Note: Episode 9.5 was a Recap with Characters Commentary, not much to say about that so I won’t be discussing it here.
Yikes, the injuries didn’t end with Cherry. We return with a very grim first half, where Reki gets beaten up by former teammates of a group he used to be a part of before quitting, and then Shadow was attacked by his crush’s psycho ex-boyfriend to the point he is hospitalized, and was not in condition to perform in the next round. Oh and Mika gets his heart broken a bit more after Reki ran away from him after asking him to stay by his side. Poor kid. He even said he’d forgive him for it…
To be honest, I thought this episode was a bit weird in a sense of how they glossed over the quarter-finals. Shadow was taken out after he was attacked by his crush’s psycho ex-boyfriend (the yellow-head we briefly saw in ep 9, I was wondering what was up with that shot. Now we know!). And then we didn’t get the chance to properly see Miya compete, let alone reach the finish line because he couldn’t catch up with Tadashi, at all. It is disappointing, but I get it, they didn’t really want to waste time when the results were already obvious. At least there was one merit we could take away, and that is helping us gauge exactly how skilled Tadashi actually is. We even got to see how Adam picked his up his skate style (ie: dancing, and then shaped it into his own) when he is weaving around the fallen debris.
But while people got hurt, there was also healing. At long last, Reki and Langa were able to make up with each other and skate together again once they realized what they had lost sight of. And I am glad they didn’t just rush the reconciliation to be done after one episode. Reki needed time to work through his emotions, just as Langa needed to understand why his heart wasn’t in it anymore.
For Reki, a couple of things needed to happen before he could remember what skating meant to him, but ultimately it took someone like Tadashi to put his heart to the test. Reki finally understands now that it doesn’t matter if he isn’t talented, he is passionate about it and that’s why even though it was hard at first, he never wanted to stop because it is fun.
But at the same time, it was really important for Langa verbalize how amazing Reki is to him. He praised him for his craftsmanship, how he taught him how fun it is to skate, and how do to it. These are all the little things that Reki didn’t realize what made him special in his own way. That’s why it was really something that Reki needed to hear from Langa himself.
As for Langa, snowboarding and skating are meaningless without having someone to share the experience with. When his father passed away, he couldn’t enjoy snowboarding anymore, so he quit. That’s why when Reki stopped skating with him, regardless who he was skating with or where he was at, he just couldn’t get into it.
Watching the two of them making up with each other was the wholesome bonding moment we have been waiting to see since their spat. It was also a nice touch to see them add ‘infinite’ to their DAP! But at the same time, seeing the two of them share this joy together paints a tragic picture of how both Tadashi’s and Adam’s passion for skating been tainted. When Tadashi taught Adam how to skate, it became his lifeline. So when it was destroyed, he snapped. The catastrophic result is why Tadashi regrets introducing him to that hobby, because had it been anything else, then Adam wouldn’t have been ordered to quit, and maybe he wouldn’t have necessarily turned into the monster he is today. (I have my doubts though, Adam has a super messed up family. It’s no wonder skateboarding became the only place he could breathe in that household.)
It is hard to say though whether taking skateboarding away from Adam at this point is really the best option. The root of the problem is how dangerous and deranged he has become. There is also the fact Adam had also lost sight of what skateboarding originally meant to him. The pure and wholesome days when he and Tadashi had fun and relax together. Sadly those days are long gone, especially now that Tadashi decided he needs to make Adam quit skating for once and for all.
Speaking of insanity, Adam took his creepy infatuation with Langa to the next level by freaking stalking him with a bloody drone! Thanks to that, he realized what Reki means to Langa, and decided even though he’s a ‘nobody’ to him (the point he doesn’t even remember who he is, nor his name), he is going to cast him as his substitute opponent for the semi-finals.
Now I don’t know about you, but that scares me the shit out of me because I don’t think there’s any way for him to safely avoid this even if he wanted to. Adam has way too much influence and power, so I suspect Reki would probably be blackmailed into it one way or another. It is pretty scary because Adam is seeking to destroy him in order to remove the obstacle in his path from claiming his “love”. That’s why I am there is a part of me that is worried about how this farce between Adam and Reki is going to pan out. I suppose one sure way to dodge the bullet would be to tip off the police and investigator by having them crash the party again to call off the race mid-way. We still don’t know who tipped them off the first time. At first I thought maybe it was Tadashi, but after this week, with the way he tried to do a private settlement Reki after almost (or maybe he did) accidentally hit him with the car to ensure he kept quiet about it, I have my doubts.
And finally, there is also the matter of the other match-up for the semi-finals, and that is between Langa and Tadashi. Truthfully I don’t know if we will see the match-up pan out. I suppose it depends on how they pace out both next week’s and the final episode’s races. A part of me also wonders whether Langa will end up being Adam’s opponent. Based on Tadashi’s skill set, it does feel like he is capable of defeating Langa and moving onto the finals to face Adam.
But you know what? There’s another way Tadashi can easily move to the finals: Langa choosing to drop out of the competition. While I would like to see the two race against each other, I think that would make a lot of sense. After all the shit he has done, and how he is now forcibly dragging Reki into the competition, this would be the best way to ultimately refuse Adam while also fulfilling his promise with Reki to not compete against him. Additionally, it does appear that Adam believes by either removing Reki from the picture, or pulling Langa into his world, he will be able to obtain him. So the best way to counter that would be for his actions to trigger the opposite effect.
That’s all for this week, see you next time!