Yowamushi Pedal: Episode 35 – “The Winner”

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.

Episode 35 opens with Kinjou and Shunsuke joining up with Makishima and Naruko. The team from Kumamoto Daichi catches up, and from them, they learn that Tadokoro and Sakamichi are at the back of the pack, and that Sakamichi is drafting for Tadokoro. The other members of Sohoku smile when they hear this, which causes the guys from Kumamoto Daichi to think that they’re crazy.

However, the majority of the episode focuses on Midousuji and Shinkai as they try to be the first one to reach the second day’s sprint checkpoint. At first, it looks like Shinkai will be able to win easily; however, Midousuji reveals that he was doing a lot of acting in Episode 34 and had been holding back. Midousuji also reveals that he knows about Shinkai running over the rabbit when he was younger and how that has affected him. Midousuji tries to use this to his advantage in order to grab the checkpoint, but Shinkai surprises his opponent by doing something unexpected. The episode ends with the two of them neck-to-neck right around the 300 meter mark…

I have to say that I was a little disappointed that Sakamichi and Tadokoro only got a brief mention in this episode, because this now makes two episodes in a row where their storyline didn’t appear. I really would like to see Sakamichi and Tadokoro’s progress. I mean, don’t leave me hanging here!

There’s also a flashback that shows what happened between Kinjou and Shunsuke before they rejoined Makishima and Naruko. We learn that Shunsuke is frustrated by the fact that Midousuji never considered him to be any kind of competition, and he wants to give up on bicycle racing entirely. Kinjou convinces Shunsuke to continue riding with the team during the Inter-High at the back of their group. Maybe it’s just me, but Shunsuke came across in this flashback like he was throwing a temper tantrum; it definitely wasn’t one of Shunsuke’s better moments in the series, that’s for sure.

We also got another flashback for Shinkai that shows what happened with him at Hakone Academy as he dealt with the aftermath of running over the mother rabbit and the fact that because of that incident, he can’t pass other riders on the left. Midousuji found out about that fact and tried to exploit it; unfortunately for him, it only caused a “demon” inside of Shinkai to emerge. When that happened, Shinkai looked rather crazy, and it was such a stark contrast to how calm and collected that he usually is.

At this point, there are three more episodes remaining for this season of Yowamushi Pedal. With this pacing, I assume we’ll get through the second day of the Inter-High by the end of Episode 38. Fortunately, an announcement has come out saying there will be more episodes of Yowamushi Pedal in the fall, so I suspect at that time, the series will continue with the third day of the Inter-High.

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