A good portion of this episode focused on the race to the first day’s finish line between Kuroda and Ashikiba from Hakone Academy and Naruko and Imaizumi from Sohoku High. It appears that Kuroda has the advantage for pulling his team’s ace, because Kuroda is a sprinter. But Naruko surprises everyone with his new move, the Armstrong Climb Version Two, and catches up to Kuroda.
As is the usual Yowamushi Pedal way, we get to see a flashback of Naruko working on this new move, and getting an extensive explanation from him as to what he did in order to perfect the move and be able to compete with Kuroda. The flashback started right after the opening credits, though, and I hadn’t quite realized it was a flashback by the way it was done. So at first I thought that Naruko had run out of energy in the actual race; but this confused me, because not pulling out some kind of miracle is not typical during a race in this series. Fortunately, it became clear shortly afterward that it was a flashback.
We also get to see Naruko and Imaizumi’s usual bickering, and Kuroda thinks he can use this to his advantage in order to get ahead of Sohoku. But I liked the twist that came out during a conversation between Teshima and Onoda, which made it clear to the audience that Kuroda’s plan probably wouldn’t work.
I was also happy to see that we got the answer as to whether or not Koga and Sugimoto would arrive to the feed zone on time. That really felt like it was left hanging at the end of episode one, especially after such a big deal was made about needing to get to the feed zone. At least this episode answered the question, and where this scene was placed was very important for what happened next.
Of course, there has to be a twist to end the episode. And sure enough, there was… it suddenly becomes a three-way race to reach the finish line.
Overall, episode two follows what the viewer has come to expect from this series: various twists and turns in the race, new moves with explanations, and a climax that introduces something unexpected to the characters in the race. I’m not trying to imply there’s any kind of a formula, it’s just that these elements do appear in many of the episodes of the series, especially in the episodes where there’s an important race going on.
My only disappointment so far is that we know from the previous season that Makishima, Kinjou, and Tadokoro have gotten together in order to watch the underclassmen at the Inter-High. We see the three of them in the opening credits, but have as of yet to see any scenes of them at the race. Hopefully we’ll see them sooner rather than later.
Overall, I’m rather satisfied with how episode two progressed, and I’m looking forward to see what happens next in the Inter-High.