I end up spoiling the ending to this OVA just below these first pics, and so if Nasu is on your list then maybe read no further! Otherwise, I’m going to mention probably my fav part about this cycling drama, which is something that happens at the end.
Nasu: Summer in Andalusia (Nasu: Andarushia no Natsu) 2003
Nasu follows pro cyclist Pepe over the course of a single race on the day his older brother marries his ex.
The narrative describes this as Angel having ‘stolen’ Carmen, though she seems perfectly happy – but what I enjoyed was the fact that at the end of the anime Pepe obviously hasn’t forgiven either of them.
Is it petty of him? Warranted maybe?
I can’t decide, because in the OVA I suspect we don’t get the full context (compared to the source material perhaps) but I was sort of pleasantly surprised that there was no use of the ‘forgiveness no matter what’ theme in Nasu.
(And apparently I was so surprised that I’ve got another paragraph about it below, lol.)
It’s possible I expected that trope to appear due to the unwavering support Pepe receives from everyone while he races through the hills outside, and eventually through his hometown, in a compelling race featuring multiple threads. But the theme didn’t show up and I thought that was an interesting move, story-wise.
But getting back to the race itself, it’s not just Pepe vs the other riders, it’s Pepe vs the oppressive heat, vs his own limitations, vs his dream of escape, vs his lingering resentment and even the threat of being fired by his sponsor.
At only 45 minutes long I never felt a lag and throughout the OVA, the art and animation both felt top notch with a nice blend of 2D and subtle CGI to keep things dynamic perhaps – especially once the race hits town.
You’ve probably noticed from the screen caps that there’s a fair Studio Ghibli feel to the colours and character designs, and that might be because Kitarō Kōsaka* directs, and aside from that, his experience really shows in every aspect of the anime.
As a bonus, while knowing nothing about pro cycling prior to watching, I learnt a little during the course of the anime, perhaps enough to better understand a real life race were I to watch one.
Having said that, I don’t think you need to be a cycling fan to enjoy this – it’s a great, short drama with a vibrant setting and tension-filled race…
… and yet, is the cat really called Negro?