Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 23 – “ROAD.23 The Promised Road”

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal 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 23 sees Manami deliberating whether or not to shift up to the 10th and final gear on his bike. In the end, he decides to go for it, and at first it looks like he may have pushed things too far. Manami has an interesting scene here where he suddenly appears in a world of grey and acts like he may be giving up, and I thought that depicting his emotions this way was rather effective. But Manami finds his usual optimism and is able to overcome the mental block that had taken over.

Meanwhile, Sakamichi struggles to catch up with Manami. After a bit of work, he finally sees his rival in front of him again. This makes Sakamichi so happy that he smiles and begins pushing himself forward until he’s neck-and-neck with Manami. The remainder of the episode focuses on a race to the finish line between Manami and Sakamichi. The race between the two of them gets rather intense, but fortunately there are times when the episode cuts away to the other characters reacting to the results or to flashbacks. Cutting away like this did help to ease the intensity a little, which I found helpful as a viewer.

The episode ends with a close-up on a tire crossing the finish line, but it’s not revealed which one of the riders won. While this was a frustrating way to end the episode, I had basically expected that the actual winner of the race wouldn’t be revealed until Episode 24.

There was also a great moment when Manami and Sakamichi are headed toward the finish line and pass by Miyahara and Sakamichi’s mother. Sakamichi’s mother looks so shocked to see him, but then we get to hear her thoughts and see just how proud she is of her son. Hopefully this will open her eyes that Sakamichi isn’t the little boy who needs to be protected as much as she thinks he does.

It’s so hard to believe that Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is almost over now. I suspect that the final episode will reveal the winner of the Inter-High, as well as wind down the final day of the race. I’m really looking forward to seeing who ultimately wins, although I have to admit that I’m hoping for a tie. But at the same time, I’m also a little sad knowing that the series is about to come to an end.

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