This is one of the most anticipated matchups-Takeshi vs. River. Team Satomi may have raced
Team Sledge Mama before, but not like this, and never against somebody who used to be on
their team. The episode starts off with a short introduction of the two teams on IGPX News.
The episode moves along with Takeshi thinking back to the attack last episode. He thinks that
Team Sledge Mama was behind it.
River is seen alone, thinking about the race tomorrow, while squeezing a ball. He's always in a
training mood, and it was cool to see him training even while overlooking the IGPX city. He  
really does seem alone now, because he isn't with Team Satomi. Team Sledge Mama probably
won't treat him the same way that Team Satomi did.
Or not. Yamma immediately kicks off Timma the next morning and puts himself at Midfield.
Yamma realizes that River is going to be a valuable asset at forward, because of the rivalry
between him and Takeshi. That in itself will fuel their victory. River not got the chance to play
at forward, and Yamma sees this as a great opportunity to show him that he is treated better
Takeshi is still a little nervous, but Liz doesn't notice. She thinks he's okay. She then points
at his head and says all of his problems are right up there. I think both him and Liz might be a
little shaken from the attack a few days before, but Liz would understand of anyone. Then
Amy makes a comment that might 'sound super-dorky'. She is really proud to be part of this
team. I don't think she could have said it any other way.
This episode seems to be going the right direction, but it flops in a few areas. One of those
areas starts to become noticeable after this scene-One of The Rocket's races is shown, which
gives a cool look back at what IGPX was like way back when. That's not the part that bugs me;
I thought the scene was pretty cool.
Here's where it gets bad. We see the exact same footage of The Rocket coming out of his
exploding mech. He couldn't come out at a different angle? No, they had to use the same
footage over again. Not so bad for now, but it gets worse. As the team is preparing to enter the
race track, the cheer that they make is exactly the same animation used in previous episodes
(minus River), Takeshi going into his mech is exactly the same animation used in Episode 1,
and then a moment from Episode 7. The exact same line and animation from Episode 1 is used
when showing Amy and Luca's mech. And even the animation of Liz' mech turning on, and all
three mechs walking out is the same as previous episodes.
Wow, that was a lot, and I'm still not done. The animation of the crowd, and the pan down to
the mechs is the same as Episode 1. The start of the race is the same animation as Episode 1.
Then when I thought the repeat animation was finally over and we'd get some new animation,
Miss Satomi and Mark talk in the exact same animation from Episode 2. This all adds up to
over a minute of animation that was reused, in fact almost two minutes if you include all
reused animation.
The only thing I can say is laziness. It's understandable when you reuse animation like past
races simply for the purpose of showing past races, like the opening, but to actually reuse
animation ion the real life setting is really stupid. It was really annoying to watch this episode
with old animation when new animation is what every other anime has. They haven't reused
animation in this manner since this episode, and I hope it stays that way. Once again, the only
excuse is laziness on the animators' parts.
But back to the rest of the episode, things start going wrong when Takeshi notices a weird
noise coming from his mech. It seems fine at first, until Takeshi hears the noise in multiple
places. They enter lap 2, and the only thing River can think about is beating Takeshi. He
quickly notices that Takeshi's mech isn't working. Of course, Yamma takes any situation for
what it is, and attacks Takeshi himself.
Just when it seems that Takeshi's mech has had enough, Mark gets activates the Running
Skeleton to assist Takeshi in removing the worm that is malfunctioning his mech. Now the
decision to keep the race going despite the unfair play that was going on is beyond me. Yes
there would have been a riot, but for a good reason-someone cheated. The decision to continue
shows that the team doesn't give up, but it just seems like a gray area morally. Is all right to
give up when someone cheated, or should you keep going anyway? If you asked me this a
month ago, I would have said quit, but I've learned through my own experience that if one
keep going even through these kind of troubles, it will truly pay off. Whether or not it pays
off, we will have to see next episode.
The 3D animation is pretty good, despite the 2D animation lacking due to repetition. There's a
lot of 3D animation, even though it's really only present for the second half of the episode.
However, the other thing this episode lacks besides new animation is depth. While many other
episodes explore many topics to grow in character development, this episode doesn't quite hit
very many, except maybe the importance of teamwork and commitment.
It is still inexcusable to slack on the job and reuse animation where we could have easily had
some really cool new animation to look at. The 2D animation is the anime part of the show,
and the CG animation for the races is more like icing on the cake. Why not put any effort into
making some new animation. This show still has the best animation of any anime show, and
I'm not talking about 3D animation. I'm talking about the anime part. We know what
Production I.G. is capable of, but unfortunately, we don't see it in this episode.
A flashback of Rocket
George "The Rocket".
Takeshi wonders about
Team Sledge Mama now
has River, and they are
ready to take on Team
The Team Satomi adults
are concerned for their
Additional Pictures
USA original air date: January 14th, 2006
Japan original air date: December 7th, 2005
Original Japanese Title:

Now realizing the seriousness of life and circumstance, Takeshi
moves on ready for his next race. River defected to Team Sledge
Mama, and now River is ready to beat Takeshi once and for all.
But will Takeshi be able to race when his mech starts breaking
down? And will the bad occurrences stop there? This episode
features the first race against River after his defection to Team
Sledge Mama. This is also River's first race and first race at
OVERALL SCORE: 6 out of 10
Toonami Version Differences

-A few seconds were cut as to not make the pause
between the time Takeshi puts the blanket over his
head and then shifts a little in his bed. It was originally
around 10 seconds in the original.

-A scene where Yuri is seen next to Takeshi's bed
encouraging him for the next race was cut.
Episode 10: Showdown
Additional Information