Believe – I Will Always be Here
“Trusting the other and connecting-that’s what Stride’s all about, right?”
Just to be clear, I’m not making up these poetic descriptions. The full titles really are this long.
The episode starts with a practice run but Takeru and Riku ends up not connecting. It seems to be the fault of all three; Takeru is a perfectionist who’s not too good at communication, Riku is too hesitant about the whole thing and Nana needs get better at the timing. Takeru’s feelings for Stride strike Riku as going beyond just ‘love’ and reminds him of someone called Tomoe.
Nana learns fast but the boys remain out of sync, leading to practice runs with other members at the suggestion of Dan-sensei, the team adviser and coach. As Riku watches Takeru run rather uncooperatively, the long-haired guy from last episode shows up to give him some advice about the wind. Heath recognizes him as Kyosuke, someone whom he used to run with though it was out of necessity and not teamwork.
Dan signs them up for exhibition matches in the Kichinogi Spring Stride Festival but the expensive nature of stride races necessitates a sponsor. They approach Heath’s sister Diane who’s quite successful in the fashion industry. She readily agrees but with two conditions: they must win at the festival and also model for her.
Upcoming brother issues detected? Maybe?
What follows is some modeling and along the way, it’s revealed that Tomoe is Riku’s brother and a great Stride player who’s currently in the U.S. He used to be in Honan. Riku is visibly uncomfortable with the topic and Takeru’s ensuing provocative words causes the two of them to rush out on a run. They run into (almost literally) students from Saisei, a school which is famous for its Stride team. Riku has doubts about winning but Takeru has faith in their ability to ‘connect’.
Riku learns from Nana that Takeru runs with his partner’s max speed in mind and does not go easy no matter what. After mulling a bit over Kyosuke’s advice, Riku runs with Takeru and they manage to connect. Nana’s timing as Relationer improves as well. They say that it’s their bare minimum and that they can do better.
That’s a good start, boys
It’s then announced that their first opponent for the Kichinogi Spring Stride Festival will be Saisei because of course it is.
A solid second episode, though not as entertaining as the first.
Dan-sensei is quite a personality with his idioms and deadpan practicality. Diane is as well. She’s clearly young but the president of a company as well as her own bodyguard which is quite impressive. The boys’ modeling wasn’t too notable except for the part where Hozumi is made to dress up as a girl. I can’t blame Diane since he’s stunning in that outfit. The title for his photoshoot may have been a bit too much though.
Sorry Heath and Takeru but Hozumi wins hands down
The encounter with Saisei boys is a nice if predictable set up for their upcoming match.
As for the team, most of the focus is on Riku, Takeru and their partnership. Nana is the optimist of the group and gets the hang of her part quite quickly. Takeru is vocal about his intention to win and his faith in Riku but he does kinda fail at putting what he’s thinking into concrete terms. As for Riku, his greatest enemy seems to be himself and I also smell a brother complex in there somewhere. Riku supposedly gave up Stride in middle school but he didn’t put up much of a fight in joining the club so it’s likely that there’s something complicated going on in his head.
All in all, it’s a good episode and I’m enjoying myself.
I’m late with this. Sorry about that. I had the Shiki posts written in advance but these episodics need to be done from scratch and well, I’m still not fully recovered. I think I’ll be more consistent from now on though.