It’s race day at school, and Kyo is pumped to compete with Yuki. Yuki is feeling a bit under the weather, but agrees to participate anyway. During the race, the three of them run across another Soma family member, Haru. When Yuki collapses, he reveals himself as the Cow, and transports Yuki home so he and Honda can care for him. While doing so, he tells Honda his backstory and the memories he shares with Yuki.
There’s quite a bit going on this episode, but the consistent theme throughout it is that characters are starting to change and develop. This is best exemplified by the ongoing clash between the male leads, Kyo and Yuki. For the first time, Kyo wants to compete against Yuki without violence.
Perhaps even more surprising, Yuki wants to compete because not doing so would make Kyo unhappy. He’s actually humoring him rather than immediately putting him down (or putting him through a wall). Progress!
It’s also refreshing to have Kyo get into a martial arts bout with someone he can keep pace with, and who acknowledges that he’s grown stronger.
Like Brendan, I was a little worried he would forever be getting the tar beat out of him by everyone in the show.
Beyond that, Haru’s backstory was a nice little tale that accomplished a lot of things at once. Naturally, it gave us some understanding of this new character, but it also a) reinforced how much of a jerkpit the Soma family is,
and b) gave us some insight into young Yuki.
It’s pretty efficient storytelling, something the show has a knack for. And you know what efficiency in the main storyline means? More time for side characters! I was glad to see the return of the terrible Prince Yuki Fan Club, seen here aggressively helping Honda get to the starting line for the race.
Keep being the worst, girls. We also got more time with Hana, and runtime with Hana in it is the best part of any episode. I had a good chuckle at the melodramatic end to her racing ambitions.
Thereafter, she spent the rest of the race gathering an ever-growing group of students who had either finished the race or followed her inspired example and never got very far in the first place to place more card games.
Overall, it’s a fun episode with a mix of brand new characters and changes to existing ones, and it’s pleasant to watch them all interact.