The episode starts directly in the flashback that ended the previous episode. It’s a flashback of Yuto and Ashikiba racing against each other, after Yuto acted like such a jerk to some upperclassmen on the team. Yuto, of course, is acting with arrogance, thinking he’s going to easily defeat Ashikiba in this race. I loved seeing how, after Yuto makes this grand proclamation of deciding what the loser has to do, all Ashikiba does is tell him that if he loses, Yuto has to pick up some garbage he tossed on the ground right before their race. Ashikiba respects the environment, because road racers use nature’s terrain for their sport. Go, Ashikiba!
OK, Ashikiba turned the tables, and did it in such a way that he’s also mocking Yuto for his arrogant attitude. Heh. Yuto deserves to be knocked down a peg or two in this flashback. And I’m loving how, after that, Ashikiba starts talking calmly about the upperclassmen that Yuto taunted, as well as dispensing some psychological advice. Of course, hot-headed Yuto just can’t grasp why Ashikiba is being so calm, and doesn’t want to hear what his upperclassman has to say to him.
We then see that the race is over, and Yuto lost… big time. But Ashikiba doesn’t gloat about his win. As Yuto goes to fulfill his punishment, he thinks over the race and it gives him food for thought. We then hear a narration of how, afterward, Yuto talked to the upperclassmen and learned about Ashikiba and his struggles. We then see Yuto and Ashikiba starting to work together as a team during practice. From this flashback, we can see that Yuto has improved when it comes to Ashikiba. However, as we saw earlier in the series, Yuto basically still acts like a hot-head toward anyone else he encounters. But this flashback was a great way to get some backstory on Yuto and Ashikiba and why they have interacted the way they have during the Inter-High.
But now we return to the Inter-High, and we see Ashikiba is losing steam against Midousuji and Imaizumi. In his mind, Midousuji is already gloating, because to him, the second day finish line is more important than that mountain line. Ashikiba falls back to where Yuto is, and Yuto actually feels guilty for not going ahead at the mountain line when Ashikiba told him to. But Ashikiba reveals that what he did was a feint, because he’s not going to be the true ace going for the finish line. Ashikiba wants Yuto to take the second day finish line, because he knows that Yuto has ridden with his older brother, who was a great sprinter. He suspects that because of this, Yuto is capable of sprinting as well as climbing. And Yuto takes up the challenge.
Hakone Academy catches up with the others, which catches both the other racers and the spectators off-guard. And now a three-way race is on to the second day finish line… and they’re all neck-in-neck! Midousuji is brooding and looking really pissed here, when it hits him that Yuto is the younger brother of a sprinter. Oh, Midousuji, quit your pouting. Oh, Midousuji is now happy, because he thinks he’ll make the younger Shinkai experience despair at the finish line. Now, now, Midousuji, haven’t you learned by now to not count your chickens before they hatch?
At 400 meters left, Yuto attacks and gets ahead. Of course, this spurs both Imaizumi and Midousuji into action, and they quickly catch back up. Oh, that attack was a feint. Hakone Academy seems to be good at feinting in this race. LOL! Oh, but Yuto attacks again at 300 meters. Is this one a feint or not? Oh, this time, it was a sprint made to look like a feint. Oh, you’re tricky, Yuto!
LOL! This is quite the interaction between Yuto and Midousuji. Now Midousuji brings up Yuto’s brother, in the hopes that it will somehow rattle Yuto, but it doesn’t. Haha. Midousuji deserves every bit of what he’s getting from Yuto.
Ah, but Imaizumi took advantage of these interactions to get ahead of the other two. Good thinking! And this is breaking Midousuji. Heheheh. As Imaizumi gets closer to the finish line, we see a flashback of him talking with Miki, saying how he felt he hasn’t gone all-out since becoming a second-year. As Yuto and Midousuji catch up, Imaizumi thinks about his teammates as he pushes toward the finish line. Miki is happy to see Imaizumi back to his strong-willed self, and Sugimoto cheers as loud as he can.
But the episode ends here, so we won’t know for sure who will claim victory at the second day finish line until the next episode. Whew, these last few minutes of the race were rather intense. But who will win? I’m rooting for Imaizumi, but I’m afraid Yuto might be able to pull something off at the absolute last minute and take the victory away from Imaizumi. But, I’m hoping Imaizumi can win, so Sohoku can have at least one title under their belt, since Hakone Academy has been sweeping all of the others up to this point.
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