The episode opens with Sohoku trying to close the gap between them and Hakone Academy. But just as the climb is coming to an end and the short stretch of flats is next, Teshima realizes that he’s made a miscalculation about the flats, and has Imaizumi go to the front to pull in order to catch up.
And then, Teshima’s miscalculation comes into play: Izumida, a sprinter who was brought into the mountains, goes to the front of Hakone Academy and begins pulling. In the past, we’ve seen Izumida talk about naming his muscles (his abs, Andy and Frank, and his back muscles, Fabian). Well, he unleashes his upper leg muscles, which he’s named Peter and Mark. But when he unleashes these muscles, he knows he’ll be spent when he’s done. But with the plan that Kuroda came up with the night before, Izumida knows this needs to be done.
Speaking of Izumida and Kuroda, we get a flashback from Izumida and learn that these two have known each other since they were young, and how Kuroda was seen as such a riding genius prior to joining Hakone Academy’s team. But with all of his training, Izumida came to surpass Kuroda, and we get to see an emotional scene in the flashback where Kuroda vents his frustration to Izumida. While this flashback provided us a little more of an insight into Izumida, it was even more important for providing insight into Kuroda, who didn’t become an important character until being chosen for this Inter-High race.
Izumida accomplishes the goal of getting his team to the next climb, and he has to fall back. But we see that Izumida has no regrets, especially when he realizes that his team is about 700 meters ahead of Sohoku.
As Sohoku is going through the flat section and trying to catch up, Teshima truly sees the three first-years interacting with each other and sensing their pressure. When they reach the next climb, they discover that Hakone Academy is nowhere to be seen, and Naruko is the one who correctly guesses that Hakone Academy is 700 meters ahead. Teshima feels guilty, since he’s the one who made the miscalculation, and intends to take responsibility for it by pulling the team. However, the three first-years start talking and radiating their pressure again. This leads Teshima into a flashback of talking to Kinjou and learning about the pressure that these three exude as they’re racing. When his mind returns to the present, he becomes even more amazed after Onoda begins pulling the team and sees Onoda’s cadence up close for himself. As Teshima is sharing his thoughts about Onoda, it made me realize that up to this point, Teshima has never ridden with Onoda when he uses his incredible cadence. So it was kind of neat to see that someone on Sohoku’s team, especially someone who has been there since the first season, can still be amazed by Onoda’s ability.
Right at the end of the episode, Teshima apologizes for the orders he had initially given for this final day of the Inter-High, and we’re just starting into a flashback of what happened when the episode ends. I thought this was kind of an odd spot to end an episode on, so hopefully next week’s episode will be able to pick back up from here without feeling awkward.
The previous episode ended by hinting that Midousuji has a plan up his sleeve in order for Kyoto Fushimito catch up with the lead riders. We didn’t see anything about it this week, but since the episode focused on Hakone Academy and Sohoku, this makes sense. Hopefully we’ll see Kyoto Fushimi make its move sooner rather than later. From the title for next week’s episode, though, it appears that the overall focus will continue to be on Sohoku and Hakone Academy. I can’t wait to see how the final day of the Inter-High will proceed next week.
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