Naruko wagers his pride as a sprinter against Midousuji. Midousuji had a more personal reason to take up this sprinter's challenge.
Ride.06 - "Naruko VS Midousuji"
This was a great race! Naruko had never gone head to head against Midousuji before, so I wanted to see how it would play out. Midousuji really can't handle the sprinters' mindset. He couldn't rattle Shinkai and Naruko trash-talked Midousuji as good as he got. Of course, Naruko lost. That's just the role that Midousuji plays in Yowamushi Pedal.
I thought Midousuji would use that mask as a limiter that he would throw off at an opportune moment, but not this time. He went all out from the beginning. Naruko really had become a monster "racing" against Tadakoro and Aoyagi.
Midousuji hasn't changed at all. Still yelling "Gross!" Still worried about "purity" in racing. He actually praised Naruko in his mind about being a "pure" racer. That was a rare sign of respect from Midousuji.
Ha! Seeing Midousuji in yellow Sohoku racing kit was hilarious!
I'm not sure about the Japanese idioms, but they kept claiming the other had some poop in the chute slowing them down, In America, we have a crass metaphor for that describing a "turtle peeking out." Both of them kept calling the other a turtle of some kind after that, so maybe it's the same thing instead of just calling the other guy "slow." Kame-suji (Turtle-suji) and Turtle-headed Bean instead of Chicken-headed Bean. Obviously, these mind games didn't work on each other and they just got down to pure racing.
Midousuji still dive bombs the corners and pulls ahead, while Naruko catches on the straights. They were pretty evenly matched on this 6 km course.
They also liked bumping each other like sprinters. All-rounders and climbers hate that, but sprinters love that crap. This was good stuff for Midousuji to race against someone who couldn't be intimidated.
The turning point of the race was when both Naruko and Midousuji revealed their monster natures.
For six laps out of ten, Naruko had just been gauging Midousuji's speed and then he unleashed his actual speed. He told Midousuji that he "forgot to practice" since the Inter High race. But that was because every day was a race against Tadakoro and Aoyagi.
Naruko began to pull away with just superior speed, which sparked Midousuji's metamorphosis.
In the last episode, I thought it was kind of lame that Midousuji was just traveling from town to town looking for challenges, but it was because he was trying to find someone to poke him out of his chrysalis.
I found it telling that Ishigaki called it his "next form," instead of his "final form."
Ishigaki looked like he was in a Godzilla movie...
The sound effects that followed Midousuji's character always sounded like buzzing flies, signifying pestilence and rot. Now we can add the image of a swarm of locusts eating everything in their path.
The way Midousuji is bent over with his flat back really is reminiscent of locust legs.
I also like that Midousuji's glowing orb of his Will to Win changed in to a shiny pearl. He's honing and polishing it. This is good stuff to introduce outside of a race as part of his character development. I also have to remind myself that Onoda doesn't even hate Midousuji or his style of racing. He's too nice of a guy...
Even Midousuji says, "You can't go fast unless you face forward." Fukutomi says it. Kinjou says it. It's basically the whole theme of this sports anime.
Ha! Naruko called him "Aho-suji." Too late to win the race though.
Midousuji thinks he also clipped a feather on Sohoku's team for the next Inter High. Ishigaki warned him that might not be right. Midousuji just may have sparked Naruko's own metamorphosis into an all-rounder.
It's always the case with Midousuji beating sprinters when they've already burnt matches. Naruko had won two sprints already, although he wasn't going all out, he was already more tired than Midousuji. Shinkai also lost the sprint at the Inter High after dragging Arakita back to the front of the race on a hill. Maybe Midousuji also knows how to pick races he thinks he can win.
The epilogue showed that we're going to Hakone next time to see the seniors say their farewells during a final group ride. I didn't see Manami in that parking lot. Maybe we'll see him on the road.
This week, we got to see more of Naruko's Pinarello and his Zipp wheels, Midousuji's De Rosa with extra long stem and seat post, the other Kyoto guys riding their Anchors, clipping in, rubbing shoulders, some furious pedaling, sparking shifting and cornering, and Naruko resting on his top post.
On newer Pinarello frames, Naruko's saddle removal would have been impossible. The seat posts are no longer round, so the post can't just turn like that. They're now ovoid so they're more aerodynamic.
Pro cyclists have learned to coil their bodies up to sit on the top post for even better aerodynamics on long descents. I think Naruko would have been better served to sit on that post as leaned into those final corners instead of standing up on the pedals.
I've always been critical of Midousuji's sprinting form because he learned too far forward to put more normal force on his back wheel. His "next form" is better because it puts his center of gravity farther back, allowing him to generate more power. That straight back gives him a lower profile too, making him more aerodynamic. It's still ridiculous, but at least it's better than what he was doing before.
I belly laughed at the omake. The monster nightmare of Midousuji popping out of a grasshopper was funny enough, but just the setting where Ishigaki and Midousuji would be riding the same train just made me laugh. Midousuji's "haah?" at the end was pitch perfect. I'm now waiting to see Nobu put a white streak in his hair to copy his team leader.