This episode focuses exclusively on the race toward the first day’s finish line. There’s a recap showing that Midousuji and Kishigami from Kyoto Fushimi catch up with the aces and support riders from Sohoku and Hakone Academy, which turns this into a three-way race.
I never thought I would say this, but there’s actually a character that makes Midousuji look kind of normal. Kishigami and his obsession with muscles is just… ewww. He actually puts his hand up Kuroda’s shorts in order to feel his thigh muscles. Kuroda gave a look as if he had been violated, and honestly, I can’t blame him!
Unfortunately, this distraction gives Midousuji the opportunity to attack and move on ahead of the others. But things don’t go as Midousuji planned, because Naruko wasn’t distracted and followed after Midousuji. This ultimately turns into a battle between Naruko and Midousuji, with Naruko wanting to “win back” his sprinter title after saying he would give it up when he lost a race against Midousuji back in the previous season, Yowamushi Pedal New Generation. Ultimately, this race isn’t decided at the end of this episode; in fact, their final sprint to the finish line is just starting when the episode ends.
We also see Kuroda and Ashikiba from Hakone Academy teaming up with Imaizumi in order to catch up to Midousuji. Hopefully, the next episode will show us whether or not they can catch up before Naruko and Midousuji reach the finish line.
We also finally got to see Makishima, Kinjou, and Tadokoro in this episode, and discover why we hadn’t seen them at the race… because they haven’t made it yet! Tadokoro is taking a shortcut because of the traffic jam, but he’s being a rather reckless driver. It’s also a race for them to see whether or not they can reach the course before the race ends for the first day.
We also got a couple of flashbacks in this episode. One is of Kuroda learning about Midousuji from Fukutomi, and the other provides an explanation of what Kuroda means when he says he’s “flipping a switch” in order to show his true power on the race course. Flashbacks during the races has been a common thing throughout the Yowamushi Pedal series, and the vast majority seem to include exposition to help the audience understand a character or their motivations.
This was a rather action-packed and interesting episode, and it was a strong buildup for the final sprint that is likely going to happen in Episode 4. It might take the whole episode to see who wins the first day’s finish line, but I feel confident that the question will be answered in the next episode.