Sugimoto's younger brother has potential to join the cycling team. Naruko considers giving up his sprinting specialization.
Ride.05 - "A Different Kind of Race!!"
There was so much plot they had no opening credits, even though they wasted 15 seconds replaying the setup between Imaizumi and Naruko from last week.
Imaizumi realized how lucky they were to practice with three bike monsters, but now that they're gone, the first years are the team's monsters and that's just not right. As it stands, they only have 5 guys who might make it to the next Inter-High Championship, but their team is not complete. They've got two climbers, but one is only support. There are two sprinters, but there's only one all-rounder who can be their ace for stage races. Imaizumi's idea about Naruko shifting away from the sprint specialization based on his size and sprint-climbing abilities is pretty sound, but only if they didn't get new members.
Teshima is still a good captain because he can see potential in riders like the senior big three could. Which leads us to the first of the new kids we keep seeing in the opening and closing credits.
This big kid is only one year younger than our main three!?
Meet Sadatoki Sugimoto, the younger brother of Terufumi "ask-me-anything" Sugimoto. He loves eating and his greetings and farewells are food related.
Unlike his older brother, Rice Boy has potential to be a monster.
Everyone of the superstars in this show has some kind of superpower or unique technique. Sadatoki's is the "synchro."
He's a weak rider right now because he's been mimicking his brother's terrible form, but when he matched Onoda's high cadence climbing style, he showed his power can be tapped.
There really is something cool about seeing a potential legend develop his superpowers. That was basically the entire premise of Naruto, right? I see lots of interesting cards to play during a race with Sadatoki's Synchro being played to follow wheels, chase down moves, spoil an attack. This is good!
I liked how matter-of-fact Teshima and Imaizumi were about Sugimoto's form.
Oh hey, there are girl characters in this show.
Miki seemed preoccupied about something when Aya thought having Sadatoki join the team would make their team all set. She might have been thinking along the same lines as Imaizumi that they need a real all-rounder and a real climber to join the team, or shift laterally, to defend their championship.
Imaizumi may have talent and an eye for strategy and tactics, but he has much to learn about leadership.
Maybe Imaizumi can learn to dish out compliments without smiling...
Teshima continues to impress me as their leader. If only he had more talent to support Onoda.
Naruko the Sprinter?
The second half of the episode had Naruko taking Imaizumi's suggestion to heart. As much as he's Imaizumi's hot-blooded rival, he really does respect his desire to win.
I'm not sure Osaka and the flat courses he practiced on are the right places for Naruko to consider changing his sprint specialty, but they are good places to reaffirm his instincts and predilection for the discipline. Sprinters like winning and beating other people at the line, wherever that may be. All-rounders and climbers have a different mentality for where their races are won.
This is a bad stereotype that people from Osaka like flashy and gaudy things, think gold chains and teeth as an analog in America, but they ran with it with Naruko getting stoked about those wheel lights. That's actually a conventional decoration for amateur riders who do night racing and night criteriums.
I'm not a big fan of the device where a character makes a wager with himself, but since this is sports anime and competition is involved anyway, it's a barely plausible plot device.
Naruko realized he has grown stronger as a sprinter, so maybe he shouldn't give up on it yet. But that also means he's stronger as a rider, period, so maybe that's not a good enough argument either way.
Too bad for Naruko that his final wager to win a sprint and stay a sprinter is going to be against Midousuji.
Yeah, Midousuji. I almost put up a Meh section with his arrival, not because I hate Midousuji's character, because I do hate him, but because of the lameness of why he's in Osaka. He got bored and decided to race on different roads and beat Osaka people... sigh. Almost a meh.
Anyway, Naruko and Midousuji have never gone head to head so, forgiving how Midousuji just dropped in front of him, it should be fun to see how they get on.
Midousuji has won against sprinters and all-rounders, but they were not against the sprinters at their best. Also, Midousuji looks like he's given himself another limiter, with that face mask to restrict his breathing as he trains, that he'll rip off to add to the drama. It really is too bad the writer is so lazy when it comes to Midousuji and his motivations and plot devices. But hey, we got frog eyes and probably another weird tongue thing when he takes off that mask, so we got that going for us. Which is nice.
This week, we've got Sadatoki lifting heavy mamacharis, pedaling well on rollers on his first attempt and he rides Colnago like his brother. Imaizumi shows off his honking big shifting battery on his Scott and Naruko pedals his Pinarello on Zipp wheels against an Anchor and a Look track bike.
This dude was stupid to race a road bike on a flat road loop. Track bikes are for the velodrome. A fixed gear bike is not going to have the starting and stopping flexibility required for road sprinting on 90 degree turns than a road bike with a free wheel cassette. There's not even any brakes on it. Also, that front tire is illegal for a mass start on the road. It's fine for a time trial, but with dozens of bodies around, the way a 4 or 5 spoke wheel ruptures in a crash is very dangerous.
The omake had Imaizumi trying to hide the shadow Anime with Cycling club from the others. This is also something that needs to be addressed. The big six were all Love Hime addicts by the end of the big race. Aoyagi and Teshima need to get in on this. I'm still waiting for the karaoke payoff with Teshima belting out the Love Hime theme.
Next time, Speedman versus Frog Face. I honestly don't know how this plays out (I don't read the manga), but the odds favor Midousuji beating Naruko just because that's his nature. We've still got two more kids to join the New Generation, so whether Naruko is an all-rounder or a sprint specialist when that happens, I think the Sohoku team is going to be alright.