The Beginners' Race reaches its finale as Hiromi, Hiroko and Kuma-san fight to cross the line first.
Episode 8 - "All Together"
I won't get too much into the specifics of how Hiromi won the race, because it was predictable, but I did like the attempt that was made at stamping a feminine version of carrying a team's spirit across the finish line.
The image of sakura petals carrying the voices of support and advice to help Hiromi was a fine contrast to the blue color palette of the characters whenever they used an internal monologue to signal their hardship. Pink beats blue in shoujo anime!
The sakura petals also made me clear up the timeline for my own satisfaction. I went back to the 5th episode to look at the poster announcing the Night Criterium and the event was scheduled for May 1st. This meant the girls had about 4 weeks to prepare for the race. This shortened time still doesn't explain all the lack of strategy, tactics and experience they should have had from riding their bikes during this time. At least it was plausible that a cherry tree might still be blossoming that late after the start of Spring.
It turned out Natsumi sprained her shoulder, not her wrist.
Kuma! Kuma! Kuma!
Huh? We still don't get to see blondie in the bear suit?
The latter half of the episode explained what the Cosplay Club's deal was in trying to win the race.
They got suspended for 3 months for wearing skimpy outfits! Kuma-san won the Combative Prize for leading the race almost from wire to wire, so the Cosplay Club got reinstated the day after the race.
That one costume in the middle seems to be combining too many genres...
The subtitles kept translating Kuma-san as "he" for the pronouns. This is an all girl school, so obviously the person under the bear suit was a girl. Strange choice, there.
Oh hey, there was a race, or something.
As expected, Hiromi won by doing the only thing she could do. That was revealed as, "Ride as hard as I can." Yeah.
Hiroko wondered where Hiromi got that extra surge at the line. Come on. Come on, now. We didn't need a character to point out the spirit hands on Hiromi's back, did we? I suppose shoujo sports anime concentrates on different aspects than shounen sports anime. Note to self: review Saki, the mahjong tournament anime.
Natsumi had to give us her dying words (figuratively) to "Ride for the others!"
Hiromi is the dumb genki girl, so it made sense that she forgot everything she had been doing for ten laps and had to rely on the voices of her teammates. Way to commit to the sakura petal concept.
Dream Sequence, wha?
Since I don't watch this show as if it were on TV with commercial breaks, the transition from Hiromi winning to this frost covered filtered sequence was a bit jarring. At least Hiromi spelled it out to the audience that she was dreaming.
This was all still an odd choice to filter the post-race reactions through a gauzy dream sequence.
Kuma-san so sad.
Now we know where that Pegasus imagery in the opening credits comes from.
I did like how a bike frame was made to look like a flying colt instead of a flying horse. It's not grown up yet!
Hiromi's trusty steed had a bishounen voice. Can't make him too masculine in a show where a girl will be "riding" him all the time.
Hiromi got excited about eating tasty things on their rides. Of course.
It felt like the show was going to become something different after the racing arc. Natsumi met Fuyune's sister Rei in the hospital after getting treated by Hiromi's mama, er mother. Maybe we'll go back to cute girls doing cute things for a while. Maybe not, considering the preview card.
Man, this sneezing-means-somebody-talking-about-me joke is so old already.
Mori so mad. She didn't get to race for new bike components because it started to rain during the podium presentation for the Beginner's Race. I wish my bike shop would just let me have elite components for free... Must be nice to be related to the owners.
This week, we saw the girls finish up the race on their Cannondale, borrowed Anchor, Liv, Pinarello and assorted mamachari.
Fuyune's spasming cramp looked about right for a calf muscle. She needs to straighten that leg out and point her big toe at her face. You usually get that kind of cramp from stomping down on the pedals, which is understandable, considering she was riding on flat pedals instead of clipless like Natsumi. I liked her lament too, "I'm riding such a great bike, but my body can't keep up." Don't feel bad, Fuyune. I see lots of dudes on 6 Grand bikes whose bodies definitely don't deserve them. It's one of my little evil satisfactions in life to pass a fat guy on a Pinarello on the flats or on a hill. Unfortunately, that fat dude will be passing me on a gentle curving descent. Gravity is a cruel mistress...
And we finally got to see the Anchor frame instead of the baby Pegasus. It's obviously a girly bike from the color scheme of whites and pinks.
The CG animation was still top tier. They made Fuyune and Hiromi look good taking this hairpin turnaround.
The omake stressed the importance of bending your elbows as you grip the handlebars. This allows the core muscles of the abdominals and back to stabilize the bike and to focus the legs in pushing against the core for a stronger pedal stroke.
Next time, a cute girl in a bear suit cutely challenges the cute cycling club to something cute. I hope.
Fuyune gets the end card this time. It still mildly annoys me to see a Pinarello Razha out on the street with flat pedals. Fuyune's legs and wind-buffeted skirt calm me down, though.