When Kinjou and the rest of the team realize that Sakamichi has fallen to last place, it’s decided that Makishima will have to lead the rest of the team to the peak in Sakamichi’s place. Hakone Academy catches up to Sohoku, and Toudou begins trying to egg on Makishima to have a competition to see who can reach the checkpoint first. Makishima keeps telling Toudou “no,” even going so far as to claim that his stomach hasn’t been feeling well since yesterday. Toudou becomes exasperated. It’s also obvious from watching Makishima that he feels conflicted. He wants to accept Toudou’s challenge, but he knows that it’s up to him to lead the team through the mountain.

The audience gets a treat when Toudou has a flashback to when Toudou and Makishima first met, and how Makishima beat Toudou after their first meeting. Then we’re also shown the last race they had together before the Inter-High, and how Makishima had to drop out right at the end because both of his tires were flat. Toudou promised that they’d have their final race at the Inter-High in order to settle their score, which is currently sitting at a tie.

After the flashback, Hakone tells Toudou that he has to go on ahead to take the checkpoint, especially since other climbers have gotten ahead of him. When Hakone starts bragging about how they’re going to take the checkpoint, Makishima says, “Three minutes.”

Meanwhile, we see the second-years, Sugimoto, and Miki go to find Sakamichi. They find that he’s sitting up on his bike and looking like he’s ready to race. When Sakamichi asks if there’s a chance for him to catch up to the others, he’s told that they can’t say that he’ll be fine, but they think he can do it. At the end of the episode, Sakamichi starts on his way with a new determination.

My favorite part of this episode was getting to see the flashbacks of Toudou and Makishima. While we know from things that have happened in the past that Toudou and Makishima think of themselves as rivals, it was really nice to finally get the backstory as to how they became such rivals. I also like the flashbacks because they allow the audience to see what the characters looked like when they were younger.

As I watched the episode, I couldn’t help but constantly think, “When are we going to see what’s going on with Sakamichi?” Don’t get me wrong, I like Makishima and the others, but the audience was just left hanging about what was going on with Sakamichi after he was told he was in last place. Just as I was despairing that Sakamichi wouldn’t appear at all in this episode, it finally cuts to the supporting team members running back to where the accident had taken place to look for Sakamichi. I should also mention that I liked Makishima’s “three minutes” line, because it shows that he has faith that Sakamichi will pull off a miracle and catch up with them in time.

At this point, I suspect that the focus of Episode 28 will be on Sakamichi and his attempt to catch up with the rest of the team. I can’t wait to see what Sakamichi ends up doing, and I hope we find out by the end of Episode 28 whether or not Sakamichi will actually catch up.

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