Run with the Wind
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Run with the Wind ?
As I suspected last week, even though I spent the whole week worrying about him, we find out that Haiji is perfectly fine at the top of this episode. The real reason to tune in was not a gimmicky cliffhanger, but the surprising emotional growth his absence triggered in Prince and Kakeru. This week on Run with the Wind, the track team's fastest and slowest member finally learn to see eye to eye. “Our Speed” is the culmination of Kakeru's impressive character development, showing just how dramatically he has changed since joining the track team. However, Haiji's scare does little to change the team dynamic in the long run.
“Can we survive without Haiji?” one of the twins asks, and he's not joking. It's only after Haiji is out of commission that the rest of the team realizes how heavy a load he's been carrying. He's been managing practices, administrative tasks, cooking every day, and doing the same punishing training as everyone else. It turns out that he didn't faint while cooking; he simply fell asleep and didn't wake up even when the doctor stuck him with a syringe. “I thought he was fine without sleep,” Joji or Jota says ridiculously. Everyone wants to blame himself for Haiji's overwork, but Nico-chan-senpai is right when he observes that everyone shares the blame.
Without Haiji around as the team's center, this episode felt more broken up than usual, with brief visuals of Nira the dog as a transition between perspective shifts. Nico and Yuki, the most senior members, take on brief leadership roles while the twins and Hana try (badly) to cook, and everyone does their part to fill Haiji's shoes. I especially loved seeing how everyone did their part to help Haiji feel better—it's worth pausing to see everyone's messages and gifts. It must have worked because Haiji was back to normal after a day of rest, even taking Nira on a walk to the doctor's office. And then just about everything goes back to normal, as if the team has learned nothing from the experience. It's disappointing to see Haiji return to cooking an elaborate meal for everyone, since that kind of thing is how he wound up sick in the first place.
Even the shift that occurs through Prince and Kakeru's reconciliation shows the team's continued reliance on Haiji. Though Nico encourages the pair to make up now that Haiji isn't around to negotiate a shaky peace between them, it's still Haiji's words that finally convince Kakeru to reach out toward Prince. “Everyone else is running behind you. Until you turn around, you'll never see them from where you are." So Kakeru swallows his pride and in a charming fish-out-of-water move, he asks Prince to recommend some manga. Pretty soon, the pair is in sync while running and reading, and Kakeru gets the idea to incorporate his manga habits into his running posture. The emotional money shot of the episode is when Kakeru sacrifices his own excellent pace to encourage Prince to get his first sub-30 time. It's a visual depiction of Haiji's advice to turn around, and it emphasizes Kakeru's evolution over the course of the show from self-punishing wunderkind to supportive teammate. With Haiji's help, everyone on this team has grown. But because so little changed after Haiji's illness, I don't think we needed a dramatic cliffhanger to artificially raise the stakes.
Run with the Wind is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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