Imaizumi, intrigued and more than a little annoyed by Onoda’s seemingly effortless mastery of climbing the steepest of hills on a completely POS bike, challenges our hero to a race. With a special incentive to sweeten the deal.
And so this brings us to the first “conflict” of the story. Already you can feel the seeds of a certain dynamic being planted that will define the relationship between these two characters. Or will it?
And thus, as if we had any doubt before, we have a full-fledged shonen series on our hands. Is the idea of “genre” in anime and manga defined by age and sex of the principle characters (or by the age- and sex-specific experiences they go through)? Well, that’s often the case, so it’s tempting to see that as a hard and fast rule. But the demographics of the readership/audience also plays a big role in determining what’s labeled as shonen, shoujo, seinen, etc. In reality, it’s probably a combination of the content of the story and the make-up of the audience that decides which of these genres a title will get pigeonholed into. As if any of that really matters, all things considered (genre is, quite often, a meaningless signifier that discourages original thought and narrows the scope of what kind of stories a person will even consider reading at all). A good story is a good story, no matter who it’s about or who it’s “aimed” at, which means less to audiences of a geeky-persuasion today than ever before.
What I like about Yowamushi Pedal so far (among other things) is that our protagonist is an actual underdog, one whose abilities are certainly promising, but are untested and certainly not strong enough to instantly place him in the upper tiers of “strength” compared to the other characters of his world. His natural talents for bicycle riding — not to be confused with bicycle racing — definitely give him a lot of potential to improve. Maybe this will be the focus of the rest of the story? We’ll certainly see.
I should mention that I have watched the debut episode of Yowamushi Pedal (aka YowaPedal?) and I definitely do have thoughts on it, but I plan on blogging a few more chapters first and watching more than one episode before attempting to compare the two. I definitely wish that I’d found this series sooner, since I don’t want to get caught up in the constant temptation to simply compare the manga to the anime as it’s airing, or to read and blog the manga at a pace that stays ahead of the story as it’s being told from week to week on television. Heck, will I even want to continue blogging the manga as long as the animated series is being aired? I’m interested in both, but that might make for a lot of redundant content on this blog. I guess this is all a long-winded way of saying that I have no idea how I’ll continue to approach blogging about this series, but I’m confident that I will continue to in one way or another.