It’s Here: Thoughts on Anime 2018 Book Launch!

There’s a definite sense of excitement when I see so many of my posts from last year coming together into a single form.

For the second year in a row I’ve compiled an ebook with the content from my blog though this time I’m selling direct via PayPal. You have your choice of PDF, EPUB or MOBI formats and you will receive your copy via email after payment. Patrons, if you haven’t already got your copy, go to this post on Patreon and it should allow you to download the version you want – if it doesn’t work let me know ASAP and I will email you a copy.

Thoughts on Anime 2018 ebook

Thoughts on Anime 2018 ebook

Collection of reviews, features, and top 5’s from the blog in 2018 including reviews completed for patrons only. Available in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF forms. No images.

A$6.00

Buying the ebook helps support the work I do on 100 Word Anime and hopefully I’ll be able to continue to grow the blog and produce content people would like to read. Though I would like to take this moment to ask that you consider becoming a patron.

Now before we get too much further I do need to do a major shout out to all of my wonderful patrons and to those who have donated to 100 Word Anime during 2018. In particular I’d like to give a special thank you to:

So, what’s in the book?

Well, almost all my Top 5’s from 2018, including my best of 2018 Top 5 lists that technically haven’t finished coming out on my blog just yet with my top 5 males and top 5 anime of the year still to be published.

Almost all of my Features are included.

Now if you are wondering why some Top 5’s and some Features have been left out part of that is because the book was starting to clock up a massive word count, and the other part is that occasionally I write a feature directly related to something happening during a particular week and it really isn’t relevant to anyone a month later. Also, a handful of my Top 5’s last year were on horror movies rather than anime so they thematically didn’t fit.

As for series reviews:

  1. Cells at Work (Summer)
  2. Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Winter)
  3. March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Winter)
  4. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (Autumn)
  5. Dakaichi (Autumn)
  6. DamePri Anime Caravan (Winter)
  7. Goblin Slayer (Autumn)
  8. How Not To Summon a Demon Lord (Summer)
  9. How to Keep a Mummy (Winter)
  10. Lostorage Conflated Wixoss (Spring)
  11. Phantom in the Twilight (Summer)
  12. ReLIFE Final Arc (Winter)
  13. Rokuhoudou Yostuiro Biyori (Spring)
  14. School Babysitters (Winter)
  15. Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San (Autumn)
  16. Space Battleship Tiramisu (Spring)
  17. Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld (Winter)
  18. Steins;Gate 0 (Summer)
  19. Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love (Spring)
  20. The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Winter)
  21. Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary (Autumn)
  22. 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams (Summer)
  23. 3D Kanojo: Real Girl (Spring)
  24. A.I.C.O Incarnate (Winter)
  25. Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion (Summer)
  26. B the Beginning (Winter)
  27. Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Spring)
  28. Cute High Earth Defense Club Happy Kiss (Spring)
  29. Darling in the Franxx (Spring)
  30. Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (Winter)
  31. Devilman Crybaby (Winter)
  32. Doreiku (Spring)
  33. Jingai-San no Yome (Autumn)
  34. Junji Ito Collection (Winter)
  35. Kokkoku (Winter)
  36. Libra of Nil Admirari (Spring)
  37. Record of Grancrest War (Spring)
  38. Release the Spyce (Autumn)
  39. Sanrio Boys (Winter)
  40. Caligula (Spring)
  41. Devils’ Line (Spring)
  42. The Master of Ragnarok (Summer)
  43. Tokyo Ghoul RE (Spring)

Well, there’s just a few series reviews. Also episode reviews are included in the appendices for a large number of shows covered last year and all patron only episode reviews are included. Plus, episode reviews of Dakaichi and Goblin Slayer that I never published on the blog because I was reviewing after every four episodes with Arthifis so I just wrote up my episode thoughts for the book.

Hopefully the contents page works in all formats so you should be able to easily navigate between sections and reviews are arranged alphabetically by season. Obviously if you have any issues with the ebook or the format, please contact me and I’ll send you another copy or a different version. This is my first attempt at doing this alone so it may not have worked out perfectly. However, I’m fairly confident I’ve got it.

But, if $6 is seeming a little too much for a year’s content (actually I get it, we’re all working on a budget), I have a slimmer version of the book available.

Short Thoughts on Anime 2018

Short Thoughts on Anime 2018 ebook

Smaller selection of features, top 5's and reviews from 2018 on the blog. Available in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF forms. No images.

A$3.00

For the price of a ko-fi you can get the short version of the ebook. The only episode reviews included in the short version are for anime series that were reviewed exclusively for patrons or did not appear on my blog at all. A number of series reviews were removed as were a handful of top 5’s and features.

Basically instead of 220,000+ words that you get in the whole ebook, you only get 130,000+ words. It still makes for a pretty good read if I do say so myself, but it is definitely the trim version.

This is a one-off way of supporting 100 Word Anime throughout 2019. I’d really love to see this blog grow and I am continuing to work on producing content for people to enjoy. Consider lending a hand and getting a compilation of the 2018 content.

By the way, if you can’t make up your mind, or can’t right now but think you might want to buy the book later, it is available in the bookshop which you can access via the sidebar.

Karandi's Bookshop Feature Image

Thanks again and happy reading.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #3

Inquiring Minds Want to Know Feature Image

Well, today we have a question that I’ve certainly been asked more than once by people in real life. As always if you have something to ask you can send the question my way by filling in the simple survey at the end of the post or you can use this link to the inquiring minds survey.

How much time do you dedicate to your blog on a daily basis?

Lynn

The facetious answer to this one would be ‘too much’. Certainly quite a few people would agree with that answer. The less dismissive answer but still non-specific one would be, ‘as much as I can’. I love my blog. I love talking with people online about anime. I would absolutely love to have this be my full time gig and I certainly am working toward that goal (though it is a long way off).

However, let’s give this on a serious answer.

Working on an average week day when I’m at work, I would say about three hours specifically on my blog. There might be additional time spent watching anime or just stuffing around on twitter, but actual time spent watching a specific part of an anime again, checking screen caps, drafting or editing posts, reading other blogs, checking the scheduled posts, etc… about three hours. Some days more some less.

Breaking that down I usually spend between 4:30am and 6:30am online and entirely focused on reading other blogs and commenting, drafting stuff, replying to comments, catching up on Twitter, and if I finish all that, maybe watching an episode of anime if there is time. Sometimes I wake up earlier, sometimes I get a little more sleep (though that is a rare event). My alarm goes off at 6:30 because that’s when I need to actually get ready for work. If I get ready quickly I sometimes get another fifteen to twenty minutes to do one final read of posts that come out (and a whole bunch usually come out at 7am so I try and do a quick read before I head out).

Work for me is very much a varying thing with very few days actually just being an eight hour day, ten hours is my average, and eleven and twelve hour days happening more often than I’d like (no one functions well after twelve hours of work so keeping us there does not lead to productive outcomes). I also do not connect to any of my accounts at all while I am at work. So however long I am at work Karandi is off-line – though through the miracle of scheduling that isn’t the biggest issue.

Whenever I finally get home I usually spend some time watching and drafting posts before dealing with dinner (unless I got home super late in which case I eat first). And sometime after dinner I’ll usually spend another block of time finishing up any watching, drafting, editing – maybe reading of other blogs and commenting. Some days I get more than three hours total, other days I am too tired to even consider writing something in the evening and end up just watching anime on the couch, or I have to go out because of some sort of social activity in town and don’t have time.

Weekends I try to do a lot of drafting of posts for later in the week so I have a bit of a buffer if things get super busy, but I also work over a lot of weekends. I do have a number of breaks where I’m off work and I tend to do a lot more hours online at that time.

However, no matter how much time I have for anime and blogging, I want more. I love it. Every minute of it (even when fighting with the editor over post layout). So I don’t feel like I’ve wasted even a second that I’ve spent working on my blog.

So now I’m curious. How long do my readers spend on their blogs on a daily basis?

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Karandi James
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TABI KAERU COLLECTIBLE FIGURES (SET OF 6 PIECES)
TABI KAERU COLLECTIBLE FIGURES (SET OF 6 PIECES)

Why Emma’s Lack of Compromise Is Both Foolish and Brilliant

The Promised Neverland post title image

The Promised Neverland Episode 2 Review

After one of the best premiere episodes I’ve seen in a long time, episode 2 of The Promised Neverland had a lot to live up to, and while I can’t say it 100% did, it was still a very solid episode that has definitely moved the plot and characters along nicely while still managing to ooze atmosphere and tension. The majority of the episode focuses on Norman and Emma considering how they are going to escape as Mother gives a few indications that she’s got her eye on them and messes with their heads a little, before Ray joins the two in their plans. It doesn’t sound all that exciting but much like with episode 1 it is all about the execution. (Some spoilers below.)

The Promised Neverland Episode 2 Mother finds a kid.

However, this is where I did pick a few faults this week. Where episode one had the consistent clock motif throughout the episode, and that is still present in episode 2, a lot of the visual effects this week seem a little disjointed or don’t seem to quite hit the mark. Notably early in the episode where Emma is sitting up in her bed and we seem to be looking at her from the clock’s perspective and the scene sways back and forth like a pendulum. It is kind of clear they are trying to show us how unsettled she is and how unstable things are and yet mostly I just felt queasy and like the scene went on too long. It didn’t pack enough emotional impact for the time it took.

The second effect that I had to look at a couple of times and still didn’t really click with was when Mother and the other children walk past Norman and Emma back into the house and they are trailed by after images. I’m not entirely sure what tone this was supposed to hit but it was another moment where it didn’t draw me into the scene but rather pushed me out of the moment and had me puzzling why they went with that effect rather than following the characters and the scene.

The Promised Neverland Episode 2 - Norman and Emma

Though, with the exception of those sequences, I really liked how this episode was put together. Again we have some very interesting angles used on the characters to show their emotions and relative power, there’s a lot of thought put into the music and sound, and mostly the pacing works exceptionally well at making you feel uncomfortable and waiting for the next moment and then lingers just that little bit longer before moving on.

For me, Emma was the real champion of this episode. Not so much because I like her as a character. She’s pretty generic in terms of the big sister character who wants to be cheerful and protect her family. I like her more because of what she has done for the plot.

The Promised Neverland Episode 2 - Norman and Emma

Because of Emma and her shock and inability to just act like nothing happened, Mother seems suspicious of Emma and Norman. This is the first factor that escalates tension in this episode and ensures we are very carefully watching Mother all throughout the episode to see if she actually knows or is just suspicious. If Norman alone had been the one to find out about Conny, there’d be nothing happening in a lot of these scenes because he’s beautifully playing the role of someone who has no knowledge.

Also, the escape plan that Emma and Norman are cooking up involves saving everyone. All of the children. As Ray points out when he is included in the conversation, that’s stupid. It is nearly impossible and even if they all escape how will they survive afterwards. And honestly, Emma, Norman and Ray believably could escape in a couple of days after snooping around some. But then, where would the excitement be?

The Promised Neverland Episode 2 - Norman, Ray and Emma

No, Emma puts her foot down hard and insists everyone is going to escape. She won’t sacrifice anyone. And Norman sides with Emma because despite being super-logical, he likes Emma and he’s 12. Emma’s decision and her lack of consideration for any compromise, turns what is already a steep task into one that might be insurmountable.

For other shows wanting to raise emotional and narrative stakes, take notes from The Promised Neverland. You don’t have to randomly and gruesomely kill off your cast to make things seem more dangerous. Yes, this anime did kill a character in episode one to establish the overall stakes, but without a single drop of blood being shed, episode 2 managed to build on that drama and craft a compelling path for the story to take. I am very much looking forward to where this story goes from here.

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Karandi James
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The Promised Neverland, Vol. 1
The Promised Neverland, Vol. 1

If I Sit On It, It’s Mine – So Says The Cat

My Roommate is a Cat Post Title

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 2 Review

Anyone who has owned a cat will get a good laugh out of this episode if nothing else. From the opening sequence of Subaru finding the cat asleep on his laptop to later being scared when he opens a box to find the cat asleep inside, these are wholly relatable moments for the audience to enjoy. I’ll admit though, my cat and I have come to an arrangement when it comes to keyboards and now she has accepted sitting beside the keyboard and just periodically swiping at my fingers if I’m not paying her enough attention. Negotiations with cats are always ended in favour of the cat even when the human thinks they’ve won.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 2 Cat on Keyboard

Realistically, there’s not a lot going on in this anime. It is very slice of life, author living with cat, and honestly other than the appeal of seeing my own cat’s antics on screen, there’s not a huge amount to cling to in terms of plot. Even though I quite like Subaru, I found his ‘misunderstanding’ at the pet shop a little bit on the painful side and while the rest of the episode rolled along smoothly, it seems every time the cat is absent from the screen things hit a bit of a rocky patch.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 2 Subaru at Pet Shop

As with last week, the final part of the episode flipped the perspective and we got the cat’s point of view on the events of the episode. Again, I’m not sure this adds a lot, but it is cute so we’ll just go with it.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 2 Cute Moment

While I’m not going to say this is a particularly good anime, if you like cats, don’t mind things just being cute for the sake of it, and can put up with something where about half the jokes don’t quite land, you’ll probably enjoy this. I’m enjoying it and it isn’t a genre I normally like. The love of cats goes a long way here.

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Karandi James
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NENDOROID DOLL: MAD HATTER
NENDOROID DOLL: MAD HATTER

Why Is The Number of Light Novel Adaptations A Problem?

Light Novel Rage

It’s becoming a fairly standard cry each and every season. “There’s another light novel adaption with all its tropes and cliches.” And then fans of the source get defensive, those who dislike light novel adaptations start throwing out every poor adaptation ever as evidence that the entire idea of adapting a light novel is fraught with peril, and then there’s everyone else who is sitting on the fence and wondering if this light novel adaptation is going to be interesting, a train wreck, or an interesting train wreck.

So is there a problem with the number of light novels getting an anime adaptation?

I will admit, there’s a lot of generalisations about light novels and anime adaptations out there. Just watching season after season it is easy to buy into the idea that the anime industry is actually being taken over by light novel adaptations or that somehow they’ve become almost the staple source of adaptations. I certainly believed there were a lot more than it turns out there actually are.

So I decided to look into this a little bit. Just doing my own quick count on MAL for the anime that aired in 2018 (not continuing series) I found that unsurprisingly Manga remains the main source of anime adaptations. In fact, when you include web manga and 4-koma manga in the mix it accounts for nearly 50% of all source material for anime airing in 2018 that MAL includes in its seasonal pages (I’m totally open to the fact that this is not the be all and end all definitive source of information regarding this but it probably is a reasonable enough representation for this discussion).

What I was surprised to discover was that original anime accounted for 21% of anime in 2018. While I knew Zombieland Saga and one or two other titles were anime originals, I was unaware of just how many other original anime came out.

Zombieland Saga Episode 2

Then we have games, light novels and other (which accounts for ‘other’ as listed on MAL and novel and visual novel adaptations) which all come in at close to 10%.

Huh.

I genuinely did not see that coming when I first decided to see if Light Novel adaptations were in fact becoming too prolific. While I knew manga adaptations would still be the highest, I kind of thought light novels would be second or third, or at least close to a large chunk of the releases, but it is actually only sitting at 9.1%.

Then when you look at the highest scored title on MAL for each season, you see that in every case it was an anime based on a manga. The only light novel adaptation that came close was actually Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai in the Autumn season.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 6 - Sakuta

So why do people think there are too many light novel adaptations or that light novel adaptations are ruining anime, or that they get too much attention?

One of the reasons might be how widely discussed these anime are, even if they aren’t scoring the highest for technical proficiency or story-telling. When looking at the number of members each title has in each season we start to see light novels rising significantly higher in popularity than their score rating would indicate. Winter 2018 see’s Violet Evergarden in the top spot with the Overlord sequel in third. Spring was dominated by manga adaptations so the only light novel adaptation that made it into the top 5 was the Sword Art Online spin-off series. Summer saw Overlord 3 and How Not To Summon a Demon Lord in the second and third spots respectively. Finally in Autumn all three top spots were taken by light novel adaptations including Goblin Slayer in the top spot, followed by Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai and Sword Art Online Alicization.

Following along on Twitter or just what gets reviewed on blogs, there is no denying that light novel adaptations are well watched each season. While they may not all rise to high critical acclaim they do generally entertain a wide audience and by and large they provide a bit of fun even if they don’t necessarily have depth. Then again, I was pretty stunned to find Violet Evergarden’s source listed as a light novel and I wouldn’t call Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai particularly shallow in terms of the emotional scope it tried to encompass.

And I can already hear some people arguing that those aren’t the light novel adaptations that are complained about. It is the other ones. You know the ones. The ones with self-insert protagonists that get transported to another world and live out some harem or power fantasy (or both).

Sure, we could look at The Master of Ragnarok and shake our heads in dismay at the state of the entire anime industry being reduced to that kind of light novel adaptation. Then again, we could see that as The Master of Ragnarok just not being very well written or produced as an anime and even by isekai/harem standards it ended up pretty woeful (personal opinion).

I kind of feel most people constructing an argument around whether there are too many light novel adaptations, or that light novel anime adaptations are somehow subpar, or who are arguing for light novel adaptations, all suffer from cherry picking the titles that support their argument. For every Master of Ragnarok there’s a Bunny Girl Senpai. And while isekai power fantasies may not be your personal thing, clearly they sell well so there’s definitely an audience out there for them. Declaring the entire genre trash or that every single story is the same is a little closed minded.

Admittedly, I’m not jumping up and down and saying that everyone should watch How Not To Summon a Demonlord anytime soon. There’s an audience for it though, and that audience greatly enjoyed it. Even some people who normally aren’t up for an isekai story full of fan-service and the like ended up enjoying Demonlord as it went about writing a story with fairly good pacing and combining its base elements to most entertaining effects.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7

So why is the number of light novel adaptations a problem?

I don’t believe it is. It is another source of stories same as other novels, games, manga, etc and when adapted well can lead to some truly interesting anime. While it might feel like there’s too many similar light novels being adapted we need to consider the fact that clearly there’s a market for that story if it keeps selling, some of the adaptations are actually pretty good (while some are fairly objectively terrible) and that maybe it just isn’t your genre. Someone who doesn’t like shoujo love stories would declare those all the same as well and yet a die-hard romance fan would argue that every single one is different because of how the characters are constructed and the combination of elements around them.

It’s only been since starting the blog that I ever began reading light novels, and what I’ve found from reading them is that there’s a huge range in the quality of writing and the stories being told in them. However, I started reading light novels because there were some anime adaptations that were based on light novels that I fell in love with and I wanted more of the story. Which kind of means the anime did its job at promoting the source and was entertaining enough in its own right (or else I wouldn’t have bothered). So while I get that some people don’t like light novel adaptations, and some people hate isekai, I don’t think it is ‘taking over’ anime or that it is too highly represented, or even that adapting light novels is a problem. Like with everything it is about looking at each work on its own merits, or lack of them, and the personal opinions of the viewer. So while some people will continue to avoid these titles, others will eagerly await the next announced title.

Not from 2018 but still an awesome light novel adaptation.

That said, I’d love to know your thoughts so leave me a comment below and you can also check out my pretty terrible infographic with my findings from spending an afternoon reading MAL below.

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Karandi James
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Infographic - Anime By Source in 2018

Announcing the Winner of the Reader’s Poll for Best Anime of 2018

With 12 titles going head to head, the top 3 anime from each season, it was always going to be a close race. With a day to go the top 4 were within 4 votes of one another. Then there was a last minute rush and the top 2 titles kind of took off.

Thanks to everyone who voted and who shared the link. I do think I’m going to keep this format next year of only including the top 3 series of each season in the final poll as it makes the final poll far more manageable.

But for now, let’s announce winners.

Tied for third place, with 13 votes each, we have March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 and My Hero Academia season 3.

I was really pleased that March performed so well given it isn’t an anime that gets mentioned a lot. That said I absolutely love it and feel it definitely deserves a place among the top of 2018. My Hero Academia it is far easier to understand why this one got voted up and while season 3 wasn’t my favourite, it is still overall a fairly solid story.

In second place we have Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai with 19 votes, only one vote away from winning.

Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 2

This one was clearly always going to do well in the poll having been talked about at length during the Autumn season and having only just ended it was fresh in everyone’s minds. A very quality anime and well deserving of the mention.

However, that leaves us with the anime of the year.

Waiting for more fireworks.

And it is Sora Yori Mo Tooi Basho or A Place Further Than The Universe with 20 votes.

Now this was an anime I didn’t really get into and ended up dropping two episodes in. I did go back after in won best of the season and tried to watch it again. It really isn’t my kind of show. That said, it is fairly clear what the appeal of this title is and if you didn’t watch any anime last year this is an excellent starting point.

Thanks again to everyone who voted, the full results are below, and we’ll be back again at the end of the winter season to start shortlisting for 2019.

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Karandi James
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NENDOROID NO. 1021 A PLACE FURTHER THAN THE UNIVERSE: HINATA MIYAKE
NENDOROID NO. 1021 A PLACE FURTHER THAN THE UNIVERSE: HINATA MIYAKE

Clearing the Air With The Help of Friends

Run With The Wind Episode Review Title

Run With The Wind Episode 13 Review

The episode begins with a punch but not the one we expect after last week. Instead, we see Kakeru punching his high school coach. Then, after the OP, we return to the present where Kakeru’s punch is brought up short by his teammates.

It is a powerful start to what is a fairly well directed episode even if the overall subject matter ends up being less impressive. I’m going to be honest, Kakeru’s drama has dragged on so long and ends up being able to be boiled down to angry teenage boy acted impulsively after not doing anything about regulating his emotions over a long period and then had to deal with consequences that came down across the whole track team. For people who were directly involved I guess it would be a big issue but as an audience member at this stage I’m kind of indifferent to Kakeru’s issues and mostly just wanted him to get over them so we could get on with the rest of the characters who’ve proven to be delightful.

Run With The Wind Episode 13 Kakeru's old team.

That said, despite the story itself not being all that great, the cuts back and forth between Kakeru’s high school days and his present moments training with the team build up a sense of a climatic reveal regardless of how you feel about the reveal. The use of static over the flash backs, with more interference and noise the closer we get to the punch, is highly effective at conveying Kakeru’s mental state.

Run With The Wind Episode 13 Kakeru's catalyst.

Why we needed a sit down with the whole team to ‘confess’ everything is something I’ll never quite understand but the team’s reactions are predictable and suitably amusing. It does feel though like the end of this episode has brought a breath of fresh air with this whole Kakeru’s mysterious past finally being out there and so I’m very much looking forward to next week. Particularly when the preview at the end of this episode shows we are going to get some more time with Prince.

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Karandi James
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Run With The Wind Original Soundtrack
Run With The Wind Original Soundtrack