Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 22 – “ROAD.22 Manami and Sakamichi”

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 22 sees Manami pushing ahead of Shunsuke. But just as Fukutomi thinks the race is decided in favor of Hakone Academy, Sakamichi makes an appearance and pushes past Fukutomi. Later, when Fukutomi talks with Shunsuke and learns that he hadn’t anticipated Hakone Academy’s move and that Sohoku didn’t have a real strategy, Fukutomi’s expression seems to indicate that his brain broke into a million pieces. It was rather comical to see the usually stoic and reserved Fukutomi looking so stunned and disbelieving.

The majority of the episode focuses on Manami and Sakamichi, who race with each other after Sakamichi catches up. There’s actually one point in the episode where Sakamichi manages to pull ahead of Manami, and the reactions and expressions of his teammates when they hear or see that he’s in the lead are rather amusing.

Unfortunately, Sakamichi’s lead doesn’t last. But Manami is starting to get a little reckless with how many gear changes he’s making on the final uphill climb to reach the finish line, so it makes me wonder if something will happen to Manami that will allow Sakamichi to ultimately take the lead and win the Inter-High for Sohoku. Fukutomi had told him not to go higher than his eighth gear, but Toudou had told Manami to ride free and to give everything he had on a stage where he could shine. The expression on Fukutomi’s face made it seem like he was thinking, “Oh, crap.” I suspect that getting this conflicting advice could make a real difference in this final race between Manami and Sakamichi.

We also get to see Miyahara and Sakamichi’s mother react to the announcement of Sakamichi being in the lead. Miyahara believes that Manami will ultimately win, and Sakamichi’s mother seems to believe that the other racer just happens to share the same name as her son, since she still seems to believe he’s involved in an anime club. But in an earlier episode, it almost seemed as if she understood what Sakamichi was actually doing, so I’m not sure if she’s simply playing dumb or is actually this much of an airhead.

The final stretch of the Inter-High has been both exciting and exhilarating to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing how the race will end, who will be the ultimate victor, and how they achieve their victory.

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