Early on in Episode 18, the focus is on Manami and Midousuji as they continue to their race to catch up to the aces. Manami pulls a trick out from his sleeve, and is able to get ahead of Midousuji. But when Midousuji figures out what Manami’s trick is, he’s able to replicate Manami’s feat and catch back up.
But quite a bit of the episode actually focuses on Sakamichi as he works at trying to catch up with Manami and Midousuji, as well as on Makishima as he remembers Sakamichi’s growth from when he first joined the Bicycle Club. There are a lot of flashbacks that are included in this portion of the story, which I could tell in large part were included to help stretch this section of the story out. However, I didn’t mind all these flashbacks, because they helped to remind me of some things that had happened earlier in the series that I had forgotten about. It was also a bit of a trip to see the changes in the characters’ designs from the earlier episodes of the series to what they look like now. And at least one of the flashbacks included new footage that hadn’t been seen in the series previously, which helped to make the flashback portions feel a little more interesting.
As we’ve come to expect, Sakamichi is able to catch up with Manami and Midousuji. It was amusing to see Midousuji’s expressions of disbelief when Sakamichi catches up, because he looks as if his brain is breaking several times over. Midousuji also gets into the flashback game when he remembers his interactions with Sakamichi after the end of the second day of the Inter-High.
Admittedly, not a whole lot of story progression takes place over the course of Episode 18. But then again, that’s become rather expected out of the Yowamushi Pedal franchise, so that’s not a mark against this episode. But what this episode lacked in the way of action, it made up for with the use of flashbacks to help build up the tension of the race.
Episode 18 ends with the race now being between Manami, Midousuji, and Sakamichi to see who reaches the aces first. From the title for Episode 19, it appears that Sakamichi may be playing an important role. But I won’t know exactly what kind of role he’ll play until I get a chance to watch Episode 19.
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