Yowamushi Pedal: Episode 23 – “Top Sprinter!!”

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 episode 23 backtracks slightly to shortly before the gun goes off for the Inter-High. We see Sakamichi having a flashback of telling his mother about coming to the race. She seems to be rather clueless as to what he’s talking about. Considering what she had done to Sakamichi’s “mommy” bike to keep him from going too fast, perhaps it’s for the best that she’s so clueless.

The race gets going, and Sakamichi is riding with the pack. Shunsuke explains that the first two kilometers are a parade run, where they ride for the enjoyment of the spectators. Once they finish the two kilometers and the referee waves the flag, the race officially begins.

At this point, the episode focuses on the sprinters, because this portion of the course favors the sprinters. Tadokoro and Naruko hold back for a bit, but once they’re ready to go, they try to race each other. They manage to get in front of the pack of sprinters, but they are quickly joined by Touichirou Izumida, the sprinter from Hakone Academy. We get a little bit of backstory about how Touichirou developed his abs, and then he pulls ahead of the two Sohoku sprinters. The episode ends with Tadokoro and Naruko trying to do what they can to catch up to Touichirou before he crosses the first checkpoint.

I really appreciated having Sakamichi’s flashback at the beginning of the episode. It was a nice light-hearted and comedic moment to help lighten the mood before the race really gets going.

Once the sprinters take center stage, there’s much more drama and action. There’s the occasional humorous bit, but for the most part, this section can be a bit tense and busy. However, this section of the episode was fun to watch, and the ending made me want to see the next episode in order to find out how the race will continue.

This leg of the race will definitely continue into episode 24. At this point, I’m suspecting that the series will be paced in such a way where the majority of the remaining episodes will be focusing on the Inter-High race. However, I’m sure that it’s not going to feel like it’s dragging, since the other races that were stretched out were still exciting and fun to watch.

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