Hmmm… this episode starts with an event that would have taken place before the start of the Inter-High race. Most of the team is getting together at Koga’s place for a team meeting. Koga lives in an apartment, and it’s hilarious to see Sakamichi and Kaburagi’s reactions to an apartment building… apparently, neither one knows anyone who lives in an apartment. LOL!
So apparently, Koga attached a camera with an SD chip inside it to his bike and rode the course of the Inter-High himself. Part of the meeting is dedicated to Koga showing the team what he filmed in order to give them some data on the course. Koga ends the meeting asking the team members if there’s anything they want to try at the Inter-High. Most of their ideas seem a bit ridiculous, except for Aoyagi’s. Sakamichi is the only one who hasn’t spoken up, so Koga goes over to him and asks if he has anything. Sakamichi’s answer: “I just want to ride as hard as I can and help the team.” I love Sakamichi’s modesty here. Oh, but then he adds: “If I can make just one request… I made a promise over the winter. If possible, I’d like to race against Hakone Academy’s Manami Sangaku-kun.” This still sounds reasonable, though, compared to what most of the others were saying. But Sakamichi adds that he and Manami both think that the mountain stage of the second day would be best, but he’ll do whatever’s best for the team. OK, now I think I know where this is going…
Now we return to the present time, where the reunited Sohoku team is trying to catch up with Hakone Academy, Kyoto Fushimi, and Naruko. Teshima is assigning the rotation for pulling, and he tells Sakamichi that he doesn’t need to be part of the rotation so he can save his energy on the flats. Oh, I think I was right about where that flashback was heading! Annnnd… yes, I am! I love seeing how supportive the team is for trying to get Sakamichi to the mountains.
At the front, Izumida has Yuto move to the front, since he’s a climber and they’re about to reach the mountain stage. So, will Sakamichi be able to have his race with Manami, or will he have to race against someone else in order to try to come in first for the mountain stage? Oh, but it looks like Manami is eagerly awaiting Sakamichi to catch up so they can race each other. Uh oh, it looks like he’s getting shot down by Kuroda, who says he’s been chosen to lead the team through the mountains. He’s told that if their team sends anyone, it’s going to be Yuto. Oh no, will it be impossible for Sakamichi and Manami to keep their promise? But this doesn’t seem to get Manami down, though. Manami even outright says that when Sakamichi shows up, he’s going. Kuroda’s not going to back down, either.
But just then, Kyoto Fushimi make their move. Yuto and Manami are sent up ahead to try to stop them. Even though they succeed, Midousuji is determined to attack again, anyway. Apparently, he desperately wants to win a title, since his team has won none of them so far in this year’s Inter-High. Yes, Midousuji is like a man possessed… or maybe just obsessed? He’s pushing his two teammates, even though they are obviously out of breath. Midousuji’s strategy just seems to be: “pedal until your legs break.” But Manami and Yuto push themselves even more to try to stop them… and they get ahead.
Oh, Midousuji is trying his emotional manipulation again, taunting Manami for losing to Sakamichi last year. Hahahahaha… Midousuji’s attempt to psyche Manami out fails! Oh, Midousuji… haven’t you picked up yet that this strategy of yours keeps failing at this year’s Inter-High? You need a new strategy, dude.
Midousuji tries to push his two teammates again, but Kiriya says that he can’t, and that they should fall back. Oh! Midousuji covers Kiriya’s mouth and says they’re doing it. Midousuji, you’re being an idiot… but then again, what’s new about that? But Midousuji is suddenly distracted by cheers coming from behind. Could it be…?
No, it’s not Sohoku! It’s Kumamoto Daiichi. That’s right… they passed Imaizumi, Sakamichi, and Teshima in the previous episode. But the rest of Sohoku can’t be too far behind, right? While most of the riders in the front are shocked or dismayed that it’s not Sohoku, Midousuji seems to be filled with mirth. Midousuji decides to use this confusion to his team’s advantage. He formulates a plan and shares it with his teammates.
Poor Manami looks broken because it wasn’t Sohoku who had caught up. He looks like he needs a hug. But before we can go any further there, Kyoto Fushimi’s team makes it move, surprising their opponents.
When then return to the rest of Sohoku’s team, which is still trying desperately to catch up to the front. But their spirits still seem to be up at this point. As they start heading up the slope, Teshima orders Sakamichi to jump ahead when they join the lead pack, and to cross the second day’s mountain line first. Right at the end of the episode, they are just able to see the lead pack right in front of them. YAY!
But… they are shocked to not find Hakone Academy, Kyoto Fushimi, and Naruko. Instead, they find members of Kumamoto Daiichi’s team looking scattered and defeated.
So, hopefully Teshima can pull Sakamichi up to where Hakone Academy, Kyoto Fushimi, and Naruko are. I’ll just have to wait until next week to find out.