Teshima is trying to hard to convince Aoyagi not to try and go back for Kaburagi, especially since in the previous episode, he made it clear to Sakamichi that he wouldn’t allow him to do it. Aoyagi keeps countering that they’ll be stronger if he can bring Kaburagi back up to the rest of the team, so he’s not going to give in to Teshima quite as easily as Sakamichi did. But Teshima, who’s been friends with Aoyagi for quite a while, realizes that it’s pointless to argue… but he says, “So this is goodbye.” So, yes, while Teshima is letting Aoyagi go, he still believes that Aoyagi won’t be successful in bringing Kaburagi back to the team. But I’m willing to wager that Aoyagi is somehow going to prove Teshima wrong. The main question is: How? OK, there’s a nice parting scene here between the two friends, especially since they’re both third years and this will be their last race together. Come on, Aoyagi, I know you can do this!
But after Aoyagi leaves, Teshima makes it sound like this could be impossible, especially if Kaburagi’s spirit is broken and he’s not riding. If Kaburagi quits riding, then he and Aoyagi will never meet up. And prior to this, we see Kaburagi struggling, and it does seem like his spirit and morale and starting to break. Don’t give up, Kaburagi! Don’t let Aoyagi’s sacrifice be for naught! Hey, I didn’t expect Koga to be on the course to provide encouragement. Hopefully this will be enough to convince Kaburagi to keep on going. Yes, it worked! It’s nice to see Koga not only supporting the team, but playing an important role in order to keep Sohoku’s chances in the race going. But… damn, the pack caught up and has passed Kaburagi, which seems to be deflating his spirit again. This is starting to turn into a nail-biter. But they see someone stop in front of them, and they have a Hakone jersey… and of course, it’s Aoyagi. This does seem to raise Kaburagi’s spirits.
Oh, no. Kaburagi misreads the situation and assumes that Aoyagi fell behind, too. *facepalm*. And to make things worse, Kaburagi says he wishes it had been Sakamichi and Teshima who waited for him instead. *double facepalm*. Oh, Kaburagi. But even with that, Aoyagi is determined to get Kaburagi back to Sakamichi and Teshima. Oh, no… even with Aoyagi’s help, Kaburagi still falls behind. Eek! Aoyagi is now at a loss as to what to do, since he can’t pick up his speed. Kaburagi seems to think they’re slow due to Aoyagi, so he starts trying to pick up his speed, and he begins pulling Aoyagi. What the…? But maybe it’s his misunderstanding that’s helping him to find the strength that he seemed to have lost? But the idea of the one being rescued pulling the rescuer is actually kind of amusing. And the reactions of the pack when they see this is absolutely priceless.
Uh-oh! Just as they reach the pack, Kaburagi starts collapsing. Aoyagi saves him, but the fact this happened can’t be good. Kaburagi tries to brush it off, but this just can’t be good. Aoyagi realizes that it may be a while before they can catch up. This definitely is not a repeat of what happened in the previous year’s race, when Sakamichi was able to successfully bring Tadokoro back up to the rest of the team.
But as they ride through the pack, Kaburagi sees that Kyoto Fushimi is not among these racers. When Aoyagi realizes the other strong teams aren’t in the pack, either, Kaburagi insists that they need to keep moving ahead. But as they do, it quickly becomes evident that Kaburagi doesn’t have the energy to break away from the pack very easily. Right at the end of the episode, Aoyagi pulls out a sheet of paper, and hands it to Kaburagi. I don’t want to spoil what’s on it, but for viewers who have seen the previous year’s Inter-High will understand the reference, and may even laugh out loud like I did.
This was quite the nail-biter, and they still have a ways to go to catch back up to their teammates. This will definitely be continuing in the next episode, and with what was hinted at right at the end, it could be quite amusing. I can’t wait!