The episode opens with the race between Sakamichi and Yuto Shinkai. Dang, Yuto comes across kind of creepy as he obsesses over how strong Sakamichi is on the climb. I find myself thinking, “Dude, just calm down already.” His older brother never gave off this kind of a creepy vibe. To be honest, with the way he’s acting right now, his personality would fit in perfectly with the riders from Kyoto Fushimi High School… and with how creepy that bunch can be, that’s not a compliment.
Even though Yuto is trying to psyche Sakamichi out, I love seeing Sakamichi’s determination. But each time Sakamichi catches up, Yuto accelerates again. It’s starting to look like Yuto could give Sakamichi a real challenge… or is it that Sakamichi is giving Yuto more of a challenge than he anticipated? OK, I’m loving how Yuto is starting to become more and more broken as he talks with Sakamichi, because he just can’t comprehend a fellow racer having the kind of attitude that Sakamichi has.
But their race is bringing them closer to the Sohoku and Hakone Academy riders who are at the front, so it’s nice getting to see Naruko and Imaizumi again. With the characters last week’s episode focused on, we didn’t really get to see these guys.
Yuto has upped the ante again, and it seems he wants to prove that it takes more than steadily fighting for your team in order to achieve victory. With this, the race between Yuto and Sakamichi becomes more intense. Who will be the victor? Oh, this was interesting… Yuto caught up to his teammate first, but Imaizaumi and Naruko fell back in order to match up with Sakamichi. So now at the front we’ve got three from Sohoku going against two from Hakone Academy and one from Kyoto Fushimi.
But the elation that Imaizumi and Naruko feel is short-lived after they learn that Kaburagi and Aoyagi have fallen behind. At this point, I think the big question will be: can Aoyagi and Kaburagi manage to catch back up to Teshima, and then catch up to the three in front? And after Sakamichi tells the others that Hakone Academy fell back for Kuroda and are climbing together as a team, it really feels like Sohoku’s chances of doing well during the second day at the Inter-High are slim to none. Can they pull out an upset like they did in the previous year’s Inter-High?
Oh, no! Hakone Academy has made it to the front before Teshima. Things are starting to look worse and worse for Sohoku. Imaizumi has to make the painful decision to wait for Teshima before they accelerate to try to catch up to Hakone Academy. Naruko gets tired of waiting, so he wants to go ahead without Teshima, and this leads to an argument. In the end, Naruko goes off on his own, because he doesn’t want to suffer another loss like he did at the end of the first day of the Inter-High.
But dang, Sohoku’s team seems to be falling apart. At least in the previous year’s inter-high, I could see how the team could re-group and do something surprising. But for this race, I just can’t see it. I just can’t.
Oh! Midousuji has appeared out of nowhere and caught up with Naruko. Is this going to turn into yet another race between Naruko and Midousuji? Oh, but it looks like Midousuji and Naruko may not be alone for much longer…
Overall, this was kind of a demoralizing episode if you’re a fan of Sohoku. However, not all of the episode was doom and gloom. There was a cute scene of Manami’s friend and class rep giving Manami a drink as he passes by. I think it’s safe to say that she likes him, especially after she sees him go by as a rider on a white horse instead of on a bike. And the falling flower petals only helped to reinforce this idea. LOL!
But, yeah… it’s going to be interesting to watch next week’s episode to find out how the second day of the Inter-High is going to progress. Is the doom and gloom going to continue for Sohoku, or will something surprising happen that will help them pull off something unexpected?
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