Yowamushi Pedal New Generation
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Yowamushi Pedal New Generation ?
This episode of Yowamushi Pedal New Generation is titled “Meals (Lunch Time)”, but you won't see anybody chowing down. I think the title is about stringing together three miniature morsels into one half-hour instead. There's no main course today, just three short stories that focus on my favorite aspect of Yowamushi Pedal—using rivalries and friendship to contrast characters' bizarre personalities against one another. While one story satisfactorily concludes where we left off last time, the other two left me wanting a meal with a bit more substance.
I don't know about you, but Sugimoto and Imaizumi's friendship came completely out of left field for me. Imaizumi is so standoffish that it took him a while to warm up to even Onoda, who is definitely the “Neutral Good” character on the Yowamushi Pedal alignment chart, certainly a lot easier to like than know-it-all Sugimoto. But when Sugimoto loses the race in the most Sugimoto way possible—by assuming that he'd won—only Imaizumi knows what to do, enveloping Sugimoto quietly into a hug. Although they're the same age, Imaizumi has fallen into an upperclassman role here, to the extent that Sugimoto's goal isn't to win the Interhigh singlehandedly, but to be Imaizumi's assist during the Interhigh. Indeed, that's his only request to the actual winner, Kaburagi, that he supports Imaizumi. This could be the kick in the butt that Sugimoto needs to finally put his ego behind him. However, I think it's more likely that he's just going to be irrelevant again, at least until the next time it's time to pick members.
Next, there's the unlikely university classmates—Kinjou and Arakita. I'm really going to enjoy watching this odd couple. Though they've always been on opposite teams in high school, they aren't exactly rivals—Kinjou is an ace, while Arakita is an assist. In that way, I can already see them shaping up to be a great racing duo. Arakita is incredibly loyal to “Fuku-chan,” and the fact that Fukutomi respects Kinjou a great deal means that Arakita respects him in turn. I'm especially excited to see them race against Fukutomi and Shinkai, who will presumably be another ace-assist pair. Of course, this is all speculation, because this section of the episode really just gave us a taste of Younan life without anything substantial to go off.
Finally, there's Kaburagi and Onoda. “Onoda-senpai” is shaping up to be such a charming new dynamic. This time, Kaburagi tells Onoda that he begrudgingly respects him because he's older, but that he's pretty let down by the timid day-to-day Onoda he sees at school. It's up to Onoda to shatter this disrespect without even trying, simply by being his high-cadence, sunshiny self. Maybe being sweet and smiley when off the bike seems weak to Kaburagi, but maintaining the same demeanor while pedaling too quickly for Kaburagi to keep up with is just badass. I like this interaction, brief as it is, even though I'm not sold on Kaburagi yet—flashy and red-headed, he seems a bit too much like Naruko 2.0. Fortunately, this episode doesn't pit him against Naruko, but against his polar opposite, Onoda. It's these wild contrasts that make the cyclists of Yowamushi Pedal shine brightest.
Yowamushi Pedal New Generation is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist
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