Yowamushi Pedal New Generation
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Yowamushi Pedal New Generation ?
We're in the thick of the First Year Welcome Race here on Yowamushi Pedal New Generation, but all the focus remains on the race's only second-year participant. Sugimoto Teru is not only relevant, but even more shockingly, he's likable. Today's story unfolds around Sugimoto's new character development, expanding on his chief first-year competition, his adorable little brother, and his mentor Imaizumi, who is coming nicely into his own as an upperclassman.
The First Year Welcome Race is abruptly becoming a bloodbath, not so much a warm welcome as a test of absolute strength. Having one extra year of life on these guys is not enough for Sugimoto to effortlessly win. If he wants to nab first place, he'll have to fight Kaburagi and Danchiku for it. We learn today that this pair is on a competitive all-ages cycling team, Team Speed Shot. Perhaps this is what makes their childish personalities so endearing in contrast. Kaburagi is all innocence and arrogance, celebrating his victory before reaching the finish line. Danchiku is more subtle, but still on the same wavelength. I loved hearing about Kaburagi's experience watching the Interhigh, so frustrated that he couldn't sleep for days afterward. It made his braggadocio forgivable because his motives are so pure—he just wants to get stronger.
However, Sugimoto is not alone. Like Kaburagi, he's got a trusty sidekick who will share his goal and propel him to victory—his not-so-little brother, Sadatoki. After being a useless throwaway joke for so long, the introduction of his brother has turned out to be the best way to humanize Sugimoto. It was so touching when Sadatoki took pride in how his brother “knows everything.” When you consider that perhaps Sugimoto developed his obnoxious personality in order to impress the little brother who looks up to him, it's a lot more relatable. The flashbacks of the Sugimoto brothers as kids were very cute, especially Sadatoki's childhood form contrasted with his behemoth body now. It's clear that Teru still sees Sadatoki as that little kid, no matter how the rest of the world sees him, and Sadatoki still sees his older brother as the bigger one. As usual, flashbacks prove to be some of the most rewarding content Yowamushi Pedal has to offer.
My favorite part of this episode was watching Imaizumi show some real emotion as Sugimoto's mentor. Like Sugimoto, Imaizumi became a more one-note character while the spotlight lingered on other cyclists. In that way, Sugimoto's redemption arc is as much about Imaizumi as it is about Sugimoto. He's coy at first, but it's clear that he really believes in Sugimoto, ordering him to “go after their asses!” with real force. (Wasn't it cute how Onoda and Naruko reacted to this rare bit of emotion from their stoic best friend?) So where is this coming from? I'm seeing a lot of parallels to how Kinjou treated Onoda in the last First Year Welcome Race. Kinjou even shouted at Onoda from the van to chase after Naruko and Imaizumi. It's clear that Imaizumi admires Kinjou, so this is a neat parallel of Imaizumi taking his own mentor's place. Sugimoto's brief fantasy of being Imaizumi's assist, basically assuming the role that Imaizumi served for Kinjou last year, completes the cycle. Now that we're back to cliffhanger endings, it's still up in the air if that will really happen, but the cohesive cycle of mentors and mentees that unites the Sohoku team is already coming across loud and clear.
Yowamushi Pedal New Generation is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist
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