The main character of Yowamushi Pedal is Sakamichi Onoda, a first-year student at his high school. He is an otaku and is looking forward to joining the anime club. This is due to the fact that in middle school, he had no one to talk with about his anime interests.
Sakamichi rides a mamachari, which is a bulky bicycle with a step-through frame that’s mainly used for short rides. He rides his bike to his first day of high school, and he decides to take the rear entrance because he believes fewer people will be using that entrance. He turns on his portable music player and begins singing. Unfortunately, he’s accidentally run off of the road by a car. Sakamichi isn’t hurt, and the driver of the car hands him a card and says to call if he finds he needs anything. The driver is driving a male student to school, who notices the skill Sakamichi has riding his bike. However, the male student laments that he’s riding a “mommy” bike and not a 10-gear road racer.
When Sakamichi goes to the anime club room, he finds a sign on the door that reads, “Due to lack of members, the anime and manga club’s activities have been suspended. If you would like to reopen the club, please gather at least five members and contact the adviser.” Sakamichi becomes very upset at this turn of events and begins throwing a bit of a tantrum in front of the door. Two girls approach and notice the anime club room. When Sakamichi notices them, he rushes over and asks if they’re joining the anime club. They say no. One girl is joining the tennis club, while the other is joining the bicycle racing club. After Sakamichi realizes they’re not joining the anime club, he excuses himself and says he’s going to be riding to Akihabara on his bike.
Meanwhile, we see the boy who was in the car earlier and learn that his name is Shunsuke Imaizumi. When he goes to practice riding on his bike, he finds Sakamichi next to him. They’re at the top of the rear gate slope, which is a super slope with an incline of over 20%. Shunsuke keeps trying to convince Sakamichi not to go this way, but he won’t listen. They both go down the hill, and Sakamichi ends up biting it and falling to the ground. When Shunsuke goes to check on him, Sakamichi says that if he rides his bike, he can go to Akihabara for free. By saving money, he can buy five extra capsule toys. Shunsuke just leaves Sakamichi there to head on his way. Later, when Shunsuke resumes his training, he sees a rider up ahead and assumes it’s a second or third year from the bicycle racing club. He’s surprised to find it’s Sakamichi. Sakamichi, who has been singing along with his music, is embarrassed when he finds Shunsuke next to him.
The next day, Sakamichi is approached by the two girls he had encountered the previous day. He learns the girl who wants to join the bicycle racing club is Miki Kanzaki and that her friend is named Aya. Miki starts asking Sakamichi about his bike and if he really rode it all the way to Akihabara. He says his chain broke, but that it broke after he biked to Akihabara. Aya doesn’t believe he actually rode all the way there.
At the end of the episode, Shunsuke approaches Sakamichi and challenges him to a bicycle race, and that he wants to race on the rear gate slope he climbed yesterday as he was singing. The episode ends before Sakamichi gives Shunsuke an answer.
I thought this worked well as an establishing episode for Yowamushi Pedal. While a lot of information about the characters and their world was being presented, it was done in a way where it didn’t bog down the viewer and the story kept moving. I also thought the humor that the series utilizes works well with the story that’s being presented. Admittedly, a lot of the humor comes from the fact that Sakamichi is a hapless and klutzy otaku, but the humor is done in such a way that it’s not really making fun of him.
As I watched this episode, I thought I could see some potential in the series. I’m looking forward to watching the second episode of Yowamushi Pedal to see if Sakamichi accepts Shunsuke’s challenge, and if so, what happens during it.
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