Suzuka – 24
At the meet, Yamato is very pumped about the race. But on the sidelines, Miyamoto and the captain are worried about how he’ll do – Miyamoto notes that Yamato hasn’t bested his record from the earlier track meet. During the race, Yamato gets a good start, but Arima quickly passes him. Arima ends up winning, and Yamato places a disappointing fourth place. Despite everyone telling him not to worry about it too much, Yamato is clearly distraught because it means that he can’t confess to Suzuka yet. In the evening, Suzuka visits a brooding Yamato, bringing him some eggs to eat. She boils them for him and even washes his dirty dishes. Yamato eventually realizes that Suzuka is probably doing this to cheer him up. As Suzuka reaches for the door to leave, Yamato confesses to her again. He says that she doesn’t have to answer him yet, that he’ll practice more, so that he can win the next tournament. Reminded of how these closely these words mirror what Kazuki told her back then, Suzuka tells him to stop and runs out. When she doesn’t come home for several hours, Yamato grows worried enough to go and search for her. Filled with painful memories, Suzuka is actually sitting on some steps crying.
We’re once again at another “good” part of the story (for me at least), so I enjoyed this episode. The parallels between Yamato and Kazuki are clear, and Suzuka needs to overcome her past if she wants to move forward with Yamato. The animation is relatively (relatively is the key word) good this episode, but I do have to say that Yamato’s confession would have had more impact if they had focused on him instead of sticking Suzuka’s torso into half the shot. A minor complaint, but I said it because that part of the scene didn’t have as much impact on me as the manga did.
With the ending slowly creeping up, we’re already on the fateful night. Next week will more or less be the climax, and the last episode should conclude it all nicely (or so I hope).