“Road” to Nowhere

April 19th, 2015 in Yowamushi Pedal by


OK, as you know from a previous review, I walked away from “Yowamushi Pedal”, as I felt everyone were pricks. I got a message from a fan of the show who felt I was too harsh in my initial review and I should give the second season, “Grande Road”, a test drive. (Huyk! Hyuk! Gotta love those puns!)

The overall problem is that any concerns that were endemic in the first season will potentially continue through to the second and worse ones may crop up. They did.

The first problem is that the original idea of the show, letting us see how otaku Sakamichi Onoda (specs in the middle) transmogrifies from a ‘weakling pedal’ (the English translation of the show) to a determined person, has been discarded, so that he is a supporting player in his own series. He gets left behind as we examine, in painfully minute detail, the lives of everyone to show that they did not all start out as pricks, but unhappy events and foul circumstances and missed bus connections MADE them into the revolting piles of poodle-doo that they are now.

It also focused too hard on the sports aspect of it and the endless internalization that the riders have. It reminded me of “Dune”, but without the whispering, but just as annoying. And what give with the tongue? There are a couple of characters that would put Gene Simmons of “Kiss” to shame, in how long and slimy and gross they are with their tongues. And since we are slicing the show into nano-seconds, it takes like three episodes to bike five kilometers, as we delve, delve, delve, as see rivulets of sweat draining off of people’s faces, as we watch muscles cramp up with painful manifestations, as we see people challenged with every fiber of their being to be the best always and forever.

Whatever humanity Onoda brings to the show, it gets piled under a barrage of the worse caliber of fortune-cookie comments. We have one guy who refers to the peloton as a giant snake, gobbling up all in its path. (For those who do not follow cycling, the peloton is the large, main group of riders, not those of the tete de la course, the maniacs who are way out in front). But it’s just that almost everyone who gets to say any line of dialogue is some caliber of prick, even the guys on Onoda’s team. And the overall show comes off as some kind of mystical manifestation of the world in a microcosm of this three-day bicycle race.

The bicycles represent the journey one takes to uncover the truths about your life. The power you exude reflects your inner strength to attain and achieve the goals that are set before you, even if you cannot see the end of the path from where you stand. The mountains depict the arduous climbs that you must attack in order to define yourself in this world and the next. The water bottle is because you are hot and sweaty and need something to drink. Sorry, it came off as a lot of needless and pointless symbolism. Or maybe an embolism.

Then, there are these endless reservoirs of strength. The guys are already going fast, but they manage to go faster, and then even more faster and then, still even more faster still. I would have to say they must be going 70 or 80 miles an hour by the reckoning, it would be fascinating to see the reading on those Wahoo TICKRx monitors, these athletes have incredible heart rates. It’s just that it is taking forever to tell this show and I fear that the end results will, again be disappointing, although that is funny for me to say, as I never made it to the end of the first season and I might not make it to the end of the second season. I do not think I was harsh in either of these reviews: “Pedal” had a good initial concept but lost something along the way until I was watching an anime of cycling, when I can always watch the “Tour de France” instead.
On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork 7 (Weird just to be weird)
Plot 6 (Took a wrong turn somewhere)
Pacing 5 (Almost like super slo-motion)
Effectiveness 5 (Far too much internalization)
Conclusion 2 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but doesn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)

Overall 5 (What was it all for anyway?

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. It’s our last time together.

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