The Change of Seasons Welcome a Changing Wind

Run With The Wind Episode Review Title

Run With The Wind Episode 12 Review

Run With The Wind continues to be surprisingly compelling despite being a show about ten guys running around in circles. Okay, I’m not into watching marathons or track. What continues to sell this story are the characters and the way their progress is being handled. While not as overt emotional development as we are seeing in Tsurune, Run With The Wind excels at small moments and small triumphs. While Kakeru and Haiji continue to get the lion’s share of the focus each team member is given enough smaller moments scattered throughout episodes that we don’t forget them and they all feel like they are going on this journey.

Run With The Wind Episode 12 Kakeru

After the gap between episode 11 and 12 we have a new OP and ED. I’m not sold on the OP at all but the ED is pretty great. The rest of the sound remains on point and this is one anime where the sound direction continues to need to be applauded.

Run With The Wind Episode 12 Celebration

Takashi and Yuki get a moment to shine and celebrate early in this episode and it was nice to see this small moment. They didn’t win the race but they both managed a qualifying time and it feels like a very natural development given how close both of these characters have been to this previously. I also loved that the team dynamic is still very much in tact with the twins stealing a lot of dialogue but each character having their moment. The one disappointment from this episode was the decided absence of Prince quips and his only real contribution was getting travel sick on the way to the camp.

Run With The Wind Episode 12 Twins

However, by the end of the episode all the earlier moments may fade from memory as the episode veers very much into another round of Kakeru has issues and the red-haired guy from the other school whose name I won’t ever remember is still being a jerk. It kind of leaves a sour taste as it feels like this whole plot line has lingered far too long without either being addressed or resolving and at this point I’d really like it to as almost everything else in the anime is more interesting.

Run With The Wind Episode 12

Still, Run With The Wind remains a compelling viewing experience and one that I’m still pleasantly surprised by. Looking forward to where it goes during its second cour.

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Karandi James
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Run With The Wind Original Soundtrack
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Why Run With the Wind is An Outstanding Example of How To Use Sound

Run With The Wind Episode Review Title

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.

Run With The Wind Episode 11 Sakaki

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.

Run With The Wind Episode 11 The Team

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.

Run With The Wind Episode 11 Rain

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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Karandi James
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How Run With The Wind Shows Us To Celebrate Effort Rather Than Victory

Run With The Wind Episode Review Title

Run With The Wind Episode 10 Review

I kind of thought it last week, with my episode review focusing on Kakeru having to take a step back to see things. This week we see the full fruit of his observations as with Haiji out of the picture it falls on Kakeru to keep the team together. Only not really. After a brief moment of panic and some breakfast making hi-jinks (cause of course none of the guys can cook – breathing the cliche right there) the only one Kakeru ends up really working with is Prince.

Run With The Wind Episode 10 King

Of course, given the friction between Kakeru and Prince, this is kind of a completely necessary step so you can almost forgive Run With The Wind for the cheesy and overused ‘Haiji collapses from exhaustion’ story-line in order to orchestrate this moment. I’ve said it before, but being trite or generic isn’t a problem provided you do it well and Run With The Wind fully committed to this plot line and made it work.

Run With The Wind Episode 10 Kakeru

From the mirroring between Kakeru and Prince in the kitchen to Haiji working with Prince and his manga obsession to improve his form, this episode was full of happy surprise moments that just nailed exactly what they needed to. By the time we see Prince and Kakeru back on the track for real, the audience will feel like they’ve been on this journey with the characters and it is absolutely rewarding. You’ll also want to be apart of the team cheer at the end.

Run With The Wind Episode 10 Prince toss
So want to be a part of that celebration.

Still, while it might be seen as Prince getting better at running, which he is, something else has fundamentally changed that is going to impact the entire dynamic of the anime. And that is, Kakeru is no longer only obsessed with winning or being fast. His slowing down to run alongside Prince and encourage him briefly is an incredible character shift and if it hadn’t had the focus it got it would have felt really unearned. Instead though, it feels like the audience has had plenty of time hoping Kakeru would get his head together and finally we’re seeing some payoff in the form of the most adorable scenes in the anime so far.

Hopefully this series continues to grow its characters and take full advantage of moments like these because if it can do that it will end up being a very solid anime and one that I’d happily recommend despite being a sports anime.

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Karandi James
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You Have To Step Back To See What’s Really There

Run With The Wind Episode Review Title

Run With The Wind Episode 9 Review

As much as I hate to admit it, Haiji has a point. Kakeru really can’t see what the point of running is anymore, other than getting a great time and winning, and while I kind of get where Kakeru is coming from, given they are in a competition, I really do get where Haiji is coming from. Besides, Kakeru targeting Prince was a low blow. It isn’t as though Prince didn’t know he wasn’t good at running.

Run With The Wind Episode 9

Kakeru being benched this week on Run With The Wind created a chance for the audience to observe the others from a distance as well. While at first most were reluctant to join Haiji in his dream, and many were coerced, the five who competed this week gave it all they had and those who were on the side were moved by their effort and a desire to cheer them on. All and all, the power of the ‘team’ coming together even if none of the runners were successful this time around at getting an official time.

Run With The Wind Episode 9 - Running

Of course, Run With The Wind wasn’t really content just to give us a ‘go team’ kind of message and working at bringing Kakeru back in with the others, despite him being a massive jerk last week and at the start of the episode. Instead we layer in signs that Haiji isn’t as ‘recovered’ as he’d like people to believe and that escalates as the episode continues. Given we still don’t know what actually happened, I’m curious as to what is going on, but the eventual collapse of the team leader was a suitably dramatic end point for the episode.

Run With The Wind Episode 9 Prince

Where this anime shines is that none of the characters feel neglected at this point. It is quite the feat given the sheer number of characters. And while I don’t necessarily like all of them, they are all feeling very authentic and the group as a whole is becoming more and more interesting to watch.

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Karandi James
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An Opportunity To Knock The Wind Clean Out Of Their Sails

Run With The Wind Episode Review Title

Run With The Wind Episode 7 Review

The boys finally participate in an actual track meet and this early in the season there are no surprises, except perhaps that Prince finished at all. Seriously, Prince is still my absolutely favourite character in this series and his calm manner before running as he reads manga is just absolutely priceless. I think what I particularly appreciate is that he isn’t kicking and wailing about not wanting to run. He has just kind of resigned himself to doing it and just wants it all to be as painless as possible.

Run With The Wind Episode 7 Prince

However, for Kakeru this isn’t a laughing matter nor one he can take lightly. While we’ve seen a bit about what happened before there’s still plenty we don’t know about him and while he is definitely more in support of the team, he’s still pretty much emotionally unable to deal with how they end up performing and even his own performance. Still, despite starting like a fairly blandish protagonist, Kakeru is turning out to be surprisingly interesting even if the path he’s on seems pretty predictable.

Run With The Wind Episode 7 Kakeru

I’d turn my attention to Haiji, and I would like to at some point look at the personal strength he must have to come back from an injury like he has and to drag everyone along in his wake, even if I do find him obnoxious, but I’m kind of hoping for a little more about the information about his injury so I’ll hold off on that.

Run With The Wind Episode 7 Hiaji

Instead, I’ll focus on the sound in this week’s episode (well it was that or how many buckets of sweat the characters had rolling off them). Realistically it makes sense that these guys would be breathing hard, and even harder than the other runners who had been training more diligently for longer, and yet the gasping sounds as we progressed through the race were more than a little off-putting. This is perhaps one of those cases where striving for realism is great and all but did we really need it? I think all it really did was minimise the impact of some of the other sounds that came through the race and that is a shame because Run With The Wind is an anime that kind of gets the importance of using sound as emphasis of critical moments and doesn’t feel the need to just get louder but actually makes individual sounds stand out from the crowd and draw the listeners in.

Anyway, another week of Run With The Wind is done and I will say this one has more or less settled into the middle of the pack of shows I am watching. I enjoy it well enough and some of the early episodes were very solid, but we’ve definitely kind of settled into fairly standard territory and while as a whole this anime is still pretty well made, I’m just not interested enough in running to have this one as a must watch.

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Karandi James
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Run With The Wind Episode 6: No Need to Be Frantic. It’ll absolutely blow over soon

Run With the Wind Episode 6

This week’s episode of Run With The Wind focuses almost exclusively on King, as the last hold out really on the track team. Even those other members who aren’t wholly committed or convinced that they will run in Hakone are now more or less diligently turning up to training and seem to be enjoying it, whether they admit it or not.

Run With The Wind Episode 6

This would all be fine if King were a more interesting character. However, his job search is really not particularly compelling as a piece of drama (while understandable that he would be stressed it isn’t as though he can search every minute of every day) and his visit to a mahjong parlour just seemed empty. I get they are trying to show him being a little bit lost and directionless but it all just makes his refusal to run seem more like stubborn and pointless pride (for the first time in six episodes, Haiji was not the most annoying character in the show).

Run With The Wind Episode 6

Despite the King focus, they didn’t forget the other characters with the twins having some great lines, Kakeru having another one on one with Haiji (though these are starting to get repetitive as it seems we are hearing variations on the same conversation), and Prince certainly gets another fairly solid moment here (still my favourite character). Basically, individual characters in this show might grate on me or not really be as nuanced as I’d like for what they seem to be striving for, but the ensemble as a whole is pretty great and the show is at its best when it lets the characters interact in a way that flows naturally from one conversation from the next.

Wind6d

Still, the team are all in now and it looks like next week we’re heading to a race so I guess we will see what happens. The idea of Prince competing right at the moment is pretty golden given everything so I’ll look forward to that.

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Karandi James
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Run With The Wind Episode 5: Scattered by the Winds

Run With The Wind Episode 5

Haiji’s persuasion has apparently been more effective than I first thought with drunken college boys now making speeches about wanting to run. Or maybe it was the jerk by the river insulting them, but either way a fire was lit under some of the previously in name only track club. However, that may not matter if they can’t all get on board.

Run With The Wind Episode 5

Realistically the only one not really trying at this point is King, though Yukihiro is still verbally protesting despite actually training seriously. King however is apparently in that wonderful time of life where he’s job hunting and starting to prepare for what comes after college, so amazingly enough he isn’t all that interested in picking up a hobby that’s going to distract from that. Haiji is clearly not oblivious but he also makes no effort to try to meet King half-way and his speech at the dining table toward the end was more or less the last straw for King.

Now, the anime could go two ways here. We could take the predictable and less satisfying path of someone on the team reaching out to King and he suddenly gains some passion or at least reluctant acceptance for running despite his very valid reasons for not wanting to do it. Or, the anime could do something that would be highly credible for realism but is fairly unlikely to happen. King could leave the dorm, meaning the team would then have to recruit someone else if their ultimate goal is to be achieved.

Yeah, I don’t think they’ll do that. I think we’ll see King’s arc tied up in a neat bow and he’ll be out there running, but I’d like to be wrong just for the sheer novelty of seeing the story go a different direction.

Wind5d

Prince is still my favourite character here. His dead pan delivery as he repeats that he never agreed to run, his ‘attempt’ at becoming incorporeal, and his genuine expression of betrayal when the dog joins the runners are all pretty solid moments.

Overall, I am continuing to enjoy this but episode 5 is perhaps the weakest offering yet in terms of characterisation and plot development. While it certainly does its job, there’s not really a stand out moment to hold onto. Still, this remains a fairly solid entry into the Autumn season.

Run With The Wind Episode 5

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Karandi James
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