The episode opens up with Izumida and Kishigami’s race toward the sprint line to see who can cross it first. Actually, it’s a slight recap of what we saw right at the end of Episode 14 before moving on with the story. But something happens right before the opening credits start that could potentially affect the outcome of the race.
I’m kind of right on that. With what happened right before this, it forces Izumida to have to make a difficult choice when he’s down to the last 100 meters of the sprint… and neither option is particularly pleasant. At this point, I’m convinced that Kishigami is right and that he’ll make it to the sprint line first. Oh, and Izumida has a flashback to his race against Tadokoro and Naruko in the previous year’s inter-high, and this seems to give him the determination to take the chance on one of his options. Oh, no! He went with the more dangerous choice, and it seems to be backfiring on him! Or maybe not… Izumida seems to have managed the situation. But will it be enough for him to have a chance to pull ahead of Kishigami at the last moment?
But before we can see the result of this race, we get a flashback of Izumida at the previous year’s Inter-High Race. I should have known that we weren’t going to see how the final result will be at this point in the episode. This flashback shows how upset Izumida was when Hakone Academy came in second place the previous year, and how one of the third years tells him that it’s their job to cry, not his. Izumida is told that if Hakone Academy comes in second place next year, THEN he can cry about it. Izumida is also encouraged to achieve something at the next Inter-High.
The episode then returns to the current race, and this memory seems to give Izumida the final push he needs to try to overcome his current obstacle. I’m loving how Kishigami is so puzzled over how Izumida seems to be pulling ahead even though he almost fell earlier. If Kishigami loses here, I think his brain might break. Uh-oh! Kishigami is accelerating again after getting a look at Izumida’s leg muscles.
Aaand… we reach the halfway point and the winner of this race still hasn’t been decided. But that’s pretty typical in the Yowamushi Pedal franchise, though. But with how close they are to the sprint line, I don’t think they’ll be able to stretch it out for the rest of the episode. But it doesn’t take long for the winner to be determined after the midway point… and yes! The winner is the person I was rooting for! And with this win, it looks like Hakone Academy has won almost all of the various tags and titles that are part of the first couple of days of the race. So far, it’s looking like Hakone Academy may actually win this Inter-High. But who knows? Maybe Sohoku will have a surprise or two up their sleeve that we’re not aware of right now.
Oh, hey! Look who’s in the crowd… it’s Izumida’s senpai, Shinkai! We got to see some of the Sohoku senpai at this race previously, so it’s nice to see at least one of the Hakone Academy senpai there as well. As he sees Shinkai, Izumida looks back over this past year as Hakone Academy’s captain. We see in Shinkai’s thoughts that he’s glad that Izumida was entrusted with being the team’s captain. This was a really nice moment between Izumida and Shinkai, and I’m glad it was included.
After this, we see Kishigami catch up to Izumida as they continue on in the race. Kishigami is obviously winded. But he can catch his breath enough to start pouting and complaining to Izumida about how he wanted to touch Izumida’s muscles. Oh waaah… poor baby. Talk about a sore loser. But just as I predicted, Kishigami’s brain broke when he lost. Kishigami really needs to get a hold of himself at this point, because he’s making himself look worse and worse with each sentence he’s uttering. But I have to give this voice actor credit: he really does convey Kishigami’s personality perfectly through his voice. Oh, now here’s a twist… Izumida asks Kishigami if he wants to touch his muscles. Izumida doesn’t mind, because the race is over. Well, I wasn’t expecting that! Most people just would have rudely brushed Kishigami aside. Izumida is being much more gracious than I ever would have been if I found myself in this situation. Oh! Kishigami reaches his hand out, but then pulls back, because he had made a rule that he would only touch them if he crossed the line first. Apparently, Kishigami can actually show restraint when he puts his mind to it. With this, Izumida admires Kishigami’s spirit, so I guess it all worked out in the end.
We then see some Hakone Academy students talking with Shinkai, and asking about the other guys who graduated with him. The response is: “Why don’t you ask them yourself?” When then see that Fukutomi is there. YAY! More senpai! We then get to see Shinkai and Fukutomi talking about Izumida’s performance in the race. And then we see Toudou standing at the finish line for the mountain stage, which is the next stage of the race. Of course, he’s being his usual pompous self. LOL!
Another exciting episode, and it left me on the edge of my seat when it came time to figure out who crossed the sprint line first. The last little bit of the episode was much calmer, but that breather was needed. I expect the next episode will see the climbers trying to jump forward in order to get the mountain stage of the second day of the race going.