The third season begins right after the Inter-High race with new gear for our main three and new challenges as the seniors step aside for the new generation. Season Premiere.
Ride.01 - "The Last Minegayama"
Ahhh. It feels like sitting in an old familiar couch. Yowamushi Pedal is back and it feels like 21 months and 3 movies never happened. Mind you, that last movie incorporated the plot of the first bit of drama Onoda is going to face this season: Makishima's early departure. Read my review of the movie for how their last ride up their home hill of Minegayama played out.
The episode dealt with Makishima leaving very quickly and faded to white to let us know we should watch the movie. Onoda may have regained his composure to ride the rest of that race in Kyuushu because Makishima came back temporarily, but Onoda's main source of tension will be rediscovering who or what to ride for in the mountains. He's always just wanted to ride with his friends, but in a race with a climb, who's going to be his friend in that rarified air? Toudou and Makishima found a way to make it work, so perhaps Onoda will find an answer in his bromance with Manami.
Mrs. Onoda is still a force of nature. A kind of dense force of nature... She still didn't understand that just because Onoda's race started in Hakone didn't mean it couldn't end on the slopes of Mt. Fuji. And she was there! That was the best part of this great way of recapping the last episode from 21 months before.
Sakamichi has Mrs. Onoda's eyes.
Naruko still has his Pinarello musette bag.
The OP gives us some hints at the new characters we'll meet and some of the old ones we'll see again.
Midousuji is shown grabbing that yellow glowing orb tied to his mother's memory. Good. Let's establish that metaphor early instead of introducing it too late to humanize a hateful character.
Midousuji's tongue just keeps getting longer and longer.
The movie covered the main 3 getting their upgrades too. Onoda now rides a yellow BMC, Imaizumi got his new Scott with electronic shifting and Naruko got carbon deep dish Zipp wheels.
I liked Kanzaki scaring Onoda by asking for his loaned chromoly bike back. Eh?! Pfft. I'd like my local bike shop to just give me a new bike too. But then again, I'm not winning races either, so we should think of it as the local bike shop sponsoring a local team.
There were a lot of recycled animation elements from the movie covering Makishima leaving and the kids getting their new gear.
I know this show is skittish about trademarks, but really, they could have kept "Marker" on that, uh, marker.
I liked the fade to white on Makishima and Onoda's scene because it made me think "insert Movie here." And then, boom, Perm-guy and Quiet-guy are now Captain and Vice-Captain.
Fine, I guess I'll have to learn their names now. Perm-guy is Junta Teshima and Quiet-guy is Hajime Aoyagi. I'll just call them Teshima and Aoyagi for the most part.
There are obviously 5 guaranteed riders for the racing team, but who will be the 6th? Ask-me-anything Sugimoto is still there, but is he good enough to race? I think some transfer students in the OP might be making some waves here too.
Aoyagi and Teshima have been working on their strength and sprinting skills, so Naruko and Imaizumi are going to have to improve too. The main problem for the team is their lone climber can't handle social pressure because he's an awkward otaku who just lost his climbing buddy. Drama pills are getting passed all around early in the season.
Imaizumi got a brand new Scott to replace his cracked frame from the race with Di2 electronic shifting. Onoda is now (or has been for about 18 months since that movie came out) riding a carbon BMC. Naruko got himself Zipp deep dish carbon wheels. Probably clinchers with the cork brake pads for the carbon rim braking surface.
I noticed that Imaizumi's chain didn't spark when he shifted electronically, but Aoyagi's Corratec did. Teshima is still riding Cannondale. I'm disappointed that he didn't get to ride an actual "Cannondale" instead of his Cannondate because Cannondale Japan did some cross promotional thing with Teshima on a poster. Ah well. Cute implied yaoi guys doesn't beat cute girls for actual trademarks.
I'm going to put in my short rant against electronic shifting right here. No. Not ever. The only motor on a bike should be the rider. Having a motor move the derailleurs is wrong. Just wrong. Oh sure, people complained about Shimano's index shifting back in the late 1970's, but it was still human powered and better than the previous friction shifting. Motorized shifting just goes against the philosophy of human-powered sport. This is also why I'm skeptical against disc brakes. I understand they make mountain biking and cyclocross safer and less annoying, but it's still hydraulic pressure that's amplifying the human braking force. Alright, that's enough of my old man ranting.
Yay! They're back! I enjoyed these immensely when we were in the middle of a racing arc because there was no other way to have fun character development. I'm sure these early ones will be a quick way to see the lighter moments between our new and old characters.
It might be a while before we see a serious confident Onoda. Savor that End Card in the meantime.