[Review] Yowamushi Pedal, the joy of bicycle road race

Yowamushi Pedal is an anime about bicycle road race. The idea is very original and interesting and the story is quite inspiring. There are two Anime TV series adapted from the manga, two movies that serves as the summary of the two TV series, and one movie that serves as the sequel of the TV series. I’ve watched the TV series and the sequel movie, but I’ll only talk about the two TV series here. The first TV series is titled Yowamushi Pedal, aired from October 7, 2013 to July 1, 2014 with total episode of 38. And the second TV series is titled Yowamushi Pedal GRANDE ROAD, aired from October 6, 2014 to March 30, 2015 with total episode of 24. The studio behind these two anime is TMS/8PAN. The total number of episode is 72 which makes this anime really long. The longest anime I’ve watched until recently. This anime has much to tell but the pace is very slow. It’s a double-edge sword. Makes things interesting, draw your curiosity, but also boring. Due to the number of characters, this post is quite long and might be boring.

Yowapeda_Screenshot_02

Story
The theme is bicycle road race. No other anime with this theme as far as I know. At first, the story introduces us to Onoda Sakamichi, a student in Souhoku High School. Onoda is an anime otaku. He ride his city bike (mamachari) from his home to the school. Although the road to his school is uphill, Onoda doesn’t seem to have any problem to handle it. This draw attention to another cyclist, Imaizumi Shunsuke. Imaizumi challenge Onoda because of that. Onoda also meet another cyclist in Akihabara, Naruko Shoukichi. Coincidentally, Naruko attends the same high school as Onoda. Imaizumi decides to join the bicycle club followed by Onoda, Naruko, and one of Onoda’s classmate, Sugimoto. One of Imaizumi’s childhood friend, Kanzaki Miki also joins the bicycle club as the club manager. There are five upperclassmen in the club. Kinjou Shingo, Tadokoro Jin, and Makishima Yuusuke are 3rd year students while Teshima Junta and Aoyagi Hajime are 2nd year students. All of them must face every challenge to make themselves improve. Their final challenge in the TV anime is Interhigh Bicycle Road Race held in Hakone. They have to compete with other participants from many different high schools. What I don’t like about this anime is the slow pace and too many flashback during the race. I don’t know why they put so many flashback during Interhigh race. It’s boring. They should’ve put it before the race and when it comes to the race, they should focus on the race instead of placing so many flashback scene.

Visual
The animation is considered very good for 2013-2015 standard. The environments are great, the colors are very nice, the bikes are quite detail. However, I wouldn’t call the animation visual stunning. The character design is okay but somehow kinda weird. Some characters look too old for a high school students. For example, Makishima and Fukutomi. Makishima looks like someone in late 30 or even early 40 while Fukutomi looks like someone in early 30.

Audio
The theme songs are great! They got the spirit on the lyrics which is really match up to the anime itself. The background musics are nice while the sound effects are pretty detail. In total, this anime had 11 theme songs listed below.
Opening Theme
“Reclimb” (リクライム Rikuraimu) by ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D – episodes 1-12
“Yowamushi na Honoo” (弱虫な炎) by DIRTY OLD MEN – episodes 13 – 25
“Be as One” by Team Sohoku – episodes 26 – 38
“Determination” by LASTGASP – GRANDE ROAD, episodes 1 – 12
“Remind” (リマインド Rimaindo) by ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D – GRANDE ROAD, episodes 13 – 24
Ending Theme
“Kaze o Yobe” (風を呼べ) by Under Graph – episodes 1 – 12
“I’m Ready” by AUTRIBE feat.DIRTY OLD MEN – episodes 13 – 25
“Glory Road” by Team Hakone Academy – episodes 26 – 38
“Realize” (リアライズ Riaraizu) by ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D – GRANDE ROAD, episodes 1-12
“Eikō e no Ichibyō” (栄光への一秒, “One Second to Glory”) by MAGIC OF LiFE – GRANDE ROAD, episodes 12 – 24
Insert Song
“Koi no Hime Hime Pettanko” (恋のヒメヒメぺったんこ) by Tamura Yukari

Characters
Characters are the part where this anime really shines (but sucks as well for a reason). The 6 riders from Souhoku and 6 riders from Hakogaku have their own interesting personalities and all of them are sportive. They are strong. They have their own specialty and special riding technique. They are great! However, one character ruins my positive review of the characters. That is Midousuji Akira, the cheater, lowly, and disgusting rider from Kyoto Fushimi. Due to the number of characters in this anime, this part will be the longest in this post.

From Souhoku

Onoda Sakamichi
Voiced by : Yamashita Daiki
Yowapeda_Chara_01_OnodaThe main protagonist. Onoda is a first year student. He is an anime otaku. He used to ride his city bike (mamachari) from Chiba to Akihabara. A distant that no ordinary people can’t do with bicycle. He did that because he wanted to save his money so he can buy more anime goods. He joined bicycle club after his race with Imaizumi. He is clumsy and seems unreliable. However, in this TV Anime, he always do what he ordered to. As the only amateur, he learns a lot from his friends in bicycle club. He is a fast learner and able finish every tasks assign to him. Onoda is a naturally capable climber, impressing Imaizumi because Onoda can climb the steep road towards his school by using city bike (mamachari) which is much heavier than road racer bike. One thing that other people notice, Onoda smiles when climbing. Onoda’s special moves is High Cadence Climb, a technique where he raises his cadence greatly when climbing.

Imaizumi Shunsuke
Voiced by : Toriumi Kousuke
Yowapeda_Chara_02_ImaizumiImaizumi a first year student. He is a serious cyclist. He was defeated by Midousuji during junior high school because Midousuji cheated on him. After that, Imaizumi train a lot to beat Midousuji back. Imaizumi is adored by many girls due to his good looks. He is the first to guide Onoda in cycling because he believes Onoda has a potential to become a great cyclist. Imaizumi is all-rounder cyclist who excels in flat, climb, or descent. In Interhigh, he serves as the assistant of Kinjou. Imaizumi does not have any special technique.


Naruko Shoukichi

Voiced by : Fukushima Jun
Yowapeda_Chara_03_NarukoNaruko is a first year student. He the second cyclist that Onoda met after Imaizumi. Just like Imaizumi, Naruko teaches a lot of cycling stuffs to Onoda. Naruko’s style is everything in red. From his hair, his helmet, his jersey, and his bike. He is a fast sprinter known as Speedman of Naniwa. He rides with wind on flats while dancing to boost his speed. He is also able to climb really fast using his own technique known as Sprint Climb. Later, he also creates a new climbing technique known as Armstrong Climb.


Kinjou Shingo

Voiced by : Yasumoto Hiroki
Yowapeda_Chara_04_KinjouKinjou is a third year student. He is the leader of bicycle club. He is an all-rounder just Imaizumi. He is known as The Snake of Stony Road and also known as the man who never gives up. He is a great captain and capable to arrange a good strategy. He trusts his own teammates and fortunately, his teammates never betray his trust. Just like Imaizumi, Kinjou has no special moves.


Tadokoro Jin

Voiced by : Itou Kentarou
Yowapeda_Chara_05_TadokoroTadokoro is a third year student. He has a large body and large appetite but that does not mean he is slow. In fact, he is the fastest sprinter of Souhoku. Due to his speed, he is known as The Human Bullet Train. Tadokoro is the mentor of Naruko, Teshima, and Aoyagi. While Naruko doesn’t seem to be showing any respect to Tadokoro, Teshima and Aoyagi are exactly the opposite. They see Tadokoro as a good upperclassmen that care with his juniors. Tadokoro has a special technique. He inhales a lot of oxygen due to his big lungs capacity and turns it into energy when sprinting. He called this technique Mach Speed Oxygen Human Bullet.


Makishima Yuusuke

Voiced by : Morikubo Showtaro
Yowapeda_Chara_06_MakishimaMakishima is a third year student. However, he has a weird look that makes him looks much older than his age. Not sure why the creator designed him to be like that though. He has a long green hair that looks kinda messy. He is also very skinny. So skinny that his limbs look long. Makishima is a very capable climber known as The Peak Spider. When Makishima gets serious (and has enough energy for it), no one but Toudou from Hakogaku can challenge him in climbing. Makishima’s unique technique is his dancing style. He swings his bicycle to left and right aggresively. As fellow climber, Makishima guides Onoda to make him stronger. He also told Onoda to develop his own riding style (The High Cadence Climb) because he saw Onoda try to copy his weird dancing style.


Teshima Junta

Voiced by : Kishio Daisuke
Yowapeda_Chara_07_TeshimaTeshima is a second year student. He is an ordinary cyclist with no special technique. He learned a lot from Tadokoro and because of that, he respects Tadokoro a lot. Teshima is good in blocking. Although Teshima lacks of special techinique, he and Aoyagi become a duo that capable to do more than when they were alone.

Aoyagi Hajime
Voiced by : Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
Yowapeda_Chara_08_AoyagiAoyagi is a second year student. He is very quiet and doesn’t talk much. However, Teshima somehow able to understand him. Just like Teshima, Aoyagi is an ordinary cyclist with no special technique.


Sugimoto Terufumi

Voiced by : Miyata Kouki
Yowapeda_Chara_09_SugimotoSugimoto is a first year student. He joined the bicycle club together with Onoda and Naruko. Sugimoto always call himself an experienced cyclist although he is no more than an ordinary experienced cyclist.

Kanzaki Miki
Voiced by : Suwa Ayaka
Yowapeda_Chara_10_KanzakiKanzaki is a first year student and a childhood friend of Imaizumi. She joins Souhoku bicycle club and serves as the club manager. She is the first to see Onoda’s potential. She is a bicycle fanatic although she is not seen riding one. She knows a lot about bicycle parts because her family owns a bicycle shop.

From Hakone Gakuen

Manami Sangaku

Voiced by : Yonaga Tsubasa
Yowapeda_Chara_11_ManamiManami is a first year student. His personality is easy-going. He used to be weak before he knows about bicycle but later become a good cyclist because he fall in love with bicycle. He loves hill and that make him a naturally capable climber. His special technique is called Wings. A technique where he timed to shift up the gear when there is a gust of wind to gives him a boost of speed when climbing. His other technique is shifting gear up when climbing. A technique that he can only when he is near the peak of the track.


Fukutomi Juichi

Voiced by : Maeno Tomoaki
Yowapeda_Chara_12_FukutomiFukutomi is a third year student despite he looks much older than that. Fukutomi is the leader of Hakogaku bicycle club. He is a talented all-rounder cyclist and leader, just like Kinjou. He always mentioned that he is strong and he can prove it. On his second year, he was obsessed with winning and can’t accept when Kinjou manage to past him on Interhigh. This make him feel that he is still weak and need to improve himself. Later, he visited Souhoku all the way from Hakone only to apologize of what he already did. His rivalry with Kinjou continues in his third year of Interhigh. Fukutomi has no special technique.

Yowapeda_Chara_13_Arakita
Arakita Yasutomo

Voiced by : Yoshino Hiroyuki
Arakita is a third year student. He has a foul mouth and speaks like a yankee. He is the assistant of Fukutomi on the Interhigh. He used to be a baseball player. However, due to an incident before a national tournament, he broke his arm, destroying every chance of him to participate in the tournament. He joins Hakone Gakuen because it has no baseball club. On his first year, he became a bad guy. He met Fukutomi who eventually managed to beat Arakita on moped while Fukutomi only used a road racer bicycle. Arakita decided to learn more about bicycle after that. Arakita is a fast all-rounder cyclist and a great assistant. He has no special technique.


Toudou Jinpachi

Voiced by : Kakihara Tetsuya
Yowapeda_Chara_14_ToudouToudou is a third year student. He is the ace climber of Hakogaku and a rival of Makishima. He is known as the Mountain God or Forest Ninja (according to Makishima) but he also refers himself as the Sleeping Beauty. Toudou is somehow narcist when it comes to his looks. Toudou seems to be care with Makishima a lot. He only sees Makishima to be the one worthy as a rival. When they first met, Makishima managed to beat Toudou. Their rivalry continued after that from one to other official races. His special technique is to past his opponents silently so they won’t even notice that he already passed them. This is the reason why Makishima refers him as Forest Ninja.


Shinkai Hayato

Voiced by : Hino Satoshi
Yowapeda_Chara_15_ShinkaiShinkai is a third year student. He is the ace sprinter of Hakogaku and seems to be fastest cyclist in the series. He is known as The Straight Line Demon due his speed and his desire to be on the first one place. He seems to be eating a snack bar all the time. His signature pose is his “bakyun” pose. He had a trauma on his past when he accidentally ran over a rabbit on a competition. Later, he took care of the rabbit’s child and named her Usakichi. His technique is to ride like hungry and scary demon at a very high speed that no ordinary sprinter can compete.


Izumida Touichirou

Voiced by : Abe Atsushi
Yowapeda_Chara_16_IzumidaIzumida is a second year student. He is the sprinter of Hakogaku. He admires Shinkai as fellow sprinter and highly respect him. He didn’t seem to be on many races before interhigh because he focused on training his body and building his muscle for interhigh. He is very proud of his body. He named his right pec Andy and his left pec Frank. He doesn’t seem to had any special moves but he zips his jersey when he gets serious.

From Kyoto Fushimi

Midousuji Akira

Voiced by : Koji Yusa
Yowapeda_Chara_17_KimousujiMidousuji is a first year student. He is an evil and dirty cyclist that uses every possible methods to win, including to betray his own team or deceive them. He is an arch-enemy of both Souhoku and Hakogaku. He calls everything “Kimoi” (Gross) although he is the most disgusting. When he met Imaizumi on Junior high school race, he managed to beat Imaizumi after cheating on him. His special technique is lean his body really forward when dancing. He also has another technique where he rolls up his jersey sleeves his shorts. He is an extremely dangerous cyclist. However, Imaizumi managed to overcome any of Midousuji dirty tricks after Imaizumi gains confidence.


Ishigaki Koutarou

Voiced by : Nojima Hirofumi
Yowapeda_Chara_17_IshigakiIshigaki is a third year student and captain of Kyoto Fushimi. However, Midousuji managed to harras him by beating him at high margin when they compete for the first time. He carries his school pride in the competition and allows Midousuji to thread him like an garbage.

From all of these characters, my favorite is Shinkai. He is friendly, easy-going, but can be very powerful. On personality side, Tadokoro is my favorite. The way he supports and trusts Onoda on first year student race, the way he become a good mentor to Teshima and Aoyagi makes him to be an inspiring senior. Aside from the rider, I also like Kanzaki Miki, the only female character with notable role. Kanzaki supports Onoda and put faith on him during their first meeting.

One thing that I would complain is the existence of Midousuji. That character destroy the positive side of the show, ruining the image of sportive competition. Why would he exists? Why would someone like him able to participate on a bicycle road race? He is just too disgusting and this makes the story less realistic.

Final Thoughts
After all of this long episode, I can say I like Yowamushi Pedal. The story is basically good but the existence of Midousuji Akira ruins it. I can handle the slow pace on Interhigh race but the existence of Midousuji is just too annoying. Is it enjoyable? Overall, Yes! How the story begins and it is ends are great and quite satisfying. It’s not smooth and not flawless but it is more than just good. Without Midousuji Akira, I would rate this anime as excellent but his existence forced me to remove that.

Yowapeda_Screenshot_01

Story 8
Animation 8
Sound & Music 8
Characters 8
Voice Acting 8
Overall 8
Rated as Very Good
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2 thoughts on “[Review] Yowamushi Pedal, the joy of bicycle road race

  1. Pingback: Nippon Insider

  2. Pingback: [Review] Yowamushi Pedal Movie, bicycle road race anime done right | Nippon Insider

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