Ride.09 - "New Sohoku, Start!"
Alright, now we're really getting into the New Generations part of this show. The seniors have graduated, so it's going to be all about filling in those gaps for the six-man teams at the schools the show focuses on.
Before we do that, we need to have all the first day of school jitters from the new students and the socially awkward Living Legend™ Onoda.
Hey, look! Girls!
Aya and Miki share Onoda's classroom this year, along with Imaizumi. From the movie, we saw that Miki had made banners congratulating the Team and Onoda for being national champions, but in the actual timeline, that was saved for the beginning of the new school year, months later. We can finally put to rest all the crap that wasn't really supposed to happen in the movie.
Naruko still had to be flashy, and Imaizumi still had to take him down a peg.
They're fighting. They must be close... No! They said at the same time...
Naruko confirmed that he's switching to all-rounder.
Teshima and Aoyagi had their own moment to honor the past. We only ever saw them use their teamwork at the training camp and this year they'll be separated by team roles, but I'm sure we'll have an event where their synchro tactics will be used.
Naruko got to say something cool to Onoda. Since the seniors graduated, they can't really pay back their feelings of support from the last year.
His solution is to pay it forward to the new juniors. This is also a nice way to keep the culture of Sohoku, which is they all ride together.
This is similar to how Hakone's new captain Izumida appeared to chastise their seniors for not winning the Inter-High race. The juniors would take up the burden to win it for them.
Of course, socially awkward Onoda has a hard time approaching strangers. Add in how all the first years are so intimidated by the national champion who was a certified cycling genius for winning the title in his first year too, well, how was Onoda supposed to get close to any of them?
It could be a good thing that the kids fear him too. With his strange attempts to encourage them, he could be cementing an image as an eccentric artist as well.
Aw, Onoda felt jealous that the other kids were able to talk so easily to the many, many first years. Having a national championship does wonders for recruiting, eh? Imaizumi did Onoda a solid by saying all they wanted to talk about was him. Good guys on this Sohoku team, right?
His handshaking thing reminded me of an idol shaking hands at an event for her fans. That one kid isn't going to wash his hand for a while.
Let's talk about that new blood! Above, you see the final scene from the end credits. Every major character for the rest of the season is in it. From the very first episode, if you were a manga reader, you would have seen the Sugimoto brothers and Sadatoki mimicking Teru; Danchiku and Kaburagi; Sawada and Gorizo following them; Aya saying hi to Miki with awkward Onoda thinking she's saying hi to him; Imaizumi looking at the goings on with Naruko laughing at the mistake; Teshima and Aoyagi exiting the club room; the nameless club member who handles the bike maintenance with Kanzaki hanging out with the van; Mr. Pierre with Onoda's new bike. There's a mystery man sitting on the van's bumper with what looks to be a tablet: I'm guessing it's Kinjou coming back for a surprise appearance at one of Sohoku's races. So, everyone is all here.
The Sugimoto brothers were first up in the episode, with the younger making it into the same high school as his older brother. We already saw his mimicking ability earlier this season, but the focus for the next couple of weeks will be on Sugimoto "I'm an experienced rider, after all" trying to make the sixth spot on the team. Imaizumi is surprisingly supportive of his efforts. I think Sugimoto should have practiced on rollers instead of a fixed trainer, though. I liked how he wanted to test his progress against the first years too. It's not being pushy or selfish. It's being hungry!
The brash kids are Danchiku and Kaburagi. Well, Kaburagi is brash. He had a nice scene with Onoda falling over from shock at the big banners with his name on it. I'm sure we'll see a flashback of when he found out that "mamachari" boy was the actual national champion. Danchiku is a nervous wreck but appears to have a serious confident side. He noticed the steep slope "mamachari" boy climbed while singing an anime song. I wonder if Danchiku will be Onoda's protégé.
The last two characters are Sawada and Gorizo. Naturally, Gorizo looks like a gorilla... They're crafty riders who like to bend the rules. Sugimoto caught them easily to enforce the neutral start of the First Year Welcome Race, so I was glad to see that he's already showing hints of the progress that Imaizumi referenced. Unfortunately for them, I don't think we'll see much of them after the Welcome Race, which should end right around the time of the start of the Spring season continuation. Neither of them are in the opening and closing credits except for this one picture.
And then we had a three week time skip. You know what that means. Flashbacks galore during all the Welcome Race action!
Now the Big Three 2.0 are in the van making witty comments. Naruko's impressions are still hilarious. I'm hoping to see a moment that mirrors what Makishima had when he saw Onoda climbing. We need some of that inspirational hope stuff!
Sugimoto is in a dai-pinchi from kilometer zero! Ah, I'm sure he'll catch Danchiku and Kaburagi easily next week.
Heh. The Omake had the Big Three 2.0 getting self-conscious about being called "senpai." Imaizumi liked it the best.
Lots of bike brands to see this week. The Sugimoto brothers ride Colnago, the new kids Danchiku and Kaburagi are on Specialized S-Works and Felt, the cheaters Sawada and Gorizo are on Trek and Anchor, we got to see Onoda on his mamachari and the rest of the team on their Pinarello, Scott, BMC, Cannondale and Corratec.
Kilometer Zero is always crazy in a mass start race. The attacks, like you saw with Danchiku and Kaburagi, come fast and furious.
That yellow light running to cause a gap is a known dick move for the local peloton ride. Don't be a dick.