It was refreshing to watch Yowamushi Pedal: The Movie after watching season three New Generation when the third years Kinjou, Tadokoro, and Makishima were moving on post-graduation from Sohoku High. The Movie is set between seasons two and three (aka between Inter-High One and Inter-High Two) and reunites the cast for further racing thrills. The hour and one-half movie has one great advantage over the seasons of 20-50 episodes. Little time for backstories and introspections which prolongs the action to ridiculous proportions. More time for speed and split-second decisions. No time for Midousuji who is absent enough to be a non-factor, present enough to ooze menace. Next season promos, for sure.
The timeframe for The Movie is that tiny gap from Sohoku's Inter-High victory and the third-years moment to recede from the team scene. But one of the senior trio is missing. Flowing hair of green and red Makishima is gone, moving to England for school and to join his brother. His influence had spurred Onoda to his Inter-High win, but, now that Maki-chan is gone, how will Onoda get his inspiration. For The Movie is about a two-day road race on Kyushu, an event Hakone Academy never attends. But Sohoku is attending, and thoughts of revenge fill their spiteful hearts.
Think of The Movie as a big, old family reunion. The Kyushu event includes not just Sohoku vs. Hakone. Kyoto Fushimi (less Midousuji) and Hiroshima Technical send their teams to unseat Sohoku. Kyushu also has its local heroes who wonder how the shrimpy Onoda could have won the Inter-High. The two day event is split between specialty races, sprinters, climbers, and aces. The second day is the team dash to the finish line. But without Makishima, Onoda has zip confidence and performs poorly on day one. But watch for the plot twist. Things perk up on day two.
As for Onoda, the focus of the action usually is on him, but in The Movie, it circulates around him as he meets (and passes) a slew of finely-crafted characters, some fierce winners, others hapless losers. You enjoy meeting them all. It’s reliving all the quirks that make the YP ensemble memorable (and yes, the Sohoku squad sings the Love Princess Hime song to get them back into the game).
With no need for riders to retrospect their lives and biking philosophy, pure racing wins. And the depictions of Kyushu with its series of bridges lining the route (showcased in Long Riders!) and the stunning scenery makes for a glorious use of animation. And the music is always upbeat and driving.
Seeing the seniors still in their yellow jerseys grunting and screaming down the highway makes for a good catharsis from seeing them outed in New Generation. The impact of senpai upon their kohai makes for great object lessons, but The Movie culled a lot of this out for the glory of pure action and the spirit of competition.
I just binge-watched the first two seasons of Yowamuchi Pedal and I loved it. This movie is about what happens after as I'm sure you've already read in the synopsis. I liked how every character had their quirkiness. In the second season, Naruko really grew and so did Onoda and Iwaizumi. I'm looking forward to their future. I'm gonna binge watch the next two seasons after watching the other movie.
But, from what I watched previously there was one thing that was missing and this movie had it.
What was missing in the first and second season you ask? The team led by Onoda while they all sing the Love Hime song. It was hilarious, even I felt slightly embarrassed for them. But it was awesome because it tied everything together.
I'm also really glad that Onoda gained some confidence and is no longer a closeted Otaku. Well, he wasn't exactly hiding it but he isn't embarrassed about it anymore. He just pulls the team into his Otaku world and talks all he wants about it, and even tho they aren't interested, they just accept him and play along. He's got some good friends.
END OF SPOILER
If you've seen the first two seasons I highly recommend you watch this.
Also, don't take my scoring of this as if it isn't a good movie or show overall (since this review also covers the previous seasons). It's because I've seen many sports anime that I can't score much higher than this. And it's solely based on my opinion. Everyone's taste in anime is different. I might score the next seasons higher depending on how I liked it. The fact that I binged this show, to me, already means it's really good.
For me, anime is the only thing that makes sports fun to watch and when I hear the name of a sport I relate it to an anime.