Warning- Spoilers ahead. For those of you banking episodes the result does not come from this episode. Bank one more.
For those of you hoping for a resolution the episode was undoubtedly disappointing. However, someone did cross the line at the end so we get to spend most of the next episode winding down the season. I'm glad they don't end at the line as that would have left the story rather incomplete.
As for the rest of the episode it was mostly enjoyable with one or two bouts of really? With about 5 minutes left in the episode I felt like every story that needed to be told had been told. All that was left was the finish line. And then they cut to all of the teammates one last time. I really could have done without that. The rest of the episode I thought was fantastic.
The biggest peak for me was Onoda's Mom and the Class Prez. Onoda's mom finally realized what was going on and cheered Onoda on. This led to an amusing introspective from Onoda as he thought he must be hearing things. Manami acknowledged the Class Prez as he went by and that was also very satisfying.
We got a nice cameo from Midosuji as he explained Onoda is the strongest when he smiles, which is of course gross. There will be a fight for the final step on the podium. I guess Makshima and Todou could end up tied afterall if Makshima manages to take third. I'd be OK with a lack of resolution to that battle. I could also see it ending up as a tie.
As for the race to the line? I have a feeling Manami won. Not sure why. I just feel like Manami took it. I've not read the manga so I don't know what the result is. With that in mind I've also seen other sports animes that I really wish the protagonist had lost more at the beginning. I'm thinking of Prince of Tennis where Seigaku could have lost to Foudomine in the original tournament. Echizen could have stood to lose a couple of times to get stronger. Since I know this season of the anime isn't the end of the story (though there is no guarantee of another anime season) I have a feeling we could see the protagonist lose. Onoda needs to fail to grow stronger. His desire to compete and win needs to grow. I could be off base, but that's my theory on the end of the race. Either way my understanding is there's another Inter-High in the manga which means a rematch for Manami and Onoda. The nice part of the antagonist is that Manami is at least likeable.
We'll see next week what happens. What are your predictions?
Side Note: I went to the local bike shop friday and got properly fitted with cleats and everything. I then went out on a 40 degree windy Saturday and could hardly pedal on a gradual incline (albeit into a strong headwind). Ouch. Ikkea Onoda!