Best episode so far with one of my favourite Yowapeda characters, Arakita!
We knew it was bound to happen but I didn’t think it would happen so soon. Onoda, after witnessing the fatigue and depression of the rest of the pack, wants to do his best to catch up to Hiroshima and not let them get within an inch of Kinjou and those at the lead. He seems to share my own thoughts regarding Midosuji; that he’s at least not as bad as Machimiya. I suppose that’s something… Still a jerk, though! ^^ Anyways, after much deliberation, Onoda finally goes up to Arakita and asks him to ride with him to catch up to Hiroshima and the rest of the team and keep them from obstructing their aces. While Arakita is his usual loud-mouthed, crass self, and spends pretty much the first half of the episode denying him, he poses a question to Onoda, asking him what he thinks of Fukutomi. Weird, but hey. Onoda typically replies honestly that he’s never met him but he seems like a really cool guy. And that’s when Arakita asks him what Onoda thinks of him, and oh man, it’s hilarious when Onoda blurts out that he scares him to death and that he’s afraid Arakita is going to eat him. That was one of my favourite parts of the episode because they really are such polar opposites and yet Arakita develops begrudging respect of him, saying that he in some ways reminds him of Fukutomi. I thought that was a pretty nice thing they put in because we all know that Arakita holds Fukutomi in such high esteem.
They’re about to head off with Onoda doing all the pulling, but Arakita makes him wait and Manami emerges from the pack, adding further fuel to their drive. They manage to all break free from the pack and make their way towards Hiroshima, and Onoda manages to impress him again by showing how fast he can pedal. Still, neither he nor Manami are anything compared to Arakita, who has pulled his ace through numerous races to the finish line, and he does the same for these two, showing just how fast and dangerously he cycles.
They soon catch up with the rest of the Sohoku-Hakone riders who’ve unfortunately allowed Hiroshima to overtake them, but Arakita is having none of that and brings Manami and Onoda all the way up to the team that poses a threat to their aces up in front. Arakita was suitably smug about being able to see the looks of disbelief on Hiroshima’s faces, and now all they have to do is fight to keep Hiroshima from advancing. Easier said than done, though, right?