Yowamushi Pedal: Episode 14 – “Reunion at Dawn”

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.

It’s now the third day of training camp for Sakamichi and the others. Sakamichi gets up early that morning. He realizes that he’s finishing his laps slower than anyone else, so he just has to ride longer than everyone else. He still has 610 kilometers to go, and only two days left to get it done.

As Sakamichi rides, he realizes that he’s getting a little faster, and that he must be getting used to the heavier wheels. Everything seems to be going as he expects, until he sees someone on a bike ahead of him. Out of curiosity, Sakamichi picks up his pace to find out who it is; he’s surprised to discover it’s Manami, who he met back in episode 12. After talking for a bit, they decide to have a race to the top of a nearby hill. Most of the rest of the episode focuses on the race between Sakamichi and Manami.

I guess at the end of episode 13, Manami wasn’t listening to Toudou as closely as he should have. By the end of the episode, Manami decides that Sakamichi must be the interesting climber that Toudou was referring to; however, since Toudou said third-year and Sakamichi introduced himself as a first-year, I could only conclude that Manami wasn’t listening closely. Then again, up to this point, Manami has been portrayed as not quite being the sharpest tool in the shed.

At the end of the race, we learn through Manami that Sakamichi currently isn’t wearing the racing cleats that a bicycle racer normally wears to help keep their grip on the pedals. Between that and discovering the heavy wheels on Sakamichi’s bike, Manami is really impressed with how Sakamichi rode. Manami makes it clear that he believes that Sakamichi will make it to the Inter-High race.

In addition to the race, Sakamichi also spent a bit of time flashing back to various things that happened earlier this series. This was primarily done to reinforce Sakamichi’s thoughts early on in the episode before he set out to try to make it through the 1,000 kilometers. In this case, I thought the flashbacks helped to enhance the story instead of simply serving as “time kill.”

Overall, I enjoyed this episode of Yowamushi Pedal, and thought it felt like it went by rather quickly. I honestly felt that there was no wasted time in the episode and that the episode kept moving at a good pace.

I’m guessing that episode 15 will focus on the final day of the training camp. However, the question will be if the final day is limited to one episode or ends up taking two episodes in order to maintain the suspense as to whether or not Sakamichi will be able to make it or not.

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