This week’s episode opened by backtracking to the beginning of the flashback sequence that was just getting going at the end of Episode Seven. We finally get to see the entirety of the flashback, with Teshima explaining his reasoning for why he didn’t want Onoda to be the final rider on the final day of the Inter-High. What what information he’s gathered, Teshima thinks that Hakone Academy is going to send Manami ahead to attack when they catch up, and Onoda is really the only one who can stop him. But by attacking Manami before the mountain checkpoint, it’ll cause Onoda to drop out of the race. Onoda accepts Teshima’s order.

Before the action of the race really gets going, though, we get to see the Sohoku senpai (Kinjou, Makishima, and Tadokoro) wondering if Teshima will be able to make it to the mountain checkpoint. Through their dialogue, we finally get to hear Kinjou’s reasoning for why he chose Teshima to be the next captain of the team. And to be honest, his reasoning makes sense, and it fits with how Teshima has been depicted as the team captain up to this point in the Inter-High.

When we return to the actual race, and see that Teshima is pulling the team forward with the intention of dropping out once Sohoku catches up. With his determination, Teshima emits not so much a pressure, but a kind of aura, that encourages his teammates. But it turns out this also reaches someone else… his former middle school teammate, Ashikiba. Ashikiba makes a selfish request of Hakone Academy and asks to be able to race Teshima. Realizing what’s going on, Imaizumi begins pulling Sohoku. All three of the second-years insist that Teshima race Ashikiba, and that he needs to takes this brief respite before going forward. Even though Teshima was ready to drop out of the race because his body was feeling everything he’s gone through during the day up to this point, they still convince him to race Ashikiba.

Most of the rest of the episode focuses on Ashikiba and Teshima’s race, and we get some brief flashbacks of the two of them being on the same team in middle school. While this is going on, the faculty at Sohoku Academy is listening to the race commentary on the radio, and Teshima’s friend there (and I believe another former middle school teammate) hears the play-by-play for their race. This gives the audience another opportunity to see another flashback from their middle school days in the bicycle club. I enjoyed seeing Teshima’s friend getting excited for him when he hears about the race between Teshima and Ashikiba.

The episode ends with Teshima and Ashikiba reaching the three meter mark until the mountain checkpoint. Their final race is just about to start when the episode ends. Unfortunately, it’s already been announced that Episode Nine will be delayed a week due to a soccer broadcast, so we’ll have to wait two weeks to see how this race between Teshima and Ashikiba will go. Which, of course, means we’ll lose some of the momentum that was built up during this episode. But, at the same time, the title of the next episode almost feels like might be one focused more on flashbacks than on the actual race. This was definitely a Teshima episode, though, and I have a feeling that next week’s episode is going to focus more on Ashikiba. We’ll find out in two weeks whether or not I’m right.

Additional posts about Yowamushi Pedal: