The episode opens with the race between Kishigami and Izumida, and focuses heavily on Kishigami obsessing over muscles. OMG, Kishigami sounds like someone who’s losing it. To me, his obsession over the other racers’ muscles comes across as rather creepy. But he uses this to his advantage in order to catch Izumida off-guard and pass him.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Hakone Academy and the Kyoto Fushimi teams start interacting with one another, and Midousuji makes it clear that he feels confident that Kishigami will beat Izumida. Please, for the love of all that’s good, let Izumida win this race!
With only two kilometers left to go, Kishigami is in the lead, and he starts taunting Izumida about getting revenge for Hakone Academy’s loss on the second day of the Inter-High. But Izumida doesn’t rise to the bait. Instead, he kind of grins and says that he has given Kishigami the wrong impression.
Back with the other teams, Midousuji learns that Izumida’s revenge isn’t for the loss on the second day of the Inter-High… it’s for the loss of the entire Inter-High, which is a different kind of resolve. I couldn’t help but smile a little when I saw the expression on Midousuji’s face when he hears this.
In the race between Kishigami and Izumida, Izumida asks Kishigami if he knows what it means when Izumida zips up his jersey. Kishigami’s only response is that he can’t see Izumida’s pecs anymore. Of course, this is what this muscle obsessed freak would think of first. We learn that Izumida zips up his jersey when he’s about to go all out. And this is exactly what happens.
We see Izumida have a flashback of acting as the captain of this year’s team at Hakone Academy. The best part of this, though, is getting to see a couple of the previous year’s upperclassmen, because this flashback takes place after Izumida becomes the captain but before the upperclassmen graduated. We then see a couple of the other team members surprised by Izumida becoming captain, because usually a captain is a climber or an all-rounder. Kuroda overhears this, and brings it to Izumida’s attention. It turns out Izumida already knows, because a first-year approached him directly about it. We then see Izumida lash out about how he feels he stained the team’s honor since he lost the first day’s green tag in the previous year’s Inter-High, and Kuroda tells him to stop clinging to the past. We see Izumida cry and say that Kuroda should be the team’s captain. But after a bike ride and a talk with Ashikiba, he decides to continue being the team’s captain.
This flashback provides some great insight for why Izumida is acting the way he is in the race against Kishigami. And I also thought it was a great scene that helps to “humanize” Izumida to some extent. As a viewer, it showed me that there’s more to him than the arrogant and proud racer we’d seen up to this point in the series.
When we return to the present, we see Izumida moving even further ahead and leaving Kishigami in the dust. So what does Kishigami do after he frets about falling behind and not being able to see Izumida’s muscles? He puts on a pair of sunglasses. Huh? Apparently, they’re polarized glasses that remove reflections and allow you to see vivid sights.. so he can still see Izumida’s muscles. Apparently, this gives Kishigami the motivation he needs to go faster and catch back up to Izumida. To borrow one of Midousuji’s favorite words: “Gross!”
Apparently, Midousuji had told Kishigami to wait to put the eyewear on until the last kilometer of the race. Kishigami didn’t do what he was told, so I wonder how this will affect Midousuji’s calculations for winning the race.
But I have to give this show props for the voice actor they hired to voice Kishigami. He’s perfect for conveying just how obsessed and creepy Kishigami is.
Oh, and we also get to see a flashback of Midousuji and Kishigami, and how they first met. OMG, Kishigami looks almost nothing like he does now! In this flashback, he wears glasses and looks like a nerdy kid… but he’s still obsessed with muscles. Unfortunately, this flashback is very brief, and it’s right at the end of the episode. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of what happened in this flashback in the next episode.
I should also mention that with this episode, there’s a new opening theme and a new ending theme. The ending theme is sung by the voice actors for the main Hakone Academy team members, and it’s pretty good. Although I have to admit, that I kind of liked the first closing theme song that featured the voice actors for the Sohoku team a little better.
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