The second day of the race is over and Fukutomi takes the gold, with Kinjou in frustratingly close second and Midosuji third. I actually really thought that Kinjou would win, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be yet.
The third and final day looms ahead of them, but first, the first years need to be taught a little bit of a lesson. Naruko is understandably frustrated at the loss, especially since it was only by a few centimetres, and rails at the third years, wondering how they can take it so well. Onoda is more worried about Kinjou, who pushed his knee too far, wondering whether he’ll be able to ride the next day. Imaizumi is equally feeling guilty and upset about not being a good enough assistant, so it’s up to Makishima i.e. mermaid hair, to take the kids out for a bit of a talk. They learn a very harsh lesson that of course they, as third years, are frustrated and angry at missing the gold, but at least they get to ride tomorrow, unlike the dozens of others who won’t reach the finish line in time before the race ends. Over fifty riders are cut off from reaching the finish line, and so won’t get to race the third day, and Makishima says that tomorrow, Sohoku will be riding over their corpses. I think they realise what a cruel sport competitive cycling can be, and how hard their leader worked to get where he did.
Elsewhere, though, Kinjou is really feeling it in his knees, but swears to ride with the team on the third day of the race, even if he can’t ride as their ace. More foreboding goes on with the Hakone team, who are celebrating their victory today. Fukutomi promises his team that they’ll win tomorrow, but he quietly acknowledges the fact that road racing is unpredictable, and that any number of things could happen tomorrow. He tasks Jinpachi with taking them up their mountain climb, and he easily promises to do so, but later on he takes Manami aside, telling him that hypothetically, should anything happen tomorrow, all he’ll need to do is forget about the rest of the team and make his way to the peak. In yet another corner, Midosuji, shocked and reeling from his loss, blankly tells his team that he won’t be riding tomorrow, much to their horror.
So, despite the fact that the race is over, another one looms ahead and a lot of words have been exchanged, foreshadowing the third and final day of the race. I think it really sets the atmosphere for the first years, Onoda, Imaizumi, Naruko and Manami to show us all what they’re worth, and I think they’re going to surprise everyone before the race is over. With it being the third years’ final race, there’s a lot of weight on the back of the first years, but sports animes really make it seem like as third years it’s the end of the line for them, and that there’s no such thing as competing outside of school. It’s kind of funny, but at the same time I understand the literary and suspenseful technique, and the need to put pressure on the younger generation.
Before the third day, though, I have a feeling we’re going to get one more non-race episode, and possibly one where words get exchanged between various teams. Judging from the OP, there’s still one or two other teams who haven’t shown their faces and who may surprise the other players yet. Looks like there are still a few more introductions to go before the final race begins.