The entirety of this episode focuses on the race to the mountain line between Teshima and Ashikiba. And one of the biggest themes of the episode is Teshima working at believing in himself and his riding.
We get a scene of the three Sohoku senpai (Makishima, Kinjou, and Tadokoro) watching the race. Tadokoro is using binoculars, and he sees Teshima is at the front, battling against Ashikiba. As we’ve seen over the course of the series, Tadokoro served as a mentor for Teshima, so it was quite rewarding for me as a viewer to see how excited he was when he realized that Teshima was the one from Sohoku battling it out for the mountain line. Kinjou was surprised, and Makishima had some great words to share. In some respects, his dialogue is a little “on the nose” at times, but he’s basically reinforcing what we’ve seen take place between Teshima and Ashikiba in the flashbacks and in the current race.
As for Teshima, it was awesome to see the crowd cheering for him by name. Up to this point, he was portrayed and seen by many of the characters (and even by himself) as just an average rider, so this really hits. At first, we can hear in Teshima’s thoughts that he’s in denial that they’re cheering for him, because he doesn’t think anyone ever would. But as we hear in Ashikiba’s thoughts, Teshima has been doing things like increasing his pace and likely doesn’t even realize that he’s doing it.
Right near the end of the episode, we get to see a final flashback of when Ashikiba and Junta were in their last year of middle school, and Teshima was convinced that he was quitting bicycle racing. But as we saw in another flashback, we saw how Teshima returned to bicycle racing when he started at Sohoku.
This was another great episode for providing character development for Teshima, and to some extent, for Ashikiba as well. However, by the end of the episode, we still don’t know who won the race to the mountain line. Unfortunately, due to New Year’s programming next week, Episode 11 of Yowamushi Pedal: Limit Break is being delayed a week. Ugh! This is the third delay this season that this series has experienced, and it’s the second one that’s happening during Teshima’s character development arc. Sigh. Poor Teshima. Due to this season’s broadcasting schedule, he still can’t entirely get the respect that he deserves.
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