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Overtake! – 05

I’m not gonna sit here and pretend there was a whole lot to that episode of Overtake.  It was definitely a lightweight compared to the first four, and I wouldn’t judge it to have been especially brilliant on the comedy front.  But it worked well enough, and stealthily snuck in kind of a major event there at the end.  That was clever actually, because all that seemingly trivial stuff in the episode was there to set up that one moment that was anything but.  With only 12 eps I kind of hate to see one spent like this, and if it were to be repeated I’d start to get a little worried.  But as a one-off, it’s fine.

Pretty much the entire episode was centered on the “Oyama 10K”, a sort of semi-charitable road race set up to drum up support for the local businesses (this sort of thing happens all the time in Japan).  With the finish line being the track at Fuji Speedway, the F4 teams are “invited” to participate (in much the same way neighborhood associations “invite” locals to cleanups).  This includes both Komaki and Belsorriso, with Satsuki and Tokumaru slated to run for the latter and Haruka for the former.  Futoshi is supposedly going to be the second runner, but he injures himself on a training jog and ropes Kotarou into taking his place (as Futoshi slides into the commentary seat, but no reason I can figure out).

In short, Kotarou is a sloth and hates running (Arisu keeps him company for a while but eventually ditches him).  The three drivers, all young and athletic, naturally gravitate to the front, and by the water break (which is actually an unagi and piping hot tea break) almost everyone else has dropped out.  Satsuki reveals his admiration for James Hunt, the Formula One legend and great rival (and close friend) of Niki Lauda (whose crash on the Nurburgring in 1976 is almost surely the model for the one which claimed Haruka’s father).  Haruka blows a tire, rejects Kouya’s offer of his own (the funniest moment of the episode) and races the others to a photo finish in his socks.

The three finish in an unlikely three-way tie, and thanks to janken it’s Tokumaru who gets the precious first prize of 5 kilos of Wagyu beef, leaving Haruka with the second-prize eel (Satsuki gets Muscats).  But the reveal is that Haruka was trying so hard because Futoshi has a birthday coming up, and this leads to a genuinely warm moment between them (Futoshi is pretty much a father to Haruka).  And that leads to the true point of all this, Kouya being inspired to capture that moment.  This is different than that impromptu crying photo – much more considered, and with a gaggle of witnesses.  Haruka is basically Kouya’s muse, it seems – and through that Kouya seems finally ready to return to who he really is.

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