So it turns out Run With The Wind is going to have a gap between this episode and the next so this is likely my last episode review for the year. Therefore it is kind of fitting that this episode so clearly demonstrated one element of this anime that has been amazing from episode 1, because I really haven’t talked much about it: the sound.
Before I get into that though, I want to address the character focus this week Takahashi. Now he has been in all the team scenes and working away in the background since the beginning, but like many of his team mates, I’d kind of overlooked him as a character despite his contribution.
However, this episode really brings his contribution and his strengths to the forefront and I absolutely loved it. As Kakeru points out, Takahashi was the first of the reluctant housemates to embrace running, he’s been to every training without skipping and a tireless worker at recruiting supporters. This is a character who well and truly deserves more time and attention, and yet I’m going to leave him here and get back to the sound design of this episode and why it is the real star (sorry Takshashi).
Throughout this whole episode the external scenes are filled with rain. It is a persistent down pour and visually this makes the episode quite dark but it also means that each of these scenes is filled with the background sound of rain. Unlike so many other shows, Run With The Wind finds the perfect balance of sound levels that the rain is pervasive but it doesn’t drown out the dialogue or other sounds. It is all beautifully executed.
What also works is the fantastic contrasts. The episode cuts back and forth between running or training in the rain and that heavy downpour, and interior scenes where the rain is muted or absent and the audience and the characters find relief. In these scenes other incidental noises (the bathhouse sounds or the sound of the treadmill, the clicking of keys on the computer) take centre stage and manage to fill the void while not being over-whelming.
All of this leads to the final scene of the episode where the rain has ended and we see the dog playing in the yard with the bird chirping in the background. It is a relief from the sound and carries the audience to the perfect emotion for the ending.
However, this episode wasn’t the first where the sound was masterfully done. This is a consistent positive in a series that is just getting better as it goes. Still, I’m glad that I had the chance to focus on this aspect this week as I really do believe it is a reason to watch the anime.
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Run with the Wind Kansei University Parka Mens
Okay, so this year I’m going to be participating in the 12 Days of Anime and I decided that I’d like to focus on some of the characters I really liked, or found interesting, in 2018, but for whatever reason they won’t end up on any of my favourite character lists.
Now Siluca starts out as a great character. She’s a young, plucky mage, fresh out and going to serve a lord that she’s already decided is a womanizer and someone she doesn’t want to work with citing the uniform he put her in as solid evidence that she should pass. On the way there she runs into Theo, a young man determined to gain power and free his island from whatever. And so she joins forces with him and helps him rise to power.
Great story, right?
And it probably would have been in slightly defter hands. However, because of the choppy nature of the narrative, Siluca, who starts out all strong and smart does get to spend some episodes devising plans, being overly ambitious and getting Theo in and out of trouble. She even gets to fight once or twice and show off some of her really cool magic tricks.
And then it all goes sideways for her as a character.
As much as I loved Theo and Siluca together, as soon as Siluca became an official love interest, the story all but sidelined her. She occasionally gets to be in the same scene as Theo and she’s certainly there for the dramatic revelations at the end, but mostly she becomes background. The one or two shining moments she gets swiftly get buried under an avalanche of other things happening in the story and the need for Theo to ultimately be the hero.
Here is a character who well and truly gets butchered for the sake of narrative convenience. Her brains, her strength as a mage, all of the things that made her so delightful early on get toned down until she’s essentially the sound board for Theo and moral support. It is such a shame because she is a character with incredible potential, and it is horrendously squandered here.
For once, I am crying out for a prequel. Let us see Siluca before she met Theo, as a young mage learning her craft. She would be a delight and we would get to see her character as she truly could have been.
Siluca Meletes, you deserved a better anime.
Tomorrow I turn my attention to Shimada in March Comes in Like a Lion.
Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary has been heading for a tragic end for awhile and right now it is kind of like watching a train wreck in slow motion. The Empress is in a state of emotional turmoil after sentencing Ning to water torture last week (and Ning has fully gone off the deep end after experiencing said water torture). All this has done is emboldened the Empress’ enemies and they are now moving far more openly against her.
Meanwhile, Zhao has thrown himself fully into his work. Last week though I made the comment that he was doing nothing about Ning and apparently that is untrue. He’s been sending petitions to the Empress to receive her pardon. Petitions the Empress hasn’t been reading. Way to be a great friend and all. Still, there’s a massive construct to complete before the series end because if it doesn’t even get finished it will be the sub-plot that’s gone nowhere and I’d have to wonder what the point was.
Also meanwhile, Yin has finally accepted joining the rebel family and now has more brothers and sisters. She’s still totally brooding about Ning though. Good thing this anime isn’t in to making us wait as Ning returns, insane and powered up, ready to fight her sister to the death.
At this point the battle between the rebels and the empire is almost superfluous to the central characters’ personal dramas. One thing is for sure, Ning has definitely misplaced all of her anger onto her sister and it doesn’t look like she’s coming back from that any time soon.
I don’t know if I’m ever going to remember how to really spell ‘spice’ after this. It is almost like ‘Parasyte’ all over again where it took months to retrain my brain to actually spell int correctly. Whichever way, episode 10 of Release the Spyce decided to take the position of killing off crucial characters and having the rest of the cast either betray their friends or get captured in order to plunge us into what I assume will be the climax next week.
And while it is all well and good to go for super dramatic and embrace the usual scenario with spies, Release the Spyce hasn’t proven itself all that capable of delivering on the actual spy elements so given it leans heavily on teamwork, friendship, and cute girls, I kind of suspect everyone is actually fine and we’ll realise this is all a ruse to get access to the enemy headquarters. Which kind of takes some of the cliff-hanger anticipation out of the wait for next week.
I could be wrong. Maybe characters really are dead. In which case, I’ll be pleasantly surprised that the story took it that far and will enjoy where-ever it goes with that. Still, far more likely it is all just part of the plan.
As to who the traitor is, well I’m wondering if we were given any hints earlier only I’m not quite interested enough to go back and look. I certainly hadn’t guessed it.
One thing I do respect is they didn’t try to create some angst ridden story as to why she betrayed them. While it might seem like a weak motive, it kept things simple and fairly believable, even if I don’t believe it.
Guess we’ll find out next week how real any of this was.
This week finally reveals the accident that put Hu Li’s mother in a coma and gave him the ‘burn’ on his face. I know that is supposed to be a scar but honestly it mostly looks like a tattoo or poorly applied make-up. Anyway, for the first time I really felt they rushed over what should have been a fairly emotional note in the story. And it is no wonder. Given they also crammed Kong Que’s angst-ridden back story into the same episode.
Now both of these things are important given Hu Li has to overcome his tragedy if he’s actually going to take to the stage and that Kong Que is getting involved in some scheme with his father that is sure to be bad news. However, given the build up, the rushed through delivery, while serviceable and getting the idea across, wasn’t exactly getting the emotional impact across with it. Which is a real shame given so far Voice of Fox has done a relatively good job at building up and conveying emotional moments despite its short run time.
Yet if you think they were stopping there, think again. They also crammed in an interview with Chuyun where she essentially gets fans back on board despite her knowing about Hu Li. This enrages her group member, who is more or less just consumed with jealousy at this point and has some really poor reasoning skills, and so a rumour is started on social media that Chuyun is going to go solo. In the midst of the social media fallout from that Hu Li receives a call from Chuyun and then the episode ends.
It’s a lot for an eleven minute episode and a lot of the nuances don’t quite hit their mark this week. That said, I’m fully on board with this story at this point given the build up so far so I’m just hoping this isn’t a sign that they are going to self-destruct in a rush to get to the end.
Rimuru might be a slime but this isekai story is pretty determined to ensure we hit every cliche and trope along the way which kind of takes away some of the impact of having a slime as a protagonist. Still, it isn’t as though cliches are bad, it is just this kind of self-awareness walks a fine line between slightly amusing and smugly obnoxious and Rimuru sitting at the table bemoaning the fact that he was about to be fed cliche terrible food (purple and all) really didn’t hit the mark. Though, as much as I will roll my eyes at that scene, the rest of the episode was pretty pleasantly entertaining.
We get to spend a bit of time seeing how the ogres have integrated with the goblin village and the roles they are taking up. While this does lead us into a number fairly generic encounters but again, these characters are pleasant enough that you can kind of just go along with them. Seeing Rimuru trapped in the forge because he couldn’t find a good moment to take his leave as the Dwarf and the Ogre discuss techniques was pretty entertaining, and the other dwarves learning about silk was fine.
However, it isn’t until the Lizardmen finally show up in the village that things seem to move forward again. That usual issue I have with the pacing of the show where nothing happens for ages in terms of plot and then we suddenly leap forward.
But, it is worth the wait. Gabiru, the Lizardman Prince or whatever, is an insufferable narcissist, made worse by his group of cronies and hangers-on who encourage his worst personality traits. He’s only been around two episodes and yet I was utterly delighted when Gobta knocked him senseless. Gabiru is at the village essentially asking for help, and instead of asking declares that they can all have the honour of serving the lizards, and then proceeds to belittle the direwolves for following a slime. Not exactly the way one goes about asking for a favour.
That actually seemed like enough for the episode, given the pace of most episodes, and yet Slime wasn’t finished just yet, as right before the end we introduce a Dryad who also asks Rimuru to fight the orcs. Given she’s a pretty girl I’m guessing he’s going to say yes.