The episode starts out with a couple of quick scenes of other characters at the finish line for the first day of the Inter-High. Sugimoto’s brother, as well as a couple of other Sohoku first years, are spectators at the finish line. Sugimoto talks with his brother, and between he and Koga, they give the first years the jobs of having towels and ice water ready for their riders and to cheer for their teammates. While Sugimoto and Koga have gotten a ride from the news car, they know they likely won’t make it to the finish line in time to meet up with Sohoku’s riders. While Sugimoto and Koga were successful at getting to the first feed stop, it wasn’t realistic for them to be able to get to the finish line on time. I also thought that this was a nice way to incorporate and acknowledge Sohoku’s first years, since none of them are riding in this year’s Inter-High.
Makishima, Tadokoro, and Kinjou also finally make it to the first day’s finish line to cheer on their kouhai racing for Sohoku at this year’s Inter-High, even though Tadokoro isn’t a very good driver. Now that they’ve made it, I hope we can see a little more of them during the Inter-High race.
But the vast majority of the episode ultimately focuses on the race for the first day’s finish line. At first, the focus in on Naruko and Midousuji, who are the closest to finishing the race. They keep pulling in front of each other, which shows that they’re pretty evenly matched. During this section of the race, the viewer can feel the tension almost as if they were one of the riders. One of my favorite parts, though, was when Midousuji tried pulling one of his old tricks to try to make his opponent drop their guard, but Naruko called his bluff. Good job, Naruko!
The impromptu team of Kuroda, Ashikiba, and Imaizumi work at catching up to Naruko and Midousuji. During this section, we see Ashikiba have some flashbacks about how he moved up from team chore boy to a rider for the team, and how he struggled at first. But with the memories associated with these flashbacks, Ashikiba finds the determination he needs to try to catch up and give Hakone Academy a fighting chance to cross the finish line first at the end of the first day of the Inter-High.
The episode ends when there’s only 300 meters remaining until the finish line. The tension is high, and it makes for a great cliffhanger. If you want to know who will cross that finish line first, you have to tune in to next week’s episode. This has been a standard thing for Yowamushi Pedal to do in the previous seasons, so it’s not a real surprise here. However, I am looking forward to seeing who will ultimately cross the finish line.