Sports drama is really unlike any other drama and the level of testosterone in this show keeps on rising and makes due for some not-so-subtle yaoi undertones…or overtones.
So Fukutomi seems to have it in his head that the only way to win a race like this is to cull people. You can’t make it all the way to the finish line with six people, as Arakita’s example showed, and sacrifices are going to have to be made along the way. His people sacrifice themselves for his win and he sacrifices all sense of loyalty. No, I’m kidding, I love Fuku-chan. It’s tactics, I know, but Sohoku doesn’t like it at all. Nevertheless, Onoda swears that he’ll do anything he can and needs to do to make sure that they win, even if he has to be left behind, and Imaizumi and Naruko are quick to join up and take rotations to pull their surprised first-year senpais. Unfortunately, Hakone makes it increasingly hard, and Izumida gets some help from Andy and Frank to help pull Hakone another 700m ahead of Sohoku. And then he burns himself out and tells them to get to the mountain quickly so that they can leave Sohoku behind. And that’s when we get it; the brief but telling touch between senpai and kouhai, and we discover the hero-worship – bordering on undying love – that Izumida has for Shinkai, his tough, easy-going but beloved senior, who promises him that Izumida has done an amazing job and that he’ll take it from here. But whoa, Fukutomi, talk about losing your arsenal one after another. Unless, of course, they’re going to make some magical comeback before the end.
Still, the part I’m excited for is the mountain because that means we’ve got five climbers who are going to be showing off their stuff. Midosuji, Onoda, Manami, Makishima and Jinpachi are going to have to try and work this out at some point, and I think I can see how the third years of Sohoku and Hakone are going to do things with their resident “Wonder Boys” as Arakita called them. Really, how is this going to end? And with 30km left, there’s going to be a lot of blood, sweat and tears – disgusting, the lot of them – but only one winner! And WHO is going to take the finish line and how many of his team are going to be with him? I have suspicions that the first years are going to find themselves at the forefront, facing the finish line, but I just don’t know whether Kinjou is really going to make that decision… Kind-hearted and loyal leader that he is, though, I wouldn’t be surprised.