At the beginning of Episode 33, we see that Tadokoro puts on an act of waiting to go in order to give a handicap to the pack. However, it turns out that he hasn’t fully recovered from the previous day. After he gets going, we see him off and on as he goes a little ways and then stops. He begins to think that he won’t be able to catch up with the rest of the team.

Meanwhile, Naruko and Sakamichi ask Makishima about waiting for Tadokoro. Makishima has a flashback of Tadokoro telling him that if he couldn’t keep up, that the team should abandon him. When Makishima tries, the other two argue that he shouldn’t. After Makishima breaks down and admits what happened to Tadokoro, Sakamichi is determined to go back and help Tadokoro join them because Kinjou gave him a job to do.

When Sakamichi finds Tadokoro, he has to convince Tadokoro not to give up and to come with him. It becomes a bit of a struggle when Sakamichi tells Tadokoro that they need to sing the theme song for Love Hime. Tadokoro reluctantly agrees to do it, and the scenes where the two of them are singing and passing other competitors are hilarious. I really like how their singing just shocks people so much that they slow down while Sakamichi and Tadokoro pull ahead of them.

Near the end of the episode, we see that all of Hakone Academy’s team has caught up to their ace. Midousuji gives Shunsuke a hard time, and Shunsuke tries to ignore him. Near the end of the episode, it’s proclaimed that another group of riders is catching up.

The major focus of this episode was on Tadokoro trying to push himself and on Makishima arguing with Sakamichi and Naruko about leaving Tadokoro behind. Poor Makishima felt so conflicted. On the one hand, he didn’t want to leave Tadokoro behind because of being friends, but on the other, Tadokoro had told him not to tell the others what had happened and to abandon him if need be. I couldn’t blame Makishima for finally breaking down and telling Naruko and Sakamichi the truth. At first, Makishima was trying to keep Sakamichi from going back, but he admits later that he wanted to take a chance on Sakamichi when he saw the look in his eyes.

I’m very interested in seeing Episode 34 in order to find out whether or not Sakamichi can help Tadokoro make it past the pack and be able to rejoin their team in time, or if something will prevent them from getting ahead of the pack.

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