Everything in Overtake! is setting up nicely for what should be a very satisfying ending. That’s one of the main upsides of original anime of course – assuming the planning has been carried out properly (and that the writer is decent) you never have to fit square pegs into round holes. It doesn’t always work that way (one need look no further than Urobuchi Gen’s catalog for proof of that) but it seems very likely to in Overtake’s case
This was a fully race-focused episode, leaving the big character moments mostly for next week. Komaki is lamenting the missed opportunity the last race presented, but that’s what happens when you’re a financially underpowered team going up against bullies like Belsorriso. Everything costs money – the braking system being another huge money suck – and the big boys replace everything after every race anyway. Haruka blames himself, but the truth is he had no choice but to use up his tires working his way back to the front (having started so far back in the grid because Komaki can’t afford to blow through a set of tires getting the setup right.
Kouya always blames himself of course. This time for having cost the team the sponsorship money they needed for all that fresh rubber. But as Kotarou rightly points out they’d never have had that sponsor in the first place if not for Kouya. Fortunately – having seen Haru’s near-miss and puzzled at his plain white car – the shoutengai shop-owners step up to make a group contribution. Belsorriso probably finds that much money between the couch cushions, but for a ragtag outfit like Komaki that Yen make a huge difference in their readiness.
What about Satsuki He’s had his cast cut off and replaces by a walking boot. And he waltzes (well, figuratively) into Belsorriso’s garage and asks Ena-san to make him the #1 driver for the next race. And he turns in some darn good qualifying times too, rust or no (despite barfing in the men’s roof afterwards). Ena decides to let all four drivers have a race to claim the #1 spot (though it quickly becomes clear that this is a one-on-one duel, not a melee). Tookumaru does manage to hold him off, but only after a bit of a cosmic revalation after seeing Satsuki crawling up his tailpope.
The interesting question for me here is whether Satsuki was doing this in order to give Tokumaru a kick up the backside, because he feels so threatened, or some measure of both (I think it’s that one). Tokumaru obviously needed that kick and has for a while, but I think Satsuki was primarily acting because he knows the risks of letting somebody else win races while you’re laid up in a hospital bed.
Lastly, Kouya is asked by Sae-chan to do a special edition of her magazine. Special for him indeed, as it’s to be focused on Haruka’s struggle to make it as a racing driver. All the more reason that podium finish pretty much has to come very soon, because so many other threads critical to Overtake’s ending are tied up in it.