Run With The Wind Episode 2: The Hard Sell

Run With The Wind Episode 2

There is something really great about an anime that manages to make me sit through the episode in more or less total silence, watching intently and listening carefully, forgetting even about the whole taking screen capture thing… Even more amazing is when a story focusing on a bunch of guys being coerced by the single most manipulative jerk of a character in history into running a marathon event manages to do it. Okay, Haiji may not be the single most manipulative character ever, but he really, really has managed to annoy me in two episodes with his goal of forcing the rest of the housemates into a corner.

Run With The Wind Episode 2

What probably makes it worse from a narrative point of view is I know that all nine of his housemates will fall. The OP makes it clear that all our unhappy campers are going to run in the sunset together and won’t it be great? Won’t that make us forget that tactics the leader used to get them there? It will be all go team and yay for sure. Except that I really, really hate Haiji right now. If he was someone I knew in real life I would most definitely avoid when possible and when forced to speak with him use as few words as humanly possible. Regardless of what reason they give for him being so incredibly desperate to compete, I’m not going to warm up to this character.

So, why have I not dropped this show?

Run With The Wind Episode 2

Because the nine other characters are actually entertaining if a little cliche in the niche they are hitting. The banter between them is pretty solid and they are slowly getting fleshed out beyond their initial introductory label and becoming something resembling a real humanised character and it is being done with some deft handling that has actually been pretty impressive. Even Haiji, who is a character type I am loathing, is fulfilling his role well and growing into a more complete character and we’re only two episodes in.

This is also an undeniably pretty show. It isn’t just the wind and the running sequences that look nicely polished. Every sequence just seems like some thoughts and attention went into it. And while the bath sequence can’t be described as pretty as Haiji and Kakeru sweat buckets and turn red, it was extremely affective at portraying the tone of the scene.

Run With The Wind Episode 2

While I might regret this, given it is two cours long, at this stage I’m giving this anime a spot on my watch list because there is a competency on display here that I wish I came across more often. A story that I inherently am not interested in being executed in such a way that I cannot look away.

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Frankenstein Family Episodes 9 + 10

Episodes 9 and 10 bring some heavy drama in the form of Snow getting sick and the family rallying to help him. Somewhere along the line that turned into Snow turning into a half-dog monster and running into Sumire (the girl Tanisu has been crushing on). After saving Sumire from getting dirty clothes and lending her an umbrella even though she was already drenched, Snow ends up with a lap pillow just as Tanisu shows up. Oh the drama.

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I’ve really enjoyed the family dynamic of this anime, but this episode really pushed it a little too far. Whether it was Suishi meeting randoms from the internet in search of medicine (even knowing the land lord was fetching medicine anyway) or Tanisu’s dual personality drama and freak out after the disappointment of a lost first love, it all just came off as a little bit more trite than I would have liked. Throw in the over the top lightning storm to add to the drama and the whole thing blew out to eye-roll worthy proportions.

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That isn’t to say there wasn’t any fun to be had, more that this is definitely going to remain a fairly ordinary kind of series. Fun for a once watch and then I’ll move on and probably forget most of these characters. Anyway, with two episodes to go, I’m interested to find out whether the landlord gets let in on the secret or not.

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Run With The Wind Episode 1: Another Character Dragging Others Along in Pursuit of Their Dream

Run With the Wind Episode 1 - Haiji

I haven’t exactly hidden my dislike of shouting protagonists, but there’s another type of character I find equally off-putting regardless of how good the story might be. And Run With The Wind delivers us Haiji, the guy who has some personal goal or dream of running a marathon and is willing to drag whoever he needs to into it. He might be described as passionate or driven, but I generally find imposing your own wish on other people to be a fairly repugnant character trait. If he wants to run a marathon he’s welcome to; leave everyone else alone.

Run With The Wind Episode 1

Which meant this first episode didn’t exactly scream at me that this is a must watch. A sport focused story with a bunch of guys brought together through whatever means necessary to train to run a marathon it isn’t exactly shouting pick me. Despite that, it also isn’t an instant drop and I’m going to give it another episode or two to try and convince me these characters are worth investing my time in. And there’s a couple of reasons for that.

The first is the visuals. While for the most part they are pretty ordinary (neither good or bad), there is one sequence where Haiji sees Kakeru running and it just grabbed me (as it was clearly intended to). I actually saw this sequence on Twitter before I watched the episode and while I liked it on Twitter, it actually just worked beautifully in the episode and it was the moment I really started paying attention.

The second reason I’m not instant dropping this, is the rest of the cast seem interesting enough. They each have their particular personality trait but they don’t seem as exaggerated or caricature like as some ensemble casts and I’d like to give them a chance to grow on me.

Run with the Wind Episode 1

Still, I will be quite surprised if this one stays on my watch list.


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Frankenstein Family Episodes 7 + 8

With the cliff-hanger ending of episode 6 to be resolved and the issue of whether or not the kids can trust the landlord, episodes 7 and 8 manage to be pretty interesting even while not a lot actually happens in Frankenstein Family.

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I’m not a big fan of flash backs during dramatic moments given I kind of feel that if the information was important and is necessary to really understand the emotional impact of the scene we probably should have already seen it prior to the moment. Yet, Frankenstein Family uses a flash back quite nicely as we see the twins confronting one another, the spider being restrained by the plant and the end result being something visually amazing even while the mind boggles at the implications. Seeing the twins as children and how close they were/are really did add something to the moment and it wasn’t drawn out too long, given the shorter run time of the episodes. All and all, this was a pretty well done sequence.

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I do worry about Tanisu’s priorities and how much of an influence his parents have clearly been on him though given his first thought on seeing this was to collect samples.

We then move into a sequence that focuses on the landlord and whether the kids can trust him. I assume sooner or later the cat is going to come out of the bag whether the kids tell him or not given it seems impossible the girls can keep applying make up or wearing a back pack forever. The sequence is simple enough with him buying furniture online and then taking the kids to collect it. On failing to get to the seller first, Tanisu ends up guiding the group to the dump and they scavenge some pieces to build their own. It works well and the group dynamic continues to be a strength of the show. It also helped the landlord integrate a little with the rest of the cast where before he was very much on the outside. While he still doesn’t know the secret, at least he now feels more like he might become a part of the group.

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So while not an amazing show, Frankenstein Family continues to deliver an interesting enough meander through the life of these kids. It would be nice if it does delve into some of the darker subject matter, but just seeing their daily lives is actually kind of fun.

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Frankenstein Family Episode 6

This week we finally get to see the ‘side-effects’ of the medicine that makes the sister’s look human. We knew they existed but seeing it is kind of scary.

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The landlord is still trying to bond and so invites the kids out to the mountains for a hike. They all go along and we realise that Sumire’s class is also hiking in the mountains leading to a very happy Tanisu trying to play knight in shining armour before his older brother Snow ends up sweeping Sumire off her feet. That will be fun when they go to resolve that plot line.

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However the hike continues and eventually we hit the time limit with both sisters losing control as the medicine wears off and it seems they become the extreme form of their mutation with the spider girl going full monster while the plant girl seems to be rooting into the ground. Of course this isn’t resolved this episode but it seems like a genuinely tricky situation and makes you wonder what the long term plan might be given they clearly cannot keep taking the medication.

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Frankenstein Family Episode 5

This week the kids finish infiltrating the lab and retrieving what they need, meanwhile the landlord returns and tries to make friends with a mind-reader.

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This episode is fairly uneventful in that we continue the infiltration before returning home but not a lot happens other than what you would expect from their mission. The kids manage to avoid detection in getting to the safe but then the girls need to use the bathroom. The flushing toilet alerts some researchers and so they are forced to use a small amount of violence to knock them out. It is all pretty much expected.

What is nice in this episode is seeing the characters each visit their old rooms and how they react both to seeing the space again and to leaving. It is short, but a nice moment in terms of seeing each of the characters.

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Then of course they return to their new home where Suishi has been keeping the landlord company (though given the awkwardness between them that probably isn’t the best description). Finally a pizza dinner, some chit-chat and then the episode ends. It is a little unfortunate the episode ends without us learning anything about the landlords intentions or even what the kids plan on doing next given there’s not a lot of compelling ideas driving this and it is more just kind of watching the family day to day. There isn’t anything wrong with that but it isn’t the most bingeable watching.

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Doreiku The Animation Series Review: Another Cool Premise Gone To Waste

Doreiku presents viewers with a very cool set-up. What if there was a device that would allow you to play a game with someone and the loser was made to become the winner’s slave? There’s so many places such a concept could be taken and yet what we find in this anime is that we’re just going to tread over the usual vices we’ve seen before with nothing really new on the table.

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There’s nothing wrong with stories that want to explore the darker side of human nature or even human misery. I’d argue that stories are a good place to explore such things and to make audiences think about situations they might not otherwise understand or to ‘safely’ experience emotions that might otherwise be pretty traumatising. With the initial set-up of Doreiku I was kind of hoping once it got over its shock factor in the first episode (and believe me, it is trying to be shocking with its rape and idea of total enslavement being paraded around front and centre) that it would actually look at the motives and desires of those involved or maybe explore the notion of freedom overall.

And while you argue that the anime does explore these things, it ultimately ends up being a very shallow dive. Meanwhile the viewer is subjected to a meandering plot, an unnecessarily large cast, and more than a few illogical plot points that kind of exist just because someone somewhere must have thought they were cool.

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It all just kind of ends up being an empty viewing experience. Every character (with the possible exception of Eia), seems to think they are amazingly smart and that somehow there’s no chance of them losing. And every character ultimately cheats at the games or resorts to violence and intimidation to set the game up in such a way that they can’t lose. And as the number of masters gets fewer and fewer and the number of slaves gets larger, what we realise is that no one writing this show really thought about what these characters would do with slaves.

Yes, there are the usual sexual antics in places and a lot of the male characters are used as muscle. But scene after scene will show a master talking, and boy do these characters like to talk and yet say nothing, while a handful of slaves stand pitifully in the background. Is that really the best they could do? You enslaved multiple other humans and now you just have them kind of standing around.

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Though Eia and her original partner Oota aren’t all that much better really. Oota’s just thrill seeking and uses Eia for insurance. And once he gets a taste of power he gets nasty yet we’re still somehow supposed to hope Eia saves him. Eia gets swept up in Oota’s scheme because… well I think it is meant to be because she’s bored or wants a challenge but it never really becomes clear. Midway through the series, Eia suddenly decides she wants to free all of the slaves by, naturally, enslaving them. I just wonder if after all is said and done if their brains are going to permanently fried but the series also isn’t interested in answering that sort of question about the devices in question so don’t ask.

So the characters are pretty dull, there’s no real theme or message to wait for, and the plot is a meandering and cluttered mess held together only through who currently owns who, what does that leave us with? Visuals that are okay but not great. Music that works with the show but isn’t memorable. A cute puppy, but it is also wearing a device and is a slave.

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If you’re just kind of curious, it isn’t the worst thing ever, but there’s not a lot to recommend this one. That and if you are easily upset by difficult subject matter, then definitely give this one a skip. It is deliberately confronting at times but doesn’t really address any of these issues.

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Frankenstein Family Episode 4

Minor correction from my review of episodes 1 and 2; it turns out Snow is actually an older brother rather than a sister. That doesn’t change a lot about the show, but I felt I should correct it.

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Episode 4 has the family returning to the lab as Tanisu has decided he needs the research on the medicine to help his sisters pass as human so they might be able to live normal lives. The sisters for the most part are just thrilled to get to return to the lab which clearly shows that for them being experimented on was not some horrendous trauma they were trying to escape from. It is interesting given normally this set up of kids being used for experiments has the kids trying to burn down the place of their transformation rather than eagerly returning to it and hoping to stay.

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I am curious as to what will be discovered in the lab but the journey there took the run time of this episode so I guess we’ll have to wait until the next episodes are released. I think the best thing about this show is how the family dynamic actually feels genuine despite the various modifications. The siblings really work well together to keep this show rolling along.

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Frankenstein Family Episode 3

Episode 3 of Frankenstein Family is quite logical in that we see Tanisu looking for help for his family and going back through his very limited contacts out in the world. It doesn’t exactly end happily, but the experience of watching him and his sister figure out their way around the city and meeting with someone and genuinely trying to explain their situation was kind of low-key entertainment.

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I would like to ask just how messed up is that tutor? She went from perfectly normal to fairly crazy in the blink of an eye and her reasoning was just silly. Okay, I could understand her not wanting to help Tanisu but why agree to meet him at all if that was all she was after?

Frankenstein3c

Anyway, this anime knows how to soften a moment. Immediately following this encounter and Tanisu’s brush with self-doubt and facing a near loss of faith in everyone, he runs into the girl from last episode and has a pretty adorable encounter. He probably didn’t even need his mind-reading sister to help him come to the conclusion that there are some decent people around.

This anime continues to be very laid back but entertaining enough to pass the time. It is still fairly forgettable, but for 15 minutes of actual episode it is doing enough.

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Frankenstein Family Episodes 1 + 2

It is amazing what timing can do for a show. If Frankenstein Family had aired back at the start of the season I’d have probably passed after episode 1, particularly as only 15 minutes of the run time is actually episode and the rest is voice actresses doing whatever they are doing (it isn’t overly compelling whatever it is). Yet at this stage of a slow season, this isn’t a terrible beginning for an anime and I find myself curious about what it might do. That and it isn’t as bad as some of the stuff I’m still actually watching so comparatively its a winner.

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The story involves a family of five siblings who were raised in a lab by their mad-scientist parents. The four sisters were experimented on and each has an interesting modification. There’s the mind reader, the plant girl, the dog girl, and the spider girl. The boy, Tanisu claims he’s the only normal one that wasn’t experimented on and that he’s a genius however evidence in the flash back in episode 2 suggests he was also being experimented on so I guess we’ll see where they go with that story line or whether it is just a red-herring.

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Anyway, their parents have been arrested and for some reason they are now living alone. They weren’t really clear on the specifics and I’m assuming the kids aren’t being supported by child services or an equivalent all things considered so I’m curious what they will do when they inevitably run out of money. That’s assuming of course they don’t get themselves into trouble before then given none of the girls have a clue how to live in the ‘normal’ world.

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Honestly, this is pretty standard in the way it delivers its story but the family dynamic is kind of cute and there’s enough potential in the set up for me to want to know a bit more about what is really going on with the family and why the lab burnt down and the parents got arrested so I’ll hopefully watch some more of this.


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