Wednesday, April 01, 2015

10 Second Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END]

Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END]

10 Second Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END]
Onoda takes the line first and fulfills Sohoku's dream of overall victory. Series Finale.


*raises hands* YES! *still raising hands* YES! *lowers hands to type*
I didn't know which way the ending was going to go. Either could have been satisfying. Our hero wins it all, or the new rival takes it to give us an "almost everything look to the future" ending. But this is the most satisfying.
I'm glad the end of the race wasn't drawn out any longer so we could have all the relationship and friendship scenes we've been missing for almost a year. Flashbacks are neat, and putting a hand on someone's back during a race is supportive, but you don't get the Grade-A good stuff like that.
I'm talking about stuff like this.

Omake Gif Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END] - Hugging Onoda

And this.

Omake Gif Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END] - Naruko Kinjou So Happy

And this.

Omake Gif Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END] - Miki Happy

It was nice for Miki to have a moment with Onoda. She was the one who dragged him into all this pain, adversity and struggle. If she hadn't picked up on the stray detail that he rides to Akihabara on his bike every week, this whole story would never have happened.
Onoda may be a winner, but Sakamichi's gotta Sakamichi.

Omake Gif Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END] - Nervous Onoda

Of all the friendships Onoda developed during his first year in high school, the one with Makishima was my favorite. They were both socially awkward and obsessive in their own ways, but climbing on a bike was where they connected. Look at how Makishima jumped off his bike to embrace Onoda! That was a special moment.

Omake Gif Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END] - Makishima Cries

The seemingly stoic devil-may-care Maki-chan was finally able to let his emotions out for being the best team. It was a dream Kinjou, Tadokoro and he shared and almost attained the previous year, but to have a junior climber he mentored fulfill it brought out all sorts of emotions.
I really liked how the Hakone guys treated Manami after his loss. It showed Manami was harder on himself than they ever could. If they want to win a summit finish next year, Toudou should teach him how to shift properly, and then he can carry on the seniors' will for victory.
Arakita's scene with Izumida was nice too. Sprinters have their own camaraderie.

Cycling Porn.

Omake Gif Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END] - Cycling Porn

I can't believe this is the last bit of anime cycling porn I'll write for several years. *sniff* You can always tell if the winner and loser knows how close the victory was. Winners look forward with determination, relief and dawning joy. Losers look down, still hoping they had enough to catch the other front wheel until the very end until they confirm they just didn't have it. Manami just didn't have it against Onoda that day.
We got one last look (heh) at Manami's top tube. Onoda and Manami had to be caught before they fell over. Many of the pro races organize a whole team of attendants on steep summit finishes to wheel the riders to a staging area. Geography isn't always kind to where they can place a finish line, and sometimes there's still a lot of steep climbing afterwards. For the rider, his goal was to make it that bit of paint and no further. Certainly not another 30 meters or so on a 15% grade.
We didn't get the full podium ceremony, because individual glory was never the point of this show, but the team presentation was a bit different than how pro races do it. The only people who can step up there are the ones who actually finished the race. Cycling is a cruel sport sometimes. If they had followed standard protocol, Kinjou and Naruko would have been looking from below the stage. Only after the award was given would they be able to jump up there and have their pictures taken with the rest of the team.
Finally, we get one last look at the strongest high school team on a training ride to a special destination.


Omake Gif Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END] - Welcome to Akihabara

The winner decides where they go on their next training ride? And it's okay to stop and walk around a bit? Oh ho, what did you guys get yourselves into? To Akihabara!
Anime Club (with cycling) Get! Onoda's high school dream came true. He rode with his friends to Akihabara. Perfect ending.
Both Imaizumi and Naruko have already been through this. Onoda met Naruko here and we saw Imaizumi watch a Love Hime movie with Onoda in one of the omake, but the seniors had never been exposed to Sakamichi in his element.

Omake Gif Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END] - Tadokoro Sings

That's right, Tadokoro. You can sing all the words to the Love Hime theme by heart.
And Makishima, you'll just have to admit you have a special friendship with Onoda.

Omake Gif Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Grande Road - Episode 24 [END] - Makishima is Special

Onoda did a pretty cool thing with this trip. The winner of the big race is supposed to present gifts to the graduating class because he's the designated leader for next year's team. The Akihabara trip was a good way of giving those presents to Kinjou, Tadokoro and Makishima, and also for Onoda to thank them formally for realizing his potential and role within the team. Of course, Makishima gets the most gifts, because he was the most helpful. That's a lot of Peak Spider mascots there, Makishima!
Now that Onoda achieved his personal dream of riding with friends to Akihabara, he set for himself a new dream. To carry the seniors' spirit of winning as a complete team together into the next year. As Onoda said it himself, if he has a goal and a role, he'll keep on pedaling.

Final Thoughts.

I don't know what else to say about this show that I haven't already written down over the course of 62 episodes. That a show combined my two major hobbies and interests, road cycling and anime, and did it in a manner that honored both with heart and comedy, much like my own personality, was something special to me. In addition to this, I've been blogging the works of Wataru Watanabe for six straight seasons. Last summer, Yowamushi Pedal took a break, but in its place was the small, powerful, socially awkward Rurumo. I sense a pattern... But even Watanabe couldn't keep bicycles off his brain for that show.
The manga continues. There are movies coming out. There's even a stage play! But sadly there are no more weekly road sessions on TV with the great characters of Yowamushi Pedal. Even if some details about road cycling and bikes were a bit off, for the most part it was the stuff you hear when you first start riding with a recreational club on the weekends. As you progress in cycling, you know that some of that stuff was either simplified or a persistent myth, but a beginning cyclist would appreciate the show and an advanced athlete would know where the show was coming from and nod knowingly and smugly. Like I did with the Cycling Porn sections.
As a storyteller for young men (and certain young women), Watanabe hit the right points for sports anime. In some ways, it took its cues from tournament style battle anime, introducing new characters, allowing them time to develop before releasing them after their duel or battle on the road. Certainly, serious sports anime would never let a noob win it all in their first competition, but tournament rules let that happen all the time, as the hero grows stronger and smarter. Sometimes I felt like I was watching Saki instead of Hajime no Ippo.
For cycling fans whose interests intersect with anime, they have another great title to rely on. If they don't mind the weird, creepy, zombie sounds coming from Midousuji, they'll have no complaints at all.

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