• 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 5

by Lauren Orsini,

Lengthy races are Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road's raison d'etre, but the intervals between races allow for some real magic to happen. In an unexpected treat, we got another in-between races episode, which saw the development of old characters and the introduction of new ones.

At long last, Onoda has returned for a starring role in his own anime. I am convinced that Onoda is really this show's Manic Pixie Dream Boy, the convenient and cheerful character who shows up alongside brooding ones to remind them of the joy of bicycling. Last season, we saw Onoda captivate his teammates with the way he smiles as he climbs. During the Inter-high, he charmed the pants off of the Hakogaku team, and even haughty Toudou took back his insults after seeing Onoda's enthusiastic climbing. In this episode, it was sinister Midousuji's turn to convert to the cult of Onoda.

Midousuji and Onoda make a more likely pair of friends than you'd think, given their last meeting. On day one of the Interhigh, they turned out to be evenly matched, much to Midousuji's surprise. Once again, Onoda commands Midousuji's attention even as he wonders why he's messing around instead of leaving Onoda in the dust.

What makes Onoda so lovable that he can make even the most hardened antagonists melt around him? It's his earnestness. Onoda has nothing to hide and he doesn't put on an act. He smiles while he cycles, in his own words: “because I'm having fun.” In Yowamushi Pedal, every character—protagonist or antagonist, talented or not—aspires only to win. Onoda, on the other hand, just wants to have fun with his friends. Each time Onoda appears, his unique perspective never fails to pivot the plot in his direction and remind everyone else why they got into cycling in the first place. So of course, Onoda's refreshing perspective leaves its imprint on Midousuji, leading to a significant alteration in his character.

Foreshadowing for a standoff between Manami and Onoda continues as the episode parallels their happy biking faces. Although I'd have to call Manami's happy face more of a murder face. If flaky, airhead Manami turns out to be a yandere, I won't be surprised. Machimiya also makes his long-awaited appearance this episode, solidifying him as the day three villain now that we're supposed to root for Midousuji. I wanted to do a comparison of Machimiya and Midousuji as effective villains, but it's too early to tell what kind of guy Machimiya is. We know he's no good because he put his hands on Miki, the Sohoku team manager, without her permission, and asked her on a date. Indicating Machiyama's vileness by having him molest a female character is lazy storytelling. It's a quick and dirty way to get us to deduce, “Hey, this guy is bad,” no matter what else he says or does.

If you were confused by Machimiya's reliance on “stars,” popular fan theory holds that he's talking about his lucky stars. In Yowamushi Pedal, each cycling team's ace has a quirk. While Fukutomi relies on strength, Kinjou relies on persistence, and Midousuji relies on cunning, Machimiya's quirk is going to be his luck. This makes him an especially dangerous villain since his power of belief isn't based on any environmental evidence. Machimiya is convinced he is going to win because he is lucky, and that will make him formidable.

By the way, if you're a Gundam fan, you're in for a treat. Onoda is a high-powered shounen hero cyclist, but he's an anime fan first, and this episode reflects that. Just wait until you see the ending scene! It's hard to believe that Onoda was once a loner when you consider the way his teammates dote on him, and the way that his opponents and even major antagonists—perhaps even Machimiya later on—learn to value him.

Rating: A-

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