[Takes all the predicts from last week, proceeds to toss them out the window]
AHAHAHAHAHA! Man I couldn’t have been more off the mark with my predictions! (Well maybe not completely since Langa VS Tadashi was resolved by one of them forfeiting.) In fact, they did the exact opposite! Man that gave me a good laugh.
This episode was very fun and even satisfying to watch! But there were definitely moments that also had me feeling squeamish, and left me feeling unsure about how I felt about the way things were panning out.
Let’s start with the stuff I wasn’t so sure about. Frankly, I still don’t know whether I should be happy or appalled by Reki’s willingness to face Adam again. On one hand, this is a good thing because this is Reki willing to face his fear. He is finally at peace with himself and recognizes he skates because it is fun, so he isn’t going to shy away from the opportunity to do so. However at the same time, it was kind of jarring to see him accept the invitation after spending countless episodes highlighting how dangerous Adam is as an opponent. This came across as a bit strange after Reki had been injured by Adam, and because of it he expressed concerned about Langa’s safety, and discouraged him from competing against him. In a way it was kind of beyond me how readily he accepted the challenge, especially since I knew when Tadashi said “Adam is going to be serious”, he was not referring to respecting Reki as a opponent.
Then there was the part of Tadashi announcing he is dropping out of the competition. Again, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Tadashi being the one to do it. But regardless of my feelings, it does make sense. As I mentioned this last week, I wasn’t convinced that taking skateboarding away from Adam would be the best solution. The one of the roots of the problem is the fact Adam had also lost sight of what makes skateboarding fun. Now that Tadashi having realized that, he decided it would be best for Adam to gain closure of regaining his ‘love’ is by skating against the opponent he perceives to be his ‘Eve’, Langa.
Still, it is too bad that they really did end up resolving this match-up with a forfeit, because I really wanted to see Tadashi VS Langa go up against each other. But I think it was important that Tadashi himself voluntarily dropped out to prove to Adam he is trying to help him in his own way again.
As for the beef, as one should have expected, Adam had no intention of treating Reki as an opponent. This match-up was his way of taking out his frustration and jealousy on Reki, using him as a punching bag, beating him up, throwing him off his board, dragging him along the ground, shoving and pummeling him into the cliff-sides and ultimately attempted to go for the kill. That’s why Tadashi tried to warn Reki not to compete. Fortunately, when it came down to the kill, Reki was able to dodge the lethal punch. Still, despite knowing it was coming, it didn’t make it any easier to watch.
But while it was somewhat admirable how Reki fought Adam head on in face of his wrath, I felt the amount of harm inflicted onto Reki kind of broke the immersion when it came down to still being able to stand on his board. That’s doesn’t always happen to me when it comes down to fiction, but this time I felt it was a bit of an overkill.
And finally, we have the highlight of the episode: Reki outwitting Adam by utilizing what makes him special: The ability to customize his skates. Leading up to the beef, the weather forecast has been a damp one, and while the boys were talking about what material to use for Langa’s new board, one of the things that was pointed out were the weatherproof wheels. It appears Reki had been keeping an eye on the forecast, banking on the fact it would rain during their match, and sure enough it paid off.
Having wheels that gave him grip in the rain not only gave him the edge, but that wasn’t the only thing that got him through it. Reki went for the plays he wanted to do, such as the high air off the cliff where he got to experience the kind of views Langa sees. He was also able to dodge the hit by throwing his jacket as a decoy, giving him just enough time to get away from Adam. Better yet, even though Reki lost by the skin of his teeth, he won the crowd’s heart and emerged as the true victor because his wit won the crowd’s acknowledgement. And for that, I am very happy for him, and was still satisfied with the outcome. (But I don’t think Adam would have won this race had he not cut through the woods on feet to try and inflict his ‘Full Swing Kiss’ attack and Reki’s wheel didn’t fall off! Just saying…)
With the combination of being outwitted and coming out as the loser despite having won, Adam has officially reached his breaking point. He admitted today that he knows he is alone, as he is the only one who exists in his world, and right how his lifeline is his belief that Langa will be joining him soon.
Next will is the final episode! It’s been hella of ride, so see you next week!