While America may claim to be the birthplace of mountain biking and BMX, Japanese cycling culture has been equally important to the sport’s development. They’ve introduced events such as Keirin to the Olympics, lay claim to one of the most vibrant flatland scenes, and have exceptionally talented custom frame builders.
That passion for cycling has always has had healthy representation in manga (Japanese comics), but has recently become a popular topic for anime creators. The first anime film to tackle this subject matter premiered in 2003. Directed by Oscar winner Kitaro Kosaka, Nasu: Summer in Andalusia followed the story of a Spanish cyclist competing in the Vuelta a España. The film went on to become the first Japanese anime film to be selected for the Cannes Film Festival.
From that initial depiction 13 years ago, this niche has evolved dramatically. To follow the evolution, we turn to the experts at Oh No, Anime!