Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road
by Lauren Orsini,
If Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road ever ends up looking for a new title, I suggest the Arakita Yasutomo Show. Three of the last four episodes have focused near-exclusively on the former delinquent turned foul-mouthed assistant cyclist.
I'm running out of observations to make about Arakita's personality, given that I spent three reviews talking about it already. Honestly, what fresh insights did this episode really give us? It emphasized and underlined Arakita's three major emotional states—passionate, angry, and fiercely loyal—without adding anything new. Perhaps this itself was a stylistic choice, since the episode showed us first and foremost that Arakita isn't going to be in the spotlight any longer and man are the other characters upset about it. You would think Arakita had biked off a cliff and died, given the music-box lullaby playing in the background and the way the other characters, especially Onoda, carry on about him. If you're reading this before you watched the episode, don't worry; he's totally fine.
Other than Arakita's small drama, this episode was mainly exposition. As we heard many times, from Makishima, Midousuji, Kinjou, and maybe even more characters that I can't remember, this is the dead center of the final race. Each time a character mentioned it, it was an unwelcome indication that we are not anywhere near Day Three's conclusion, and the show doesn't plan on relieving the tension of the race any time soon. In lieu of getting on with the second half of the race before the half hour ends, however, we merely heard from multiple perspectives that we're smack in the middle, and there's a long way to go. “Enjoy the tension for now,” Makishima teases Onoda.
Probably the most damning piece of exposition was Midousuji's smug little speech, with each verbal point punctuated by the terrifying sounds his body makes. He's not concerned about having fewer teammates in the running than other teams, he explains to Ishigaki, because people are going to drop out one by one as they fall victim to exhaustion. I don't want to believe it but it's true—just about everybody we love is going to drop out of the race after they've played their individual roles in pushing the rest of the team to the goal. We saw the beginning of that process in this episode. Still, if Onoda drops out, I am going to cry. Either way, this was an example of telling the audience what's happening, rather than showing it.
“One of these people is going to cross the finish line first,” Kinjou and Fukutomi proclaim in unison as the Sohoku, Hakogaku, and KyoFushi cyclists faces appear on the screen. (Does that mean Machimiya is out of the running? I doubt it. He gave up to Arakita without much of a fight. On the other hand, he said himself that he came from behind to place third last year. I predict this isn't the last we've seen of the Fighting Dog of Kure.) It's infuriating to know that no matter how many predictions we make, we're still probably a month away from the race's conclusion.
Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.
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