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Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road

Note: The following article contains several spoilers.

After nearly three and a half months of waiting, Yowamushi Pedal has finally returned with its second season Grande Road. Rooting for this series feels as if I'm a competitive cyclist myself, with the unpredictability and such looming ahead. Oh, not forgetting the annoying-as-usual cliffhangers. Seriously, despite all that realism which I also appreciate, many times I wish that the progression could be much faster. Anyway, the backdrop of Grande Road is the breathtakingly beautiful Mount Fuji!

So, the first episode titled 'Phase 49' takes off where the previous season had left hanging during the second day of the Inter-High tournament. Onoda-kun and Makishima-senpai have successfully led Team Sohoku up the strenuous climb and they caught up with the rivals Hakone Gakuen and Kyoto Fushimi, and it is nearly time for the ace Kinjou-senpai and his assistant Imaizumi-kun to take over the remaining distance for the second day. Just a little before that, a fully recovered Tadakoro-senpai launched his human bullet train to propel the team ahead for the remaining climb.

The 'Phase 49' refers to Midousuji's strategy for Kyoto Fushimi which comes into play the moment all three teams are almost on par with one another. Naturally, Kyoto Fushimi gets most of the spotlight in this episode. The annoying Midousuji continues to send shivers down the spine at every opportunity. Actually, I would like to think that it is only his face and not quite anything else which threatens to drive others off the edge of the cliff. In any case, Team Sohoku and Hakone Gakuen aren't going to be affected by Midouji's penetrative stare which reminds me of some hideous alien from a 1980s science-fiction horror film. Sorry (not really) if anybody is fond of Midousuji.

As mentioned, Kyoto Fushimi takes over the screen with an intense 'block the assistant' sequence by Mizuta Nobuyuki, a second-year who is easily recognisable from his braces. The unfortunate victim is Hakone Gakuen's Arakita Yasutomo. Originally, Mizuta was supposed to assist Midousuji to the finish line, but Midousuji led Mizuta into thinking that he had great potential to follow the former's footsteps. Being the manipulative monster that he has always been, naturally Midousuji didn't mean what he said to Mizuta. Poor Mizuta. Anyway, just when Midousuji thinks he's got the longer end of the stick...

Here comes Shinkai Hayato! Apparently, Midousuji isn't the only manipulative person around. Maybe he is simply too self-absorbed to realise that his extensive research studies and such don't necessarily work all the time. Shinkai Hayato is one of Hakone Gakuen's ace sprinters. He is usually portrayed with an energy bar in his mouth while racing. In the previous season, Shinkai was terrorised by Midousuji over an unfortunate incident that happened during a past tournament which explained his riding preference in the current Inter-High. Nonetheless, the trauma didn't last long as Shinkai finally turned the table and gave a great ride. His game continues with the revelation that he is in fact Fukutomi's assistant and not Arakita.

Well, it is not surprising that Midousuji's face becomes more distorted beyond the average human's facial elasticity. From then, it is the actual battle among the aces and their assistants. Team Sohoku has Kinjou-senpai and Imaizumi-kun. Hakone Gakuen has Fukutomi and Shinkai. Kyoto Fushimi has Midousuji and Ishigaki. As always, the exchanges among the characters are intense and jaw-dropping. Even with the remaining 1200 metres, the episode decides to end on yet another cliffhanger. Grrrrr...

Hopefully, we will get to see everybody back in action on their third day really soon! I can't wait!

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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