強者３人 – The Strong Three
The team that wins on the first day tends to control the entire Inter-High. This time round, three teams tied for first.
After the cliff-hanger ending that was the previous episode, we see Midousuji going all out to catch up with the aces of Hakone Academy and Souhoku. He cared not for the single ‘little’ victories, but instead was focused on the overall win. For that, Midousuji proved what a tactician he is, as he cycled in at the 11th hour to join our two front-runners in an unbelievably upsetting victory. We saw not one, but three winners on the first day of the Inter-High.
With the end of the first day of the Inter-High came the award ceremony, to celebrate the victors of the day – Tadokoro Jin, the fastest sprinter (green tag); Toudou Jinpachi (Kakki, is was lovely to hear you again!), the fastest climber (red tag); and Kinjou Shingo, Fukutomi Juichi and Midousuji Akira, the all-round winners (yellow rag).
The fastest of each ‘event’ gets a coloured tag. And these coloured tags are not just coloured tags, they are so much more than that. For one, they symbolise pride – the winner gets the glory. Next, there is the advantage – the tags are proof of your strength, and earning one forces others to recognise your superiority. The mere sight of a coloured tag is able to overwhelm other teams. It really is an all out psychological warfare in a long drawn race, which goes to show that mental strength aspect matters as much as physical fitness.
Because three teams, Hakone Academy, Souhoko and Kyoto Fushimi, tied for first, it meant that despite their hard efforts, none came out ahead of the others. Such stiff competition means that the teams will be even hungrier for victory, which will only result in an even more challenging race to come. This is only the beginning, and there will be many more ups and downs in this Inter-High. Already at the end of this episode, we saw Tadokoro collapse in pain and exhaustion. Goodness knows just how Souhoku will manage to pull through this!