“Phase 49” 「フィズ４９」
Aaand we continue from last time with the last length of the race – which should span another few episodes – and it’s a race of the Aces to the finish, with only their helpers to carry them on.
Midosuji launches Phase 49, where Nobuyuki moves in to block Arakita from riding forward to help Fukutomi to the finish. In true Midosuji fashion, he made use of Nobuyuki’s idolizing him to keep him back with the rest of the pack. He really does use people and it’s really…kimoi. He’s undoubtedly got some tragic back story somewhere but his personality is just so revolting that it’s hard for me to decide whether I like him as a character or not. But I digress.
It turns out that Hakone had them all fooled as Arakita loudly tells Nobuyuki that he’s not the one pulling the ace to the finish line; Shinkai is, and as soon as the climb is over Shinkai immediately races to the front to assist Fukutomi to the finish line. This was obviously not in Midosuji’s plan, and he quickly devolves to dirty tactics and his first target is, of course, Imaizumi. He knocks into Imaizumi’s handles, trying to make it look like an accident, but Imaizumi, carrying the burden of his friends, no longer cares about Midosuji and isn’t going to let him take the upper hand, so he purposefully knocks into the side railing to propel himself back up and continues pulling Kinjou forward.
Realising that he’s sorely underestimated the other two teams, Midosuji says that all phases are off and that he’s going to have to rely on himself to make it to the finish line. Ishigaki, no matter how much he might dislike Midosuji, only wants to bring his ace to the finish line, if not for Midosuji himself, but for the rest of the team who were too tired to carry on, or who were used by Midosuji and won’t get a share in the glory despite it all being a team effort. He swears to take Midosuji to the end, but upon making a final turn, takes it too sharply and begins to slip. It’s a real surprising moment when Midosuji actually reaches out and catches him, then propels him onward. Ishigaki himself is shocked by Midosuji’s actions, but is told that he needs Ishigaki to bring him to the finish line. Whether or not that was another one of his manipulative lines is undecided, but I guess this means it’s still a race for three schools to take the second day!
*Thank you, Kiseki, for doing the previous season and getting the last few episode reviews out so fast! Komorebi takes over from here on!