There’s only 500 meters left until the mountain line, and it’s a close race between Sohoku, Hakone Academy, and Kyoto Fushimi. Mizuta starts freaking out about Imaizumi and Yuto trying to crush his dream of taking the mountain line, but Midousuji covers his mouth and tells him that no one cares about his stupid dream. Ouch! And now Midousuji is telling him that no one cares about the insignificant King of the Mountain title, which directly contradicts what he told Mizuta in the previous episode!
When Midousuji lets Mizuta go, he tells him he can fall behind now, which now plays directly into Mizuta’s fears earlier that Midousuji would toss him aside. I think that dose of reality for Mizuta I mentioned in my writeup last week may finally be happening. Mizuta looks so crushed.
And now Midousuji looks around at what’s going on around him and examining his situation, and he seems to think he has some way of overcoming his disadvantages. And this includes grabbing Mizuta and throwing him back out front, asking who told him he could fall behind. *facepalm*
I’m actually starting to feel a little sorry for Mizuta here, because Midousuji has been yo-yoing with his emotions since the previous episode. I know if I were Mizuta, I would be quite pissed with this treatment. However, I expect that Midousuji will try to find some way to manipulate things to make it not look like he’s using Mizuta, and that Mizuta will stupidly fall for it. Yes, like the simpleton that he is, Mizuta falls for Midousuji’s lines. OMG, Midousuji literally THROWS Mizuta and his bike forward, after telling Mizuta not to give up on his dream. Yikes!
And then we get to see Midousuji’s reasoning, and yep, he’s being devious, as usual. There’s definitely more to what his actions are for than what can be seen on the surface. Ashikiba encourages Yuto to go ahead and race Mizuta to try to get the number tag. Yuto argues against it, though, because he wouldn’t be able to help Ashikiba with the race to the finish line. The two of them argue it out, and in the end, Ashikiba decides to go ahead since Yuto won’t. And, of course, this plays right into Midousuji’s plans… and he’s almost literally salivating over it. Ugh.
And Ashikiba takes the King of the Mountain title away from Mizuta, but now realizes that he’s useless to take the finish line. Mizuta starts complaining out loud about Ashikiba taking the title, and Midousuji and the others come up right behind him. He tries explaining what happened to Midousuji, but Midousuji just rides right past him. Oh, Mizuta, you poor simpleton. You got played… again. Instead, Midousuji catches up to Ashikiba and starts taunting him. Oh, but Ashikiba doesn’t seem to be intimidated by Midousuji’s taunting and psychological attacks.
YAY! We see that Makishima witnessed what happened at the mountain line, and he comments on how much of a roller coaster it was. Yes, Makishima, I couldn’t agree with you more.
We see Sohoku’s feed crew getting to the finish line, and overhearing how Sohoku caught up to the lead pack, and Sugimoto gets super excited when he hears Imaizumi’s name. Not only was it nice to see the feed crew, it was good to see Sugimoto get so excited for Imaizumi. It was such a pure moment.
Meanwhile, Imaizumi moves ahead to start his attack to take the finish line. But Onoda moves up quickly, so he can give Imaizumi a proper push and entrusting the team’s hopes to him before Imaizumi takes off for the finish line.
We then switch to the rest of Sohoku and Hakone Academy catching up to Naruko. It’s an amusing reunion between Naruko and his team. And we see that Hakone Academy is actually kind of impressed by Naruko’s actions, and how they ultimately helped get Sohoku to the front.
Now we return to the four leaders as they get ever closer to the second day’s finish line. We see Imaizumi, Ashikiba, and Yuto thinking over Ashikiba’s decision to jump forward and take the mountain line… which boils over into Yuto scolding Ashikiba for what happened. Yuto and Ashikiba have a back and forth here, with Ashikiba insisting he can’t given up on the finish line yet.
We then get a flashback of Yuto’s, showing when he first joined Hakone Academy’s team. When he first enters the room, he hears some of the team members talking about him, and they obviously have high hopes for Yuto since he’s Shinkai’s younger brother. Instead of being pleased, he decides he’ll come back to join the team another day. It has to suck being the younger brother of such a respected senpai of the team, and the expectations and the pressure that comes with those expectations would likely be exhausting. Unfortunately, one of the team members catches up to him and realizes who he has to be. He hates having all of these people pointing at him… OK, seeing this flashback, it makes a lot of sense why he saw Yuto wearing a mask before the Inter-High race started. But we see that this incident makes things awkward with the team. As the team practices, it’s shown that as a climber, Yuto is beating the upperclassmen. We then see how Ashikiba and Yuto first talk. Unfortunately, the flashback isn’t going to end in this episode. Instead, the episode ends on a cliffhanger moment in the flashback, and we’ll have to wait until next week to see how this flashback ends.
While this episode may not have been quite as exciting at last week’s, there’s still a lot of tension. And the beginning of the backstory for Yuto was also nice to get. Next week, we should be seeing how this flashbacks ends, and likely the four in front will get ever closer to the second day’s finish line… but no one will probably cross it by the end of the next episode.
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