Bobby ni Kubittake
Released Year : March 9, 1985 to ????
No of Episodes : 1
Genre : Drama,Romance
Plot : "Bobby really does little else but work on his bike. He cleans his bike. He tunes up his bike. He rides his bike. One would call him a motorcycle otaku. His most recent achievement seems to have been getting photos of himself on a road trip printed in a motorcyclist hobby magazine. This leads to an unexpected result: a girl his age, who picked up that issue on a whim, decides to write him a letter. A long, rambling letter, but dreamily romantic just the same. Bobby admits to his sister that he's never gotten a letter from a girl before. He writes back, "I got your letter. I'm happy cause it was from a girl." The "Bobby" referred to in the title is actually 17-year-old Akihiko Nomura, an underachieving high school kid with a deep love for motorcycles. His grades are failing, and his father – traditional and strict (but who must have also at some point gave in and allowed him to have a motorcycle) is trying everything he can think of to get the kid to apply for college. His mother is so silent, she might as well not even exist. Really, his support system lies entirely in his twinkle-toed little sister, who's nosy but cheers him on in her own way." (Source: ANN)
Our Review : Bobby's in deep is certainly a very interesting work - short and experimental, but it holds a lot of content, animation and background themes wise. Which is a bit surprising, considering the fact that the anime was largely produced to promote a young pop idol, who voiced the main character.
Bobby has a pretty plain personality and he's also a man of few words. This somehow rubs off on many of the anime's characteristics. It's interesting, that most of what we get to learn about Bobby is not from him personally, but through the girl that is writing him letters, trough his father that's scolding him and through dialogs between other characters. This kinda fits Bobby's simple, carefree character and creates a care-free mood for the anime. At the same time, it projects the genuinely increasing boredom within the youth in those (and todays) times.
Some viewer might complain about the fact, that we only get to know as much about Bobby as he interacts with other people (almost nothing). On the up side, because of this, we are put into an interesting perspective of a random observer and all the other pieces, like in real life, are left to our own judgment and assumptions.
Another interesting case of this perspective of a random observer appears in the fact that we only get to see a silhouette of Bobby's secret admirer. This way, her looks are left to our own imagination and we don't get to know about her any more than Bobby does. It certainly is an interesting technique, which lowers the cost of animation and at the same time it maybe even feels more rewarding to the viewer than the classic character presentation.
If you've got a sharp eye, you'll soon notice that Bobby's in Deep contains a few social critiques. Bobby's mostly indifferent character (except when it comes to his bike) is a way of criticizing the important Japanese belief, which pushes the youth to educate themselves as highly as possible and land a job in a respectable company - at all costs.
The school system is also criticized, when Bobby says: "The school only knows how to send the notes to home, because it's the cheapest." In truth, no one really wants to bother with the problems of youth and lend a helping hand, which sadly mostly holds true even today.
The animation in Bobby's in Deep is quite special and it would be unfair to write it off as cheap. It's true that the story is often represented through a slide show of hand drawn pictures and the animation is abstracted. But I like to imagine it's a representation of Bobby's slightly confused view of the world, and in this way the viewer experiences it through Bobby's eyes.
Most of the second half of the movie will be greatly appreciated by the biker fans, as it includes a few sunny scenes with the motorbikes in their element. Towards the end, there is an exceptionally unique riding scene, where the camera switches to first person view and the picture falls apart into simple black & white lines and sketches. There is no music, just the sound of the bike and the tires screeching. It's awesome and definitely worth a watch.
The ending is debatable and a bit provocative. Some people may be disappointed and state that it falls short. I, on the other hand, find it quite catharsic. Bobby is a rebel against the norms of society, the strict tradition, the school system and the whole anime is dipped in his beliefs. But, as no one in the world is perfect, the ending represents the other pole, which favors the general rules of society and the system.
All in all, Bobby didn't do anything wrong, he lived by his beliefs and acted as he saw fit. After all, there is a thin line between a carefree and a careless attitude which, in a series of unfortunate events, can result in a fatal outcome. Even so, the ending is quite open. It just serves as a reminder, that life isn't always one-sided and compromises are often necessary.
P.S. You can read more about Bobby in this great article on ANN: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/buried-treasure/2007-05-17 .