Anime Spotlight: Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. Just like the first season, Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is produced by TMS/8PAN, and is directed by Osamu Nabeshima. The series aired on Japanese television from October 6, 2014-March 30, 2015.

As of this writing, Discotek Media holds the North American distribution rights for both Yowamushi Pedal and Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road.

In Yowamushi Pedal, a first-year student at Sohoku High named Sakamichi Onoda was an otaku looking to join an anime club. Unfortunately, the anime club had to shut down due to lack of members. Sakamichi rides a mamachari, which is a bulky bicycle with a step-through frame that’s mainly used for short rides. However, due to how often he uses his bike to go all the way to Akihabara and back, he’s actually a rather skilled bike rider.

Through various circumstances, Sakamichi finds himself joining Sohoku’s bicycle racing club and acquiring an actual racing bike. With enough practice and determination, Sakamichi learns how to use the skills he’s developed riding his mamachari to become a formidable climber for Sohoku’s team. During the first season, Sakamichi was chosen to represent Sohoku at the Inter-High race, alongside Kinjou, Tadokoro, Makishima, Naruko, and Shunsuke.

But there are formidable rivals at the Inter-High, including Hakone Academy, Kyoto Fushimi High School, and Hiroshima Kureminami Technical High School.

The first season of the series ended during the middle of the second day of the Inter-High, and the first season of Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road picked up right where the previous season had ended.

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road finishes off the second day of the Inter-High, and then spends the remainder of the episodes chronicling the third day of the race. Over the course of the third day, several of the riders that the audience came to know have to drop out of the race or fall back for one reason or another, which ends up leaving the most unexpected person to try to get the win for Sohoku.

When I started watching Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road, I thought it continued perfectly from where the previous season had ended, which created a very smooth transition between the two seasons.

I was also impressed by just how much backstory and character development appeared during this season, especially for the characters that aren’t on Sohoku’s team. The strongest backstory ended up going to Midousuji, so there was actually a portion of the series where I thought I liked him a little better than I had previously. Unfortunately, he later returned to his old ways and I started to not like him again. But the way he ultimately had to leave the race left me feeling like a bit of a jerk for how much I had been cheering for him to fall out of the race.

The team from Hiroshima Kureminami Technical High School was introduced during this season. Unfortunately, they didn’t really add a whole lot in the end, and they didn’t get much in the way of any real character development. In a lot of respects, the inclusion of this team felt more like a distraction than anything else. They only played any real role for five whole episodes and a small part of a sixth. For a 24 episode series, that’s roughly a fourth of the season. I guess they did manage to help stretch out the third day of the Inter-High and helped to make it last long enough for the 24 episode run.

While having the third day of the race last for roughly 20 episodes sounds like a lot, the story was written in such a way that it never really felt like it was taking forever. Most episodes had a good combination of action and character interactions that helped to make the viewer forget just how many episodes this race has truly been going for.

Outside of the inclusion of Hiroshima Kureminami Technical High School’s team, I actually really enjoyed Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road. I also thought that the final episode was written in a way that provided a satisfactory conclusion to both the Inter-High race and to the series as a whole.

I’m looking forward to a time when I can get both seasons of Yowamushi Pedal on home video to add to my collection and be able to re-watch the series from the very beginning.

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