Yowamushi Pedal: Episode 20 – “Manami Sangaku”

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 main focus of the episode is on Manami Sangaku, a first-year at Hakone Academy, and he’s participating in a special tournament to determine the sixth and final member of the school’s Inter-High team. His childhood friend, the school rep, doesn’t seem to realize this, and is trying to keep him from leaving; because he’s late to class and sleeps during lessons, she has arranged for him to make up what he missed through handouts. He keeps trying to tell her he can’t do them today because of the race, and he ends up having to slip out of his shirt in order to get going, since she’s clinging onto it to keep him from leaving.

Like with Sakamichi earlier in the series, the Hakone team captain and some of the other members follow behind in a van to watch Manami race with a second-year named Kuroda. There’s plenty of racing action to determine whether Manami or Kuroda will become the final member of the team.

While the race is going on, the club rep has a flashback to when she and Manami were younger. In the flashback, we learn that Manami had been sickly as a kid, and that she was the one who ultimately introduced Manami to bicycling because unlike other physical activities, he can move while resting and not tax his body as much. He falls in love with cycling and it makes him stronger.

We finally get to see Sakamichi and most of the other members of the Inter-High team when they go to Makashima’s to watch a videotape that Tadokoro taped of the Hakone Road Relay, so they can get a feel for the course, since this is the course this year’s Inter-High will be using.

Since we had met Manami earlier in the series, as well as the fact that the episode is named after him and how much focus was being put on him, it was obvious who the winner of the race would ultimately have to be. Even though I already knew who was going to win, the race itself was still fun to watch. Also, I enjoyed getting the backstory for Manami, because it helped me to better understand him as a character.

The scene at Makashima’s place was actually rather amusing. First, you have the first-years being awed by how big his house is. Then, getting to see Makashima in something outside of his school uniform or his racing jersey was also a sight to behold. Makashima definitely has an… “interesting” sense of style, for lack of a better word. It was also amusing to see that Tadokoro still records things on VHS tapes and actually prefers analog over digital, since the generation these characters belong to tend to lean so much toward digital and hardly even seem to touch physical media anymore.

We’re definitely at the point in the series where the focus is going to be on getting ready for the Inter-High. I was glad to get to see more of Manami, as well as getting to see Hakone Academy finalize their Inter-High team.

At this point, I have no predictions as to what the next episode will focus on. Because of this, I’m looking forward to seeing episode 21 in order to find out how the story will progress.

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