• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road
Episode 13

by Lauren Orsini,

Physical fitness and training play a big part in which athlete is going to win the gold. However, what happens when all the racers are evenly matched by skill, thanks to the convenience of a fictional story? This episode of Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road pondered the other ingredient in the recipe for athletic success: mental determination.

The focus turned inward as the Sohoku boys battled their own demons far more than they challenged Hakogaku. As Kinjou put it, Sohoku's success depended on the strength of “their six wills” combined; essentially, the power of their desire to win. We don't see much of Hakogaku's side of the story because it doesn't matter right now. It could be any team that Sohoku is up against; if their determination isn't strong enough, now is when they'll lose.

Imaizumi still feels inadequate compared to the third years. Usually, Imaizumi is very buttoned-up (making today's ending skit especially hilarious), so this internal monologue explored another side of his character. Imaizumi doesn't feel like he's helping the team and it's not surprising when we learn that Naruko, Imaizumi's parallel and foil, feels the same way. It's been a long time since we've seen Imaizumi and Naruko butting heads, and that repartee returns quite literally here.

Onoda has spent most of this race either in wide-eyed awe or paralyzed horror, like when Arakita “died” a few episodes ago. Fortunately this episode is a happy one for Onoda, and as usual, his happiness is infectious. It's amazing how this Manic Pixie Dream Cyclist knows exactly how to cheer Imaizumi and Naruko in a few words, and how the third years can feel it without turning around to look. Even Kinjou remarks, “The atmosphere has changed."

Meanwhile, the third-years seem better prepared. We discover in a flashback that Tadokoro has basically predicted that the race would come down to the sprint, and has always been willing to put his life on the line. That means in the present, there's no need for Tadokoro to talk but simply internally monologue while screaming “ORAORAORA,” which thankfully, Crunchyroll didn't try to translate into “HEYHEYHEY” or anything.

Yowamushi Pedal is able to present an inspiring, if not exactly unexplored, account of the importance of mental fortitude as an edge in a race of matched physical prowess. This message was enhanced by Tadokoro's heftier body type, which we don't see in sports anime often enough. One of the show's great strengths is its portrayal of characters of all shapes and sizes as equally talented athletes. We saw a flashback in which Tadokoro once bemoaned his size, but now he uses it to his advantage. Tadokoro's lesson of determination is nothing new, but it's pitch perfect for this upbeat shounen show.

This episode covered a mere 3 kilometers around Lake Yamanaka, the final stretch of flat land before the race culminates in the mountains. Now that most of our sprinters are down for the count, I think things are really going to heat up for our climbers. I'm looking forward to the all-out battle between Onoda and Manami I've been anticipating for episodes now.

Rating: B

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.

discuss this in the forum (67 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

back to Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road
Episode Review homepage / archives