Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 19 – “ROAD.19 Sakamichi’s Job”

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 19 sees Shunsuke crossing the mountain checkpoint first, and at this point, there’s only six kilometers remaining until the finish line. Even though Shunsuke sees Fukutomi, an ace with his head hung down right behind him, he knows that he can’t let his guard down.

Quite a bit of the episode focuses on the three-way race to the aces between Midousuji, Manami, and Sakamichi. At first, Sakamichi is afraid that he can’t hold Midousuji back and wonders what he should do. After some brief flashbacks of advice that he was given earlier in the series, he realizes that he needs to stick closely to Midousuji and to stay right on him. Unfortunately, Sakamichi sticks a little too close at first and doesn’t pay attention to the road, which causes him to ride off of it.

But viewers of Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road know by now that that’s not going to mark the end of Sakamichi’s race. He finds a way to stop himself, get back onto the road, and catch back up with Manami and Midousuji. After a bit more racing, the three of them catch up to the aces. Unfortunately, there’s no clear cut winner for their race, so it’s declared to be a tie. But with the arrival of these three racers, the lead pack goes up from two to five. There’s now only five kilometers left until the finish line.

There’s a scene here of Sakamichi talking with Shunsuke and apologizing for not keeping Midousuji from catching up. Shunsuke tells Sakamichi that he should be proud of what he’s accomplished and to hold his head high. This scene between Shunsuke and Sakamichi is such a perfect example to illustrate the character growth that Shunsuke has gone through since we met him at the beginning of the first Yowamushi Pedal series. He’s come to understand that he’s a member of a team, rather than being a team of one. He’s also learned to control his outbursts.

While we had a couple of sections of Episode 19 that utilized flashbacks, the flashbacks themselves were rather short. I applaud the fact that these flashbacks only utilized what they absolutely had to in order to convey what message needed to be shared. I’ve definitely noticed that the race itself isn’t being stretched out quite so much anymore since we’re getting closer to the end of the series.

I also enjoyed another scene with Shunsuke, where we got to see even more of how much he’s grown when Midousuji catches up and hurls an insult at him. I was glad to see that Shunsuke could calmly respond with an insult of his own. Midousuji is so taken aback by Shunsuke’s reaction that the remaining racers in the lead pack are able to get ahead of him. When I saw Shunsuke deliver his insult to Midousuji, I cheered. I was glad to see that Shunsuke no longer fears Midousuji, and I thought Midousuji deserved what he got. Turnabout is fair play, after all.

Of course, Midousuji doesn’t take this well. He begins eating like a madman, and throwing his garbage all over the road as he devours what he has on him. Midousuji puts on a sudden burst of speed and moves forward as Episode 19 ends.

If the setup at the end of Episode 19 didn’t make it clear, the title of the next episode bluntly states that Episode 20 will be a race between Shunsuke and Midousuji. I’m really looking forward to seeing this episode, and I’m cheering for Shunsuke to be able to triumph over Midousuji. I really want to see Midousuji’s brain break again.

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