Yowamushi Pedal – 14

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Fated rivalry (at least) is now official.

There was a little shortage of Onoda last week as the focus of Yowamushi Pedal broadened significantly for the first time, but the main character was very much back in the spotlight here.  And 2014’s version of the Tireless Terrier seems to have found his soul-mate – or slope-mate – in Manami-kun.  Onoda’s m.o. is that he’s happy to play with anyone who’s willing to play with him, but in many ways Manami seems like a more natural rival/partner for him even than Naruko or Imaizumi.

Yes, the bromance was played up pretty heavily there between Manami and Onoda – there’s no love like that between climbers, I suppose.  Shared water bottles, calling out each other’s names, the perpetual smiles…  But if you get past the campy side of it (I still think Yowpeda is winking at the audience a bit when it’s doing this) this is a pairing that makes a lot of sense, narratively.  Both of these guys seem, frankly, more interested in the love of hills and the camaraderie than in the competition itself (not that Onoda didn’t show himself fiercely by beating Imaizumi in the welcome race) – personality-wise, they’re  a matched set.  Manami also provides a natural target for Onoda to chase (Makashima will be gone in a few months, after all).  And then there’s the fact that Imaizumi and Naruko’s fated rival is obviously each other – and in sports manga, you can only have one.

In terms of the cycling itself, we’re getting a few obvious lessons here, among them that the old saying “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” certainly applies to cycling.  Just as riding a mamachari for all those years made Onoda a cadence beast, riding Kinjou’s doctored bike has sharpened his ability to use his gears as well as toughened up his legs.  When he switches back to his old bike, it’s going to seem like riding on the wind – much as it did when he first rode it after lugging that mommy bike around all those years.

There’s more to this, though, and that’s the fact that it reminds us that Onoda really is a pretty freakish talent.  Manami certainly notices it during his pick-up race with Onoda on the training course (which he’s a pro at sneaking onto).  Not only is Onoda managing to keep up despite having manhole covers for wheels, but Manami notes that he’s not even wearing racing shoes, just sneakers – which further robs him of about 50% of his pedalling power, which dissipates into the ether through inefficiency.  Onoda is obviously not a big kid, so it’s not like he has Tadokoro’s muscles to draw on – he does everything he does through technique (which is basically all instinct, not taught) and stamina.  And, of course, determination.  This is not an overmatched athlete – this is the real deal.  With the right equipment and proper training, Onoda-kun will be an absolute beast on the bike.

All this, of course, is why Manami retracts his deal about not taking his water bottle back despite pulling away and winning the race.  He knows the circumstances very well, and just what a handicap Onoda was riding under.  The only catch is that he won’t take the bottle back until Inter-Highs.  Part of this is certainly incentive to drive Onoda to make sure he gets there, but it’s also Manami’s keen eye telling him what’s obvious – Onoda is simply too good not to be chosen.  He’s definitely going to be there, and Hakone better be ready for him.

There’s one other interesting element tied into that, which is that Manami seems to have pulled a very useful bit of scouting for Hakone without having intended to bother.  There’s an amusing misunderstanding between he and Toudou about who the “interesting climber” he saw is – Toudou (who virtually seems to be Makashima’s stalker) momentarily wonders if he’s changed his look – but once they get their signals straight, Kinjou’s plan to keep his secret weapons under wraps will have taken a little hit.  Toudou seems quite confident that Manami wouldn’t be impressed with anyone who wasn’t flat-out impressive, which should dispel the notion that Souhoku is merely a three-man team.  For now Naruko and Imaizumi are still shadow riders, but that too could change easily enough if Hakone decided to really do some digging based on this new information.

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  1. m

    i have to say, makishima in short hair is pretty ugly.

    while i didn't really need a lot of bromance, with manami and onoda's personalities, the bromance actually felt pretty natural so i didn't mind. i kinda cracked up when they kept calling each other's names on the slopes though – it was so tacky.

  2. R

    Yowamushi is so campy sometimes. The manga even more so. And the overexagerated reaction shots sometimes make me roll my eyes, but I'm trying not to smile at the same time so in a good sort of way XD But even with that said, the series is just a lot of fun, corny stuff and all that I'm pretty much hooked anyways.

  3. e

    Ah, that sweet My Own True Rabu—err Rival flavour. Wide bright eyes and even brighter smiles (or shinier flowy locks if we change players) as they climb together sweaty in the sunset – or rather sunrise – exchanging bottle-y tokens of liquid affection ( the world as seen through BL goggles can be pretty fun sometimes :,D ). There were strings playing at some point actually.
    In any case, it was cute and with some more technical infosprinkle. Also it felt very short.
    As second years go I'm warming up to the curly brunette btw.
    P.S.: Kinjou my sewing mate I feel your pain.

  4. Why the snake though? And you don't like Kitarou?

    I think the bit I liked best was when Onoda was looking at Manami's bike with that ecstatic grin on his face. So campy.

  5. R

    I think that I just choked on my rice trying to to laugh. Good job.

  6. F

    It's a snake because in episode 1 we find out that he's known as "The Snake of the Stony Road". Love reading your takes on these episodes, GE.

  7. Ah, thanks – I'd forgotten that.

  8. e

    @Rita: *catching the rice* glad to please such a LiA supporter ;p

    @Flaiboy: ahah thanks for the reminder.
    @GE: give me some more episodes… 😀

  9. N

    If we must have fan-service (and I guess we must), this is a much preferred alternative to the usual assortment of pantie shots and bouncing breasts.

  10. Where was there fanservice here? I must have missed it.

  11. e

    *points at first comment* BL goggles Enzo dear, BL goggles.
    Also in the cycling sequences package if one stops to think about it we are bound to get a serious amount of male derrieres and moving toned thigh shots ( :,D ) I guess…

  12. Z

    Andy and Frank did a pretty good job at that.

  13. H

    Do fujoshi chicks dig all those weird Hakone dudes? Not judging… O_o;

  14. K

    I just caught up on Yowamushi Pedal, and now I'm really sad that it's only going to be 38 episodes ;_;
    I know *only* is a strange word for a 38-episode series, but this is so great that I can't bear the thought of it ending. There's enough manga material right now for more than twice that, I sincerely hope the sales are good enough that they adapt the entire manga.

  15. They were pretty good for the first volume, so I think there's at least a chance.

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