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.
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?
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.
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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