Yowamushi Pedal: Episode 31 – “The Strong Three”

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 first half of the episode focuses on the race to the finish line of the first day of the race. Midousuji goes flying up from the pack to catch up with the aces. He has it all planned out as to how he’ll pass the aces and win, but the race ultimately doesn’t go the way he expects it. At the end of the first day, it turns out there’s an unprecedented three-way tie between Hakone Academy, Kyoto Fushimi, and Sohoku High.

Most of the rest of the episode is spent on the first day award ceremony and interactions between members of the Sohoku and Hakone Academy teams. Kinjou, Fukutomi, and Midousuji are all given yellow numbers to wear for the second day to show they won the finish line. Tadokoro is given a green number for being the fastest sprinter, and Toudou gets a red number for taking the mountain checkpoint. Makishima gives an explanation to Sakamichi about the significance of the colored numbers.

Manami and Toudou come over to Sohoku’s tent and talk with Sakamichi and Makishima. Toudou says that no matter how hard they fought, no one came out ahead. Because of that, the second day of the race will begin a fight to the death. During the conversation, Makishima’s phone rings, and it’s not Toudou calling him. At the end of the episode, we see who called Makishima and what the call was about…

So the first day of the race has finally concluded, and we ended up with no clear-cut winner. Because of this, it’ll allow the second day of the race to have a bit more tenseness and anticipation surrounding it.

On the one hand, it was a little disappointing to see Midousuji catch up with the other two aces, However, I enjoyed getting to see his master plan for winning get shot down. He’d had it all planned out at exactly where in the end he would be, but he wasn’t able to pass the two aces at the 50 meter mark. I loved seeing him question where we went wrong. I was glad he didn’t take the finish line, because it allowed him to lose his smugness, even if it was only for a moment.

I’ll be interested to see what happens in Episode 32. With what Makishima discovers at the end of this episode, it could have a major effect on the second day of the race.

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