I’ve got the power of god and anime on my side

I’m at the age where it’s starting to get a little weird that I like anime. Sure, there’s nobody around me who would be openly judgmental, and some may even helpfully insert that they ‘used to watch Avatar/Naruto’. Beyond the big names like Death Note or One Piece, it’s incredibly awkward to tell someone you’re an anime fan.

One of my favourite animes is about cycling — though I used to be an avid sports person, the most contact I’ve had with a bicycle was when Ofo bikes were a thing. If you were to ask me to describe the charm of this so-called favourite of mine, I find it hard to begin.

The anime spans a total of 112 episodes across 4 seasons. The art style is … unique (read: wacky). I chuckled audibly when one of their classmates in the background exclaimed “Two hotties are talking to each other!” because their looks are far from that of the conventionally attractive anime protagonists. The characters partake in a three day long cycling competition called Inter High, much like the National games we have between schools here. The anime is painfully slow, with a sprint to the finish line lasting 2 episodes. Most of the time the camera cuts between the pained expression of the cyclist and the road in front of them, which shows nothing more than gravel.

And that is exactly the charm of this anime. Almost all animes give their characters compelling backstories that makes you torn between rooting for the protagonists, and rooting for their opponents. In fact, in Yowapedal, I would go as far as to say that the opponents have a far more compelling story. There’s the boy who was so feeble he would regularly miss school but discovered cycling and cycles purely out of the joy he feels when he reaches the summit — his speciality lies in his ability to read the wind. There’s the main antagonist who would cycle 2 hours daily during his summer breaks to visit his mother in the hospital, and became so jaded after her death he would lie, cheat and deceive just to ensure victory. There are many other opponents the anime focuses on, I could go on. So if the story of our protagonists pale in comparison, what makes the decision so hard? Just root for the others with richer storylines then.

The magic lies in the spirit of our main team. Compare an individual’s past with an opponent’s, and you’ll favour the opponents. But during a road race, you’ll find yourself always, always cheering for our protagonists. Even when they behave so idiotically you can’t help but hate them, you’ll still find yourself relieved when they come out victorious. The team spirit is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and it touches me deep in my heart.

What I like most about this anime is the fact that it makes me reflect on myself. It helps me see the beauty in everyday life. Everyone is a worthy opponent. If you face an obstacle, find a way past it. Grow.

We’re all fighting for a better future, and our spirit? My god, is it beautiful.

i have too much time :’(