Tuesday, January 14, 2014

10 Second Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Episode 14

Yowamushi Pedal - Episode 14


The Manami-Onoda bromance begins. Onoda notices he's gotten used to the heavy wheels. Manami scouts the wrong climber, or did he?


It's the third day of training camp, and Onoda has only done 390 km of the 1000 he wants to complete by the end of the 4th day. He needs to do 310 km on both days if he wants to meet his goal, which is the same as doing two Milan-San Remo races back to back. I'm sure they're going to take off the handicaps on the last day. That's how all these insane training regimens in anime work.

On the course by himself before the rest of the team is awake, Onoda sees another cyclist on the first hill. Before this, he's already noticed that he's getting stronger, and he even punches a heavier gear just to see how it feels on the incline. That other rider seems pretty fast, so he accelerates, thinking he's going to catch up to Makishima. Nope, it's kuraimingu-no-ikemen Manami. Onoda remembers him, but he didn't tell him his own name when they met. When Manami hears that Onoda's first name is Sakamichi (坂道), he's not really surprised. That word means "hill road," which is perfectly apt for our climbing otaku.

Manami tells Onoda that he's there to scout their team, but just watching is boring, so he snuck onto the course. He was actually sent to scout Sohoku's third-year climber Makishima, but he has too much fun climbing hills with Onoda. Onoda wants to give him back his water bottle, but Manami says, sure, but only if you beat me to the top of the hill. As they ride up, Manami notices how gingerly Onoda takes the turns and how he accelerates slower when the gradient gets tougher. He figures he must be on heavy wheels. But Onoda always catches up using his fast cadence. That's when Manami also sees that he's doing all this on regular gym shoes and not clipped into his pedals. Shock! With cycling cleats, a rider can double his power by pulling up on the pedals too, so Onoda is triply handicapped, not just having heavy and wobbly wheels.

Manami beats him to the top, and while Onoda admires his sparkly white bike (see? I knew it was the sparkles he was attracted to!), Manami lifts up Onoda's bike to see how heavy it really was. Heavy! With that, Manami is sure Onoda is going to see him at the Inter-High race. Climbing like that with those wheels, those heavy shoes, and not even clipped in. Onoda is a special climber alright.

Later, when Manami is giving his scouting report to Toudou, they have mixed signals, because Manami is describing Onoda, and Toudou is trying to reconcile that with Makishima. Short hair, glasses, and he smiles when he climbs? That's a smirk! Ah well, Manami probably scouted the right climber anyway. Thumbs up, good job!

This week's cycling porn is about pedal turning and getting around barriers:


We get to see more of Onoda's fast cadence compared to Manami's style, the proper way to carry your bike over a barrier, and appreciating a sparkly white Look. Seeing Manami awkwardly hobble over that fence reminded me of all the times I did that on Glendora Mountain Road when it was closed off after a stormy winter had caused a bunch of landslides. I didn't have to worry about cars or motorcycles on that stretch of road for more than a year. It's pretty heavily trafficked these days on the weekends. It's stressful trying to share a turn on the descent when you hear those motorcycles coming up behind you. Thankfully, they're loud, so I can prepare to get off my line and let them have the inside.



13 comments:

  1. I look forward to reading your Yowamushi Pedal reviews after each episode. They are superb! I'm really loving the details they put into the show. Especially the points you bring up about leaning the bike and proper technique. Can I just say I really appreciated that closeup of Teshima's Cannondale in this episode? That one nice looking road racer.

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    1. I think you meant to put this comment on Episode 15, but that's okay. Thanks for the compliments! I love this show. Mixing anime, cycling, and comedy about otaku culture, it's the total intersection of my main hobbies.

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  2. Yowamushi LurkerJuly 25, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    FTR a road racer is a person who races bikes, the correct english term is road bike. I have no idea exactly why or where YP picked up this particular form of engrish, I watched again Overdrive last month, and this term is nowhere to be found - so it appears it's actually new.

    Instead they simply talk about bikes for the whole show, so when I went back to YP it stuck out (and annoyed me) even more.

    While on the subject, even though Joe doesn't like it, I hope he won't take offense if I recommend Overdrive here. It has far better story, characters than YP with more complex relationships and motivations; it's also far more realistic under basically every aspect. Cycling is a sport where a lot of the real battles take place in your own mind, and while YP is clearly well aware of this, most of the time it forsakes this knowledge in favor of the formulaic approach "let's beat the crap out of each other ok? but first, let's babble for 5 episodes" (in that vein, if anyone has any interest in editing, I have no doubt it is entirely possible to make a vastly better show out of YP footage by simply removing and rearranging stuff). Overdrive has none of the phoned-in twists and does away with 99% of the babbling. It's refreshing, especially so if you're coming from YP.

    In addition, it has a delightful character design, nicer music, and there are some little, lovely details that I can't really talk about without spoiling it (ok, just one and I'll tip toe around it: the main character pulls off something great on what is essentially an entry level bike. And that is on a show that had actual sponsors from the cycling industry, the likes of Shimano and Trek, so they would have had actual reasons for giving him a top of the line machine - I can't really begin to express the whole of my appreciation for making that choice)

    The main negatives are that it doesn't look nowhere as crisp and shiny as YP, and they seemingly recorded all the bike sounds on a trainer. The positives are so positive anyway, that it's easy to forgive all this; it's been made by the same studio(?) AFAICT, so I guess Overdrive is simply older and probably had a smaller budget.

    If you haven't seen the Nasu OAVs, those are absolutely fantastic: they're the closest to reality of any of the aforementioned, lighthearted while tackling serious themes, and most importantly, they capture both what makes cycling great and that which makes the sport a powerful simile for life.

    Just brilliant!

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    1. Well, it's not that I hate Over Drive, it's that I was disappointed in how they treated their bikes, and I didn't like the voice actor for the main character all that much. I still watch the whole thing at least once a year... I just like Onoda as a main character better. He doesn't babble as much as the other guys. I think if we just followed him, Makishima, and Kinjou, this show would have been over in 12 episodes. Heh. Also, Over Drive talked about leg shaving. I haven't seen anything about it in Yowapeda. What's up with that?

      The Nasu OAV's are excellent, as Lurker says. I usually watch the Andalucia one twice during the Fall when the cycling season is over, but now with Yowamushi Pedal starting in the Fall, I can get my cycling fix on a weekly basis.

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  3. Not just leg shaving, but also crashing, riding under a squall, being dropped by everyone else and having to hold on out of sheer will when all you want to do is just give up... and other (more or less) harsh realities of cycling, that I'm probably forgetting about. One thing I liked especially is how it looked at what's going on inside the mind of the cyclist.

    But enough with the praise, I'm sure this is starting to sound like a broken record again. Instead, I've been meaning to ask you what you meant there: "disappointed in how they treated their bikes" ?

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    1. Oh, I just noticed they kept throwing their bikes on the ground. And the main character crashed his bike a lot in the first few episodes. Granted, he was a beginner. But when I saw the dudes in Yowamushi Pedal leaning their bikes against anything they could find, I noticed that difference right away.

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  4. Yeah he kept falling, which is more than a little odd in light of that reveal, right? my guess is that's the needs of story telling - on one side there's the comedic effect, on the other the author conveys how hard the 'little guy' is trying (to the point his hands are all shredded early on) while at the same time setting a reference point for his development as a character.

    I really like how Shinozaki grows as a person throughout the show; it's common for a certain type of anime protagonist to be unhappy and aimless, but Shinozaki is also a fake, pretending to be something he's not and to feel things he does not feel, simply to cope with the expectations and pressures of those around him, utterly clueless about the way to liberate himself. In that he reminds me a lot of Makunouchi, but in that case it's more of a device the author uses to set the story in motion, while Shinozaki is both acutely aware of his situation and suffering the excruciating pain of being helpless and hopeless about it.

    I can't remember the bikes being thrown around a lot, apart from the crashes. I have these mental images of Shinozaki obsessing over his bike, cleaning it and polishing it, and of course that sequence where he talks to it, apologizing (and through it, finding a way to express his real feelings) - those sequences serve a purpose in the story and define the character, but also nail down some stages I believe many cyclists go through.

    I don't think Onoda has ever shown any real attachment to his bike so far, beyond its usefulness as a tool: it gets him to Akiba, yes, it saves him money so he can get extra toys, nice, but it's never the focus or endpoint of any thought. It's Naruko who has to tell him (and the audience) that there might be a deeper bond; later on, the bike is still a tool that gets him to make friends, but that bond is never really acknowledged beyond Onoda realizing that he loves cycling (ok, suffering uphill really)

    His road bike being a loaner probably doesn't help a whole lot, although with a second season up and coming, there's still a lot of ground that YP can cover.

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    1. That's an interesting point about the riders having relationships with particular bikes. Shinozaki definitely did with his Trek 1200 (a very nice starter aluminum bike), but in Yowapedo, it treated as more an abstract relationship. The love of riding a bicycle as opposed to loving a particular one. The ones I've seen in Yowapedo having personal regard for their bikes are Naruko and his Pinarello, Arakita and his borrowed Bianchi, and Midousuji and whatever he's turned his De Rosa into. Racing means leaving bikes behind, whether in crashes, new sponsors, or even just having a bigger budget for new bikes, so maybe that personal attachment to a particular bike isn't stressed in this story.

      Shinozaki rode his bike everywhere, and his having an artistic side would necessarily mean he views that newfound freedom differently than Onoda just riding faster. Besides, Shinozaki joined the cycling club to get with a cute girl, not because he lost a race. Heh.

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  5. It would be hard to disagree with that in general, although for the vast majority of the time both shows are concerned with amateurs who clearly are paying for all of their equipment - with the sole exception of Onoda ofc that just keeps getting stuff for free because he's so awesome, and that thief Arakita!

    What did you spot that I missed, to make you think Midosouji has a special relationship with his "De Losah" ?

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    1. I'm speculating on Midousuji, although I feel strongly about it, based on the child-size frame and it's heavily modified nature. Everything about him cries "freakshow," and the image that haunts me the most about him is him using black gloves while he goes over his game plan with the Kyoto team. Someone that particular about details is probably that particular about his equipment as well. There's a chance that we'll get a humanizing backstory that includes his first bike, and that he is still riding it after changing the fork, seatpost and stem to fit his growth spurts. I could be wrong, but I've seen enough anime to sense how stories flow, so that's my guess about his background and his bike.

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  6. Whoa, you really thought this through, haven't you? The backstory seems a pretty good bet, but... were it to be a child's frame it would have 650Bs I think? regardless, you should be able to tell if he's got smaller wheels.

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    1. He's definitely riding 700s. The only thing that hangs up the child's frame theory is how he would modify the chainstays and seatstays. Changing the front fork is easy enough, and if that De Rosa has lugged stays, he could change those out too. But if it's all welded aluminum, then things get more unlikely for a child's frame, and that switches to him having an adult frame from a young age, and modifying the components as he grew taller. I'd rather not read the manga to find out, because then I'd spoil myself in wanting to read the whole thing before the next season starts. As an otaku, blatant speculation with no hope of being right comes with the territory, right?

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  7. I wouldn't know about that, but I'm pretty sure a frame like that would do great in CX :)))

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