Yowamushi Pedal: Episode 34 – “Shinkai Hayato”

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.

At the beginning of Episode 34, Kyoto Fushimi catches up to the aces as Hakone Academy pulls ahead. Midousuji takes some time to taunt Shunsuke before he and the rest of Kyoto Fushimi pull ahead to catch up with Hakone Academy. Shunsuke’s brain breaks when he realizes that Midousuji never viewed him as an opponent.

Kyoto Fushimi catches up to Hakone Academy, and Midousuji suggests that they race to the second day’s sprint checkpoint. At first, Imuzida says he’ll be the one to race them, but after discovering that he’d be racing Midousuji, his teammate Shinkai tells him to cool off. Shinkai volunteers to race Midousuji instead.

Midousuji tries to use his typical intimidation tactics on Shinkai, but he remains cool as a cucumber. As their race goes on, Shinkai keeps pulling ahead and Midousuji tries to catch up to him. Midousuji keeps whining throughout this race about why Shinkai keeps pulling ahead of him. There were points during his whining where he’d make these noises that made me think of Gollum from The Hobbit.

We also got to see a flashback of Shinkai when he was a second-year and how he almost gave up bicycle racing when he accidentally ran over a mother rabbit when he was trying to win a race. He later found the mother’s baby and takes it in to take care of it.  It was nice to see this flashback to get some character development for Shinkai, since he was one of the few Hakone Academy members that we still didn’t know much of anything about at this point. It also showed us the relationship between Shinkai and Fukutomi.

I really liked seeing Midousuji’s taunting not working against most of the members of the Hakone team. It shows me just how much Midousuji relies on his taunting and intimidating aura to overwhelm his competitors in order to get ahead.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see what’s going on with Tadokoro and Sakamichi. I’m hoping we might see more of a focus on those two in Episode 35. I also hope that the sprint race between Shinkai and Midousuji is also resolved in the next episode.

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