Onoda Sakamichi is the main protagonist of the Yowamushi Pedal series who starts off as a new first-year student at Sohoku High School who unexpectedly becomes a member of the Sohoku High Bicycle Club and specializes in climbing. During his third year, after all his achievements for the team, he becomes the captain of the club. Onoda is also an anime otaku, his favorite anime being Love Hime. He is known to sing the Love Hime Theme Song while climbing. It is Onoda's eagerness to obtain anime goods from Akihabara that drove him to save money on subway fare by biking to Akihabara for free, causing him to develop the strength needed to become a competitive cyclist.
Onoda has straight, somewhat spiky black hair and round blue eyes in the anime, though he has been portrayed with brown eyes in the manga. He is of average height and has a relatively frail build but with comparatively well-developed leg muscles. Toudou Jinpachi stated during their brief meeting at the Inter High that Onoda was "less than a three" in looks. However, he later tells Onoda that he has "nice eyes." During Onoda's second year, a few girls call him "cute," surprising Imaizumi, Teshima, and Onoda himself.
In the first few episodes of the anime, Onoda is shown riding with a cycling jacket, then a cycling jersey shirt, both which feature the colors yellow, white and red in varying amounts; these colors also happen to be the ones used for the Sohoku Inter High team jerseys.
Onoda is quite shy and has a hard time speaking up for himself; he's easily embarrassed and flustered if complimented or seen enjoying his anime interests too much. He is initially very distrustful and avoidant of "sports type" people, although greatly lonely as he never had many friends he could truly share his interests with. Onoda doesn't have much confidence nor understanding of his own skills. But ever since meeting Miki, Imaizumi, Naruko, and the rest of the Sohoku cyclists, his courage and abilities have been growing and he has jumped full force into the world of bicycles. He is still easily flustered, but he has developed a fierce determination that helps him do what others think is impossible.
Onoda throws caution to the wind and instantly bombards people with friendliness and questions when he learns they know even a hint about anime, no matter how unfriendly the person seems. Although sometimes lost in his own anime world, he has a sense of what's morally right and can't stand when people look down on others or destroy the enjoyable atmosphere of cycling. He takes orders from his team very seriously and literally, completing them by all means necessary, and is always looking for something he can do for his teammates.
The desire to help his team stems from his first Inter High team training session when he began to feel pressured to perform and meet expectations. From comments of the others about Onoda's downtrodden demeanor, Kinjou realized what the issue was and when Onoda was about to ride into the road gutter, Kinjou raced down to him and supported him. The captain explained that no one team member can carry the entire team themselves and that Team Sohoku rides for each other: Onoda will always have the support of the team when he needs it, but in turn, he must give his help and support to his teammates when they need it too, because supporting each other is "how Sohoku rides."
Onoda prefers to use proper honorifics when addressing others, usually their surname followed by -san. With upperclassmen, he'll alternate this with -senpai in equal amounts. With those he feels particularly close to, namely Imaizumi, Naruko, and Manami, he uses -kun instead. He has no problem with others addressing him with what they feel comfortable with.
Despite his lack of competitive streak, in year 2, he openly requested to incorporate "Having a race with Manami", which surprised Koga.
Skills and Techniques
From a team's perspective, Onoda is a great servant (or domestique) to the ace, as shown when he came from the back of the field to pick up Tadokoro and Makishima in the first Inter High, and then caught up in the second inter high and caught up just in time to save Teshima from collapsing and forcing him out of the race. However, he can't perform all aspects of being a domestique like shielding the Ace from the wind because his body is too slim to do so from the front, and he is not as effective in the flats. Also, he is not as tactically aware as Teshima or Kinjou. In the second Inter High, he brushes off Shinkai Yuto's criticism of him having no free will, as if Onoda is more comfortable being given specific tasks and try his best to follow instructions. Also he has a lack of competitive spirit, unless if he was under team orders to chase for checkpoints and wins.
Onoda is capable of riding with extremely high cadences even when climbing uphill (going way beyond the normal pace of 70 rpm; he can sustain a 90 rpm pace uphill, and though difficult, at least as high as 150 rpm for a few hundred meters), and at least close to 210 rpm on flat road despite having been riding on heavy bikes up until his second year of high school. He can also maintain, increase, or decrease his cadence and all states in between with extreme smoothness. His main skill set seems to manifest when given an order, which he will try to achieve without fail, and when he sees a friend or rival in front of him, Onoda tends to smile at the sight and desire to reach them. This simple thing motivates him to pedal and climb rapidly. As Imaizumi Shunsuke puts it, once Onoda successfully "catches you, he never lets go," and it's practically impossible to shake him. Onoda also sings the Love Hime theme to keep his rhythm and motivate himself. While he used to prefer to do so alone out of embarrassment and shyness, over time he became much more willing to do so in public if it helps him.
Onoda received his bike, an average youth's model for pedestrian city riding, when he was in the fourth grade. However in middle school, his mother had it modified with a smaller gear, which meant that he had to pedal with greater intensity than normally required and told him she had it 'fixed.' She assumed he'd give up riding to Akihabara when he didn't make as much progress and only ride to the subway station, but he just shrugged off the difference and didn't change his habits. As he got older, he also remained ignorant that his seat height was getting lower and lower in relation to his growing height, resulting in his legs not being able to pedal at full efficiency, with his feet much closer to his body. His legs and body being forced to propel a heavy weight since fourth grade, then having to push that weight with greater intensity since middle school and being motivated to travel 90km roundtrip to get to Akihabara once a week with only one gear, resulted in him becoming a natural climber who can adjust his speed through cadence alone. He also rode his bike to school ever since he got it, which meant that every day to get home, he would have to climb the super slope to reach his house at the peak. When Imaizumi began to realize Onoda's potential, he challenged him in an uphill race (with a head start, secretly planning that out as Onoda's warmup) and Onoda, using his bike after Kanzaki Miki raised the seat to the proper height, and no advantages for road racing, nearly beat the experienced Imaizumi on his road racer.
Onoda is also a fast learner even when taught techniques on the fly while riding, and can quickly apply them successfully, if not with the same finesse as a veteran rider. Having watched his riding in situ, other club members came to realize that when Onoda's skills put him up against the wall, he evolves them in order to overcome that wall. Imaizumi noted that Onoda is a rider that makes leaps and bounds when he rides, much like when a little-known competitor makes incredible progress all throughout a race like the Tour de France. He was able to adjust to riding with the appropriate higher saddle height, ride in the street among traffic while learning to use his new front deraileurs, and use the 'pendulum sway' dancing technique in a very short period of time. He also has good balance on bikes, quickly recovering when Imaizumi smashed shoulders with him in the First-Year Welcome Race, successfully riding on rollers (which requires more balance and attention than other training methods, and which Miki states is like riding on ice) on his first try, and if push comes to shove, ride on a nearly wheel-thick edge of the road gutter to pass other cyclists. In comparison, fellow newbies Kawada Takuya and Sakurai Tsuyoshi joined the club and were training three weeks earlier then Onoda and still could not handle rollers.
Despite the fact that he also seems very clumsy and falls off his bike when nervous, Onoda has fallen so often that he shrugs off tough tumbles, and falling usually calms him down afterward. In fact, being used to falling is the reason he states that he would try riding rollers anyway.
Kinjou Shingo asked the Kanzaki family's shop to supply Onoda with a road racer for club activities, which is an older Kuromori frame suited for beginners, equipped with spare parts and plastic pedals (as Onoda didn't own cleats). Considered a permanent loaner, he takes it home and rides it to school on training days with the club.
After the Inter High, Onoda is given a yellow BMC road bike with a complete carbon-fiber frame. This bike is half the weight of the Kuromori, allowing him to pedal at greater speeds and travel greater distances with ease. Despite this, Onoda lost badly against newly-appointed Captain and Vice Captain - Teshima and Aoyagi, coming last in the flats sprint race behind Kinjou and Tadokoro. On Day 3 of 42 Inter-High, he needed the high cadence riding style to break away from Mizuta and catch up to Imaizumi because the start of Day 3 course is mostly on flats and small downhills.
He also has average bike control, especially poor at making U-turns, when he couldn't make sharp U-turns to continue watching the subsequent rounds of the uphill bike race between Toudou and Makishima after Day 2.
Known Personal Achievements
- His mother's udon noodles with seaweed and meat
- Watching anime
- Love Hime soundtrack CD
- Black Manyu figurines
- Big, barking dogs
- Anime figures, especially Black Manyu from Manyu Manyu
- Royal Force anime stickers
- Best subject
- None, but according to Ride 19, he does enjoy Japanese History.
- He lives on top of a very steep hill and nobody wanted to go to his house because it would take ages to climb. In the anime, it's shown to be a super slope.
- His given name of Sakamichi can be translated to "hill road."
- Onoda can get carsick when exposed to closed-in scenery for long periods.
- His regular bike has a handlebar speaker mount and MP3 player mount so he can listen to soundtracks. On the rear fender is a Royal Force sticker (it's positioning reminding one a bit of a bumper sticker on a car).
- In Yowamushi Pedal: Special Ride during training for the Inter High, Onoda placed a rare event Royal Force sticker on the back of the Kurimori's seatpost.
- As an unwritten rule, yellow jersey holders, and no.1 zekken wearer should be given a free pass on the peloton, but Onoda was only given the right of way after he fought through the initial block. But given the Inter-High only lasts for 3 days, the pack never stops competing after one holds the yellow jersey after Day 2.