The first episode of Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road opens with a recap of what transpired in the final episode of Yowamushi Pedal to help refresh the audience’s memory of what happened to lead up to where this new season starts. I didn’t mind the recap, since it’s been about three months since I saw the end of Yowamushi Pedal. Also, the recap only lasted for about two or three minutes.

The focus of Episode One is on the assistants trying to get the ace to the finish line for the second day of the Inter-High race. Midousuji is up to his old tricks to try to stop Sohoku and Hakone Academy from being first. He has one of his teammates try to block Hakone Academy’s ace assistant from joining with Fukutomi, but the joke’s on Midousuji when it turns out it’s actually a different member of Hakone’s team that’s going to be serving as Fukutomi’s ace assistant. I nearly laughed when Midousuji’s plan failed, because honestly, he deserves it.

Midousuji then tries knocking Imaizumi over, but Imaizumi finds the inner strength he needs to keep on going and not give up to Midousuji’s trickery. This was some really good character development for Imaizumi, since up to this point he had felt intimidated by Midousuji.

Midousuji finally seems to have an epiphany that his tricks will no longer work in this race, and it appears that he’ll stop using them. However, he does something surprising when his ace assistant, Ishigaki, slips on a turn and appears as if he’s going to fall: Midosuji actually catches him! Of course, Midousuji didn’t catch him out of the goodness of his heart. He did it so he’d have his ace assistant to get him to his goal of reaching the finish line.

The episode ends with the three teams preparing to go through the final stretch to reach the finish line. As I’ve come to expect from this series, the episode ends right before this stretch occurs. It’s safe to say that the next episode will have a major focus on the final stretch of the second day of the Inter-High race.

After watching this episode, I thought it not only perfectly continued from the end of Yowamushi Pedal, it also sets a strong foundation for Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road. This episode is what I’ve come to expect from this series, and there was nothing in the storytelling to throw me off or make me think that this season had “jumped the shark.” It ended up being a very smooth transition between the two seasons.

And I thought it was interesting to see hints in both the opening and ending credits of the show that another team will become important during this season of the series. I have a suspicion we’ll probably be introduced to them during the third day of the Inter-High race, and I’m curious to meet these new characters and to see what new elements that they’ll be introducing to the series.

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