REVIEW: ‘Super Cub,’ Episode 1 – “The Girl with Nothing”

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Super Cub Episode 1

Spring 20201’s Super Cub is a Studio KAI production. Studio KAI is known for loads of anime, including Winter  2021’s Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Season 2. They also did work on Winter 2021’s Wonder Egg Priority. Super Cub is directed by Fujii Toshiro, with series composition by Nemoto ToshizoAdditionally, Super Cub’s music is done by Ishikawa Tomohisa (Kite Liberator) and ZAQ (Please tell me! Galko-chan), with character design by Imanishi Toru (Cannon Busters). Finally, Sue Nobuhito will be serving as the series’ art director, with editing by Saito Akari.

Now, let’s get right into the mix with Super Cub’s summary. Koguma is a high school girl living in Yamanashi Prefecture, which is known for Mount Fuji, and…not much else, at least to her. You see, Koguma has nothing in her life: no parents, no friends, and definitely no hobbies. That is, until she gets a used–but somewhat fraught–Honda Super Cub motorcycle that she quickly finds life changing.

In Super Cub Episode 1, “The Girl with Nothing”, we meet Koguma, a girl who’s immediately marked by her loneliness. The area of Japan she inhabits is empty, devoid of human life, at least for her. Even the apartment she lives in is sterile, with no personal touches outside of her textbooks and school things. There’s basic things, but there’s no personalization to any part of her life. Safe to say Koguma is…kind of just existing in Hokuto City, which she calls home.

And initially, that seems to be the only depth Koguma has. She doesn’t talk to anyone outside of herself, and doesn’t even speak to another person until near the middle of Super Cub Episode 1. She doesn’t speak with her classmates, travels to and from school alone, and just…kind of has this interestingly somber way that she moves through the world. Granted, the kid clearly has it hard, and Super Cub Episode 1 painstakingly illustrates all of that loneliness by dropping the music and just letting viewers sit with Koguma as she moves through the gorgeously animated world.

Then, Koguma heads to a motorcycle shop and finds her world opening up the moment she sits on a heavily discounted bike. Color seems to return to her small, lonesome world, in the most beautiful way. Thus, we have the basis for Super Cub Episode 1, as well as the central throughline for the show.

Super Cub Episode 1 is beautifully scored with lots of sharp, atmospheric sounds. It was easy to lose myself in the sounds of rural Japan, something that is personally quite nostalgic for me. There’s the hum of cicadas, the sound of a single speed bicycle that needs a bit of oil, the huff of a tired high school student as she bikes uphill. It’s all really effective at setting up Koguma’s characterization.

Like I said, Koguma is a very lonely girl. She exists in near solitude, save for being around her classmates, who don’t talk to her, and the mechanic-slash-owner of the motorcycle shop where she gets her titular Super Cub from. It’s fascinating to have a character like her who’s distinctly lonesome. I found that aspect of Koguma to be intensely relatable. After all, high school is frequently a lonely time for many people.

Additionally, Super Cub Episode 1 is downright beautiful. The animation is crisp, even for simple things like liquid being poured into a glass, or Koguma scoping up fresh rice for her meal. Often, the music drops out completely, filling the scene with the sound of students or everyday white noise. Really, there’s lots of attention to the small details here, which feels integral to the story that Super Cub is trying to tell. I hope that we’ll continue to see this standard of quality going ahead.

It’s hard to find something bad to say about Super Cub Episode 1. The pacing was superb, feeding us tidbits of Koguma’s life in dribs and drabs through atmospheric scenes and peeks into her life. For a character steeped in intensely relatable loneliness, this was the best way to introduce us to Koguma and Hokuto City, as well as the quiet solitude she exists in. Ultimately, Super Cub Episode 1’s slow, unwinding story delivered a wallop of a premier, hinting at depths that I hope we’ll see in following episodes.

All in all, Super Cub Episode 1 is a brilliant opening for a deeply introspective show. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a premiere since Fall 2020’s Akudama Drive. I have very high hopes for Super Cub, and look forward to seeing Koguma’s world open up over the season. Hopefully, she’ll even get some friends as she learns how to ride her new motorbike. I’d really love to see Koguma’s life change for the better.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Super Cub keeps this pace and becomes one of the strongest of the Spring season. I know I’m rooting for it to be one of this season’s best, and maybe, even one of the best anime of 2021.

Super Cub is streaming now on Funimation.

 

Super Cub Episode 1 - “The Girl with Nothing”
  • 9.5/10
    Rating - 9.5/10
9.5/10

TL;DR

I wouldn’t be surprised if Super Cub keeps this pace and becomes one of the strongest of the Spring season. I know I’m rooting for it to be one of this season’s best, and maybe, even one of the best anime of 2021.