Episode 21 focuses on the competition that Shunsuke and Midousuji have in the final downhill portion of the race. Midousuji goes to extraordinary lengths to pass Shunsuke, including trying to squeeze his head between Shunsuke and a guardrail. Midousuji ultimately doesn’t succeed, but Shunsuke’s bike frame starts to crack. Shunsuke doesn’t seem fazed by the frame cracking, and says he would have been more concerned if it had been his tire or chain that broke. But as soon as I saw the frame start to crack, I suspected that this wasn’t going to be a good sign.
At the end of the downhill, Shunsuke is the ultimate winner after Midousuji’s left leg gives out. When Midousuji realizes that the view in front of him is Shunsuke’s butt instead of the road in front of him, his brain breaks. Midousuji tries to keep going by simply pedaling with his right leg, but he gets so wobbly that he ultimately falls off his bike and is out of the race.
Before seeing this episode, I had been cheering for Midousuji to lose and somehow leave the race. But when this episode used flashbacks for Midousuji, especially ones from when he was younger when he would ride home from visiting his mother in the hospital, I actually felt kind of bad for Midousuji. Yes, Midousuji had acted like a jerk again, but getting these flashbacks of Midousuji helped to humanize him right at the end of his time in the race. In fact, after seeing those flashbacks, I found myself feeling like a bit of jerk because of how much I had been hoping to see his brain break as he lost.
But Shunsuke’s victory for the downhill is short-lived when he discovers that Manami and Fukutomi have caught up to him. Not only that, Shunsuke’s bike frame continues to crack as he pushes himself forward, which is causing him to slow down. I’m afraid that Shunsuke’s frame is going to crack so much that Hakone Academy could potentially take the lead. Sakamichi has been trying to keep up with Shunsuke, but he wasn’t seen when Manami and Fukutomi catch up.
There’s also a light-hearted section early on in the episode, when Sakamichi’s mother is separated from her tour group near the finish line, and she encounters Manami’s friend, Miyahara. While this portion of the episode didn’t truly add anything to the story, it was a nice break from the tense action that’s been going on in the race.
There are only three episodes remaining for Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road, and the finish line for the Inter-High is getting ever closer. I hope Sakamichi can somehow make a grand reappearance and help Sohoku cross the finish line, hopefully as part of the winning team.
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