Yowamushi Pedal: Episode 11 – “Human Bullet Train!!”

Yowamushi Pedal is an anime about a first-year high school student named Sakamichi Onoda who is an otaku that wants to join his high school’s anime club, but it has shut down due to lack of members. Sakamichi’s goal is to try to revive the anime club. He also rides a “mommy” bike, and is able to ride it very well. After losing in a bicycle race to Shunsuke, Shunsuke tells him to think about joining the bicycle racing club, because he sees that Sakamichi has potential. In episode four, Sakamichi became friends with a boy named Naruko that he met while he was in Akihibara. After some convincing from Naruko, Sakamichi joins the bicycle racing club.

The beginning of the episode sees Naruko riding against Tadokoro for the individual training and losing. Naruko keeps insisting on going again, and Tadokoro humors Naruko’s request.

The next day, Shunsuke talks to the other first years to let them know that he heard from the second-years that the preliminaries to determine Chiba’s representative for the Inter-High is taking place that morning at 10 a.m. Naruko and Sakamichi are as upset as Shunsuke to have not been told that this was going on, and they skip school in order to watch. The three of them ride bikes to where the preliminaries are taking place.

It turns out that only the third years went to the preliminaries, and they manage to make a come from behind win to become the representative for Chiba for the Inter-High. Later, the upperclassmen explain to the first-years why they weren’t told about this race.

The end of the episode sees a hint of another team that could become important in future episodes, although the one member we encountered came across as being rather creepy and disturbing. There’s also a brief scene with the members of Hakone Academy’s team after learning of Sohoku’s win. We also see that Shunsuke, Sakamichi, and Naruko are invited by the third-years to participate in an overnight training trip.

Overall, this episode was important for establishing the Inter-High race and what goes into it. With the way it was written, the focus of the action wasn’t on the main first-years. While they were at the race, they talked about what was going on, but the focus of the actual action was on the third-years. There’s also an emphasis on Naruko feeling like he’s in competition with Tadokoro; this is hinted at in the opening credits, but this is the first time we’ve seen it in the series. And from the dialogue, it appears Shunsuke feels like he’s in competition with Kinjou, the team captain. So you have this sense of competitiveness, along with the competition between Shunsuke and Naruko.

Between the dialogue at the end of the episode and from what was seen in the preview, the next episode should be the overnight training camp. Hopefully there will be more action and more of a focus on the first-years in the next episode.

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