Yowamushi Pedal: Limit Break is the fifth season of the Yowamushi Pedal anime franchise. The season aired in Japan from October 8, 2022-March 25, 2023. The anime was produced by TMS/Die4Studio and was directed by Osamu Nabeshima. As of this writing, Crunchyroll holds the streaming rights for Yowamushi Pedal: Limit Break in North America.
There had been a roughly four year gap between the previous season, Yowamushi Pedal: Glory Line, and this one. The previous season ended just as the third day of the Inter-High was getting going, so time was spent in the first episode of Yowamushi Pedal: Limit Break to backtrack slightly to remind the audience of what had happened at the end of the previous season. Normally, I would have been frustrated by this, but since it had been about four years since I’d watched the previous season, I appreciated getting these reminders because it helped me get back “into the zone” for watching this season.
Early on in the season, there’s a focus on Midousuji and Yamaguchi and the plan Midousuji has to try to take the lead on the third day of the Inter-High. This portion of the season really helped to develop Yamaguchi as a character. While we’d seen him in the previous Inter-High as well as earlier on in this race, he was still primarily more of background character. Here, he became a focus character and we finally got to get a little more into his head in order to better understand why he’s doing what he’s doing and following Midousuji’s orders.
This section of the season also brings Aoyagi and Teshima to the forefront, which comes to a head when Yamaguchi and one of his teammates challenges these two from Sohoku to a race. In the end, the race doesn’t go the way Midousuji had expected, and as a viewer, I found I felt more sympathy than I had expected for Yamaguchi when he had to drop out of the race after getting to know him better leading up to this moment.
Aoyagi and Teshima catch up to their teammates, and then Aoyagi is the one to help Sohoku catch up to Hakone Academy, who has gotten ahead while the Sohoku teammates were separated. Aoyagi succeeds in the goal but has to drop out of the race due to overextending himself. Over the course of the season, we see other members of the Sohoku team having to drop out, usually after accomplishing something that helps the team continue to be competitive.
Most of the second half of the season’s first cour focuses on Teshima and developing him as a character. This is done through racing Ashikiba, a teammate from his middle school team that he’d been friends with before Ashikiba had to suddenly move away. In fact, an entire episode is spent on a flashback establishing how Teshima and Ashikiba became friends and how they ended up drifting apart. While I appreciated getting all of this focus on Teshima, this storyline was broken up a couple of times by unexpected preemptions in Japan due to sports broadcasts. Poor Teshima. He still can’t get much respect even when the series is placing a focus on him.
It then seems like it’s going to be a race between Sohoku and Hakone Academy in the lead, but Midousuji surprises everyone by catching up. At this point, there are a lot of twists and turns as the third day of the Inter-High continues. At the end, though, it comes down to a rematch between Sakamichi and Manami for the third day’s finish line.
Over the course of the 25 episodes of Yowamushi Pedal: Limit Break, a lot takes place, especially as the race got closer to the end. I ultimately skimmed over a lot of it, because there’s just so much there that it would make this writeup ridiculously long. Unfortunately, due to issues outside of the studio’s control, some of the pacing was thrown off. Thanks to losing the two weeks during the first cour due to sports broadcasts, the first couple of weeks of the second cour had two episodes airing each week in order to catch back up. After losing a little bit of momentum during the first cour, the second cour felt like it went by at a dizzying pace. And having the last two episodes of the season air in a one hour block helped to add to that faster feel. I hope at some point to be able to watch this season again and experience it the way it was meant to be experienced, instead of the wacky pacing that was created due to broadcast schedule changes.
When all is said and done, though, I really did enjoy Yowamushi Pedal: Limit Break. When you take out the pacing being thrown off, it didn’t feel as if the race was being stretched out or rushed through. There were a lot of wonderful character moments in this season that helped to develop some of the characters, in addition to the excitement of what was happening in the race. By the time the race was whittled down to Sakamichi and Manami, the tension increased. As a viewer, I could really feel the tension that these two went through during those last moments of the race. The final episode also did a great job of “cooling down” the season, and I was overall satisfied with the season’s conclusion.
As of this writing, a sixth season of Yowamushi Pedal has not been announced. However, as the manga is still ongoing, content exists to be able to continue the anime. I hope the studio is just waiting for the mangaka to get a little further ahead before announcing another season. However, I hope it doesn’t take another four years for the anime to continue the story.
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