Yowamushi Pedal is an anime about a first-year high school student named Sakamichi Onoda who is an otaku that wants to join his high school’s anime club, but it has shut down due to lack of members. Sakamichi’s goal is to try to revive the anime club. He also rides a “mommy” bike, and is able to ride it very well. After losing in a bicycle race to Shunsuke, Shunsuke tells him to think about joining the bicycle racing club, because he sees that Sakamichi has potential. In episode four, Sakamichi became friends with a boy named Naruko that he met while he was in Akihibara. After some convincing from Naruko, Sakamichi joins the bicycle racing club.
At the beginning of the episode, the team is on the bus heading to the training camp, which is taking place at a cycling sports center in Izu. Unfortunately, Sakamichi becomes car sick on the way there, so the bus has to stop. Kinjou, the team captain, has a schedule to keep, so he says they need to leave Sakamichi there to rest; he’ll have Kanzaki pick him up when he heads on his way to the camp with the bikes and equipment.
While Sakamichi is waiting for Kanzaki, he collapses. A bike rider comes up and offers him a drink from his bottle. It turns out the rider is Manami Sangaku, and he’s on Hakone Academy’s team. After a bit, Manami has to leave, but says that Sakamichi can keep the bottle.
The remainder of the episode sees Sakamichi and the others going through the first day of their training camp. There’s only one thing on the schedule: bike 1,000 kilometers in the next four days. If that wasn’t bad enough, Naruko and Shunsuke learn their bikes have had modifications made to them: Naruko’s lower handlebars have been removed, while Shunsuke’s gear shifters have been removed. The captain wants them to become stronger without relying on the “crutches” they use. It’s later revealed that Sakamichi’s bike also has had a modification made to it, but it’s not obvious at first.
It was nice to finally see someone from the Hakone team get some real screen time; previous to this, we saw very short scenes or shots of members of Hakone’s team. After meeting Manami, Sakamichi decides that it would be fun to meet up again and ride together. Now that Sakamichi has made his goal of riding with Naruko and Shunsuke, it stands to reason that he would need a new goal to strive for.
It’s also been nice to see how much of a mentor that Makishima has become for Sakamichi. He was willing to let Sakamichi in on what was causing him to have problems climbing up the slope, even though Kinjou told him not to. I think Makishima’s willingness to be a mentor comes from the fact that they’re both climbers, and the fact that Makishima seems to see a bit of himself back when he was a first-year when he sees Sakamichi. I suspect this mentor dynamic will continue to appear over the course of the series.
The end of episode 12 ended with the end of the first day of the training camp. At this point, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say the next three episodes will probably cover the remaining three days of the training camp. I’m curious to see if I’m right.
However, Yowamushi Pedal is now on a break during the holidays. According to Crunchyroll, episode 13 will stream for premium members on January 6, 2014, and be available for free users on January 13, 2013. Since I’m currently a free user, I’m going to have to wait a couple of weeks in order to find out what will happen next in Yowamushi Pedal.