Yowamushi Pedal: Episode 34

新開隼人 – Shinkai Hayato

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In the battle for the green tag of the Inter-High’s second day, it is Shinkai versus Midousuji.

In this episode, we were properly introduced to Hakone Academy’s ace sprinter, Shinkai Hayato. In Hakone Academy, number tags are a ranking: #1 is the ace; #2 is the ace’s assistant; #3 is the ace climber; and #4 is the ace sprinter. Every aspiring sprinter of the Hakone Academy bicycle racing team dreams of wearing the #4 tag, because he who holds that number is the fastest cyclist on the team.

Shinkai might be the fastest one on the team, but he took a long time to get to where he presently is. As with all proper introductions that YowaPeda has presented us with so far, we were given a little insight into Shinkai’s past. Once dubbed the Hakone Academy’s Straight Line Demon, his obsession with victory resulted in a devastating accident (in which he killed a mother rabbit). The shock from seeing the baby rabbit next to its mother’s corpse lead to him realising that he was so deep in his obsession with victory that he had actually killed a precious something. It was a rude awakening, but at least he now knows that victories are meaningless if life means nothing. A loser can always try again. But a life, once lost, can never be returned.

That is some heavy stuff we had this episode, but it just makes our characters so much more human. On a completely separate note… Shinkai looks perpetually stoned because his eyes are massive, but I love that dreamy look he’s got. And I very much appreciate what Hino Satoshi is doing with the voice acting for Shinkai – it’s got just the right amounts of control and confidence, which is so refreshing considering the grossness that is Yusa’s Midousuji (again, why Yusa… why??).

The two sprinters have set off, and the remaining Souhoku members are still nowhere in sight. Unfortunately for Souhoku, this means that they will not be able to partake in the battle for the green tag of the second day. Or will they? Ohwell, even if they do not manage to, the overall victory is what’s most important, isn’t it?

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