Anime: Over Drive

Sports anime has to be one of my favourite genres, I love being sucked into the atmosphere of the competition. Over Drive is no different. Although it starts off with Shinozaki Mikoto already in the tour de france, the anime goes back to his beginnings. How he got introduced into the world of bicycles, how he learnt to ride a bike and the friends and rivals he met along the way. A large part of the anime is based solely on one race, a VERY long race. I think almost half the anime was dedicated to the race, which could be boring, but it isn’t. Because the world of cycling is VERY exciting!

Shinozaki Mikoto is your typical main character (slow and stupid, always getting bullied), he has never touched a bicycle before, and yet through the anime you see how he trains hard at it, how he learns to ride it and eventually win something on it. It seems ridiculous, and believe me, him being able to win after only a month IS ridiculous, but the thing I liked most about this anime were the characters. I loved how Mikoto pushed himself because of the friends/rivals he had. I loved how they spurred him on and most of all I loved how he fell in love with cycling and how passionate he was about it.

Passion defines every sports anime, if there’s no passion there would be nothing. The passion for cycling really shines through in all the characters. Although they spent a lot of time on the race, I liked the part where they took time to see what had happened in each contestants’ life before the race, I loved the part where they asked why they were cycling and what a bicycle was to them. It was these small in between moments that captured what the race meant to the characters and made the race itself so much more meaningful. These flash backs and moments were really what made the anime different and special.

The atmosphere was well conveyed in both the animation and the music, which is crucial for a sports anime. There were funny parts as well, although I’m not sure what the love ABC thing was about. All in all, Over Drive is a good sports anime, not unlike Eyeshield 21 which is still my personal favourite. Over Drive is not perfect, besides the ridiculous plot point, the characters outside of racing are slightly weird and a bit perverted. I didn’t like the female characters much, especially Yuki. The anime also delved into area of fitting in (because the characters were all a bit strange) and change, it was a bit forced, especially in the female characters. But, it was based whilst the characters were in high school, so what can I say?

It captures the passion for the sport, it gets your heart racing and adrenaline pumping and it makes you realize that a lot of hard work goes into every winner. Hard work and lots of determination. An interesting anime that’s worth watching.

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