"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."
Bobby’s in Deep iis actually based on a novel that came out in 1980, and does have some significant differences in the anime release that came out 5 years later. Some of those differences are that in addition to Bobby’s passion for motorcycles, he’s also a beach bum surfer and it was more emphasized that he was more of a surfer than a biker, and he got a job at a surfing shop rather than as a waiter. Plus, it’s also elaborated in the novel by this girl who is writing to Bobby is suffering from an illness while it’s pure curiosity in the anime
that drives her to write the letters. Sorry for the spoiler, but I felt I needed to point that out
As for this movie, I felt it ends where you are finally start to have development and pure resolution, and a sense of direction for Bobby. The ending will feel anti-climatic, but it does take you by surprise. It’s nothing you really expected, but the ending made me felt nothing really progressed at some capacity, but I guess the ending does prove a point that what happens in this anime can happen to some people in real life, and I’m sure it has. And I feel the biggest quality this anime has is its realism. But that’s just me.
For establishment, I think it fails. Such as there is no official explanation of why he is called Bobby, and how he got his motorcycle to begin with, or anything of why he’s such a bad student or the kind of guy he is. I think if they showed Bobby in school, we’d get a better foundational idea of his personality and why he prefers motorcycles over academics. Other things I’d like to know about Bobby are: is he popular? Is he a loser? Or is he just that guy? Or is he just one those people that are naturally like that? Is he a symbol that he doesn’t want to live up to society’s expectations? I felt the anime needed to be more direct with certain things more clearly.
Well, don’t expect any fireballs or any exaggerated designs or hair colors. Expect more realistic characters clothing, hairstyles and use of colors like in Wangan Midnight, Initial D, and Hajime no Ippo. The designs are pretty good, and I guess because of it’s more realistic approach with the drawings, it won’t really stand out in comparison to Akira or Windaria in relation to it’s use of colors and background and costume designs. There’s nothing really to complain about it in terms of technical flaws rather than use of still shots and paintings.
The animation sequences are some of the best hand-drawn ones I’ve seen in awhile. Whenever they play a song sometimes or some montage, it’ll come across more as an 80s music video with the random drawings on a neon colored foreground. But it goes well with the atmosphere and the mood of the movie. And the way Bobby drives his motorcycle sometimes is breathtaking and the weather at times makes you wish you want to ride on that blue baby of his.
A majority of the cast is mostly singers and actors, and they were never seiyuus, and are still active in j-dramas and movies. So you can call Nomura Hironobu, the voice of Bobby, something of an Oguri Shun of 1985 who recently played Akio in Wangan Midnight, an anime I previously reviewed. And he was also a rising singer at the time and sang a few of the songs in this anime as well which were a nice addition and were more in direct relation to the story and mood of the anime. But I think he could have done better with Bobby’s portrayal such as make him more something of a punk, or come across as unsure with his life. It seems to me all he wants is happiness and not really success. Also, Shimizu Mayumi, the seiyuu who plays the girl who writes to Bobby sings some of the songs and sings the ending theme, a good cover to the 1960s hit, Bobby’s Girl in perfect English. I think they added the personality that the anime needed with both characters and music.
All I have to say is watch this anime for the music and visuals. You won’t regret it for that. The characterization I wouldn’t say flat out sucks, but with the foundation it had, it could have been so much better. I thought it could have been something along the lines of a Wangan Midnight of it’s time, but in terms of its story and characters, it’s no where near the league of how Wangan Midnight executes its character exploration and development. I guess what makes Bobby so interesting is because he’s not only just an everybody we know and/or relate to, he’s more of those 1/5 anybody’s we probably knew back in high school: A kid from a well off family who wanted the best out of him, but didn’t seem to know what he wanted to do with his life because he messes around. Despite that, there is some confusion of giving any indication whether or not he’s a delinquent considering how he resists his father’s demands, and that he’s a drop out. He doesn’t do drugs or get into fights. He seems like a mellow guy. Maybe I am making generalizations, but hey, I think this characteristics and the ending is what makes him uniquely human in some right.
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 .
Bobby ni Kubittake, or "Bobby's in Deep, feels much like an experimental film as it tests many different artistic techniques and tosses them all together. First of all, this is a mid-80's movie, so the base style of visuals and sound should be understood before looking beyond. A lot of the experience feels synonymous from other things made around the time to an extent, but Bobby's in Deep is different in its execution and its direction. It presents a setup that doesn't feed the viewer everything off a silver platter and expects a bit of focus and thinking to understand everything that's going on and
maybe even interpret some deeper meaning to it that I could see being formed.
From the moment upon viewing the art style, quality, and color-design of Bobby's in Deep, it's clear that this is an old OVA. However, watching further in will smoke out a more unique affair. The direction is the leading strength of Bobby's in Deep. Although it works with a seemingly limited budget as a whole, it weighs everything out in lightly commendable way, but the style the direction forms will be something that only a small niche of viewers will likely find pleasing. It really does feel experimental as at some moments the artsy change in visuals will be slowly transitioned into, while some other times it's more jutting. Also, the lack of consistent movement throughout the OVA makes an unfavorable contrast, being a large amount of screen panning. There are fantastic moments of animation though, one being all-too-similar to the music video "Take On Me" (interestingly both this and the music video were made in 1985). The visuals keep interest throughout, but not all of it feels in the same vein.
The beginning features a girl dancing in a peculiar manner around her brother, and while there's no hint at incest in the story, there didn't seem to be any other logical/literal explanation for her bizarre attitude than something along those lines. That is one example towards the direction itself as to how it actually isn't flawless for being one of the leading factors in the OVA. The mood of the OVA will always feel conflicting with the consistent change in the color format, and from the intentions behind the colors at some points. When there is more love, or hope, in the air, the scene will tend to shine bright white. When reality tries to kick in more, the scenery will turn darker. In that way it works, however, it only does when revolving around the main character. The intentions of other characters will always feel diabolical in the moment, but later having that mood feel as though it wasn't supposed to be felt at all by the characters acting in an entirely different manner. This can be seen in multiple side characters, the sister being an example in that beginning scene. Just about every character in this OVA made me misunderstand their true nature near the beginning, and it took some thinking afterwards beyond the artsy nature to make a bit more sense of some of it.
Don't be fooled by these thoughts though, as the story is in no way complicated in more literal terms. It more-or-less is about a slightly-misguided, young biker trying to be more forceful in how he feels his life should be. He treats everything dynamically and does what he feels like doing in the moment. He wasn't an agreeable character in some of his thoughts, and I actually found him to be somewhat immature in a good deal of his lines. What led me off-guard though was, while I still feel I didn't misunderstand the main character, the story feels as though it glorifies him by the end. The main character was understandable to an extent in how he wanted to act on his interests, but that isn't exactly a respectable trait all of the time. People have responsibilities and are more respected when they are more respectful themselves. I feel the nature of the story was confused about its characters when adding in the strange directing. Much of it didn't seem to connect, but maybe that was the goal. It certainly made a more-or-less plain story more memorable, I'll give it that.
Bobby's in Deep is an OVA featuring a basic plot-line and some worthwhile, experimental visuals. While the visuals serve interesting throughout, they seem to be made to go along with a different story than is being presented. The music is what one should expect from the 80's, and there are some male-vocal tracks. I didn't find most of them that enjoyable, but the last one was slightly catchy. It kinda killed the enjoyment of the vocal tracks that the OVA would tend to do more panning while the tracks were playing, making me almost wish for them to finish so the animation would get back on track. The characters aren't that deep, but the disparity from how they are presented to how they literally are made them a tad interesting. The plot is still nothing special and is basically a run-away story, but the draw is how Bobby's in Deep performs it all. From the length, Bobby's in Deep is recommendable to everyone who can tolerate older art-designing and music.
Bobby ni Kubittake is bland and uninspiring slog through 44 minutes of the most contrived romance and terrible characterization that the world has ever seen. It goes for the "rebel boy" Image with their main character, Bobby, who's blandness is one of the 8 wonders of the modern world, but they fail because the "rebel boy" image is so tired and overused, it just seems like he's conforming to a tired stereotype. The main word I like to use when discussing this pitiful display is "tired", there's just nothing to say about it. It's so bland, that bland can't properly summarize how bland it is.
It's blander then a meal that has been boiled, left unseasoned, and served with a side of Wonderbread, complimented by "I can't believe it's not butter!" on the side. If only there were more to say, but this leaves so little of an impact that saying anything more would be futile, and stretching the boundaries of plausibility. Please don't watch this, don't even try to MST3K it, you'll run out of material to talk about soon, and eventually fall asleep. There is one scene that does catch the eye though, and reflects what madhouse would be doing for the rest of it's long and illustrious career as an animation studio, and that is when bobby is driving a motorcycle recklessly fast on the freeway. It is shot in first person, and is particularly disconcerting and even (gasp) thrilling! If only the rest of the show where at all that memorable, we might have had a good anime on our hands. The soundtrack is also, as I've said about the majority of the anime, "tired" to say the least. That's all that needs to be said about the soundtrack, it's tired. And now I am, this literally put me to sleep, unless you want to join the unfortunate cadre of unsuspecting citizens who have sat through this atrocity, then don't watch this, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, unless they really had to got to sleep.