasingly exciting experiences now.

  • With the first three episodes in the books, I’m definitely enjoying Super Cub – I’ve made it a point to, each and every anime season, watch at least one series that is a slice-of-life about self-discovery and open-mindedness. This season, I’ve also got Yakunara Mug Cup mo on my plate as well, although because this series has half-length episodes, I’ve opted to go with a similar setup as I did with World Witches: Take Off! – one talk at the halfway point, and the one more talk when the series is done. I’m also watching Higehiro and 86 EIGHTY SIX for this season, and on the manga front, my copies of Harukana Receive‘s sixth and seventh volumes have arrived, so I will be starting that party shortly. Finally, on account of an unprecedented sale, I decided to buy Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Modern Warfare 2: Remastered. Both games have been on my radar for some time, and I rather look forwards to starting those, as well. With the latter, it means I’ll finally have played all three of the original Modern Warfare titles.

Three episodes in, Koguma’s journey begins slowly but steadily; Super Cub‘s made clear its objectives, and as the series continues, viewers will see what lies ahead for Koguma as she reaches further as a result of a fateful choice to take a step forward and do something different. Unlike most series, where fateful encounters spur characters out of their routine, Super Cub is unique in that Koguma takes the lead in trying a new activity, and for it, opens up her world of her own accord. This is a valuable and legitimate message, since there certainly are folks who are self-starters and end up instigating their own journeys. Regardless of whether one’s own curiosity sets them down this path, or if others catalyse this, the outcomes are inevitably the same: an open mind for hitherto untried experiences is how meaningful memories are created. The gentle pacing and style in Super Cub precludes any sort of conflict or drama, so I anticipate that the anime will incrementally build up Koguma’s riding skill, the knowledge she has surrounding bikes, and the scope of her adventures. Koguma’s experiences do remind me of when I’d first learnt to drive a decade earlier. Back then, 40 km/h was too fast for me, and I’d be exhausted just from covering the distance between home and campus. Today, driving is as intuitive and natural as whipping up a ham and cheese omelette or setting up a single-view iOS app from scratch. It therefore stands to reason that as Koguma learns more about her Super Cub and becomes more confident, her world will continue to become increasingly colourful, joyful and meaningful.