Run with the Wind
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Run with the Wind ?
Bad news everyone: this is the last Run With The Wind of 2018. This show is going on a one-month break and won't come back until after the real Hakone Ekiden happens. Until then, we'll have to tide ourselves over with this Shindo-centric episode. Focused around the club's most motivated member, “Overflowing Drops” is a portrait of Shindo pushed to the breaking point, making it almost feel like a standalone expression of his charisma.
The rainy season has arrived in earnest, but the track team isn't about to wait it out indoors. Between jogs on the muddy sidewalk and the bathhouse visits they use to warm up afterward, these runners must be constantly damp. It's a real downer of a weather forecast, but Shindo's spirits never seem to waver. Though he fails to qualify for an official time along with Musa, Joji, and Jota, he never complains. Instead, he goes above and beyond, burying himself in his studies while also building a website to help the team raise funds. “You've got your shit together,” Yuki tells Shindo at one point, and the latter immediately brushes off the compliment. It looks like modesty, but we soon start to see the cracks in Shindo's sunny countenance.
Like Haiji before him, Shindo seems to exist on barely any rest. Something's gotta give and you can't really blame his girlfriend for seeing his frequent unavailability as a red flag. “It seems like there's something you'd rather be spending your time on than me,” she says prophetically. And just as she predicted, he turns to that something as solace when he's crushed by the breakup. It's an old sports anime standby to portray an athlete's tears with raindrops or sweat drops (and in this case, both). Yuki, a complicated character with a softer core than he wants others to see, is the first to see through Shindo's defenses and run with him, and in the best moment of the episode, the whole team joins in to flank him on the racetrack. (Of course, Prince's shirt says “bond” in an unsubtle nod to the message.) “This team would've never formed without you and it can't keep going without you,” Kakeru tells him. Shindo's always been the one smiling and cheering up the others. We already knew the team needed him, but this episode showed us that Shindo needs the team just as much.
Shindo's team is there for him, but his time still hasn't improved. He's running himself ragged, and what if it's all for nothing? But near the end of the episode, as the rain finally stops, there's hope. Run With The Wind excels when it tells stories in parallels; even as an episode centers around one character, it will turn the camera to other characters to compare and contrast. Haiji's doctor gives him some advice that Shindo, raw from rejection, might also benefit from: “Once something breaks, you've got no choice except to take your time fixing it.” Time is the true antagonist of this show. If they only had more of it, their determination paired with Haiji's firm leadership would get them to the Ekiden for sure. Instead, time is working against them, and that's without all these additional wrenches thrown in. Now there's an odd older spectator who seems to be mouthing Kakeru's name at the track meet. It's a well-paced episode, deepening Shindo's character without removing any of his sincerity. We know now that Shindo is strong, but is he fast enough? We'll have to wait until January 8, 2019 to find out.
Run with the Wind is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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