They Are Three Runners Down With Seven To Go

Run With The Wind Episode Review Title

Run With The Wind Episode 19 Review

Run With The Wind continues to be the impressive front runner for the season for me, which surprises me immensely and yet is incredibly satisfying. The race begins for real this week and we watch Prince, Musa, and then Taro as each completes their part of the journey. Each character has had wonderful growth, not just as a runner, and that is impressive given the cast of ten main characters with none of them left feeling neglected.

Run With The Wind Episode 19 - Prince begins the race

Still, Prince was the standout, at least for me. He remains the character who gets the best lines and moments, and his request that Haiji not apologised to him for dragging him into running but that Haiji encouraged him the way any of the characters from his manga might be encouraged was just adorable. Seeing Prince make the finish line at all, and to do so in relatively good time (okay he was last but he barely qualified in the first place) was one of those moments that nearly moved me to tears. Then we got the reaction from the rest of the team, cheering on Prince’s achievement and yeah, there were tears to the point I had to pause the episode.

Run With The Wind Episode 19 - Prince

Despite Prince’s excellent showing, Musa and Taro didn’t let themselves be outshone and I think I love that the most about this show. Each character plays their part and steps up to lead the episode when they need to and steps back when it is time for someone else. Both were reflecting on their journey and I must admit I really enjoyed Taro’s run and learning more about his relationship with his brother. And then of course there was Hana showing up in the final stretch.

Run With The Wind Episode 19 - Taro

But, I will warn you if you haven’t already watched the episode, don’t watch the preview. It just sets your heart hurting and there’s a whole week before we’ll find out what happens. Save yourself the pain and just enjoy the episode and then hope against hope that everyone in the team finishes their leg next week.

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Karandi James
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Facing Forward Is Easier When You Know Someone Has Your Back

Run With The Wind Episode Review Title

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Review

In typical fashion the training camp has come to an end but not without another gag as Haiji tries to inspire the team by showing them an edited video of the relay, seeing some more montages of the boys training in the summer, firework hijinx and finally a shot of the team standing side by side and staring off into the horizon.

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Fireworks

It’s all very functional and necessary though nothing particularly unexpected at this juncture and little risk taken visually or with the sound which is a bit of a shame given how some moments in this series have really taken off because of how they’ve been presented. There’s nothing wrong with this sequence but it also feels like we’ve seen all this before and so ultimately it serves its narrative purpose but is forgettable as we transition into the final races leading up to the qualifying one.

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Prince
And Prince still gets the absolute best lines.

We see the last team members getting their official times until only Prince is left. He marks off the calendar and we can see he has only one chance left before the qualifier and if he can’t get a time they can’t even try to qualify. It’s one of those forced tension moments that sports anime do so well, but here the thirteen episodes of build-up and Prince’s growth as a runner kind of warrant this sort of attention and so it is actually reasonably satisfying.

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Prince

By the same token, there’s little doubt what the outcome will be and while Run With The Wind takes another opportunity to drive home its teamwork and supporting each other mentality with sweet and charming results, there’s not a lot of suspense. The joy here is in knowing the outcome and feeling the characters have earned it.

Looking forward to next episode which I assume will be the qualifier. Unless the anime wants to throw another road block in the way first just to up the emotional stakes. I’m hoping not.

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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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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Princes

Tuesday's Top 5

There’s something about growing up on a heavy dose of fairy tales and fantasy that leaves me with this ridiculous urge to still fantasise about the prince riding up on his noble steed and sweeping me off my feet, despite the fact that if common-sense hadn’t knocked that notion out of me, Shrek really should have. And yet, I can’t help but feel my heart do a little skip when we’re introduced to an anime prince who looks like they might be the hero I was holding out for.

With so many princes to choose from it was really hard to narrow down this list so I gave myself a few conditions. Firstly, they had to actually be a prince and not just called a prince (so no Prince of the school on this list). Secondly, no duplicates from the same show. Finally, these princes are in the order in which I personally would like them to come and save me from my mundane life. That said, I’d love to know which prince you’re holding out for.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Mare (DameXPrince Anime Caravan)

Number 5: Prince Endymion (Sailor Moon)

Endymion

While these days I’m not the biggest fan of Tuxedo Mask and even as a kid I thought he talked too much, there was something undeniably cool every time we got to see Prince Endymion. His costume for one was a thousand times better than the Tuxedo Mask persona and he had an actual sword rather than a rose and cane so actually looked combat ready. The real tragedy of course is the limited screen time this character got in the original series.

Number 4: Ling Yao (Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood)

Ling Yao.gif

Okay, questionable choices aside, Ling Yao is a character who is literally willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. And while at first it might seem like his goals are pretty self-serving, there’s a lot more at stake than it might at first appear. This guy is driven, talented, and willing to go as far as he needs to succeed. What’s not to like?

Number 3: Bruno Von Glanzreich (The Royal Tutor)

Tutor2

Of the four Princes in the Royal Tutor, Bruno was the one I consistently liked the most, though all of these princes went through some fairly decent character development throughout the course of the series. Bruno may have been awkward and indecisive at times, but deep down he always just wanted to succeed and he worked hard to achieve his goals. I love a hard working yet awkward prince.

Number 2: Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass)

Lelouch.gif

Did I  just say I liked someone awkward? Apparently not, because I’m now jumping to a guy who is literally overflowing with self-confidence. Between you and me, Lelouch would drive me crazy in real life. I’d probably end up slapping his smug face mid-chess game and then work at demolishing him on the board (okay, I don’t like losing either). And yet, there is something undeniably appealing about someone who will take on an entire empire to settle a personal grudge and who ultimately plots his own death in order to save the world. It’s a weird appeal, but it is appealing.

Number 1: Zen Wisteria (Snow White With the Red Hair)

The prince that I think most of us envisioned as kids. The guy who will ride in to save the day but if he can see the situation is under control he’ll just wait patiently until you are done. Sorting most things through words and paperwork but able to draw a sword and go to town when needed, quite literally the fairy tale prince.

I had so much fun writing this list but I’m really looking forward to seeing which princes my readers like. Please let me know your favourite, or your top 5 anime princes in the comments. And next week I’m going to take on my favourite Princesses.


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Karandi James

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DamePri Anime Caravan Series Review: Take Standard Reverse Harem With Just a Touch of Parody

There’s something to be said for a anime that can be so silly and yet take itself fairly seriously when it comes to dishing out some serious drama. DamePri kind of walks a fine line throughout most of its run time but the end result is pretty entertaining. What did you think?

Review:

Given I’m not big on comedy and normally by mid-season any comedy I’ve picked up is starting to wear me down, my overall reaction to this anime is a bit of a surprise even to me. That isn’t to say that this anime didn’t have a mid-season slump. Episodes 7 and 8 were definitely a low point for this otherwise fairly charming if mostly harmless series. Yet, the final arc really let the drama of the story with political intrigue between all three Kingdoms play out even while the characters persisted with their comedy moments of Ani’s deadpan reactions, Narek’s narcissism, and Ruze’s general co-dependence on his prime minister.

DamePri1c

This isn’t a story that is easily explained given there’s a lot of interconnections but at the end of the day you don’t really need to get the bigger picture as this show doesn’t jump between times or locations but rather tells us what we need to know, when we need to know it. The focus is always on the characters, particularly the young Princes and the Princess as they form a fairly tight friendship (and a bit more given most of the Princes are crushing on the Princess who remains mostly indifferent to their advances but respects their growth as people).

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The political shenanigans are therefore just a backdrop to give these characters room to show off what they can do and while individually they might become annoying, the mix of ‘types’ being presented here works with none of them staying long enough to truly make you wish them harm (Narek is touch and go early in the series but as the anime continues, has one of the better character progressions). Of all the ‘main’ characters, Teo, Ani’s knight, is probably the one who is used the least in a meaningful way, though he does still get at least one cool moment in the final episode so he wasn’t totally forgotten in amongst substantially more interesting and colourful characters.

Damepri11c

Mare (Mea – depending on your subs) is by far my favourite character. A shut in and the brother of the shining Ruze, he talks mostly through his doll though that pretence fades more and more as the series continues and Mare is one of the most open about his feelings for Ani. Most scenes with Mare hit their mark for me and I quite enjoyed his screen time.

Damepri4a

Visually, this is bright and pretty but nothing exceptional. The character designs are distinctive and probably the only real point of note, other than the sparkles around Ruze at times. The same is pretty much true of the music with the ED being pretty cool but not a lot else of note.

Damepri4d

If you are looking for a reverse harem with a down to earth female character and an anime that isn’t afraid to make fun of itself or its obviously generically constructed cast, then you will probably have a bit of fun with this. It isn’t exceptional by any means, nor is it particularly bad. Some jokes will be repeated a few times too many and other visual gags will just kind of leave you rolling your eyes, but the feel good tone of this show and generally quick pace as you move from one set up to the next for the cast will mostly keep you entertained with more hits than misses.

I’d love to know what you thought so if you watched the show please leave me a comment below.

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Karandi James

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DamePri Anime Caravan Episode 12: Showdown Between Inaco and Milidonia

At last we reach the final episode of this bit of silliness in anime form, and I must admit I haven’t much minded the journey to this final episode despite this being outside of my usual kind of fare. Narek and Ane are racing to Inaco to try to stop Narek’s father, the King of Milidonia from invading with his army though they don’t have much of a plan save appealing to his sense of reason that seems somewhat limited. This leaves Ruze and Mare out for a lot of the episode but they get to make a dramatic return later in the episode in case you really can’t have an episode without the pair.

DamePri12a

Pretty much every character and reoccurring joke get’s jammed into this episode that barely lets up for a breath of air and the end result feels a little rushed but at the same time kind of satisfying. It is pleasing to see Narek has grown even if deep down he’s still a narcissist and the other characters have all grown in small ways even while remaining true to their type.

DamePri12c

And for those who really want to see Narek’s portrait diced, this episode will deliver, though don’t ask for the logic behind why the portrait is even on the battlefield because that is unlikely to make sense. I’ll get to a full review of this shortly, but I must say I’m oddly pleased by it.

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Karandi James

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DamePri Anime Caravan Episode 11: Narek’s Moment Is Done, Bring on Mare and Ruze

There are few anime that can pull off delivering a joke about a prince disguising himself as a commoner but refusing to remove his feathered boa and yet are still able to deliver a rousing and emotional speech later in the same episode about brothers and protecting a kingdom, and yet DamePri Anime Caravan kind of pulls it off. While Narek is still coming to terms with the events of the coup last week in Milidonia and his father is still stomping his army toward Ani’s homeland, we learn that the plot against Ruze and Mare’s kingdom is far further along then we might have suspected.

Damepri11a

On that note, Mare remains my favourite character of the cast here. I’m a little worried that Vino didn’t make an appearance and part of me wonders if we are meant to assume his injury last week was actually life-threatening but maybe he’ll show up for the final.

Damepri11c

Despite the fairly real drama this week, the show still manage to find ways to push the absurd with the mastermind behind the plot making an incomprehensible appearance with his words being translated by Chrom to Ani. Every over the top villain ever has been channelled in this character including the snake accessory and fangs.

Damepri11d

I have to say at this point I am genuinely enjoying this show. It remains completely silly and yet it is managing a relatively decent story underneath the antics. Okay, relatively decent is probably an exaggeration given it is a pretty basic story, but it is functional and entertaining and that’s really all this show seems to be aspiring to be.

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Karandi James

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If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.