I was a little concerned about how this episode was going to start, since it’s been a little over four years since the final episode of Yowamushi Pedal: Glory Line aired. To start this episode off, there’s a slight backtrack in time to Sohoku’s tent, where Teshima and the rest of the team are getting psyched up for the last day of the Inter-High. Miki and Aya and talking with each other outside of the tent, and this is used to provide the audience a basic recap of what went down over the previous two days of the Inter-High. Admittedly, it was a bit of an “info dump,” but I appreciated getting the reminders of what happened previously since it’s been a little over four years since I’ve seen what happened in the previous two seasons of Yowamushi Pedal.

After this, we see the teams arriving at the starting line. It’s quickly pointed out that Manami is missing, and then we get a great scene of Manami surprising the student council president when he arrives late and sees that some of the riders are already starting. I definitely missed seeing their interactions.

We also get the scene of Kyoto Fushimi arriving late, and everyone noticing their lack of hair. Although this time, the scene was played more seriously than it was in the final episode of Yowamushi Pedal: Glory Line.

When the race gets going, Midousuji, Yuto, and Imaizumi are the first to go. Shortly after, Ashikiba, Mizuta, and Onoda follow. Then after a little while, the remainder of their teams start on their way. A lot of the focus is on the three riders in the front, and the competition that ensues once Ashikiba catches up with Yuto. Since Imaizumi is waiting for Onoda to catch up, and Midousuji obviously won’t cooperate with him, he can’t do anything.

There’s a great scene as Onoda is working at catching up to Imaizumi. Mizuta’s attempt to stop him fails, because Onoda is able to increase his cadence and pull ahead as Mizuta is bragging about the phase he’s trying to implement. Oh, Mizuta, still the same as ever.

When Onoda catches up with Imaizumi, we get to see how much Imaizumi has matured since the start of the series, especially in a flashback of a conversation Imaizumi and Onoda have in the tent before the start of the race. I know I’ve said it before, but it feels like Imaizumi is being set up to become the next captain for Sohoku after Teshima and the other third-years graduate. Of the characters in Imaizumi’s peer group (Imaizumi, Naruko, Onoda, and Sugimoto), Imaizumi makes the most sense to become the next captain of the team, and I’ve been glad to see his growth as a character. Onoda and Imaizumi successfully catch up to Ashikiba and Yuto, and Ashikiba convinces Yuto to not try to continue sprinting ahead, since it’s now a two-on-two battle. At least Yuto is willing to listen to Ashikiba, and we saw in a flashback in an earlier episode how Yuto came to respect Ashikiba.

We also get a scene of the remaining riders from Sohoku and Hakone Academy cooperating together, since they have a common goal of getting to the front to help out their teammates. Kaburagi, the brash first-year, at first taunts Hakone after seeing that Sohoku’s riders caught up to the Hakone riders at the front, but he’s put in his place by Teshima and Aoyagi and learns the concept of cooperating with another team. Kaburagi gets so excited about this concept, but I was glad to see a member of Hakone remind him of how he had just taunted them just a little earlier. Admittedly, the Hakone rider was a little gruff about it, but this still needed to be pointed out. Kaburagi is definitely still learning the idea of working as part of a team.

Right near the end, we see Kyoto Fushimi’s three remaining riders (Yamaguchi, Kishigami, and a third guy who I don’t know the name of) are going at a much slower pace than anyone expects. The guy whose name I don’t know starts complaining about various things, and then he’s suddenly asked by Yamaguchi if he’s done. All of a sudden, the quiet Yamaguchi explains what’s going on in a rather stern voice… which threw me off-guard. I’m just not used to that out of Yamaguchi. But it’s obvious from what Yamaguchi is saying that this is all part of Midousuji’s plan. And this is basically where the episode ends, so I expect whatever Midousuji’s plan is, we won’t learn more about it until at least the next episode.

I was so happy that the Bicycle Boys are finally back, because they were gone for way too long. Admittedly, this episode does take a little bit to get going, but when you consider the time gap between the end of the previous season and the start of this one, something had to be done to remind the audience what happened to get to where the story is now. With the final day of the Inter-High finally getting underway, it’s my hope that future episodes won’t need to take as long in order to get the action going.

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