Review: Yowamushi Pedal Part 3 (DVD)

The Inter-High continues as the Sohoku Bicycle Team celebrate their first victory of the day in a race between the sprinters. Hoping for another win, the team have high hopes for their climber, Makishima ‘the Peak Spider’ as he takes on Hakone’s climber Todou.  All the while, the team aces prepare for the last stretch on the other side of the peak that will decide the winners of the first day of the Inter-High. But it doesn’t end there. Day two is just around the corner, and physical and emotional fatigue begins to set in for the Sohoku Bicycle Team. Do they have the strength to challenge their rivals and stay ahead of the other teams?

Part 3 of Yowamushi Pedal contains episodes from 26 to 38 and concludes the first season of the series. It begins with Tadokoro and Naruko re-joining their team after an early checkpoint win in first and second place respectively. Everyone seems to be in high spirits until a bicycle collision that Onoda gets caught up in that causes his team to unknowingly leave him behind, and he must use all of his strength to catch up to them. These episodes are made up of many setbacks and micro-goals such as this, and  various characters from the Sohoku and Hakone team experience their own, usually with an accompanying backstory. These stories are definitely more focused on the Hakone team, such as the all-rounder Arakita and the sprinter Shinkai, but there’s some good stuff for the Sohoku boys too.

The usual comedic element is still present, but probably more toned down in these episodes of the series. However, it makes sense given the intensity of the race and the personal struggles some of the Sohoku team members are experiencing.  The lizard-like Midousuji is still a lot of fun to watch though and fills that gap quite nicely in otherwise serious episodes. The post-credits scenes are always good for some lighthearted laughs as well. But people who love this series for the humour might find it slightly more lacking in this batch of episodes. Not by a whole lot, but I thought it was noticeable.

I was fairly invested in these episodes because there were a lot of ‘race to the finish line’ moments and they’re quite well done despite a bit of a pacing imbalance. A Particular hill climbing segment dragged on for about three episodes, and at times felt longer than that. Despite this I was on edge during the final battle between aces, and the show maintained an overall excitement for the Inter-High.

Testament to my feelings on these episodes of Yowamushi Pedal is my reaction to the ending. I was confused when the final episode ended where it did, and hurriedly searched for the next episode. When I realised that was the last one on the disc, I was disappointed because I was invested in what was happening and wanted to see more. I won’t lie that ending the first season in the middle of a high-pace race is a little frustrating but I’m still excited for the continuation of the Inter-High and seeing the Sohoku boys make it to the finish line.

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A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.