All of the episode five focused on the final 400 meters before the first day’s finish line. At the beginning of the episode, Ashikiba, Kuroda, and Imaizumi still had quite the gap between them and Naruko and Midousuji. Kuroda makes a sacrifice to help Ahikiba catch up… which he does at the 100 meter mark.
But before Ashikiba catches up, Midousuji pulls out his final trump card… but the visuals are a little on the disturbing side. The animation for Midousuji’s “grasshopper transformation” were just kind of… ugh. And the buzzing noises he was making afterward for a little bit in there were also kind of annoying.
But as the three riders came closer and closer to the finish line, the tension was just incredible. I actually thought I was literally feeling the tension when they’re down to those remaining few meters. And the animators punctuated this by including a whole bunch of reaction shots right before the riders crossed the finish line.
But as Ashikiba, Naruko, and Midousuji approached the finish line, I found myself rooting for Midousuji to lose. Right near the end, he was so obsessed about winning and acting like he was entitled to it that I felt that he didn’t deserve to win. And yes, the winner is determined right near the end of the episode, but I don’t want to say who it is in order to avoid a potential spoiler for viewers who have not watched this episode yet.
The episode was very well done, and effectively captured those final moments right before the finish line. We did get to see some brief reactions of the three riders right at the end of the race, but I expect that next week’s episode will be focused on the various teams’ reactions to the results of the first day’s race. And with how much tension there was in this episode, we definitely need the next one to give the audience a breather before starting into the second day of the Inter-High race.