Yowamushi Pedal is easily one of my favorite sports franchises in all of anime. I’m not even a real cyclist or anything. I mean, I’ll do an occasional mountain bike race, but I ride more for adventure than sport. There’s something about YowaPedal, though, that legit motivates me and keeps me coming back.
TMS Entertainment (ReLife, Megalo Box, Detective Conan) brought us the 4th season of the series this past winter. The core YowaPedal crew of director Osamu Nabeshima (Hamtaro, Zetman), writer/series composer Kurasumi Sunyama (Bakuon!!, Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club), sound director Takeshi Takadera (Laid-Back Camp, Pandora Hearts), and music producer Kan Sawada (Moonlight Mile) returns for this installment. They more or less follow the same formula used in the previous seasons.
For a sport that emphasizes pacing, it feels like Nabeshima and Sunyama reeaaalllyyyy stretched this one out. Glory Line picks up where New Generation ended (about a quarter of the way through the Inter-High bike race) and ends maybe three quarters of the way through the Inter-High bike race. It’s not like the YowaPedal series hasn’t done this kind of thing before; the first and second season did something similar. However, at this point we don’t need three episodes covering a sprint between two characters because one of them was introduced back in the second season, and we pretty much already know his backstory. Still, this season does manage to capture at least some of the intensity and comedic charm that the earlier ones offered. It also does a decent job of balancing screen time between both new characters and old favorites.
The animation is satisfactory, though some the character model stuff seems a little inconsistent at times.
One thing that’s noteworthy in regards to the music/sound design is that most of the music has remained pretty much the same throughout the entirety of the YowaPedal series. Many of the same musical accompaniments reoccur with slight variations from season to season, probably with the goal of associating specific themes/melodies with specific types of moments or emotion. It sounds a little repetitive, but that’s the point; It works for the most part. I’d also be willing to bet that kind of uniformity is a product of having kept the same crew intact at the same studio for all four seasons.
Music/Sound Design: 7.5
I like seeing my man Teshima lead the team, but the Yomamushi Pedal franchise peaked with the YowaPedal movie. One of my favorite anime scenes of all time comes from that movie, but I digress; that’s a topic for another time.
Glory Line gets a Final Score of 7/10.
The season was clearly a set up for a movie that will definitively end this storyline. I can only hope that it drops in the next six months or so because they already planned for it…I need this race to end so I can move on with my life. Hopefully Hanebado! can fill the void for this upcoming summer season, at least.
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