The episode opens with the three Sohoku senpai (Tadokoro, Makishima, and Kinjou) musing about bicycle racing before we briefly backtrack to Naruko and Yuto’s interactions at the end of Episode 11. Yuto was acting rather cocky, like usual, but I liked how Naruko kept throwing him off with how he was being flashy to the audience and taking control of the atmosphere. During this, Sohoku and Hakone Academy catch up with Teshima and Ashikiba. Teshima sends Sohoku ahead, and once they’re out of sight, he collapses and is out of the race.
The first half of the episode focuses on Sohoku and Hakone Academy and what each team does to try to pull ahead. We get a rare bit of cooperation between Naruko and Imaizumi, which allows Naruko to keep an isolated Yuto at bay while Imaizumi and Sakamichi jump ahead. At this point, the main riders are scatted into three sections: Imaizumi and Sakamichi in the front, Naruko and Yuto in the middle, and Kuroda and Manami in the rear. Ashikiba is further behind these three groups, since he hasn’t dropped out of the race.
At the beginning of the second half, we see Midousuji and Kishigami making it to the mountain line. We hear Midousuji lecturing Mizuta about how his strategy worked, and after he finishes his spiel, he sees that Mizuta isn’t next to him. Kishigami shrugs, and off-handedly replies that Mizuta dropped out a while ago (he can’t remember where), dripping with sweat and yelling. It’s obvious from Kishigami’s tone of voice and vocal delivery that he thinks Mizuta isn’t worth anything, hence why he hadn’t said anything to Midousuji prior to this point.
Midousuji and Kishigami catch up to Ashikiba, and Midousuji starts taunting Ashikiba. At the same time, Kishigami reaches over and touches Ashikiba’s thigh. Ashibika is startled by Kishigami’s action, as usual, and at first seems like he’s going to cower to Midousuji’s taunting. Ashikiba has a flashback to how Kuroda treated him when the team caught up with him after the mountain line race, and Ashikiba is determined to do what he can to stop Midousuji. Unfortunately, Ashikiba doesn’t have the strength to fight, and Midousuji and Kishigami get ahead of him.
The riders further up can sense that two more riders are catching up. Kuroda and Manami can see it’s Kyoto Fushimi, and at this point, the rhythm of the race suddenly changes and chaos starts entering into the mix. In this season, Midousuji’s determination to win the third day of the Inter-High is depicted in such a way that his pressure makes him appear much larger to the spectators and other riders who see him. When he’s approaching Kuroda and Manami, I couldn’t help but think that he was kind of being depicted like a Titan from Attack on Titan, and I would think the phrase “Titan Midousuji” when he appeared on the screen like this.
Midousuji and Kishigami catch up with Kuroda and Manami. Kuroda decides to send Manami ahead and that he’ll hold off the two Kyoto Fushimi riders. Before that, though, Kishigami is aiming to touch Manami’s thigh (which, as we can see, he’s really been wanting to do). Kuroda manages to get in between these two and Kishigami touches Kuroda instead. I couldn’t help but laugh a little when I saw how broken Kishigami looked when he realized he didn’t get to touch the thigh he’d been so looking forward to touching.
Manami moves ahead, and Midousuji starts crowing about how Kuroda can’t beat him and Kishigami, since there’s two Kyoto Fushimi riders (although Kishigami still looks visibly broken at this point) and only one Hakone Academy rider. Right at the end of the episode, something happens that Midousuji doesn’t expect, and actually gets him to shut up out of shock. But this is where the episode ends, so we won’t know what happens until the next episode. But seeing how Yuto’s name is prominent in the title for next week’s episode, I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be playing an important part in whatever happens.
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