The Hakone cycling team finishes their fun ride with the next generation of sprinters, climbers, assistants and aces thanking the senior one.
Ride.08 - "Finish Line"
Well those no-name Hakone riders weren't necessary for narration with the kids' internal monologues handling exposition through flashbacks. It would have been nice to include their reactions to how the intergenerational contests turned out. Cheaper to use those voice actors for only one episode, I guess.
The episode had three main acts to cover the climbers, the assistants and the aces. I was surprised at how short Manami and Toudou's scene was, but considering we had a lot of ground to cover with Kuroda, I'm not even mad.
In fact, because he was paired with Arakita, we got a whole bunch of Mad Muttering going on. MOAR Arakita NAO. Oh, he retired already...
Toudou the Mountain God.
I liked how there was a mix of the new winning and losing to the old. If Onoda never beat Makishima, then there was no way that Manami was going to beat Toudou up a climb.
Also, Toudou still beats Manami in ikemen sparkles.
Also, Toudou still beats Manami in ikemen sparkles.
Manami admires Toudou's smooth pedaling style but doesn't like his smooth endless patter.
Ha! Toudou made sure Manami knew that he was less popular with the girls. He's not trying yet Toudou! He's already got one cute girl in his corner though.
Toudou may be self-centered but he is attentive to others' emotions.
This whole talk of nurturing a friendly rivalry was great. It's actually one of the keys to this whole story anyway, so making sure Manami's head is on straight when it comes to Onoda helps the audience too.
Harsh! Manami threw away the water bottle that he loaned to Onoda when they first met. That's how much that loss hurt him.
Toudou is gold. He said their meeting was fate and you have to cherish a rival. I miss Makishima already...
I just have to appreciate all the things this season is bringing back from the first season. Toudou always said that Manami needs to "ride free," and that he'll ride where it counts. He knew way back then that was Manami's style. No need to worry about winning or losing. Just ride how you want to ride; that's what helps the team win.
Toudou's little counseling session worked too. Manami got his manic crazy-eyed climbing smile back. We'll see that again. The price for treatment was losing, though.
I wonder if there'll be a scene where Onoda loans Manami his water bottle. Shounen sports anime eats that stuff up (so do I...).
The Mad Mutterer Smells What's Cooking.
Good. Good! Any time spent with Arakita needs to be bring back his super sniffing power. His main image in the cycling world was a wolf eating up his opponents lead, but that also came with adding a keen sense of smell for sniffing out changes in people.
Arakita liked how Izumida smelled of potential, but he didn't like Kuroda's cocky elite athlete smell. Pick a sport already, Kuroda.
Kuroda's flashback showed a good development arc of a kid who was good at everything he tried until he met people who had the same amount of talent plus hard work. His easy relationship with Izumida is going to be fun to watch along with his gags on the gullible Ashikiba.
He swallowed his pride to ask Arakita for help. Thankfully, he was sincere, because Arakita smelled the change in him. Arakita told Kuroda to "steal someone else's way to become stronger," like he himself did. I figure there's going to be a story about how Kuroda got stronger, but that will be left to a race day flashback.
I liked that. Arakita taught Kuroda the joy of being single-minded. In Arakita's case, it was more like not letting go of a bone once he got his teeth sunk into it.
Fukutomi Knows Number 1.
The showdown between Ashikiba and Fukutomi was pretty short, but it was pretty much decided when Kuroda outpaced Arakita to launch the junior ace. There was daylight and Fukutomi wasn't on his back wheel so he could launch again from behind. Ashikiba appears to be a power sprinter who pulls away from the pack. If you don't grab his wheel on his big move, the race is over.
Fukutomi had his own way passing the torch. The number 1 tag goes on the back pocket! It's the best stamp of approval Ashikiba could hope for.
Ashikiba really took Hakone's Ace rule to heart: never let anyone beat you twice.
Ha! Fukutomi giggled at Arakita. The last time we heard that was in an omake when he saw Arakita do an impression of him.
The omake had Fukutomi giggle again! I guess that if he doesn't have to race his bike, he gets super relaxed and even wants to play in the snow.
Bye bye seniors. Arakita still squats like a delinquent...
I wonder if the final two members of the six man squad are in this photo. It will be a good reference to look back on when they're finally revealed.
Ooh. The epilogue showed Naruko hanging up his deep dish Zipp wheels. He's going to keep his word and become an all-rounder with Imaizumi.
We got all sorts of nice looks at Manami's Look, Toudou's Ridley, Kuroda's Kuota, Arakita's borrowed Bianchi, Fukutomi's Giant and Ashikiba's Willier.
They still love that sparking gear change in this show.
I liked the sound effects on Arakita feathering his front brake to modulate his speed on tight turns.
What was up with Arakita's goofy-footed lean on that left-handed bend? I only do that if I mistime entering a turn on a descent and my legs are in the wrong position. That hasn't happened in years, though. I can't think of any benefit of Arakita doing that other than making a good reason for his pedal to spark on the ground. The only thing I can think of is that he was committed to holding his bike a certain way on the descent and didn't want to give it up when the road changed direction before he could pedal again.