Yowamushi Pedal – 17

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Shameless.  Utterly shameless.

There came a time, about halfway through this episode, when my thought process shifted from “They couldn’t possibly – could they?” to “Dammit – they’re going to do it, aren’t they?”  And sure enough the vicious rat bastards did – they ended the episode exactly where I knew they would as the second half unfolded.  A classic agonizing sports anime cliffhanger – almost reaching Hikaru no Go levels of cruelty.  It’s times like this when I’m sore tempted to read ahead in the manga – but I won’t do it.  I resisted with HnG and Chihayafuru, and I can hold out here.

In addition to another strong episode, it was another good week for Yowapeda generally.  The second volume has passed the first in sales (just under 7K) and we got the very interesting announcement that Yowamushi Pedal would be getting its own section at the Namja Town indoor theme park at Sunshine City, Ikebukuro from 2/8-4/6/14.  A very good sign – series don’t generally get expensive marketing support like this unless their revenue stream is pretty strong.  At the rate it’s going the anime should burn about half the current total manga chapters, so if the will is there to continue the source material should be too.  If you want to play “High Cadence Garapon” or eat a double-decker Tadokoro gyoza burger, head for Ikebukuro starting next week.

As for the battle on the tarmac (or whatever material the Izu course is paved with) this week was pretty self-explanatory – and quite different from last.  The second-years pretty much dispensed with all the tricks and mind games, thankfully – though truth be told, it was because they didn’t have any choice.  It’s all about will and talent now, though I can’t help but think again and again about how if they first-years were riding the same bikes as TeshimAoyagi, this wouldn’t even be a contest.  And of course Kinjou knows that too, though what he does with that information is still a mystery (to new viewers like me, anyway).

For starters things went rather as I expected.  Onoda-kun’s charge succeeded in breaking Teshima – but he did almost as much damage to himself in the process.  In truth, in a real team race his job would be over and he’d limp to the line a half-hour after the leaders just in time to keep from being disqualified, but here Naruko and Imaizumi sacrifice some of their newfound lead in order to help Onoda.  Starting with keeping him on his bike, as he’s about to keel over just as he did after taking the polka-dot jersey in the welcome race.  As for Teshima, he’s broken mentally as well as physically – in fact he comes to a complete stop before his partner-in-crime shows up, and he tries to urge Kitarou to finish alone – which he predictably refuses to do.  You can’t deny the loyalty these two guttersnipes have for each other.

I like how the experience differences among the main three really come into play here.  Onoda reveals his complete lack of experience at every turn, but I think that just makes the sheer talent he possesses all the more apparent – never mind no racing shoes, he doesn’t even know to use the low handlebars on a high-speed descent and sprint.  When he really learns this sport he’ll likely be even stronger than his friends – but for now, he’s a work-in-progress.  It’s Imaizumi (who’s even more of a seasoned pro than Naruko) who steps into command, urging Onoda to keep up and taking charge of strategy.  When Onoda almost buys it on a bump and the second-years pass him, it’s Imaizumi who keeps his head and scolds Naruko not to throw away their chances in a fruitless bid to go back and help Onoda only a few hundred meters from the finish.

Of course, this isn’t as cold as Naruko initially makes it out to be – Imaizumi has some painful first-hand experience of what a bulldog Sakamichi is when he’s chasing.  If this is indeed a matter of willpower as Tadakoro explained to the sophomores, then it’s hard to see Onoda coming up short.  That said, I’m still somewhat unsure of how the practicalities of all this work – even if Onoda finishes this lap ahead of TeshimAoyagi, he’s still well behind in terms of overall laps.  And Aoyagi should be a full lap ahead of even Imaizumi and Naruko. But the results of this mad dash for the line are clearly more important than simple bragging rights, and  I suppose that will all come out in due course – it’s certainly clear who deserves to go to inter-highs, anyway.

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  1. e

    They really did stop there. Aaaah! The cruelty (and dat screaming…)
    Thank goodness for the omake as spirit balm. And for green-haired Rapunzels with advanced towel-wrapping skills.
    How the result of this sprint will actually translate in the inter-high selection… eh it's a test of will so according to how they end up placing on the Tadokoro willpower scale this might affect the final evaluation?
    Onodacchi may you qualify at last. And meet your personal bottle no tenshi Manami-kun :,D.

  2. i

    Oh great, my second worst trope, cliffhangers that should not have been a cliffhanger/a bad cliffhanger (nice to see my 2 worst tropes in 2 days. thanks anime.)
    I hope Pedal stops acting like the season 2 of Chihayafuru. It is starting to feel stale to me. Move on.

  3. t

    LOL having read the first line then first two paragraph..it was a false alarm. I thought you didn't like the fact YP stretched a bit more of that contest. after all…how much can one pull out of..200-300 meters in cycling?well apparently a lot. and it came out for the best. although I was thinking the contest will end this episode, it went really well to finish it now with a cliffhanger, then a climax in the 1st half of next week. besides, after HxH last eps of some seconds within 20 minutes…this is a piece of cake 😛

    as previously, this episode continue to demonstrate that the second years aren't giving up and they really are determined to go to inter-high. look at their past, their will power and all they have been through with the current third-years (especially Todoroki). they have a lot of heart inside. I can't not to cheer for them too. really.
    but now they are out of tricks, but they do exactly what one would expect of every sport protagonist – team up, believe in yourself, have strong will and keep pedaling. they are pushing each other and doing it great even though they might be pushing themselves too much.

    as for our first-years, Onoda sacrificed himself for the team (more accurately for Naruko and Imaizumi). and it happens in races that one is doing something for the benefits of the team. it's a difficult decision for Naruko, but Imaizumi is determined not to waste Onoda's effort. in the end, Onoda made it with the discover of the low handles. typical of natural talent. he is still a rough gem, and I expect to see more how he'll be shaped, but this moment is satisfying enough for now in this matter.

    I think we would never known what would happen if Naruko and Imaizumi had their bikes. it seems reasonable to think that the first years would have taken if this was the case. but we can't know for sure. messing with their bikes is also important for the first years to work on their weakness and to develop other strengths in cycling. and they wouldn't become stronger with it. not to mention that even with their regular bikes, 1000 KM wouldn't be an easy task.

    that way or another we got a fantastic sport contest that has arrived its climax.

    "And sure enough the vicious rat bastards did"
    maybe that's why there is a type of "dirty old man" in the OP LOL

  4. S

    Really getting over this little competition with the second years. The more I think about the whole thing the more frustrating and pointless it is to me. There's just so many things like the second years going for a cheap win with the no passing rule, the first years don't have normal bikes, Onoda is behind in laps regardless of what happens here, and yeah, Aoyagi is ahead of them all regardless. Plus I've gotta say that the second years seem kind of pathetic compared to the first years considering that they've kept a slower pace all day and still are having this much trouble passing the first years while they're exhausted and have don't have their normal bikes. I really like this show but I just can't wait for this training camp to be over.

  5. h

    now HxH had a more shameless ending

  6. N

    Didn't you marathon Hikaru no Go?

  7. Not all at once – I spread out 80 episodes over a month and a half or so. But yeah, I did have the option to jump right to the next ep – the problem is HnG has cliffhangers like this pretty much every week, so I'd have ended up never stopping…

  8. J

    Now I'm just scared that the actual inter-high will be so rushed.

  9. n

    I don't think they have enough episode to cover the inter-high… it took quite a bit of chapters to reach day 2 (where i'm reading now) of the interhigh :S

  10. J

    I kinda have a feeling that perhaps the First Day of inter high be shown in this current batch of episodes, and day two and three maybe two movie or a set of 24-26 episodes to be released in summer as an event or some sort. curious to see how the production team plan this out. 🙂

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