The first half of this episode focuses on Aoyagi’s attempt to help Kaburagi escape from the pack and rejoin the team. “You Are the Princess” makes a return! We see from a flashback that Tadokoro lets Aoyagi in on the secret of how he and Sakamichi rejoined Sohoku during the second stage of the previous year’s Inter-High, and encourages Aoyagi to learn the song.
Of course, Kaburagi is in disbelief about singing the song, especially since Aoyagi gets made fun of when he’s singing the song at the top of his lungs in the pack. But this made for some great comedic moments in the episode, snd it was so amusing to see how conflicted Kaburagi was about whether or not he should sing the song. But just as the two of them are starting to pull away from the pack, we return to Teshima and Sakamichi.
Hakone Academy catches up to Teshima and Sakamichi, and one of their climbers, Yuto Shinkai, is sent to go after them on his own. We saw in a previous episode that Shinkai wanted to race one-on-one against Sakamichi, and he sees this as the opportunity to do it. This younger Shinkai is definitely very determined, and when he’s racing, he’s nowhere near as laid back as his older brother was. With both Teshima and Sakamichi, we see that Yuto has a way of getting right in his opponent’s face unexpectedly and pushing them out of the way. This trait could prove to be problematic for any of Yuto’s competitors.
By the end of the episode, though, Sakamichi rises to Yuto’s challenge. The end of the episode sets the stage for a one-on-one race between Yuto and Sakamichi for who can reach the leaders of the race first, and I expect this to take place during the next episode.
But the big question now is: Who will win in this one-on-one battle? Will Sakamichi’s unorthodox climbing techniques lead him to victory, or will Yuto somehow thwart him? Hopefully this question will be answered by the end of the next episode.