Over Drive should be boring. A sports anime about… cycling? There should be no way for it to be exciting, but yet it is. In fact, I would dare to say that anime about slower sports have the ability to actually be better than faster paced ones, such as football. Since they are so slow and tactical, every moment counts and the key moments are more exciting due to them being so few. But of course, this is just me and it cannot be applied to everything.
The best part about Over Drive is that it is not your average shounen sports anime in every aspect. Our main character, Mikoto Shinozaki (voiced by Yuki Kaji who has been appearing in pretty much every anime I watch lately), is not a bicycle genius. Truth is, he is far from good and is actually the worst member in his team. So when the team enters a big race, it is bound to be interesting.
Bicycle racing actually have a lot strategy involved, which I learned from the show. You have to consider the wind, when to push, psyche the opponents, hill climbing and a lot more. So when the big race starts in episode 11 and ends in episode 25, you are completely sucked into it. We learn each character’s background story, cheer for them when they are doing badly… sometimes I felt like this was the sports equivalent to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It is so exciting and full of special moments that make you feel the heat.
Not everything is great though, as the beginning is very dull which almost made me drop it and a few moments during the big race made me cringe. Another bicycle anime that is not a shounen could be pretty awesome if you ask me. It could develop the characters even further and create interesting love stories and other dramatic stuff. I want one now! Or at least a second season of Over Drive would be nice.
What I never understood though, or will understand, is one “what the heck”-moment during episode 23, the climax of the race. When it is as most thrilling and reaching the end of the race, it switches over to some odd part about the “ABC of Love”. I will never understand why. Out of every possible way the creators could have dragged out the climax to make it an episode cliffhanger, they chose to insert… this. What the hell. Seriously, what is this?
It is definitely one of my weirdest moments in anime this year.