The Yamashita Daiki Farewell: An Unforgettable Tour
As the Yamashita Daiki so long tour comes to an end, fans around the world bid farewell to his iconic characters. Yamashita’s incredible range, showcased in series like Dance Dance Danseur, has allowed him to infuse his signature lads, Onoda Sakamichi and Midoriya Izuku, with his own essence. Despite their differences, kindness and loyalty serve as the common thread between these two beloved characters. While Deku experienced moments of wavering this season, Sakamichi remained steadfast and unwavering in his loyalty (except for that incident with the snowbank).
A Dramatic Buildup and Cliffhanger
The decision to air the final two episodes consecutively, just like Limit Break has done in the past, created a sense of urgency and excitement. Despite the predictability of episode 24’s outcome, Yowamushi Pedal truly deserved a cliffhanger ending. The dramatic buildup leading to that final moment in the penultimate episode was nothing short of captivating. Before Sakamichi could regain his momentum, he had to struggle with getting his shoe securely strapped back onto the pedal, costing him precious meters towards the end of the race.
The Unparalleled Kindness of Onoda Sakamichi
Both Onoda and Manami are compelling characters deserving of victory (Midousuji-kun as well), and narratively, Manami presents a strong case. However, it is impossible to root against the tenacious terrier that is Sakamichi. Throughout the final stages of the race, one couldn’t help but cheer for Onoda, confident that Watanabe’s protagonist would remain undefeated when it truly mattered. Despite facing the challenge of closing the gap caused by his equipment mishap, Sakamichi resolved to chase after Sangaku’s back relentlessly.
Inspiration and Individual Motivation
Makishima-san undoubtedly serves as Onoda’s greatest inspiration. While a glimpse of Toudou-san during the final sprint may motivate Manami, he primarily rides for himself. Manami’s concerns revolve less around the opinions of others or the impact of his success or failure on them. On the other hand, the sight of Maki-chan standing alongside the barrier ignites a fire within Onoda that surpasses any motivational trigger for Manami. When Onoda declares that he doesn’t care who wins the race and wishes for someone else to have a turn, he truly embodies the spirit of selflessness.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Onoda
One of the most intriguing aspects of this rivalry lies in Onoda’s lack of ego. Is this ultimately a strength or weakness for him? Cyclists, much like strikers in soccer, often possess a streak of selfishness that drives their greatness. Manami exemplifies this quality, although not in a mean-spirited way. He is primarily motivated by his own aspirations. Onoda, however, not only carries the weight of his teammates on his shoulders but also feels their supportive presence that propels him forward. While Manami sees only the road in front, Sakamichi sees his teammates waiting for him at the finish line. The question of whether Onoda’s selflessness is a gift or a hindrance lies at the heart of the cliffhanger and its subsequent resolution.
The Ultimate Team and Leader
Within the world of Yowapeda, Sohoku represents the epitome of teamwork, with Sakamichi as the ultimate team player. The mythos surrounding their team dynamic suggests that the combined force of riding for his teammates elevates Onoda rather than burdening him. Ironically, only Onoda and Imaizumi cross the finish line, emphasizing the weight of the hero’s individual strength. Onoda consistently rises to the occasion, delivering exceptional performances without fail. While Sakamichi may not grasp the concept of servant leadership like a seasoned adult, he effortlessly embodies its essence.
The Sacrifice for Team Sohoku
Teshima’s sacrifice for the team is further underscored, with its true nature becoming evident. By not finishing the race, he relinquishes the title of king of the mountains to Ashikiba-kun, who triumphs in that regard. However, in grand tour teams, the objective is either winning the race as a whole or not at all. When you have a strong contender for the podium, placing that position at risk for the sake of individual stage wins or lesser titles is unthinkable. Teshima makes the right decision, fulfilling his ultimate role by sacrificing himself for the sake of Sakamichi, just as other domestiques were called to do.
An Agonizing Defeat and Admirable Sportsmanship
While thrilled by T.T.’s victory, my heart aches for Manami. Experiencing defeat in the same manner two years in a row, he undoubtedly feels the agony of letting his teammates down. Onoda expressing gratitude to him unintentionally exacerbates Manami’s anguish. Nonetheless, Sangaku appears to be handling the situation better this year, and Arakita’s unexpected display of moral support does not go unnoticed. Izumida also shines brightly in the aftermath of the race, showcasing admirable conduct in the winner’s tent before the awards ceremony.
The Unresolved Rivalry and Uncharted Territory
Sangoku suggests that next year, they should compete for the mountain tag on the first day. As I mentioned weeks ago, both riders genuinely desire a head-to-head battle focused exclusively on their personal rivalry, without the weight of their team’s fate hanging in the balance. However, such a luxury is not afforded to them. As the best of the best, they must settle the score one last time, with everything on the line. Perhaps Chimera-kun will make an unexpected appearance, but I can’t envision anyone else crashing their duel. Sakamichi’s unprecedented accomplishment of winning two inter-highs in his first two years leads us into uncharted territory. Onoda’s pursuit of graduating undefeated carries its own gripping dramatic weight.
The Future of Yowamushi Pedal
We endured a nearly five-year wait for this season, and it may be some time before the next one arrives. Fortunately, there is an abundance of unadapted manga material, with approximately 25 volumes yet to be explored. Yowamushi Pedal remains highly popular in Japan, making it highly likely that another season will grace our screens sooner or later. The absence of this show was deeply felt during its hiatus. It is undeniably excellent and holds a special place in the hearts of many viewers. Despite some minor flaws observed this season, such as an excessive focus on TeshimAoyagi and insufficient screen time for the main trio, the final episodes delivered the excitement and satisfaction fans have come to expect from Yowapeda. As one of my favorite sports anime series, with Onoda as an endearing protagonist, it was an absolute delight to immerse myself in the world of Limit Break once again.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Will there be another season of Yowamushi Pedal?
While there is currently no confirmation of another season, the popularity of the series and the abundance of unadapted manga volumes make it likely that fans will be treated to another installment in the future.
2. Are Onoda Sakamichi and Midoriya Izuku similar characters?
While both characters are portrayed by the talented Yamashita Daiki, they differ in many aspects. Onoda Sakamichi embodies selflessness, kindness, and unwavering loyalty, while Midoriya Izuku possesses a strong sense of determination and a heroic spirit.
3. What makes Yowamushi Pedal stand out among sports anime?
Yowamushi Pedal captivates viewers with its compelling characters, intense races, and a focus on teamwork. The series emphasizes the individual growth of its protagonists while highlighting the importance of camaraderie and support from teammates.
4. Who is the ultimate team player in Yowamushi Pedal?
Sakamichi Onoda epitomizes the essence of a team player. His unwavering dedication to his teammates and their success sets him apart.