This series. I don’t even know what to say anymore. So I’ll just say “ARAKITAAAAA!”
But for real, the one thing that’s absolutely magnificent about sports anime is the amount of pressure and intensity the writers put upon all the characters. Every loss is like the loss of a limb and every failure is so destroying that it’s almost funny. What is funny, though, is when you lose a teammate – no death, of course – and it’s made into this entire bizarre sacrificial gift for your best man – Fuku-chan, in this case – and wow, everybody treats you as if you’ve just DIED. And that’s exactly what happened in this episode.
It seems like Arakita’s strength and leadership skills all up until this point are for naught, because while he’s brought Manami and Onoda up to their respective teammates, and their other mates they left behind have caught up, it’s now the second half of the race and things are about to get even MORE intense than before. Go figure. I didn’t think that was possible but apparently sports shows like proving me wrong. However, while everyone’s racing for the finish and trying to get the sprinter’s jersey, Arakita has run out of steam after pulling Onoda and Manami from the pack and leading them to the front. Knowing that his legs are giving out, he zooms to the front and pulls his boyfriend Fuku-chan for as longa s he can before his fatigue catches up with him. Shinkai races to the front to take his place and pull but it’s too late and Arakita’s legs fail him and he falls behind before anyone can catch him. All he wanted was for Fuku-chan to praise him because after three years of non-stop training he’s finally here with Fuku-chan and his other teammates and there is nothing more intense than being there on the final day and fighting with all your teammates.
And then you die, apparently, and your teammates monologue your eulogy.
It looks like Midosuji was right; the most exuberant ones start falling first, on the way to the end, and whether or not Hiroshima is coming to back him up, Midosuji’s up to his usual tactics and I think he’s got a bunch of things up his sleeve before the end. And now we’re onto the final leg of the race – which is going to take another million episodes – and every single character is going to have their time in the spotlight. Let’s see how Sohoku and Hakone battle it out now.