- Titles: KazeTsuyo, Run with the Wind
- Genre: Sports!, comedy, drama, slice of life
- Episodes: 23
- Studio: Production I.G
Running is hard. It’s so hard! It’s one of the toughest physical activities you can do for any sustained amount of time. And it hurts like your whole body. The risk of injury is high and the rewards are unlikely. And in the end, no matter what you do, you’ll never be any faster than the most out-of-shape guy with access to a car. Or even a bus pass. So why would anyone ever put themselves through the pain of running? It makes no sense. We went through all this evolution to invent cars so we wouldn’t have to run anymore! I bet you wonder why anyone in their right mind would ever pick up running as a sport. I know I am. And maybe the guys from Chikusei-sou can give us the answer. That is if they ever figure it out themselves.
The first image I saw of Run with the Wind made me think of Haikyu. The character designs, something in the features and eye shape were just reminiscent. And well, you give me a Sports! anime that reminds me of Haikyu, I’m going to watch it. I’m just going to take my sweet time to get to it because I’m keeping it preciously like a dessert!
Did I mention it reminded me of Haikyu? I mean it is Production I.G. and they have a specialty when it comes to sports anime. So it was no surprise that the running animation was good. Muscle structure and choreographies were all really well put together. It was a nice show to watch. I have more screencaps of this series than any in recent memory.
But it wasn’t perfect. There is this frequent effect where Kakeru (the fastest runner) is shown glowing while running in a void. Emotionally, this visual does its job quite well but I do think the image itself doesn’t look great. It’s a bit cheap and when you see it repeatedly, the magic wears off.
But that’s it. Everything else about this production was great. I mean, it wasn’t creative or unusual just really solid. Oh and the sound design. Actually, the sound design was unusual and particularly good. In a few spots throughout the series, not very often, all noise cuts out except the sound of wind blowing and the steps of the characters. Every single time it happened I got chills. It was one of the most effective uses of dramatic sound design I have ever heard.
And Haiji’s voice actor is actor was really good. His name is Toshiyuki Toyonaga. I’ve seen him in a bunch of things playing mostly energetic or nice boys but never really noticed. His subdued and mature performance here really brought the series together.
Ok, this time I’ll stop chiming in with production details I thought was great. Just take my word for it, it’s a very well-made show.
Story & Characters
Run with the Wind is a Sports! anime. What I mean is that Run with the Wind is what happens when you take the basic structure of a Sports anime, as well as all the traditional tropes and archetypes, and just do them really well. It’s not a subversion and it’s not trying to break the mould. It’s a strong ensemble cast coming of age and a love letter to running while acknowledging all the downsides of it. That’s all. And that’s amazing.
For those of you who unlike me, aren’t necessarily experts in the Sports! anime genre, that first paragraph probably didn’t tell you all that much. Still, I do know some people that simply dislike the genre regardless of anything else, so if that’s your case, I can’t say there’s anything for you in Run with the Wind. It’s not a drama with sports in it or anything like that.
I thought that the main cast being aged up compared to most Sports! series was a great touch. Most of the team are adults when the show starts. Kakeru is the youngest and he is still a first-year university student so that makes him most likely 18 (he’s just not legal drinking age when the show starts). This makes the entire tone and feels of the series just a bit more mature. And for me, just a little easier to instantly relate to.
But for the rest of you, what can I say, you should watch Run with the Wind. It’s solidly paced, it has a great cast and the writing and interaction are smooth and very naturalistic. I should probably reveal my bias as this might be the anime I enjoyed the most this year. So emotionally, I would say, everyone should watch this show, it’s great.
But that wouldn’t be a very useful post. So instead, I’m going to try to figure out aspects that might not be great for some. Keep in mind that this is an exercise in me playing devil’s advocate. I loved this show.
On a superficial level, Run with the Wind has a surprising amount of fanservice. Not on the level of Harukana Receive or anything close to that. But there are a lot of bath scenes and glistening muscles in this show. Honestly, it took me by surprise at first.
Personally, I thought it was integrated very well in the show so it didn’t feel creepy or completely gratuitous. However, if you don’t like fanservice of any kind, then it might rub you the wrong way.
Also, I mentioned that the cast is a bit older and that makes the tone more mature. Well, it also makes it calmer. There really aren’t any crazy shenanigans in Run with the Wind. Both the comedy and the drama in this series are understated and the show veers strongly towards realism.
ASs such, if you are looking for some escapism fantasy, you will not find it in Run with the Wind. Neither are you all that likely to be rolling around on the floor laughing. Although, I will admit that I teared up quite a bit. So it is touching. But in a soft and gentle way.
While doing just a smidge of research for the post, I found that one of the frequently asked questions on Google was: Is Run with the Wind bl, and variations about whether characters are in love. Allow me to answer that here: no. Not at all. There’s no explicit romance and I didn’t pick up on any implicit one either. I suppose you can ship the characters together but you can do that with absolutely any anime. And again, this may disappoint some viewers.
When it comes right down to it, I think I’m unlikely to convince anyone who didn’t want to watch Run with the Wind to do so. However, if you have been thinking about it, or maybe this is the first you hear of the series. I warmly recommend this show. It made me happy and hopeful and I wish I could have spent more time at Chikusei-sou.
You might like this anime if:
You like well-written Sports anime and good ensemble casts.
My favourite character:
Prince. Mostly because his running style was obviously based on mine. Did I mention running is hard!
- Every time someone has their bath time interrupted – take a sip then spit it out!
- Every time we hear the sound of wind – take a sip
- Every time Prince might be dead – oh no!
- Every time we see Nita – cheer!
- Every time Kakeru’s hair gets blown back – take a sip
- Every time there’s a butterfly – hide… I mean take a sip
- Every time anyone drinks – join them
- Every time Musa is a pushover – take a sip
- Every time we see Haji’s scar – worry
- Every time Kakeru mopes – take a sip
- Every time anyone says “Hakone” – The mountains of Hakone are…
- Every time coach shows up – take a sip
- Every time anyone mentions Sendai Josei – take a sip
- Every time the twins talk up a girl – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.