The episode opens with Sakamichi and Manami continuing their race toward the finish line. At one point, Manami bumps into Sakamichi, and we see Sakamichi starting to fall behind. It turns out that one of Sakamichi’s pedals is damaged and he can’t get his cleat secured onto the pedal.
But this is all we see of the actual race in this episode. After this, we go to the finish line, where Arakita, Kinjou, and Tadakoro are listening to the announcements as Manami and Sakamichi get closer to finishing. Arakita predicts that Manami is going to win because of his determination to win after losing at last year’s race. Arakita is under the mistaken impression that Onoda had an easier time of things between the two Inter-Highs, and Kinjou corrects Arakita’s assumption.
The rest of the episode sees Kinjou having a flashback to the time when Makishima suddenly left the team and how this affected Sakamichi. Even though this flashback incorporates some previously seen footage, this flashback also includes several new scenes that help flesh out what happened during this time period. Most notable are Kinjou hearing from Makishima about his leaving, Kinjou and Tadokoro breaking the news to Sakamichi, a conversation Kinjou has with Sakamichi right as Kinjou is about to retire from the team, and Kinjou seeing Sakamichi in the club room that winter when he drops by and how something he says boosts Sakamichi’s spirits.
I actually liked most of the new scenes that were included in the flashback. Sakamichi’s reaction to hearing about Makishima felt so natural for him, especially since the news was broken to him right after he had the bike ride with Makishima. Sakamichi had been so excited by the ride that the news about Makishima would have hit even harder than it would have otherwise.
I also liked the scene where Kinjou takes Sakamichi to the beach and shares a story about a senior he looked up to moving away and how it made him feel. Not only was it something that Sakamichi needed to hear at that point, but it also provided a little more character development for Kinjou.
The final scene of the flashback, though, shows us how Sakamichi truly found his spirit again. It was something simple that Kinjou told him that made him happy, but we literally see Sakamichi’s pressure increase dramatically. Kinjou is even taken aback by this sudden increase in pressure being caused by something that he thought was relatively minor.
Admittedly, the flashback is killing time to help stretch out the final bit of the race, but as I watched the flashback, it didn’t feel like filler. It was another flashback that helped flesh out plot points from earlier in the series, as well as provide a little more character development.
It’s been announced that the final two episodes of Yowamushi Pedal: Limit Break will air in a one hour block next week, and I’m excited to see how this season of the series is going to end. As it is right now, it looks like Manami is going to win the race, but can Onoda somehow pull off a come from behind win?
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