Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 9 – “ROAD.9 The Fighting Dog of Kure”

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. It continues the adventures of the Sohoku High School bicycle club and their rivals, Hakone Academy and Kyoto Fushimi High School; specifically, this series focuses on the Inter-High race that all three teams are participating in.

Episode Nine sees Arakita, Manami, and Sakamichi catching up with the Hiroshima team and appearing to surprise them. But Ibitani, one of the members of the Hiroshima team, sets up a 20 meter three-on-three race: whichever team can get 20 meters ahead of the other first wins, and the teams will quit chasing each other. Hirsohima’s team is made up of three sprinters, and is led by Machimiya. During the race, it’s revealed that Machimiya had made a promise with Midousuji during the first day of the Inter-High: if they find themselves fighting for first on the third day, they should work together. This promise is reinforced when we see Midousuji at the front of the race thinking about it; in fact, we also get to see Midousuji’s personality that we’ve come to know so well come back. Apparently, he wasn’t going to stay docile for very long!

Quite a bit of the episode has a lot of back and forth between the two groups in the three-on-three competition; there were several times that Hiroshima seemed to pull ahead, and the other group would catch back up. Machimiya is also shown using any means possible to try to keep Arakita from pulling ahead. Seeing this made Machimiya comes across as a real jerk.

Episode Nine also has a flashback with backstory for Machimiya, which shows him being chosen as his team’s ace the previous year. When he competed at the previous year’s Inter-High, he was chasing after Fukutomi on the second day and discovered that both of his water bottles were cracked. When Machimiya asks Fukutomi to give him one of his water bottles, Fukutomi turns him down. Hakone went on to grab all three places in the second day, and Machimiya swore revenge on Hakone.

So Machimiya is ultimately so driven and upset over not getting a water bottle. Yes, this caused him to not be able to place in the race, but Machimiya’s actions feel so “over the top.” While other flashbacks with backstories had something that developed characters and made them more sympathetic, I can’t say the same thing for this particular backstory. It just makes Machimiya come off as a whiner and does nothing to redeem him as a character.

But Arakita does something that surprises Machimiya, as well as the others in the three-on-three competition, right at the end of the episode. I suspect that this surprising action will end up playing an important role in Episode 10. I hope I’m right, because it would be interesting to see what kind of reaction, if any, that Machimiya ends up having to this.

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