Anime Spotlight: Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. Just like the first season, Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is produced by TMS/8PAN, and is directed by Osamu Nabeshima. The series aired on Japanese television from October 6, 2014-March 30, 2015. As of this writing, Discotek Media holds the North American distribution rights for both Yowamushi Pedal and Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road.

In Yowamushi Pedal, a first-year student at Sohoku High named Sakamichi Onoda was an otaku looking to join an anime club. Unfortunately, the anime club had to shut down due to lack of members. Sakamichi rides a mamachari, which is a bulky bicycle with a step-through frame that’s mainly used for short rides. However, due to how often he uses his bike to go all the way to Akihabara and back, he’s actually a rather skilled bike rider.

Through various circumstances, Sakamichi finds himself joining Sohoku’s bicycle racing club and acquiring an actual racing bike. With enough practice and determination, Sakamichi learns how to use the skills he’s developed riding his mamachari to become a formidable climber for Sohoku’s team. During the first season, Sakamichi was chosen to represent Sohoku at the Inter-High race, alongside Kinjou, Tadokoro, Makishima, Naruko, and Shunsuke.

But there are formidable rivals at the Inter-High, including Hakone Academy, Kyoto Fushimi High School, and Hiroshima Kureminami Technical High School.

The first season of the series ended during the middle of the second day of the Inter-High, and the first season of Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road picked up right where the previous season had ended.

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road finishes off the second day of the Inter-High, and then spends the remainder of the episodes chronicling the third day of the race. Over the course of the third day, several of the riders that the audience came to know have to drop out of the race or fall back for one reason or another, which ends up leaving the most unexpected person to try to get the win for Sohoku.

When I started watching Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road, I thought it continued perfectly from where the previous season had ended, which created a very smooth transition between the two seasons.

I was also impressed by just how much backstory and character development appeared during this season, especially for the characters that aren’t on Sohoku’s team. The strongest backstory ended up going to Midousuji, so there was actually a portion of the series where I thought I liked him a little better than I had previously. Unfortunately, he later returned to his old ways and I started to not like him again. But the way he ultimately had to leave the race left me feeling like a bit of a jerk for how much I had been cheering for him to fall out of the race.

The team from Hiroshima Kureminami Technical High School was introduced during this season. Unfortunately, they didn’t really add a whole lot in the end, and they didn’t get much in the way of any real character development. In a lot of respects, the inclusion of this team felt more like a distraction than anything else. They only played any real role for five whole episodes and a small part of a sixth. For a 24 episode series, that’s roughly a fourth of the season. I guess they did manage to help stretch out the third day of the Inter-High and helped to make it last long enough for the 24 episode run.

While having the third day of the race last for roughly 20 episodes sounds like a lot, the story was written in such a way that it never really felt like it was taking forever. Most episodes had a good combination of action and character interactions that helped to make the viewer forget just how many episodes this race has truly been going for.

Outside of the inclusion of Hiroshima Kureminami Technical High School’s team, I actually really enjoyed Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road. I also thought that the final episode was written in a way that provided a satisfactory conclusion to both the Inter-High race and to the series as a whole.

I’m looking forward to a time when I can get both seasons of Yowamushi Pedal on home video to add to my collection and be able to re-watch the series from the very beginning.

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Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 24 – “ROAD.24 Winner”

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. It continues the adventures of the Sohoku High School bicycle club and their rivals, Hakone Academy and Kyoto Fushimi High School; specifically, this series focuses on the Inter-High race that all three teams are participating in.

Episode 24 concludes both the Inter-High and Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road. It was amazing to see how announcing the winner took a little while early on, even though tires were seen crossing the finish line at the end of the previous episode. Besides the expected recap, there are also final reactions from both Sakamichi and Manami before they cross the finish line, as well as various reaction shots as they reach the finish line. While it was a little frustrating how long announcing the winner took, this is a case where stretching it out helped to maintain the suspense and tension. And it was an absolute surprise when it was revealed that Sakamichi was the ultimate winner. Shortly after Sakamichi’s win, it’s revealed that the top six spots were filled by riders from either Hakone Academy or Sohoku.

Most of the rest of Episode 24 shows the aftermath of the Inter-High, starting with all the congratulations and interactions that Sakamichi has with most of the other members of Sohoku’s team. There were definitely some great “bromance” moments between Sakamichi, Makishima, and Shunsuke. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s Hakone Academy’s reaction to Manami’s second place showing. While Fukutomi and the other third-years aren’t angry with Manami, they make it clear that they expect him to guarantee that their school will win the Inter-High next year.

Outside of the final part of the race, Manami’s interactions with Hakone Academy’s third-years and Kinjou and Naruko almost not making it to the award ceremony, the remainder of Episode 24 is actually rather light-hearted in nature. Right near the end, Sakamichi takes the other five team members he rode with during the Inter-High to Akihabara so he can buy and give the third-years gifts. This is a rather comedic portion of the episode, with much of the comedy deriving from the third-years feeling like they’re out of their element. Probably the most amusing part of this section is when Tadokoro hears the actual recorded version of the Love Hime theme song and realizing that was what he was singing during the Inter-High. His facial expression was priceless.

Unfortunately, some of the animation looks off during the Akihabara section, especially with the characters looking very obviously off-model. Did the animators have to rush through this portion in order to get the episode out on time? But maybe this explains why Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road‘s stream time was pushed back half an hour for this particular episode.

Episode 24 was a satisfying way to bring Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road to a close. I enjoyed watching this season, and I’m looking forward to a time when I can get both seasons of Yowamushi Pedal on home video and re-watching the series from the very beginning.

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Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 23 – “ROAD.23 The Promised Road”

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. It continues the adventures of the Sohoku High School bicycle club and their rivals, Hakone Academy and Kyoto Fushimi High School; specifically, this series focuses on the Inter-High race that all three teams are participating in.

Episode 23 sees Manami deliberating whether or not to shift up to the tenth and final gear on his bike. In the end, he decides to go for it, and at first it looks like he may have pushed things too far. Manami has an interesting scene here where he suddenly appears in a world of grey and acts like he may be giving up, and I thought that depicting his emotions this way was rather effective. But Manami finds his usual optimism and is able to overcome the mental block that had taken over.

Meanwhile, Sakamichi struggles to catch up with Manami. After a bit of work, he finally sees his rival in front of him again. This makes Sakamichi so happy that he smiles and begins pushing himself forward until he’s neck-and-neck with Manami. The remainder of the episode focuses on a race to the finish line between Manami and Sakamichi. The race between the two of them gets rather intense, but fortunately there are times when the episode cuts away to the other characters reacting to the results or to flashbacks. Cutting away like this did help to ease the intensity a little, which I found helpful as a viewer.

The episode ends with a close-up on a tire crossing the finish line, but it’s not revealed which one of the riders won. While this was a frustrating way to end the episode, I had basically expected that the actual winner of the race wouldn’t be revealed until Episode 24.

There was also a great moment when Manami and Sakamichi are headed toward the finish line and pass by Miyahara and Sakamichi’s mother. Sakamichi’s mother looks so shocked to see him, but then we get to hear her thoughts and see just how proud she is of her son. Hopefully this will open her eyes that Sakamichi isn’t the little boy who needs to be protected as much as she thinks he does.

It’s so hard to believe that Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is almost over now. I suspect that the final episode will reveal the winner of the Inter-High, as well as wind down the final day of the race. I’m really looking forward to seeing who ultimately wins, although I have to admit that I’m hoping for a tie. But at the same time, I’m also a little sad knowing that the series is about to come to an end.

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Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 22 – “ROAD.22 Manami and Sakamichi”

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. It continues the adventures of the Sohoku High School bicycle club and their rivals, Hakone Academy and Kyoto Fushimi High School; specifically, this series focuses on the Inter-High race that all three teams are participating in.

Episode 22 sees Manami pushing ahead of Shunsuke. But just as Fukutomi thinks the race is decided in favor of Hakone Academy, Sakamichi makes an appearance and pushes past Fukutomi. Later, when Fukutomi talks with Shunsuke and learns that he hadn’t anticipated Hakone Academy’s move and that Sohoku didn’t have a real strategy, Fukutomi’s expression seems to indicate that his brain broke into a million pieces. It was rather comical to see the usually stoic and reserved Fukutomi looking so stunned and disbelieving.

The majority of the episode focuses on Manami and Sakamichi, who race with each other after Sakamichi catches up. There’s actually one point in the episode where Sakamichi manages to pull ahead of Manami, and the reactions and expressions of his teammates when they hear or see that he’s in the lead are rather amusing.

Unfortunately, Sakamichi’s lead doesn’t last. But Manami is starting to get a little reckless with how many gear changes he’s making on the final uphill climb to reach the finish line, so it makes me wonder if something will happen to Manami that will allow Sakamichi to ultimately take the lead and win the Inter-High for Sohoku. Fukutomi had told him not to go higher than his eighth gear, but Toudou had told Manami to ride free and to give everything he had on a stage where he could shine. The expression on Fukutomi’s face made it seem like he was thinking, “Oh, crap.” I suspect that getting this conflicting advice could make a real difference in this final race between Manami and Sakamichi.

We also get to see Miyahara and Sakamichi’s mother react to the announcement of Sakamichi being in the lead. Miyahara believes that Manami will ultimately win, and Sakamichi’s mother seems to believe that the other racer just happens to share the same name as her son, since she still seems to believe he’s involved in an anime club. But in an earlier episode, it almost seemed as if she understood what Sakamichi was actually doing, so I’m not sure if she’s simply playing dumb or is actually this much of an airhead.

The final stretch of the Inter-High has been both exciting and exhilarating to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing how the race will end, who will be the ultimate victor, and how they achieve their victory.

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Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 21 – “ROAD.21 #91”

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. It continues the adventures of the Sohoku High School bicycle club and their rivals, Hakone Academy and Kyoto Fushimi High School; specifically, this series focuses on the Inter-High race that all three teams are participating in.

Episode 21 focuses on the competition that Shunsuke and Midousuji have in the final downhill portion of the race. Midousuji goes to extraordinary lengths to pass Shunsuke, including trying to squeeze his head between Shunsuke and a guardrail. Midousuji ultimately doesn’t succeed, but Shunsuke’s bike frame starts to crack. Shunsuke doesn’t seem fazed by the frame cracking, and says he would have been more concerned if it had been his tire or chain that broke. But as soon as I saw the frame start to crack, I suspected that this wasn’t going to be a good sign.

At the end of the downhill, Shunsuke is the ultimate winner after Midousuji’s left leg gives out. When Midousuji realizes that the view in front of him is Shunsuke’s butt instead of the road in front of him, his brain breaks. Midousuji tries to keep going by simply pedaling with his right leg, but he gets so wobbly that he ultimately falls off his bike and is out of the race.

Before seeing this episode, I had been cheering for Midousuji to lose and somehow leave the race. But when this episode used flashbacks for Midousuji, especially ones from when he was younger and would ride home from visiting his mother in the hospital, I actually felt kind of bad for Midousuji. Yes, Midousuji had acted like a jerk again, but getting these flashbacks of Midousuji helped to humanize him right at the end of his time in the race. In fact, after seeing those flashbacks, I found myself feeling like a bit of jerk because of how much I had been hoping to see his brain break as he lost.

But Shunsuke’s victory for the downhill is short-lived when he discovers that Manami and Fukutomi have caught up to him. Not only that, Shunsuke’s bike frame continues to crack as he pushes himself forward, which is causing him to slow down. I’m afraid that Shunsuke’s frame is going to crack so much that Hakone Academy could potentially take the lead. Sakamichi has been trying to keep up with Shunsuke, but he wasn’t seen when Manami and Fukutomi catch up.

There’s also a light-hearted section early on in the episode, when Sakamichi’s mother is separated from her tour group near the finish line, and she encounters Manami’s friend, Miyahara. While this portion of the episode didn’t truly add anything to the story, it was a nice break from the tense action that’s been going on in the race.

There’s only three episodes remaining for Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road, and the finish line for the Inter-High is getting ever closer. I hope Sakamichi can somehow make a grand reappearance and help Sohoku cross the finish line, hopefully as part of the winning team.

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Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 20 – “ROAD.20 Imaizumi VS Midousuji”

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. It continues the adventures of the Sohoku High School bicycle club and their rivals, Hakone Academy and Kyoto Fushimi High School; specifically, this series focuses on the Inter-High race that all three teams are participating in.

Episode 20 focuses on Shunsuke and Midousuji’s race toward the finish line. There’s quite a bit of jockeying that goes on, with Midousuji and Shunsuke taking first place several times. Of course, it wouldn’t be a battle with Midousuji without his constant taunting. Fortunately, Shunsuke is able to shake off the taunts and keep pushing on in his attempts to beat Midousuji.

During this episode, we also get to see an extensive flashback for Shunsuke, which includes clips from various scenes over the series where he’s pushing and training himself so hard and footage of when he’s raced Midousuji during the Inter-High. Shunsuke does a bit of soul searching during this point in the episode, and he realizes that even though Midousuji relies on a lot of tricks and underhanded tactics in his racing, he’s actually quite a strong racer. In addition, Shunsuke realizes that both Naruko and Sakamichi have taught him important lessons that he applies to this final race against Midousuji.

Midousuji actually has a more “grotesque” form that he goes into in an attempt to get ahead and stay ahead of Shunsuke, which includes leaning forward even more than he has before. Midousuji is unable to shake Shunsuke, and the two of them start slamming against each other hard enough that blood starts flying. If the race seemed intense before, the slamming and blood just goes to show how intense the race to the finish has become.

With less than four kilometers left to the finish line, Midousuji and Shunsuke have to battle it out going downhill at very fast speeds. It’s emphasized a couple of times that the fast speed combined with how steep this downhill portion is, makes it very precarious for racing. The episode ends with Midousuji and Shunsuke heading into a downward turn.

The third day of the Inter-High is definitely getting closer and closer to its conclusion. With four more episodes remaining for Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road, it looks like the slightly under four kilometers left will end up covering most of the remaining episodes of the series. At this point, I’m going to predict that the winner of the Inter-High will be determined right at the end of Episode 23, and Episode 24 will be used to wrap everything up. I could be wrong, but this seems like a logical way to pace the race with only four episodes remaining.

I love how intense these final kilometers of the race have become. I’m really hoping that Shunsuke and/or Sakamichi can be the one to cross the finish line and prevent Midousuji from winning. Midousuji doesn’t deserve it, and I’d love to see how broken he looks if he loses.

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Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 19 – “ROAD.19 Sakamichi’s Job”

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. It continues the adventures of the Sohoku High School bicycle club and their rivals, Hakone Academy and Kyoto Fushimi High School; specifically, this series focuses on the Inter-High race that all three teams are participating in.

Episode 19 sees Shunsuke crossing the mountain checkpoint first, and at this point, there’s only six kilometers remaining until the finish line. Even though Shunsuke sees Fukutomi, an ace with his head hung down right behind him, he knows that he can’t let his guard down.

Quite a bit of the episode focuses on the three-way race to the aces between Midousuji, Manami, and Sakamichi. At first, Sakamichi is afraid that he can’t hold Midousuji back and wonders what he should do. After some brief flashbacks of advice that he was given earlier in the series, he realizes that he needs to stick closely to Midousuji and to stay right on him. Unfortunately, Sakamichi sticks a little too close at first and doesn’t pay attention to the road, which causes him to ride off of it.

But viewers of Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road know by now that that’s not going to mark the end of Sakamichi’s race. He finds a way to stop himself, get back onto the road, and catch back up with Manami and Midousuji. After a bit more racing, the three of them catch up to the aces. Unfortunately, there’s no clear cut winner for their race, so it’s declared to be a tie. But with the arrival of these three racers, the lead pack goes up from two to five. There’s now only five kilometers left until the finish line.

There’s a scene here of Sakamichi talking with Shunsuke and apologizing for not keeping Midousuji from catching up. Shunsuke tells Sakamichi that he should be proud of what he’s accomplished and to hold his head high. This scene between Shunsuke and Sakamichi is such a perfect example to illustrate the character growth that Shunsuke has gone through since we met him at the beginning of the first Yowamushi Pedal series. He’s come to understand that he’s a member of a team, rather than being a team of one. He’s also learned to control his outbursts.

While we had a couple of sections of Episode 19 that utilized flashbacks, the flashbacks themselves were rather short. I applaud the fact that these flashbacks only utilized what they absolutely had to in order to convey what message needed to be shared. I’ve definitely noticed that the race itself isn’t being stretched out quite so much anymore since we’re getting closer to the end of the series.

I also enjoyed another scene with Shunsuke, where we got to see even more of how much he’s grown when Midousuji catches up and hurls an insult at him. I was glad to see that Shunsuke could calmly respond with an insult of his own. Midousuji is so taken aback by Shunsuke’s reaction that the remaining racers in the lead pack are able to get ahead of him. When I saw Shunsuke deliver his insult to Midousuji, I cheered. I was glad to see that Shunsuke no longer fears Midousuji, and I thought Midousuji deserved what he got. Turnabout is fair play, after all.

Of course, Midousuji doesn’t take this well. He begins eating like a madman, and throwing his garbage all over the road as he devours what he has on him. Midousuji puts on a sudden burst of speed and moves forward as Episode 19 ends.

If the setup at the end of Episode 19 didn’t make it clear, the title of the next episode bluntly states that Episode 20 will be a race between Shunsuke and Midousuji. I’m really looking forward to seeing this episode, and I’m cheering for Shunsuke to be able to triumph over Midousuji. I really want to see Midousuji’s brain break again.

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Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 18 – “ROAD.18 Step by Step”

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. It continues the adventures of the Sohoku High School bicycle club and their rivals, Hakone Academy and Kyoto Fushimi High School; specifically, this series focuses on the Inter-High race that all three teams are participating in.

Early on in Episode 18, the focus is on Manami and Midousuji as they continue to their race to catch up to the aces. Manami pulls a trick out from his sleeve, and is able to get ahead of Midousuji. But when Midousuji figures out what Manami’s trick is, he’s able to replicate Manami’s feat and catch back up.

But quite a bit of the episode actually focuses on Sakamichi as he works at trying to catch up with Manami and Midousuji, as well as on Makishima as he remembers Sakamichi’s growth from when he first joined the Bicycle Club. There are a lot of flashbacks that are included in this portion of the story, which I could tell in large part were included to help stretch this section of the story out. However, I didn’t mind all these flashbacks, because they helped to remind me of some things that had happened earlier in the series that I had forgotten about. It was also a bit of a trip to see the changes in the characters’ designs from the earlier episodes of the series to what they look like now. And at least one of the flashbacks included new footage that hadn’t been seen in the series previously, which helped to make the flashback portions feel a little more interesting.

As we’ve come to expect, Sakamichi is able to catch up with Manami and Midousuji. It was amusing to see Midousuji’s expressions of disbelief when Sakamichi catches up, because he looks as if his brain is breaking several times over. Midousuji also gets into the flashback game when he remembers his interactions with Sakamichi after the end of the second day of the Inter-High.

Admittedly, not a whole lot of story progression takes place over the course of Episode 18. But then again, that’s become rather expected out of the Yowamushi Pedal franchise, so that’s not a mark against this episode. But what this episode lacked in the way of action, it made up for with the use of flashbacks to help build up the tension of the race.

Episode 18 ends with the race now being between Manami, Midousuji, and Sakamichi to see who reaches the aces first. From the title for Episode 19, it appears that Sakamichi may be playing an important role. But I won’t know exactly what kind of role he’ll play until I get a chance to watch Episode 19.

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Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: Episode 17 – “ROAD.17 Hakone Academy #6”

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. It continues the adventures of the Sohoku High School bicycle club and their rivals, Hakone Academy and Kyoto Fushimi High School; specifically, this series focuses on the Inter-High race that all three teams are participating in.

Episode 17 starts with Ishigaki, Midousuji’s teammate, collapsing on the side of the road after Midousuji pulls on ahead. He has a flashback of when he and Midousuji had fallen behind Hakone Academy and Sohoku earlier in the day, and how Ishigaki has come to accept that even though he may not be his team’s ace, he can take pride in being an assistant. Midousuji just sees this sentiment as being “gross,” but this shows the growth that Ishigaki has gone through as a character since we first saw him interacting with Midousuji. At least Ishigaki was able to leave his final Inter-High on a high note.

Midousuji catches up with Makishima and Toudou, who have been battling with each other for a little while. Midousuji mocks the two of them for being tired, and takes advantage of their tiredness to get ahead of them. Toudou immediately sends Manami to go after Midousuji, and Sakamichi asks Makishima if he should go ahead shortly after. Of course, Makishima sends Sakamichi on ahead, but by the end of the episode, Sakamichi hasn’t caught up with Manami and Midousuji.

So with this development, Makishima and Toudou are still in the race, but neither one is going to be a major player as the race gets closer to the finish line. I had a suspicion that Makishima was going to be the next one from Sohoku to somehow lose their major character status for the race, but I wasn’t sure if he would have to leave the race completely or just have to fall behind. I’m glad to see that he’s able to actually remain in the race instead of getting an injury that forces him out of the rest of the race.

Most of the rest of the episode focuses on Manami and Midousuji, with Manami challenging Midousuji to a race to see who can reach the aces first. After a little while, Midousuji adds the condition that the loser of this race won’t pass the winner until the finish line. Manami accepts the challenge, and continually smiles as the two of them race. What makes this particular race so interesting is the fact that Midousuji has no information or data on Manami, so he can’t plan any tricks ahead of time to try to turn the race to his advantage. It was so amusing to see Midousuji’s brain nearly break on several occasions in the episode when Manami doesn’t react the way he expects. And to be honest, Midousuji’s mocking really wasn’t affecting anyone he tried to use it on in this episode; seeing this made me rather happy.

The episode also sees Miyahara having a flashback to how Manami got into Hakone Academy, as well as her confrontation with Fukutomi when she accused Manami’s obsession with riding around on the cycling club’s activities. This confrontation scene was actually rather amusing. Not only was the flashback a way for the audience to pull back from the drama of the race temporarily with something a little more light-hearted, it also provided a little more insight into the interactions that Miyahara has with Manami. It’s also become more obvious with this flashback that Miyahara has a crush on Manami.

With the way Episode 18 ends, it’s clear that Episode 19 will continue the race going on between Manami and Midousuji. But the big question at this point is, will Sakamichi catch up to them while their race is going on, or will he catch up after their race has ended? The other big question that’s still lingering is, how will Shunsuke handle it when he sees Midousuji catching up with the aces?

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Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road Episode 16: “ROAD.16 Imaizumi the Ace!”

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is the second season of the Yowamushi Pedal television anime series. It continues the adventures of the Sohoku High School bicycle club and their rivals, Hakone Academy and Kyoto Fushimi High School; specifically, this series focuses on the Inter-High race that all three teams are participating in.

Episode 16 sees Shunsuke leading the remaining racers from Sohoku to catch up with the three remaining members of Hakone Academy. When they catch up, Shunsuke declares himself to be Sohoku’s ace, and a furious race develops between Shunsuke and Fukutomi. When Toudou tries to pull away to help Fukutomi, Makishima is determined not to let him pass.

As Shunsuke and Fukutomi battle it out, Fukutomi realizes rather quickly that Shunsuke is someone he shouldn’t underestimate, especially after Shunsuke pulls ahead of him on more than one occasion. Shunsuke shows Fukutomi just how determined he is to win when he’s blocked in between a wall on one side and Hakone Academy on the other, and Shunsuke allows himself to hit the wall and cause injuries to his knee and elbow in order to get past Fukutomi. It was so amusing to see the usually calm and collected Fukutomi looking absolutely panicked as he realizes that Shunsuke is truly a force to be reckoned with.

This episode also has a flashback for Shunsuke that provides more backstory for him. In this flashback, we get to see Shunsuke as an elementary student, and I believe that this is the farthest back we’ve seen any of the flashbacks in the series go. Through this flashback, we see how Shunsuke got into bicycle racing, as well as how he met Miki. This flashback also reminded the audience of how snooty Shunsuke used to be. This was a great reminder for me, because it’s been so long since I saw the early episodes of Yowamushi Pedal that I’d forgotten just how aloof and snooty Shunsuke acted back then. It just goes to show how much Shunsuke has evolved as a character over the course of both Yowamushi Pedal and Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road. I’d also forgotten that Shunsuke and Miki were already friends at the beginning of Yowamushi Pedal.

Shunsuke may feel confident about his chances now, but near the end of the episode, the audience sees Midousuji picking up his pace in order to catch up with the leaders. I’m almost afraid that Midousuji will catch up with Shunsuke and Fukutomi and rattle Shunsuke’s confidence, since Midousuji has that effect on Shunsuke from a race they competed against in the past. But at least it appears Midousuji will finally be important to the story again after being completely absent from the series for several episodes. I was starting to wonder whether or not we’d see Midousuji again.

At this point, the third day of the Inter High is getting closer and closer to the end. It’s explicitly stated that there’s only 15 kilometers left until the finish line, so expect the remaining episodes to become more and more intense the closer the leaders get to the finish line. At this point, there’s no clear-cut winner, and I believe that Midousuji will end up throwing a wrench into the works for the battle that’s going on between Hakone Academy and Sohoku.

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