The episode opens right before the second day of the Inter-High starts. The focus is on Kaburagi, who appears to be nervous. Through a flashback of Aoyagi’s, we see that the Inter-High was more than Kaburagi had bargained for. While I do feel bad for Kaburagi, I have to admit that there’s part of me that’s glad he’s going through this after how cocky he had been acting in Yowamushi Pedal New Generation. I believe that this will serve as an important progression for him as a character going forward. And in this scene, Aoyagi is serving as a calming force for Kaburagi. I’ve been glad to see more character depth for both Aoyagi and Teshima now that they’re third years.
Since the episode begins at the start of the second day, there’s really not much action. The way the second day begins is by riders starting at the positions where they ended the previous day’s race. Because of this rule, it makes it hard for any racing to go on between teams until they truly get going on that day’s course.
Instead of the action, we see various character’s reactions and interactions with each other as the race starts. There’s also a flashback that Teshima has of the meeting they had the previous night to discuss strategy. I think the big question for this second day of the race is whether or not Sohoku will be able to follow through on their strategy.
Once the riders hit the mountains, we see Sakamichi taking center stage. Finally! For a show where he’s the protagonist, we hadn’t seen much of him in the first few episodes of this season. At this point, the action finally gets going and the race is on! At first, it looks like things are going well for Sohoku, but it becomes obvious that Kaburagi hasn’t recovered as much from the first day as he thought he had. Kaburagi, though, is trying to hide this from his teammates, and I think this is going to have a negative impact on their strategy.
Hakone Academy does something surprising, at least to the riders on most of the other teams. However, Sohoku realizes they’ll be doing this, and this is incorporated into their strategy. Once Teshima mentioned this possibility, I realized that he was right… and this action proves it.
A battle between Sohoku and Hakone Academy begins, and we see Kaburagi and Doubashi have an interaction. They have definitely become rivals thanks to the first day of the inter-high, and this scene between them didn’t disappoint.
Dang, by the end of this episode, I found myself actually feeling bad for Kaburagi. I still believe that this will serve as a turning point for him as a character, and I hope that future episodes will prove that I’m right. But near the end of the episode, it looks like Sakamichi will be to the rescue again. Sakamichi saved the day when he went back for Tadokoro during the second day of the first Inter-High, and it looks like he might be poised to do it again. Or… maybe not, because Teshima seems to be very much against the idea. But Teshima’s reasons do make a lot of sense. And Teshima does feel bad about his decision, but he has to do what’s best for the team at this point in the race.
Hmmm… Aoyagi seems to have a plan. The episode ends before we know whether or not Teshima will agree with it. I’ll have to find out next week whether or not Aoyagi will be the one to try to save the day.