This episode starts out with Ami talking about being interested in a road bike and getting a pretty good run-down on the different kinds of bikes from Hinako. You do want a different kind of bike to suit your needs, and it may have taken four episodes (or what seems to be around 4 months based on the fact that the first episode would have been in April and I’ve seen an August date on a calendar in the previous episode) for Ami to figure it out, but her folding bike while great for a short commute, is not so good for the distance cycling she’s interested in doing with her friends.
Ami goes to Alpaca Cycle (I wish there was a bike shop called Alpaca Cycle near me), and picks out a road bike which she’d like to get. It looks much more suitable than Ponta-kun for what she’s been doing! I can’t ID the brand and model on this one, but I have no doubt it’s also based on a real bike.
I do notice the absence of pedals though. I hope that no-one talks Ami into getting cycling cleats. For the uninitiated, cleats mean that instead of having a large pedal that you put your foot down on, you have a small clip matched with a small clip in your shoe, which can give you more power as your feet are on the pedal for the full revolution and don’t slide around, but there’s also a bit of a learning curve and you will probably fall over the first few times you use them! (I’ve never tried cleats myself but my dad has some funny stories from when he started using them) As Ami is pretty clumsy, I can just imagine her repeatedly having the bike fall on top of her in slow motion. That could possibly a little amusing for us as the viewers (and possibly Hinako, I still don’t trust her), but it would be really uncomfortable for Ami. I don’t think that I’ve seen the other girls using cleats so maybe they’re not a priority?
Also, I checked the credits and the girl who works at Alpaca cycle is actually credited as Paca-san. Does she not have an identity outside of work? Did her parents actually name her Paca and that improved her employment chances? We may never know.
Disappointingly, this is all the bike-related stuff that we get from this episode. We do get to meet Hinako’s family, who run a Chinese restaurant. We don’t get much of a feel for their personality, but I can see that Hinako looks a lot like her mother. Also, why is she the only one who is wearing Chinese-style clothing at the restaurant? Do her parents not help with the table service as well if needed? Is her mother a bigger tease than Hinako herself? Maybe I’ll go with the last option.
Stopping to comment on food, because that’s one of the best parts of any show. The gyoza look great! Although if it’s a Chinese restaurant, maybe they’re not gyoza? They’re some kind of pan-fried dumpling. Although there’s not much cycling this episode, at least Ami’s food doesn’t disappoint.
Of course, money to get bikes doesn’t grow on trees, and Ami is hoping to get some additional funds on top of her current part-time job. Luckily one of her work colleagues has suggested somewhere she could get some extra work.
Because she’s vague about it, her friends decide to follow her to work and discover that she’s been picking up extra work in a Maid Cafe. That’s definitely an embarrassing job, but it would pay more than her regular serving job. Is it worth it? I guess that’s up to Ami and if she can live down the embarrassment of having her friends find out about it.
I feel like this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting from the series. While the preview did suggest that there would be some general slice-of-life elements in the show, there’s been a fair bit of cycling in all the previous weeks which has been fascinating and combined my interests of cycling and anime. I’m hoping that future episodes with intersperse the everyday life events with more riding!
Unfortunately, this show seems to be cursed with production issues, and it’s been announced that there will be a delay of one week on episode 5. As a studio Actas seems to have a poor track record with getting shows out in a timely fashion, and so I won’t have any show to watch or write about next week. This is disappointing! I hope that Actas gets everything sorted so I can have uninterrupted girls doing cycling.