by Mercedez Clewis,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Super Cub ?
Episode 10, “Snow” finally welcomes the chill that's been permeating Super Cub since episode 8. We start off with the soft nature sounds that have become so familiar to viewers who have been following Super Cub since day one. Then comes Koguma, putt-putt-putting along on her cub with leg shields, a shiny new windshield, and those charming handlebar gloves. The leg shields are also equipped on Reiko's cub, suggesting that they are the thing that Reiko and Koguma have been talking about last week.
Soon, Koguma rounds a bend and comes across Shii, who's biking uphill to go shopping on her trusty bike. The girls part ways after a brief meeting, and Koguma monologues about Shii at length. It looks like she's moving ahead with her plans to convert her family's eat-in cafe into an Italian bar, and is on the hunt for the necessary items. It's a sweet moment that dovetails into the end of Koguma's day with some very beautiful piano music welcoming the new day.
A new, snowy day, which Koguma beautifully describes as a “world of silver”, which is how I personally will refer to snowfall forevermore.
Post-OP, Koguma has a stark realization: she can't ride in all this snow (I mean, she could, but not without considerable risk). However, Reiko demands that Koguma come over immediately, sending a picture of a "really interesting" thing that convinces Koguma to brave the snowfall. With her mess tin and a pack of curry in hand, Koguma suits up for the snow, swipes the snow from her handy box, and is off. Thankfully, she arrives at Reiko's without incident.
The "interesting thing" turns out to be tire chains, which are perfect for keeping Koguma's cub from slipping and sliding on snowy roads, which she did quite a bit of on the way to Reiko's. What ensues is something we've been treated to nearly every episode: a simple montage of the girls working on their bikes, paired with excellent sound design. In this case, the highlight is the clink-clink-clink of chains. After the girls are ready, Reiko suggests that they head “up”, with no concrete destination in mind. Together, they angle themselves up, and up, bike chains digging in and keeping them steady as the pale, Winter sun rises high above. It's here that we're treated to some very lovely Winter scenery, with bare trees laden with snow and snow-covered mountains. It's a moment that lasts but a second, but it's long enough to let viewers take it all in before Reiko decides to set off again.
Unfortunately, Koguma slips despite the tire chains, leaving a Koguma-shaped snow angel behind. However, it's not enough to make her stop riding for the day. Soon, the girls are carving paths across a snowy field, jumping over rocks into the air, and occasionally, falling into the snow again (it's definitely intentional this time). What follows is one of the most heartfelt moments in the series as the girls go soaring across the field together, culminating in a snowball fight and a “cub ball” fight as well. The latter two scenes are set to a leitmotif version of the series OP with joyful, merry whistling. It's so, so great.
I mentioned before that I didn't want to see any romance between Koguma and Reiko: I wanted to see a deep friendship between two kindred souls instead. I still feel this, even as a devout yuri fan and a queer writer. There's something beautiful about a series where female friendship is simply allowed to exist, where Koguma and Reiko just get to be friends without any heavily gendered tropes. Instead of having an episode where they fight, the girls simply talk things out, and communicate. Instead of jealousy, the girls uplift one another. And by episode 10, those elements have evolved to a tangible love between the girls, a connection that makes their friendship feels so intimately genuine. That deep platonic love is so evident in Koguma's laughs and playfulness here, which is a far cry from her lonely and empty existence at the beginning of this series, and that transformation feels utterly joyful to witness.
Near the end of this episode, snow is falling again, covering Hokuto City in a layer of white. As our three protagonists watch the landscape transform from patchy white to a winter wonderland, there's a distinct feeling that we're nearing the end of this story. We've moved through months and months with Koguma: we've only got Spring left with her. Yet it's hard to feel sad with an episode as enjoyable as this, as well as a series as powerful as this.
Episode 10 does leave on a cliffhanger which definitely makes the wait for episode 11 feel a bit longer. I have a sense of what's being set up, but I look forward to seeing what will play out next week. As always, there are a lot of really good quiet moments in this episode: Koguma's phone buzzing while the snow falls, the babbling of a nearby river, the sound of Koguma's rice cooking in the mess tin, and the putt-putt-putting of the bikes through snow. I tell you, Super Cub was ASMR central this week, which pairs well with the fact that this episode is set in December.
It's strange to think that we've only got two more weeks with Koguma, Reiko, and Shii. I had never heard of this series before March, but I will now ride or die for Koguma. As I start collecting the manga and novel – both of which I'm reading in Japanese – I find myself amazed at how passionate I feel for such a beautifully simple series. Yet there's something to be said about a quieter anime: I've certainly said a lot when it comes to Super Cub.
Spring 2021 is a remarkably strong season, with Zombie Land Saga Revenge, Fairy Ranmaru, Joran, and a slew of truly amazing series vying for our attention. Still, for me, my pick of the season was set in stone way back in episode 1 and 2 when I said that this was the best show of the season. Super Cub will always stay with me as a treasured part of 2021. Thank goodness there are two episodes left: I can't imagine closing the proverbial book on our time with Koguma here.
Super Cub is currently streaming on Funimation.
Mercedez is a JP-EN localization editor & QA, pop culture critic, and a journalist who also writes & reviews at Anime Feminist and But Why Tho?. She's also a frequent guest on the AniFem Podcast, Chatty AF. This anime season, she's all about Super Cub, which is great because she's also reviewing it here on ANN. When she's not writing, you can find her on her Twitter or on her Instagram where she's always up to something.
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