We begin the second cour of Yowamushi Pedal: Limit Break with a slight recap of the end of Episode 13, when Naruko challenges Manami to a race. As they’re getting started, Kuroda tells Manami not to do it because it isn’t necessary. However, Naruko convinces Manami to do it anyway, and the winner of the race will be determined by who catches up to the riders at the front first. However, Naruko sets a couple of ground rules before his race against Manami gets going. The first is that a two-against-one race isn’t allowed, so Kuroda has to stay out of it. The second is that if Naruko loses, he will ride behind Kuroda to the finish line. For Naruko, this would be a sacrifice, since he’s hoping to keep his promise from last year with Onoda and Imaizumi to cross the finish line together.
The remainder of the first half of the episode focuses on the race between Naruko and Manami. It was fun watching these two characters interacting with each other, since they never had the opportunity to do so during the previous year’s Inter-High. Naruko’s comparisons of Manami to a bullet train and the various other train references he makes were rather amusing as well. But as we see, Naruko was taking a big gamble with this race, since they’re currently racing on a climb and Manami is a natural climber while Naruko isn’t. But it turns out that the road turns into a flat stretch before going downhill for the last seven kilometers of the race, so Naruko is hoping and praying that Onoda and Imaizumi have made it further ahead than Hakone Academy believed they had. Because if they have, Naruko can take advantage of the flat due to his naturally being a sprinter and have a chance to win the race.
It turns out the race is determined right before the commercial break, which actually kind of surprised me. I thought for sure more time would have been spent on this race. The remainder of the episode is set at the front of the race, and it focuses on Imaizumi and Onoda. It’s so hard to talk about what happens here, though, since the winner of the race catches up with these two, and much of the focus of this part of the episode is the interactions of the winner with Imaizumi and Onoda. I really don’t want to spoil what happens with the race, so I really can’t say too much more here. Probably about the only thing I can safely mention here is that Onoda has a flashback to something Makashima had said to him the previous summer and that he takes it to heart after he remembers the conversation.
This is the first of two episodes that will air this week, since this week and next week will see two episodes airing in order for the series to catch up after unexpectedly losing a couple of weeks during the Fall 2022 anime season due to being pre-empted for sports programming. After losing some momentum due to losing those two weeks, I think I’m going to feel like I’m having some whiplash with these two double episode weeks. Even if I do experience that sense of whiplash, though, I’ll be glad to get caught back up to where we should be at this point in the series.
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