This episode did a great job of reminding the viewers of the results of the end of the first day of the Inter-High race before launching into the awards ceremony.
The first day ended up being dominated by one team, with the closest contest being the finish line for the first day. There was a very close tie for second place, but Hakone Academy ended up coming out on top. Midousuji was such a poor sport that he sent a stand-in for the award ceremony. At least Naruko was trying to make the best of it, by cracking jokes and trying to act like his normal self. But once the ceremony was done and Naruko was out of sight of anyone, he let his frustrations out. This was quite the character moment for Naruko, because I can’t recall seeing him act this frustrated before. During this scene, he actually drops his bravado, sheds tears, and yells in frustration.
At the Sohoku tent, we see first-year Issa venting his frustration about coming in second overall for the race, and insults Naruko. I loved seeing Imaizumi schooling Issa on what happened at the finish line and not letting this uppity first-year insult Naruko. With this schooling of Issa, the audience gets to see everything that led up to the final result of the first day’s finish line. The way it was shown in the previous episode, it went by so fast and it wasn’t entirely clear what had happened. Imaizumi’s flashback gives the viewer the chance to see and hear what exactly happened. As a viewer, I appreciated this.
But Sohoku’s team seems to be a bit broken at this point; Teshima is exhausted, and Issa collapses after using up his post-race adrenaline to rant about Naruko. Just when it seems that mood may be dire for the team, Sakamichi has a chance meeting with Kinjou and receives a pep talk that he takes back to the others to raise their spirits.
In the conversation with Sakamichi, it’s made clear that Kinjou, Tadokoro, and Makishima won’t be visiting with the team as a whole right now, because they need to tension to keep their eyes on their goal. They will continue to watch the race from the sidelines and cheer on Sohoku’s team. It’s nice to know we’ll be seeing more of the three senpai, even though they will be more in the background.
While not a whole lot truly happens in this episode, this was a needed change of pace after how action-packed the previous two episodes had been. When a story gets that intense, the audience does need a breather in order to absorb what has happened, as well as to get a needed break from the action before the next day’s race starts up. I expect that the second day of the Inter-High race will probably get underway at some point in the next episode.