Yowamushi Pedal: Episode 19 – “A New Start”

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 episode begins with the members of the bicycle racing club going to school on a Saturday for make-up lessons since they missed some school due to the training camp. Instead of focusing on his studies, Sakamichi has a flashback to a conversation he had with Kinjou at the end of the training camp. From what we see, it sounds like Kinjou is trying to tell him that he hadn’t made it onto the Inter-High team; however, he is interrupted by a phone call from the school about the tournament, so he wasn’t able to say everything he intended to say.

When it’s time for their final make-up lesson, they discover it’s being taught by Mister Pierre, their coach. He says it’s too nice of a day to stay in and study, so he sends them out to ride their bikes. Everyone rushes out of the classroom except Sakamichi. He has a conversation with the coach, and learns that not everything had been relayed to him about Kinjou’s plan for the team. It turns out Kinjou wants Sakamichi’s unpredictability on the team, and the coach hands him an Inter-High jersey.

Most of the rest of the episode focuses on the first training that Sohoku‘s Inter-High team undertakes after their selection. During this section, we see that Sakamichi is starting to think that while he’s happy to have been chosen for the team and to have the jersey, he’s having some doubts as to whether or not he should really be on the team. Near the end of the episode, Sakamichi is given a gentle lesson on teamwork from Kinjou, and we see the group starting to bond as a team.

Admittedly, there’s not a lot of action in episode 19, but after how action-packed the training camp episodes were, it’s kind of nice to have a little bit of a breather. However, now that the Inter-High team has officially been selected, I suspect we’re going to be seeing more action-packed episodes coming as they start training even harder for the upcoming Inter-High.

And now that the Inter-High team has been chosen, I suspect the focus of the series will be much more on these characters than on the members of the club that weren’t selected. I’m sure we’ll still see Sugimoto and the second-years in the background as they root on the Inter-High team, but I think we’ll be seeing less of them overall as the focus of the series is logically going to be shifting to training for the Inter-High and on the Inter-High race itself.

From what MyAnimeList shows, there are 38 episodes of Yowamushi Pedal, which means this would be the halfway point of the series. So far, I have to say that the series has been paced pretty well for a series of that length. I’m looking forward to seeing how the second half of the series will propel the story forward.

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