Saturday, June 10, 2017

10 Second Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - New Generation - Episode 21

Hakone asserts itself after Doubashi's sprint win with a strategy to break Sohoku's team cohesion.

Ride.21 - "Hakone Academy High School Makes Its Move!"


Getting the first official result nets Hakone first position in the race and cycling prestige to control the pace. Doubashi and Kuroda aren't the only ones who think Sohoku became national champions by a fluke.

Hakone started to break out of the pack to make a selection and Sohoku covered the move. Both Teshima and Izumida are much more strategic in running their teams than the previous captains. Kinjou and Fukutomi liked to put certain pieces on the board and unleash them when it was time. Teshima and Izumida are sneaky and clever, almost in the same way Midousuji is. Things are going to get interesting when Kyoto starts to show itself in the mountains.

While Kinjou and Fukutomi played checkers, Teshima and Izumida are playing chess. They both held back their best sprinters to break out of the pack. Izumida versus Naruko!

As I expected, Kaburagi has to deal with the aftermath of losing a sprint. It was mentioned a few episodes back, but not explicitly touched on in this episode, that Kaburagi's and Danchiku's experience with Team SS was all about results, not teamwork. Kaburagi's disappointment in losing is enhanced by that kind of team culture. Sohoku's team culture, where they're only complete if they're all together, is something Kaburagi still has to buy into. The three teammates on the side of the road, who all lost out on spots on the team, offered their feelings camaraderie with a simple assertion that they were watching Kaburagi's effort and a high five of acknowledgement.

Aoyagi explained that those three guys, Danchiku, Sugimoto, and Kouga, could give deeper encouragement because they all knew the pain of losing. That stabilized Kaburagi to fight another day.

Oh hey! Girls! Still not getting old.

Aoyagi heard lots of stuff last year. And he remembered it. Kinjou told Imaizumi to grow over the next three days. Kaburagi will need to hear the same kind of thing.

Izumida blames Sohoku's tenacity for "stealing" last year's victory. This is pretty much true. Kinjou, who never let go of a leading wheel once he sunk his teeth into it, built a team that was exactly like him.

This almost flirtatious exchange between Teshima and Izumida is going to make the fujoshi swoon. Teshima made his own recipe of Kinjou's team, adding his "sauce" of faith. Izumida wants to taste what he's cooking. Teshima warned him it was Mediterranean, so it might be too spicy for him. Jeez, guys. Get a room.

Sohoku is still definitely a team that supports each other. It's the same reason Tadakoro and Naruko went for the first sprint against Izumida last year for why Teshima sent Aoyagi and Kaburagi against Doubashi. As long as there are two, Sohoku is complete.

Izumida built a Hakone team in the same vein as Fukutomi in that they're the strongest team, but they're also the most passionate. Teshima added the sauce of faith to Kinjou's recipe while Izumida added the sauce of passion to Fukutomi's. Seeing how Doubashi conducts himself, I can believe it.

Onoda saw Hakone erecting a wall in front of Sohoku's aspirations, but then he relied on Makishima for inspiration. You just gotta break through it, yeah! With a Makishima accent!

Apparently, Onoda has been using that Makishima accent for lots of things. And out loud too!

He didn't know he was doing that. Super embarrassing!

While the new guys on Hakone think Sohoku's victory last year was a fluke, neither Izumida and Manami do. They know that the NATIONAL CHAMPION OF JAPAN is the spiritual leader of their team. Manami knows it personally and up close. Izumida respects it, but has no experience with the absolute fear of seeing some little guy pedaling 150 rpm up a 15% grade while smiling and singing an anime song. He just doesn't know! But at least Izumida takes Onoda seriously enough to devise strategies against him.

Kaburagi got the abuse from Imaizumi and Naruko that he was expecting from his loss. But there was absolutely no malice in it. This is a good team.

Teshima saw through Izumida's first plot against Onoda and gave him his first order: Stay close to the team and stay near the front. The front of what? The peloton! Hakone had been soft pedaling after they rejoined the sprinters to let the pack catch them.

Izumida's plan is to separate Onoda from the rest of the team so he's caught behind the pack as they start climbing the first mountain. Sounds like a good plan, if it wasn't Onoda he was plotting against.

Again, Izumida is a sprinter, so he just doesn't know what the NATIONAL CHAMPION OF JAPAN did last year to rejoin his team after a crash. He passed the whole peloton going up a mountain! Izumida better hope there aren't any gutter lips for the NATIONAL CHAMPION OF JAPAN to ride on.

Well, Onoda is stuck in the middle of the pack now, with a bunch of guys who don't want to let him get back up to the front. Supposedly, Onoda's social anxiety in crowds is going to cause some internal drama, but we all know what happens when Onoda gets desperate to follow the orders coming from his captain.

Cycling Porn.

This episode, we got to see an interesting paint job on a Giant bike in the peloton, and someone riding an unbranded lugged steel frame, Kaburagi expressing the disappointment every sprinter feels, and Onoda dealing with peloton group dynamics.

I remember Tadakoro telling Izumida after their first sprint that all sprinters are losers. There's only so many chances to win and there's only one winner against a pack of losers. But sprinters don't take that frustration to fuel despair. They fuel their desire to win. That's the mindset of a sprinter: impatience for the next finish line.

This show thinks that targeting the climbing winner of last year's race means that the other riders will actively box Onoda inside the peloton. Weirdly enough, this only happens in the female professional ranks but not ever in male professional racing. The machismo of the male peloton offers a sense of honor to beat someone else with their legs, not by going slower and blocking someone from passing them. Still, a cyclist has to be assertive to force himself into gaps, or even make gaps with some jostling, to move up within the peloton. The other teams will always let someone rejoin their team except when the race is on for the next competitive part of the course, like the start of a climb or the last 10 km of a race.

The omake had Kuroda showing himself to be a lover of cats, kind of like Shinkai keeping a pet rabbit because he killed its mother in a collision. Let's see if they do anything more with this, but this is good first effort to let us get to know the new guys on Team Hakone.

Next time, Onoda deals with the pressure of being last year's champion, or he exerts his own pressure against the rest of the race by being the NATIONAL CHAMPION OF JAPAN.

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