Yuzuru Hanyu (27), who won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in figure skating at the 2014 Sochi and 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, turned professional, and Watanabe, the author of the popular manga Yowamushi Pedal, depicting high school students who are betting on a bicycle road race. Wataru sent an email through Sponichianex. “I want to support him as he pursues a new path. By turning professional, the stage for taking on new challenges will expand, and he will be able to impress more people than ever before. I think it’s an excellent step up,” said Hanyu. I support your decision.
Although they have never met in person, they have communicated through writing and illustrations, such as exchanging letters and colored paper. The beginning is the 2019 tournament of the “Tour de Tohoku,” an event that runs on bicycles in the coastal areas of Miyagi Prefecture, which the Great East Japan Earthquake damaged. In the campaign illustration, Mr. Hanyu and the character of “Yowamushi Pedal” collaborated and attracted attention by “rendezvous riding” with the main character Sakamichi Onoda on a road bike.
According to Mr. Watanabe, he received a handwritten letter from Mr. Hanyu after the collaboration. While not revealing the details, he recalls, “It was a very polite and warm letter. Because it was written by hand, I could convey my thoughts even more. It was a warm and happy letter.”
Mr. Hanyu sang the theme song of the anime version of “Yowamushi Pedal” before the match, which became a topic of conversation. There were exchanges with Mr. Watanabe that seemed to indicate that he was a fan of the manga version. She said, “I’m glad people seem to be reading the comics. Of course, the details are a secret, but they said they liked Midosuji (Sho)-kun’s attitude.”
Midosuji is a rival who stands in the protagonist’s way with hateful strength and arrogant behavior. The attitude of being cunning and willing to lie and play rough for victory seems to be the exact opposite of Mr. Hanyu, but “Midosuji’s stoicness has something in common with Mr. Hanyu, who uses everything to face skating. So I thought,” Watanabe said. By the way, he rides his bicycle in an abnormally forward-leaning position, so much so that his head is in front of the front wheel.
Mr. Hanyu’s impression of the rink was, “Anyway, his concentration is amazing. I can feel it on the screen. I felt something like an aura emanating from his whole body. He cherishes every moment.” In particular, the facial expression is mixed with sharpness and danger before the performance, which I think is the best condition. I thought of you as an athlete and an artist,” he said.
He said, “I’m looking forward to new challenges and performances after turning professional.” “I am looking forward to meeting you.