Rin is moving to Tokyo with the dream of following in her late mother’s footsteps and becoming a jet racer. Unfortunately, when she gets there, she finds out her school doesn’t have a jet racing club… Lots to do!
Kandagawa Jet Girls (Season One)
What did you watch?
I remember spotting this series back when it first aired and immediately planned on watching it. Unfortunately, it went to HiDive, one of the few services I don’t have, so I put it to one side and kind of forgot about it, especially as no one else seemed to talk about it. Then, HiDive had a special at Christmas where I got an annual subscription for half-price, which was a steal and there it was, begging me to watch it. And who am I to say no to a series about jet girls? Anyhow, I watched it and this is what I thought.
Rin’s mother was a successful jet racer who she idolised. So much so that she was prepared to move away to follow her dream of becoming a jet racer herself. Arriving in the big city, Rin was caught up in the glamour and had her bag snatched. Luckily, the robber ran into a girl sitting on a bench who scared the life out of him and gave Rin her bag back. The two girls went their separate ways, but little did they know that their lives would soon be pulled together like a zipper on a wetsuit.
When Rin arrived at her new dorm, she discovered that the girl on the bridge, Misa was also her new roommate. The next day, Rin found Misa fishing on the Kandagawa and tried to talk to her. They were unceremoniously told to clear out when another group of girls arrived there. Rin didn’t like the way they spoke to them and ended up challenging them to a jet race. Luckily, Misa had a history in jet racing and would serve as her shooter. It turned out they were up against the most promising young pair of jet racers in Tokyo. They lost, but it was enough to make Rin register a club with the student council.
What did you think?
I’m sure you know what I’m going to say here… That’s right, I loved it. Firstly, let’s talk about the sport of jet racing. It’s basically racing on a river with jet skis, however, these jet skis have a number of variations to the common jet ski. There are two riders to start with – a jetter and a shooter. The jetter pilots the jet ski while the shooter has a water gun and shoots at the opponents in the hopes of hitting the targets on their jet ski and cutting their power. This is a completely brilliant and utterly bonkers sport. In short, it was a lot of fun to watch.
However, there was more to this series than a great sport and lots of standard sports anime tropes. It had character. Lots of character. All of the different teams that Rin and Misa encountered were wildly different and also lots of fun. The best thing about this series was the relationship between Rin and Misa. Spoiler alert, they become a couple. It was so well done that I was completely sold on them falling in love with one another and the progression through the series was amazing. They had so much character development that it puts other shows to shame, and they don’t have a sport like jet racing to fall back on either.
What was your favourite moment?
Rin and Misa started out pretty much at square one. Misa may have been an accomplished shooter at one point, but she had given up and chosen a school without a jet racing program on purpose. Rin may have been enthusiastic, but she lacked the experience and all she had to go on was her mother’s old races. As such, they needed to grow as individuals and as a team. The episodes followed a pretty consistent formula for a little while which saw them get into a dispute with someone and have to settle that dispute with a race. Some they won, some they lost, but every time they learnt something.
Then, they met Yuzu and Manatsu, a Gyaru racing team. Just when you were expecting them to have to settle things with a race, they ended up at an artificial beach resort playing all manner of games. It was a nice switch but still managed to develop the characters. For a series that seemed to go off on tangents a lot, there was hardly any filler.
However, there was a moment before Yuzu and Manatsu that left me crying with laughter. Rin and Misa were having lunch with two American girls, Emily and Jennifer. The cafe was situated beneath a rail line, so whenever a train went overhead, the cafe shook. There was a dispute about a key chain that escalated into a jet race. Before that point, there was a serious stare off between the girls and then a train rolled overhead. The camera switched between girls as they stared at one another, everything else wobbling and jiggling. It was insane!
What was your least favourite moment?
So, I mentioned earlier that Rin and Misa end up together and that was great. I can’t explain exactly why, but I do find myself enjoying a good yuri romance. Unfortunately, someone was determined to spoil the moment. In a show with bouncing boobs, exploding wetsuits, and a fair amount of nudity, two girls kissing was too far! So, all we got was a pair of feet. The way these characters developed and discovered their feelings for one another was a highlight of the series. They deserved so much more than this.
Who was your favourite character?
From the promo images, I was sure that it would be Emily Orange, one of the Japan-loving American transfer students. However, there was also Yuzu and Manatsu. They were amazing characters who absolutely lit up the screen whenever they were on. In fact, I loved most of the characters. There was one that I felt the closest to and that was Misa. She was this tough tomboy type of character who came across as confident and scary, but she was also shy and reserved. She grew so much from her time with Rin and it was a delight to watch. It wasn’t all easy, but that made the ending that much more satisfying.
Who was your least favourite character?
There were two characters that I generally didn’t like and while they were fine, I don’t think they really added anything to the show. I am talking about the idol jet racers, Dina and Ziyu Pan. They were annoying and came across as quite spoilt and entitled. The series also went out of its way to show us them getting flustered while playing beach volleyball against Rin and Misa, but then didn’t do anything with it.
Would you like some more?
I would love some more, however, I believe that it is unlikely that a second season will appear. The series is based on a video game and features several of the characters in both. If I’m to spend any more time with these girls, that seems to be the most likely spot. However, I will add this to my list of comfort anime that I can call on whenever I need a little pick me up. I really enjoyed the series and would absolutely recommend it to anyone that enjoys sports anime. There is a fair amount of fan service, so if that’s your thing, you’ve no reason to wait any longer.
What have you learnt?
As much as I enjoy shows with fan service, I enjoy them that much more when they have a clear story and interesting characters. By interesting, I mean more than just their looks or design. All the characters in this series had vivid personalities and that was fully bought into by the voice actors. Now, the story was fairly straightforward and if you’ve seen one sports anime, you’ll be able to guess what happens. However, it’s done well.
Sometimes, a straightforward plot and standard characters are all you need. As long as the story has life and the characters feel like characters, there’s no reason you can’t incorporate the tropes. Get as many in as you want, just make me care about what happens to the characters and I am sold. Throw in a scene like the one with the cafe under the train tracks and I will guarantee that you get my full attention. Being able to make fun of yourself is a quality that is often missing in stories.
Other Posts in the Series
- Season One
- Episode 1 – The Kandagawa is Calling
- Episode 2 – The Ace’s Pride
- Episode 3 – Country comes to Town
- Episode 4 – My Favorite
- Episode 5 – Pop Idol Racers
- Episode 6 – What they Lack
- Episode 7 – Why they Race
- Episode 8 – The Great Nyu-Nyu
- Episode 9 – The 180 Jetter
- Episode 10 – A Summer Gig Receive
- Episode 11 – Rin Goes Home
- Episode 12 – Our Jet Race
Kandagawa Jet Girls Blu-ray – $52.49
from: Right Stuf, Inc.