Skip to main content

I suppose some might complain about an episode like this one week before the conclusion.  Not just of the season, but of the event that’s taken up three of them.  But to me this ep was right in Yowamushi Pedal’s wheelhouse.  This is the sort of material that makes Yowapeda exceptional as a sports anime, more so than the more conventional sports episodes (though it’s generally very good at those too).  Not enough Onoda has been a frequent quibble with the last two seasons for me, so I’m certainly not complaining about what we got here.

Of course, this ep was also a reminder of what Yowapeda has lost – and why generally speaking it’s not on the same level as the first couple of seasons.  This series is fantastic with the sempai-kouhai relationships.  Sohoku as a team had unbelievable narrative traction when the original six were together.  The seniors were all great, the first years were all great, and then mentor dynamic was as well-written as I’ve seen in a sports series.  When those three moved on, Yowapeda lost one of the elements that made it truly special.  It reached the same heights at times, but not on a week-in, week-out basis.

The best of all those relationships was between Sakamichi and Makishima.  It’s hard to overstate how much a caring older friend can mean at that age, but especially for a person as open and emotionally giving as Sakamichi, Makishima truly was an older brother.  When he left for England, it was incredibly rough on Onoda, especially since he had to find out from Kinjou-san.  Makishima made up for that to an extent, but Onoda still had to carry the weight of that loss with him.  Makishima is an awkward guy, and open affection (even answering letters) doesn’t come naturally to him.  But none of that made Onoda love him any less (or hurt any less to lose him the way he did).

The context for all this is Kinjou explaining to Toudou-san why he may be taking Sakamichi too lightly in giving the edge to Manami.  For sure, Sangoku has more scar tissue in the sense of having lost the race last year.  But because Onoda is so open, he has plenty of scar tissue of his own.  Feeling everything deeply and then finding the strength to fight through it and surprise everyone is what he does.  Sakamichi’s spirit is at the heart of Yowamushi Pedal in much the same way Izuku’s is with Boku no Hero Academia (and yes, there is an obvious link).

The race itself is down to about 600 meters to go, and Sangaku has opened a small lead.  After a bump (these two fighting this hard is proof that they’re fully in the moment) Onoda’s foot has come loose from the strap on his pedal, throwing off his rhythm.  Six or seven meters here is huge, and time’s-a-wasting if Onoda is going to make a counterattack.  Again, though, these are the sorts of moments when he almost always defies expectations.  I honestly don’t know which way Watanabe is going with this one, and that’s a sign of good writing.

It’s also worth noting that Makishima-san is, of course, here.  He’s going to be waiting for Sakamichi at the finish line win or lose.  And if the tireless terrier sees him before he gets there, that could provide quite the emotional boost.  I know that reunion is going to be powerful no matter happens (even if they did briefly meet once already) but all the more so if Sakamichi is able to repeat.  It would be one of those times Kinjou was talking about, except the mentor would be there to see it.  Maki-chan was always my favorite of the three third-years, but Kinjou really shone here – proving way he was a good enough captain to lead his team to a huge upset in the inter-high.


Source link

Leave a Reply