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Overtake! – 07

Well, that certainly got pretty heavy there.  When you look at the history of sports anime – most of which are based on manga, though not all – Overtake! is pretty unusual.  Kouya’s arc is what really sets this series apart.  The auto racing stuff is good, and would be enough on it’s own to make Overtake an entertaining show.  But Kouya’s backstory is quite complicated and dark, and it’s well-integrated with the sports side (effectively Haruka’s arc).  It’s a nice combination and not one you see very often in this genre.

First off, though, there’s Satsuki – who was left off in rather a perilous state last week.  His crash certainly justifies Haru’s decision to pack it in, and by extension Kouya’s entreaties to convince him.  It also calls into question why formula races are allowed to continue in the rain, but that’s a larger problem this series probably isn’t keen to tackle.  Satsuki is indeed injured pretty seriously – broken ribs and a broken leg, apparently.  But Koutarou is right, it could have been worse (as all the Komaki Motors team knows too well).

Satsuki is soon enough back to his old tricks in the hospital (much to Arisu’s dismay), but he’s overcompensating here, pretty clearly.  Not racing is going to be tough on Satsuki, and you never know how a 17 year-old driver is going to react to his first crash once he’s back in the driver’s seat.  Arisu is desperate to talk to him, and despite pining for Arisu himself Koutaou gives her a push in the right direction.  Meanwhile Tokumaru takes over the Belsorriso’s lead driver and easily wins his first race.  But it’s clear he’s going to approach the role of team leader very differently than Satsuki did.

The main event here, though, is Kouya’s descent (back) into crisis.  It starts with that dispute in the pits with Haruka and the photo of Satsuki, but the real trouble starts when the corporate sponsor declares they’re pulling out.  Why?  Because social media put two and two together and figured out that this was the same guy who took “that” photo in Touhoku.  And Japanese corporations are as spineless as they come.  Rather than risk bad publicity they’re cutting off Komaki Motors entirely, which leaves them in a bind that Kouya obviously blames himself for.

What exactly happens next isn’t absolutely clear, but it’s obvious that Kouya goes to a very bad place inside.   He cuts off Haruka (not even reading his messages), and Saeko hears nothing from him.  This in turn leads Haru down the path of guilt – first, for clashing with Kouya over the rainy day race, and for not being sensitive enough to just how badly traumatized Kouya has been by the social media blacklisting.  Koutarou – who was about to discuss his own frustrations at dealing with the new-old cash poor reality – sends Haruka off to Kouya’s apartment in Tokyo to mend fences.

Haruka really is a good kid.  He’s a little awkward but a straight shooter whose heart is always in the right place.  His dismay over losing Kouya from his life is pretty moving stuff, and it plays up just how powerful the bond between them has become.  Thee problem is that Kouya doesn’t seem to be in his apartment and even worse, the door is unlocked and the mail is stacking up.  One could be forgiven for thinking the worst here, but I imagine he’s out there somewhere trying to reconcile himself with what he’s been running away from.  There’s a hint of another impending crisis too, as Ena-san from Belsorriso seems to be thinking about recruiting Haruka – and wouldn’t that be an extremely Capeta-like moment…

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