Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 17 – “ROAD.17 Hakone Academy #6”

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 17 starts with Ishigaki, Midousuji’s teammate, collapsing on the side of the road after Midousuji pulls on ahead. He has a flashback of when he and Midousuji had fallen behind Hakone Academy and Sohoku earlier in the day, and how Ishigaki has come to accept that even though he may not be his team’s ace, he can take pride in being an assistant. Midousuji just sees this sentiment as being “gross,” but this shows the growth that Ishigaki has gone through as a character since we first saw him interacting with Midousuji. At least Ishigaki was able to leave his final Inter-High on a high note.

Midousuji catches up with Makishima and Toudou, who have been battling with each other for a little while. Midousuji mocks the two of them for being tired, and takes advantage of their tiredness to get ahead of them. Toudou immediately sends Manami to go after Midousuji, and Sakamichi asks Makishima if he should go ahead shortly after. Of course, Makishima sends Sakamichi on ahead, but by the end of the episode, Sakamichi hasn’t caught up with Manami and Midousuji.

So with this development, Makishima and Toudou are still in the race, but neither one is going to be a major player as the race gets closer to the finish line. I had a suspicion that Makishima was going to be the next one from Sohoku to somehow lose their major character status for the race, but I wasn’t sure if he would have to leave the race completely or just have to fall behind. I’m glad to see that he’s able to actually remain in the race instead of getting an injury that forces him out of the rest of the race.

Most of the rest of the episode focuses on Manami and Midousuji, with Manami challenging Midousuji to a race to see who can reach the aces first. After a little while, Midousuji adds the condition that the loser of this race won’t pass the winner until the finish line. Manami accepts the challenge, and continually smiles as the two of them race. What makes this particular race so interesting is the fact that Midousuji has no information or data on Manami, so he can’t plan any tricks ahead of time to try to turn the race to his advantage. It was so amusing to see Midousuji’s brain nearly break on several occasions in the episode when Manami doesn’t react the way he expects. And to be honest, Midousuji’s mocking really wasn’t affecting anyone he tried to use it on in this episode; seeing this made me rather happy.

The episode also sees Miyahara having a flashback to how Manami got into Hakone Academy, as well as her confrontation with Fukutomi when she accused Manami’s obsession with riding around on the cycling club’s activities. This confrontation scene was actually rather amusing. Not only was the flashback a way for the audience to pull back from the drama of the race temporarily with something a little more light-hearted, it also provided a little more insight into the interactions that Miyahara has with Manami. It’s also become more obvious with this flashback that Miyahara has a crush on Manami.

With the way Episode 18 ends, it’s clear that Episode 19 will continue the race going on between Manami and Midousuji. But the big question at this point is, will Sakamichi catch up to them while their race is going on, or will he catch up after their race has ended? The other big question that’s still lingering is, how will Shunsuke handle it when he sees Midousuji catching up with the aces?

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