Yowamushi Pedal New Generation
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Yowamushi Pedal New Generation ?
It's the beginning of the spring anime season, but Yowamushi Pedal New Generation isn't about to be left behind! For its thirteenth episode, the show revealed new opening and ending themes, plus a new-to-us member of the Sohoku cycling club. For this episode, we're revisiting the setting of one of my favorite Yowamushi Pedal arcs ever—training camp. Perhaps it's my high expectations and remembrance of that arc's greatness that makes me a little disappointed this time around. It's an okay storyline with good pacing and one development after another, but there's nothing satisfying or conclusive about it, at least not yet.
Kaburagi is arrogant, obsessed with winning, and secretly insecure—the perfect first-year for Naruko and Imaizumi to target with their good-natured hazing. Now at training camp, Kaburagi is more vulnerable than ever, because Teshima has forced him to learn to cycle without the support of his best friend Danchiku. (True to his Lawful Good status, Teshima is assigning the exact same difficulty to himself when it comes to Aoyagi.) I previously thought of Kaburagi as a younger, more boring Naruko, but the more awful he becomes, the more I like him. Danchiku does the breakdown today: Kaburagi is the youngest of four children. He's spoiled and naturally talented, so he's never had to try all that hard for anything he wanted before. Now that he's feeling the slightest resistance, he wants to give up. This is a really interesting facet of endurance athletics that I've read a lot about—it's no coincidence that a lot of Olympians have had awful childhoods. Mindset is a major part of sports, and athletes who can cope with hardship do better, as Kaburagi is beginning to learn.
Teshima, on the other hand, has faced plenty of hardship—and it's not over yet! After his devastating loss to the Sohoku first-years at the last training camp, Teshima sees himself as the weakest link, and he's going to do whatever he can to resolve that, including riding by the same rules he gave his youngest team members. But he's got a much bigger problem than his lack of Aoyagi, and that's Koga. “Koga-senpai? You mean the third-year with glasses who's always been just slightly off screen?” (There, I fixed that line for you, Naruko.) I believe Koga's first animated appearance was during Kinjou's farewell, when he made Teshima the new captain. But it turns out that Koga's always been around, tinkering with machines and even riding in the Interhigh three years ago! You can tell (from all the closeups) that this dude's got serious legs on him, but we don't know much else about his personality yet. Right now, I see him less as a fully fledged character and more as a plot point for Teshima to overcome and prove himself as captain. It's just like when it took me a while to warm up to Kaburagi—because Yowamushi Pedal favors the slow burn style of character development.
In other words, you can see it as Yowamushi Pedal New Generation baking a couple different dishes at once, but some are closer to being done than others. We're further into the Kaburagi arc than the Koga one, so it's more interesting right now—though that could always change. At the end of the day, nothing is actually complete, so I'll just have to sit around and wait for everything to get done cooking.
Yowamushi Pedal New Generation is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist
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