Episode 11 backtracks the flashback from the previous episode slightly to when Teshima declares in middle school that he’s going to quit bicycle racing and wants to form a karaoke club when he goes to high school. Ashikiba doesn’t like this idea, and he comes up with a plan to get Junta interested in bicycles again. He’s so proud of himself for his plan, but then he learns his father is being reassigned for his job and that the family will be moving before the end of the school year. We then see the last interaction Ashikiba has with Teshima before he moves, and from there, we see what happens after Ashikiba moves and goes on to Hakone Academy for high school. We then see theese two characters reunite at the Minegaya Hill Climb race, but it’s awkward.
Before we return to the mountain line race between Teshima and Ashikiba, we see Teshima’s perspective of the Minegaya Hill Climb race, and I thought this was a nice touch. We then return to the present time briefly before hitting the halfway point of the episode.
The remainder of the episode basically focuses on the final stretch of the mountain line race, determining the winner, and seeing the reactions of the characters when the result is announced. The result of the race, as well as the aftermath, ended up being more emotional than I thought it would be. But at the same time, considering how much time was spent building up both Teshima and Ashikiba during this race for the colored tag, the emotional catharsis I felt makes a lot of sense. Even with the breaks that happened during this section of the series that broke up this arc, I still had a strong attachment and emotional reaction to the ending of this race. But if those breaks hadn’t of happened, I expect that my reaction to the climax of this race would have been even stronger.
Right at the end of the episode, we return to the remaining members of Sohoku and Hakone Academy’s teams. Naruko jumps ahead to talk with Yuto Shinkai, who is pulling for Hakone Academy. It leads to Yuto challenging Naruko to a race, and it seems like a foundation is being laid for this race to happen in the next episode.
I really liked how the race between Teshima and Ashikiba was handled over the course of the past few episodes, and I especially appreciated all of the character development take took place for both characters. In some respects, though, I’m also sad to see this come to an end. It was hard to root for one character over the other, and as the race proceeded, it became harder and harder to predict who would end up winning. Hopefully the forthcoming race between Yuto and Naruko will be exciting to watch, even though I don’t think it’s going to have anywhere near the same emotional weight and impact as the just concluded race between Teshima and Ashikiba.
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