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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Review: Yowamushi Pedal Vols 8-12

There's a saying that all bike racers take the same amount of time to tell the same story, whether their race is a 3 week stage race or a 3 minute pursuit on the track. Given that Wataru Watanabe is taking in excess of 8 volumes to tell the story of a 3 day stage race, I'd say he should have taken on a 21 day race instead, as there's an excessive amount of padding in volumes 8-12 of Yowamushi Pedal.

Some of it is the nature of anthology comic books: each week these weekly anthologies devote only a small number of pages to each story (as little as 10-15 pages). As a result, the artist spends a couple of pages providing a synopsis of the story to remind the reader who just started reading or who might have missed a couple of issues.

Even so, by the end of volume 12 we still haven't gotten to the end of the stage race. As with the previous volumes, there's very little racing strategy. The protagonists and antagonists frequently ride side by side like idiots. Sure, these are teen bicycle racers but all it takes is one smart team to take advantage by drafting another team and the game ought to be over.

The best part of these books is that every so often the author/artist would take 4 pages out to describe a mountain bike race, or the various courses in Japan that the cyclists in the comics ride up, or even the bike parks that can be found in Japan. That makes the volumes not a total waste of time but is hardly sufficient to redeem the comics in the eyes of this cycling enthusiast.

Not recommended.

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