It’s time to pull into your spot on the starting grid and strap in for another review of Overtake! “Underexposure” picks up right where “Suzuka, Rain” dropped off and explores the consequences of not only the crash, but also Kouya’s past catching up with him — even with Kouya missing for the bulk of the episode. It’s a choice that does the episode a favor, as we get to explore heavy topics through the eyes of the larger ensemble instead.
The first thing to address with “Underexposure” is Kouya and his fallout. The beverage company that sponsors Komaki Motors finds out about the photograph he took during the earthquake and promptly cuts ties with the team. Despite Kouya pleading that he will step back and won’t work with the company anymore, they don’t want to take the risk of bad publicity. Unfortunately, this causes Kouya to spiral and ghost everyone, similar to how he disappeared after the earthquake happened. This reaction leaves Saeko to apologize for Kouya to the team, even though she hasn’t heard from him. The way Overtake! unravels this part of Kouya’s personality through how he handles his past keeps you on the edge of your seat. Throughout the episode, I was asking myself “When is he coming back,” only to eventually change that to “Will he come back?” It ties in perfectly with how Haruka must be feeling.
Kouya’s disappearance allows Haruka to show an emotional side to him that we haven’t seen quite yet. The guilt he feels after their argument in “Suzuka, Rain” only weighs heavier on Haruka when Kouya stops answering his texts. He wants to apologize, but is unable to because he hasn’t gotten a response. This causes him to reach out to Saeko who gives him Kouya’s address. Haruka spends the afternoon waiting in front of Kouya’s door, but it’s only when the overhead light flickers on does he finally tell Kouya how he feels. It’s a heavy scene, with how emotional Haruka gets and only gets more intense when he opens the door to reveal he’s all alone. I’m sure I’m not the only one who teared up at seeing this.
Of course, I can’t forget about Satsuki. The Belsorrio driver has a few broken bones and is out for the rest of the season, but he survived the crash and is on bed rest at the local hospital. Much like Haruka, we got to see a brand new side of Satsuki in “Underexposure.” While talking to Arisu, he reveals that Belsorrio doesn’t particularly need him and that they would still win races with Toshiki as the lead driver. His “luck” has run out and now he’s sort of floating in Formula limbo. Satsuki compares himself to Hunt, but I think it’s totally possible for him to now be compared to Lauda. He might surprise everyone, including himself, with how soon he returns to racing if he puts his mind to it.
“Underexposure” is the type of episode I love watching. By not having Kouya play a major role in the episode, the audience feels his absence just like the characters in the show do. The heaviness in this episode is the perfect way to usher in the latter half of the season in a way that most sports animes don’t do. Because of this, there is an excitement that comes with what may or may not happen next. One thing is for sure, I’ll be tuning in to see how all of these characters grow in next week’s episode.
Overtake! is available now on Crunchyroll
Featured image ©KADOKAWA・TROYCA/Overtake！Production committee
Review - 9.5/10