Hi hi, this will be the last Prince of Stride summary. After thinking about it (for far longer than I should have >.>;) i’ve decided to cut this series short.
I didn’t expect much when I picked up POS but it’s really surprised me with how much i’ve enjoyed it. These summaries were great fun to do and I really wish I could continue doing them. However the common route is pretty long and sadly I don’t have as much free time as I used to. As a result of this I have had to drop a few things, this being one of them. If people still want these I may continue in the future but for now this is pretty much it ^^;
In part 3 we find out why Kuga’s no longer part of Honan stride club. It also covers the Honan vs Ichiba race. (There’s a few details i’m a little hazy about since it’s been a while but hopefully you get the jist (/)u(\) )
Returning from Hokkaido the team move on with Ayumu still in hospital. They begin to face the prospect of not being able to take part in EOS being a member down. Having lost against Ichijokan they have to win their next race or it’s all over.
Without Ayumu’s intel they watch a video recording of their next opponent Ichiba. The team finished in the top 4 last year and the possibility of a loss begins to hit them. Trying to stay positive they get back into the groove of things and train like usual.
Riku seems on edge since they came back trying to get faster and faster in order to better his brother. Takeru comments on how bad his form has looked all day and the two look like they’re going to fight so Nana steps in to break it up, Takeru leaves having said enough.
Passing by Asuma stops to talk to Nana and Riku. He can tell Riku’s bothered by his brother and suggests they all jog back to Honan.
Soon after Riku begins to behave like he normally does thanks to Asuma taking his mind of things. Asuma had actually stopped by to see if Ayumu was alright having heard about what happened in Hokkaido. He tells Riku they better not lose before they face off saying his goodbyes.
The next day the hunt for a new member begins. Needing to make up the bare minimum number of members Nana, Riku and Takeru approach anyone they can and ask if they would help the stride club out but sadly they have no luck. Meeting up with Heath and Hozumi later they too had no luck.
At club practice they ask Dan sensei if he could help but there’s no much he can do. Riku suddenly brings up Kuga saying it would all be fine if Kuga would return, the room goes silent. Nana agrees with Riku having thought it all along she too wants Kuga to return but Hozumi seems against it. Heath is hesitant but agrees to let Nana try and talk to him on the condition that he goes with her.
A few days go by with no sign of Kuga when one day Nana spots him, she quickly goes to get Heath and they confront him. Heath doesn’t know what to say and leaves it to Nana who straight out asks him to come back. Kuga declines, he won’t return to the sport.
Nana won’t give up and tries to convince him leaving Heath no choice but to reveal why Kuga’s like this.
Last year the team had plenty of members with him, Kuga and Tomoe as 2nd year regulars. At the time the 3rd years got jealous and didn’t really get along with them. There was an incident where another stride club member got injured and Kuga was blamed for it, though completely innocent. His own club members turned on him leaving and eventually Kuga left too blaming himself for the club falling to pieces. Around this time Tomoe also left for America. In the end only Heath and Hozumi remained. Hozumi looked up to Kuga and was always with him so it only hurt more after he left.
Whilst they’re talking they hear a scream followed by the sound of something shattering, Heath and Kuga dash off and find a girl injured. They act quickly to help her and soon she’s sent to the hospital just in case.
Seeing how fast they were Nana doesn’t believe Kuga has given up on stride one bit and asks him once more to reconsider. He says nothing leaving.
Later on in the week Hozumi and Nana stop by the hospital to see Ayumu. He seems cheerful though bored out of his mind. A knock appears at the door while they’re chatting and thinking it’s Dan sensei Ayumu tells them to come in, it’s Kuga. He had come to see how Ayumu was doing. Hozumi stays silent eventually snapping.
He can’t see why Kuga would appear after everything he put the club through on top of that Hozumi still blames himself for Ayumu getting injured. Unable to stay in the same room he runs away. Ayumu asks Nana to please talk to him.
Nana finds Hozumi in a nearby park, he apologizes for running out like that. Hozumi could never forgive someone who could turn his back so easily on his teammates but deep down he knows Kuga isn’t a bad person and that the team could really use someone like him. Everyone left the stride club after that incident and it was just them, soon after Tomoe went to America and Kuga left too leaving just him and Heath. Heath had been waiting for them to return but no one did. It was then the stride club and shogi club came together when Hozumi invited Ayumu along. If none of that had happened Hozumi would’ve never dragged Ayumu into this and he wouldn’t have gotten hurt.
Back at the hospital Ayumu asks Kuga if he could return to the stride club on his behalf. He wants what’s best for the team and knows it’s what they need the most right now.
Training continues with Nana not giving up on Kuga. She keeps trying but can’t seem to find him. One day she spots his bike at the bike rack and waits beside it. Kuga comes by not surprised to see her and takes her for a ride wishing to talk to her.
The pair stop by at a park and Kuga asks if she really wants him to return. More than likely he’ll be a hindrance to the team and they would probably be better off without him seeing how they’re doing fine right now. Nana disagrees, she doesn’t believe Kuga will be a hindrance at all. In fact she believes he can only help the team get stronger. She’s aware of what happened in the past but things are different now. Everyone wants Kuga to come back. Having heard all Nana has to say Kuga feels the wind picking up he decides to call it a day and gives Nana a lift home.
Eventually Ayumu gets discharged from the hospital and he walks into a very gloomy club room. His appearance instantly brightens the team’s mood. They’re all glad to have him back. He’s allowed to return to school and do gentle exercise but unfortunately he hasn’t been given the all clear for stride. The team, a member down can only pin their hopes on Kuga to return as race day comes.
It’s the day of the race and everyone’s gathered outside of the school. That morning Heath had messaged Kuga all the details and hoped he would turn up. Their bus is due to leave but there’s no sign of him. Running the risk of being late and losing by default they all get on the bus and leave without Kuga.
Honan Vs Ichiba
Arriving at the race course Honan wait around contemplating that they may have to forfeit. They have to win this race otherwise they’re out of the EOS. Even with Ayumu present he’s in no state to run and with registration due to close soon there’s still no sign of Kuga.
Nana feels a somewhat familar presence as the wind picks up, it’s him.
Kuga arrives much to the relief of his teammates. He asks them if he could rejoin and apologizes for making them wait . They accept him happily bar Hozumi who stays silent the whole time. Ayumu lends Kuga his jersey asking Kuga to run for his sake as a member of Honan stride club. Unsurprisingly Ayumu’s jersey is too small for Kuga and Dianne was unable to have one prepared on such short notice. Kuga ties it around his waist inside representing Honan.
The Ichiba members comes up to greet Honan having heard they only just made the registration cut off. The third years are happy to see Kuga welcoming him back. Ichiba’s anchor Shinobi Izumi asks Kuga why they hadn’t seen him or Heath at the EOS 2 years back and Kuga explains it’s due to them not being regulars, because of that they weren’t ever allowed to take part in the big tournament only smaller races. Regardless Izumi and the other Ichiba 3rd years are happy they’ll finally have their showdown.
Relationer and 2nd year Kansuke Tomaru seems less relaxed than his seniors as the final preparations are in place.
The running order for Honan is Riku, Takeru, Hozumi, Heath and finally Kuga as anchor.
The race starts with Honan taking the lead thanks to Riku’s quick turn at the corner. Following on to Takeru the team maintain their lead switching to Hozumi. All is going well until the 3rd switch over when Ichiba’s runner Hikari dashes overtaking Hozumi. By the next switch over Ichiba are in the lead and Heath is up against Ikki who only extends their lead.
Kansuke had studied Honan in great depth and taken all of Honan’s abilities into account when creating this race order. In order to take on Heath he had placed Ikki there for the long stretch with plans to out do him in stamina.
By the final switch over Heath has managed to close the gap a little sending Kuga on his way. The final stretch is between Ichiba’s ace Izumi and Honan’s returning member Kuga. The two 3rd years give it there but Ichiba manage to keep their lead.
Suddenly Kuga hears Hozumi’s thoughts. How hurt Hozumi was when Kuga had left them behind and how he could never forgive someone who could turn their back on stride so easily. But even so he knows Kuga’s a good person and the team need him. In that case Kuga should step up and take his place as Honan’s anchor.
Spurred on by Hozumi’s feelings and the support of his teammates Kuga closes the gap, they’re neck and neck down to the last stretch then as the whistle blows Kuga is revealed the winner.
Nana’s the first one to greet Kuga with a high touch. One by one the other members high five Kuga celebrating their win. Ayumu asks if it would be okay for him to join in too and Kuga says to him of course, he’s a member of the team after all.
With everyone in high spirits the Ichiba members come over. Kansuke stays silent the whole time until the 3rd years try to cheer him up. Instead Kansuke grits his teeth holding back his tears. This is their final year and even though he had done so much research and preparation he had failed them as a relationer. The 3rd years tell him not to worry about it so much but he can’t do that. Kansuke starts crying having failed his seniors. This was their final EOS, there won’t be a next year for them. He wanted to win for their sake but now they had lost it was all over.
They all understand how Kansuke feels but they don’t want him to blame himself. He was a great relationer and had done nothing wrong. It may be the end for them but there’s always next year for him and they believe in him. Being comforted by his seniors Kansuke promises he’ll win for them next year.
It’s then it hits the Honan members. That could have been them had Kuga not shown up or if they lost. They have to win, no matter what.
Hozumi remains silent around Kuga. Ayumu spurs Hozumi on to approach Kuga but the latter struggles to sound happy. Kuga’s the first one to speak thanking Hozumi. During the last dash he had heard Hozumi’s voice and it was because of that plus the support of his teammates that he was able to win.
Hozumi asks Kuga for his hand. Truthfully didn’t fully agree to Kuga’s return after everything that had happened but having found out why Kuga did what he did he forgives him and wants them to work hard together in stride. Hozumi ends his speech high fiving Kuga hurting his hand in the process (well done child OTL)
Although Ichiba lost Izumi has no regrets and the other 3rd years feel the same. Izumi calls out to the Honan members congratulating them. It’s over for them but he hopes Honan will continue winning for their sake too.
Even without Izumi saying Heath had every intention to continue winning taking Ichiba’s feelings along with them. Kansuke tells Nana they absolutely have to keep winning for their sake. Nana promises Kansuke she’ll carrying on their spirits.
Both teams gather for one final high touch.
A man approaches Honan to congratulate them, it’s Kamon Kurobe, the head of the Stride association. Dan sensei’s face immediately turns sour and the two exchange words. Dan sensei reveals that Kurobe was also on Honan’s stride club along with him and the others. He wishes her well having been impressed by her skills as a relationer much like her mother.
[Note: Since it’s been a while, my recollection is a little hazey. I can’t remember the specifics of Heath’s injury or the incident Kuga was involved in but he was innocent]