Anime Film Review: Yowamushi Pedal: The Movie

Yowamushi Pedal: The Movie is a film that tells a completely new story about what happens to Sohoku High’s bicycle racing club after the Inter-High race.

Yowamushi Pedal: The Movie

Directed by: Norihiro Naganuma
Written by: Reiko Yoshida
Starring: Daiki Yamashita, Jun Fukushima, Kosuke Toriumi, Atsushi Abe, Ayaka Suwa, Daisuke Kishio, Hirofumi Nojima, Hiroki Yasumoto, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Junichi Suwabe, Kentaro Ito, Ken’yu Horiuchi, Koji Yusa, Kouki Miyata, Megumi Han, Satoshi Hino, Shotaro Morikubo, Tetsuya Kakihara, Tomoaki Maeno, Tsubasa Yonaga, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka
Run Time: 90 minutes
English Publisher: Discotek Media
Format: Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
Release Date: December 26, 2017

The film opens with the members of Sohoku’s bicycle racing club returning to school after the Inter-High race. Both the team and Sakamichi recive attention for winning the Inter-High, and it’s awkward for Sakamich because he’s not used to that kind of attention.

Since Yowamushi Pedal focuses on bicycle racing, you knew that a race would have to be coming up. Sure enough, Sohoku;s team is invited to participate in the Kumamoto Hi Province Mountain Range Race, which is only open to the top-tier teams from around the country. Of course, this means that Hakone Academy will participate, and this race also brings in Kyoto Fushimi and Hiroshima Kureminami. But this race also introduces the audience to another team, Kumamoto Daiichi High School, the local team for the location where the race is being held. But it was quite surprising to see that Midousuji decided not to participate with Kyoto Fushimi. Instead, Ishigaki serves as the team’s ace, and Nobuyuki has a running gag of trying to take Midousuji’s place as the ace. This gag with Nobuyuki was amusing the first couple of times it appeared, but it wore out its welcome rather quickly.

But the race itself isn’t the only source of drama in Yowamushi Pedal: The Movie. It turns out that Makishima is heading to England to study abroad and help his older brother with his business, and needs to withdraw from Sohoku’s bicycle racing club. With Makishima departing, that leaves Sakamichi as the team’s only climber. When Kinjou tells Sakamichi that he’ll be the mountain climbing ace for the upcoming race, the younger climber feels a lot of pressure. Sakamichi’s uncertainty at being placed in this important role also serves as a driving factor for the drama in the film. But there’s a surprise near the end of the race that I expected, although I wasn’t quite sure how it would be pulled off until it happened. Even though I expected the twist, I still enjoyed seeing the ending of the story.

Getting to see the interactions between Sohoku’s racers and Hakone Academy’s team was very enjoyable to watch. But you kind of had to feel bad for Toudou when he discovered that Makishima wasn’t at the race. As I watched the race, I just felt like something was missing without Midousuji around, and this made the Kyoto Fushimi team a little less interesting to watch. All I can figure is that there was already enough going on in the film that the writer decided there just wasn’t a way to fit Midousuji in with the story that they wanted to tell. The Hiroshima Kureminami team seemed to serve the exact same purpose they did when they were introduced in Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road. We only get to meet two of the new members of the Kumamoto Daiichi High School, and by the end of the movie, they didn’t really leave much of an impression on me. They just came across as a couple of overconfident and pompous racers.

Story-wise, it felt like the writer didn’t miss a beat between the end of Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road and the movie. Of course, it probably helped that I had just seen both of the Yowamushi Pedal recap movies before watching this one.

Fans of Yowamushi Pedal won’t want to miss Yowamushi Pedal: The Movie, because it provides a new story for our characters and it also seems to be setting the stage for another season. Since the movie played up that this would be the last race for the third-years, I would expect that the third season that has been green-lit for the anime will likely either start right at the end of that school year with the third-years graduating, or right at the beginning of the next school year.

When it comes to the American home video release, the video is available in 1.85:1 16:9 and 1080p/480p. For audio, there is Japanese DTS Master Audio 5.1 (BD), Japanese LPCM Stereo 2.0 (BD), and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (DVD). There are English subtitles for the Japanese audio.

When it comes to bonus features, there were four teasers and a trailer for the movie included.

If you enjoy Yowamushi Pedal: The Movie and want to add it to your anime home video library, then this release is worth getting.

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