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‘Overtake!’ review: “Chariots of Fire” pumps the brakes

By November 1, 2023No Comments4 min read
Haruka stands out in the crowd in "Chariots of Fire"

Overtake! episode five “Chariots of Fire” is all about racing, but not with cars. The Formula teams are asked to join in on a local 10k that ends at Fuji Raceway which is part of a revitalization project that will help bring tourism to the town. The episode is definitely on the lighter side, focusing on more character interactions than anything else, but it’s a nice break from last week’s plot-heavy episode, “The Past and Regrets.” 

“Chariots of Fire” finally gives us a look into both Arisu, Koutarou, and their friendship. The episode starts off with Koutarou refusing to join Haruka because he’s more “brains than brawn” and not meant to run. However, Arisu soon joins Koutarou and the two of them run together for the first half of the race. We already know that they’re childhood friends, but this is the first time we truly get to see how close the two of them are. Arisu cheers Koutarou on even after he finds out how fit she actually is and promises to catch up with him at a later point. 

The person you least expect to drive the narrative forward is Satsuki, yet he does just that. Not only does Satsuki bridge the gap between Haruka and Toshiki in “Chariots of Fire,” but he also sets up the plot for a future episode. While running, Satsuki talks about James Hunt, a famous Formula 1 driver and Satsuki’s idol. He brings up Hunt and Niki Lauda’s infamous crash and how Hunt was favored by luck to come out of the crash alive. The series has already set up Satsuki as Haruka’s main on-track rival, but the episode really puts that into perspective. It sets Satsuki and Haruka as Hunt and Lauda respectively, with the implication that a similar dangerous race where the two of them crash is in the future. 

Let’s not forget that Toshiki is also Haruka’s rival. It makes me wonder if something will happen to Satsuki where Toshiki will end up in the number one driver’s seat because the former is no longer able to. 

This wouldn’t be a complete review if it didn’t mention Kouya throwing his shoes onto the track. As he nears the finish line with Satsuki and Toshiki, the bottom of Haruka’s sneakers comes off and he can no longer run with them. As the two of them get further away, Kouya calls out to Haruka, tossing his sneakers onto the track and telling him to use them so he can continue running. Haruka, understandably, denies using the sneakers, but it’s enough of a push to get him back into the race. The interaction is another building block for what we can assume is their father-son type of relationship. 

The reveal of why Haruka was trying so hard to win the race is a heartwarming moment that once again reminds the audience that the focus of Overtake! is on the characters of the show, not the cars. Futoshi has a birthday coming up and Haruka wanted to win the prized Wagyu beef for him as a birthday gift. It’s only when this happens, does the audience realize that “Chariots of Fire” was set up specifically for the reveal. We get a nice moment between Haruka and Futoshi that Kouya photographs and things come full circle for our core group. 

“Chariots of Fire” is a nice reminder that Overtake! isn’t an action-packed anime, but one that relies heavily on its characters. Despite no cars appearing in this episode, the plot is driven forward as the cast races toward Fuji Raceway. Others might call this a filler episode, but I disagree with that. In “Chariots of Fire,” we get to enjoy even more character exploration in a way that feels natural, instead of forced like in other sports anime. Not only that, it included some brilliant foreshadowing that the audience should definitely look forward to coming to life. 

Overtake! is available now on Crunchyroll

Featured image ©KADOKAWA・TROYCA/Overtake!Production committee

  • 'Overtake!' - "Chariots of Fire" - 8.5/10
Kayla Chu

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