The first Fall show to weigh in for Winter may just be the best, and the new year finds it still in rhythm.
OP2: "Yowamushi na Honoo (弱虫な炎)" by Dirty Old Men
do take to more night riding. And Onoda learns an important lesson in cycling - it's a lot easier to push yourself forward when you're following other riders in a pack. There's the matter of wind resistance but there's a strong psychological factor involved too, in focusing on the back of the rider in front of you and just turning the pedals. That's why you see breakaway groups in races like the Tour de France continually rotating the lead - and why the other riders get very testy if one of the group refuses to take their turn at the front.
Onoda blushing at the mention of Miki-chan as well as lots more of Naruko and Imaizumi glaring at each other and being joined at the hip (not to mention an extended scene in the bath featuring Imaizumi looking on impassively as both his teammates nearly drown from exhaustion). There's also the matter of publicity - the first time we've seen this factor into the equation, as the newspapers and even TV start requesting interviews from the schools competing at the inter-highs. Naruko scores some major points with Kinjou by refusing the offer to be the Souhoku representative - an offer made, I suspect, as a test of Naruko's ability to resist it.
bodies to fill out the 6-man requirement for inter-highs, and he never worked his way up to the ace role. His character is the most "cartoonish" in the series so far - there's just not a lot of subtlety there, though I suppose it's just possible we'll see another side to him eventually.
he loves his hair clips and mirrors - and Onoda's fated (at least) rival Manami, who seems like the odd man out with his team for his eccentric behavior. This week we're introduced to the very weird Izumiya Toichirou (Atsushi Abe) who's not only named his pecs - that would be strange enough - but named them "Frank" and Andy". They seem the polar opposite of Kyoto Fushimi and Midousuji - a team-first group where "everyone is an ace" - and I suspect it's they who're going to be the last Souhoku rival standing when the inter-highs finally go down to the wire.
ED2: "I am ready" by AUTRIBE featuring Dirty Old Men