Skating should be fun. That is the message that is drilled home by the latest episode of SK8 the Infinity and, as a skater myself, there is no greater truth than that.
Picking up where we left off last week, Langa has accepted the challenge of Chinen, the National Championship hopeful. Chinen is immediately presented as on another level, as he easily out skates Reki and Langa in a freestyle skating session. Chinen tells Langa to get his board sorted because he doesn’t want any excuses when he defeats him in the S race.
After some training at a local parking garage—which I can attest is just a great spot to skate in general—Langa and Reki are chased away by local security before Reki trips over some garbage, which included a broken piece of an office chair, and he is struck with some inspiration. Reki decides to redesign the trucks on Langa’s board to have full rotational spin like the office chair wheels do.
We see that Chinen is a bit stuck up and considers life in a style of a Dragon Quest RPG. Everyone who isn’t as good as him he refers to as Slimes and considers himself as the Hero. However, we learn through a series of flashbacks that Chinen came to be this way as the more he advanced in skill in skating, the greater the divide that formed between himself and his supposed friends. His childhood friends who got into skating with him all abandoned him as they started to believe that Chinen viewed them as nothing but Slimes and looked down on them. This was not the case, yet jealousy grew in them and they all turned their backs on him. This became the moment that would send him on the path he has gone on, as he continues to skate at a pro level despite having no friends and seemingly being sad when skating.
During their S race, Langa—with his new board made by Reki—gives Chinen a run for his money and ultimately defeats him by a matter of a few centimetres in difference. Chinen is completely dejected at this loss, but Reki and Langa tell him that skating should be fun and that they will always be by his side from this moment on—which brings Chinen nearly to tears. This interaction brings out the mysterious, legendary pro-skater Adam. Adam completely, verbally destroys Chinen and essentially declares his National Championship hopes as dead. Adam seems to have some sway in the world of skating and he mocks Reki’s idea of skating being fun. He seems to try begin grooming Langa as his next apprentice before Reki demands that he take back his insults to Chinen. Adam asks, “What if [he] doesn’t?” To which Reki declares, “Then I will make you,” as he brandishes his skateboard—indicating a challenge to Adam.
The episode ends here in an epic cliffhanger fashion. Reki has laid down the challenge to pro-skater Adam and I, for one, am very excited to see how this match up will unfold. Adam definitely appears to be an asshole, and his view of skating is one that I personally don’t agree with. But, that said, I can’t help but feel like Reki is out of his depth here in challenging a pro skater like Adam. Next week can’t come soon enough!