OH MY GOD, THAT ENDING. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I CAN’T BREATHE JOTA WHAT A WAY TO PASS THE STASH TO YOUR BROTHER, “I THINK HANA LIKES ME!” OH MY GOD I AM IN TEARS, THIS IS TOO FUNNY!!! What a great way to finish such a heartfelt episode. I am really happy we’re getting insight on the characters. Although some were only scratching the surface, I think it was relatively fine since we learned a lot about their type of characters throughout the series. Musa is a good example of that, (but we did see him also get to see Haiji giving him advice as well), where as it was good to see Haiji and Akane’s flashback of their important conversation, along with gaining insight on why Jota doesn’t plan on returning to the team again next year.
I would say my favourite part of the episode was the flashback of the conversation between Akane and Haiji. When Haiji apologized to him for forcing him to join the team, Akane surprises him by comparing Haiji to the his favourite (sports) protagonists, and told him he understands that he needs to be tough to lead the team. After-all, an athlete wants to win. And this is really what makes Akane not just an sincere character, but also an inspiring one. He look fragile, but he is truly a force to reckon with. Even though he hates running, he wanted to succeed for those who worked hard, and would have regretted it if he didn’t join them.
And damnit my heart! I was so proud of him when he reached Musa and passed on the stash. Better yet, I realized how important it was for both Kakeru and Haiji to be there to catch him at the first check point. Both of them played a huge part in getting him to where he is now. Not to mention, they are the best cheer leaders on the team.
Although they didn’t shed a whole lot of light on Musa, we did see him let the adrenaline and impatience get to his head, which threw him off his pace a bit. He was able to find his stride once he calmed down and adjusted his pace so he wouldn’t burn out. On the flip side of things, Jota experienced the exact opposite, where Hana gave him a boost of energy for the final spurt, climbing two ranks. (It was so hilarious to see everyone’ reaction of, “What the hell he’s looking at?” ) That being said, I am going to laugh really hard if Hana shows up at Joji’s spot to cheer him on as well, especially following up after that kind of reveal. However maybe we might actually end up seeing Hana and Jota interact with each other from Joji’s perspective, which would be a nice follow up to settle the whole “which twin is Hana in love with” mystery, if that turns out to be the case.
Of the three who ran today, Jota was the one who we gained the most insight on. For the first time, they showed us what was been on his mind. Frankly, I never cared much for the twins to begin with, and I cared for them even less after they had qualified to run at Hakone, but after this episode, I found myself wishing they had spent some time alluding to Jota’s desires to do find a different path from his brother earlier on. This kind of desire doesn’t surprise me as it’s a common theme used with characters who are twins. What did surprise me though, was how Jota recognizes his brother for being a stronger and more passionate runner than him. This is why he doesn’t plan on returning to the club, but he believes Joji should stay and continue on, polishing up his abilities so he can pursue and beat his new rival, Kakeru.
Although this week ended in laughter, next week is going to be a brutal one. With Shindo sick with a terrible fever, I’m so worried about him. I think it’s probably safe to say now that the entire team is likely aware of Shindo’s condition. Musa was amazingly calm listening to Shindo when he made the promise to take him to his hometown to see the snow.