This episode opens with Midousuji being his freaky and obnoxious self, talking to Naruko with that taunting voice that he likes to use. He seems to think that Imaizumi is going to have his spirits crushed when all of Kyoto Fushimi’s team passes him, since at the point we’re at, Midousuji believes that Imaizumi is still alone.
But, we see that Teshima has finally joined up with Imaizumi and Sakamichi. While this is a good development, it’s clear that Teshima is pretty worn out. And, with Aoyagi and Kaburagi still lagging quite a ways behind, it’s still going to be a struggle for them to go up against the rest of Kyoto Fushimi. But as Imaizumi starts to launch into this plan, he remembers some advice that Kinjou had given him the previous year. Unfortunately, getting lost in his thoughts causes him to go too fast and start leaving Sakamichi and Teshima behind. Oh, this isn’t looking promising!
We’re treated to another flashback, this time of Imaizumi talking with Miki Kanzaki at the bicycle shop, complaining a little bit about how things are different for him on the team now that he’s a second year. This definitely provided some nice insight into Imaizumi as a character, and it kind of shows how he’s changed from how he was in the first seaosn. Unfortunately, this is short-lived relief, as we return to the present and see Kyoto Fushimi’s team catching up with Imaizumi, Sakamichi, and Teshima. And Imaizumi is starting to look broken. I hope he snaps out of it so he can have a clear mind to focus on this upcoming challenge.
And Kyoto Fushimi passes the three Sohoku riders… but Imaizumi tries to snap out of his shock and starts trying to move his group ahead. Oh, no… Teshima can’t keep up. And now Imaizumi is even more broken than he was before. This is definitely not good. Imaizumi seems to be filled with doubt now, as he drops his pace to match Sakamichi and Teshima. Teshima seems to be trying to encourage both Imaizumi and Sakamichi, but I’m not sure how effective this is going to be for Imaizumi, since it’s pretty clear that Imaizumi is questioning his own judgment. Teshima asks Sakamichi to pull, so maybe this might help their situation out a little.
Oh! Teshima tries to talk directly to Imaizumi and give him a reassuring pat on the back, but Imaizumi pushes his hand away. Ouch! Imaizumi is definitely not in a good mood. Even though Teshima tries to take the blame for them falling behind, Imaizumi yells at his teammate because he’s smiling while taking the blame. But Imaizumi does apologize for yelling, so it looks like this friction will be short-lived. I was starting to think the friction that was developing here would have a negative impact on the team for the rest of the second day race.
We return to Naruko and Midousuji, and they are joined by the rest of Kyoto Fushimi’s team. Midousuji asks for a report on how Imaizumi reacted when they passed Sohoku, and the team indicates that he just gasped and grunted. But Midousuji uses this to rub what happened into Naruko’s face… it’s just one more thing that annoys me about Midousuji. Kyoto Fushimi pushes on ahead to catch up to Hakone Academy, leaving Naruko in the dust. Naruko is determined, though, even though I don’t think it’s going to do him much good in the long run.
And Kyoto Fushimi catches up with Hakone Academy. There’s an exchange between Midousuji and Izumida, and it’s obvious that Izumida is itching for a rematch with Kyoto Fushimi to reach the second day sprint line. I love seeing how Izumida is not intimidated in the least by Midousuji’s freaky behavior. Izumida is going to be the sprinter racing against Midousuji. And since Izumida is the featured rider for Hakone Academy, we also get to see his pecs, Andy and Frank. Oh no, Kishigami is coming up to the front… I bet he wants to touch Andy and Frank. I was right, he grabs Frank… Kishigami is such a freak. Or maybe it’s more accurate to call him a muscle molester. Izumida is taken by surprise, but he actually pushes Kishigami away, which is more than I’ve seen the other riders that Kishigami has grabbed do. But then Kishigami has the audacity to ask Midousuji if he can go after Izumida. Midousuji laughs at Kishigami’s behavior, and then lets him challenge Izumida. Ugh.
We’re treated to a flashback of Izumida learning that Kishigami was put into Kyoto Fushimi’s team as a sub, and how Izumida was already thinking Kishigami was an opponent worth taking seriously, even though he’s only a first year. So Izumida accepts the challenge from Kishigami, and the race is on!
I suspect the next episode is going to focus on Izumida and Kishigami, and that the Sohoku team will take the back seat. Which, of course, means I’ll have to see more of Kishigami and his freaky behavior. As Midousuji would say, “Gross!” I hope and pray that at the end of this race to the sprint line, that Izumida will ultimately triumph over Kishigami.