Run with the Wind
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Run with the Wind ?
After a one-month hiatus, it is once again time to Run With The Wind. With an energetic new opening and soulful new ending, the show is revealing its staying power. “Summer Prank” checks off intense moments and lighter fare with equal care, leading to a well-balanced episode that's perfect to ease us into a new season with these good boys.
The Tokyo Sports University track meet is nothing short of triumphant. Yuki and Shindo play to their strengths and weaknesses alike to finally earn qualifying times. Kakeru laps them in his own struggle (he's gunning for first and he gets it), and that encouraging eye contact is the final encouragement Yuki and Shindo need to sprint over the finish line. Meanwhile, Kakeru has a spacey out-of-clothing experience, remembering his first meeting with Haiji as a nod to the show's progress from where it began. Now just Nico, King, and Prince need to qualify—something that a local reporter picks up on immediately when he confronts the team. The camera zoom in on the reporter's lips when he said Kakeru's name is all we need to confirm what he was mouthing last episode. What's more sinister about this reporter is what he doesn't say. It's clear that he knows more than he's letting on. The way Haiji protects Kakeru, and the rest of the team moves as one body, it's going to be their unity that weathers this particular storm.
After an intense beginning, the show shifts to the silly side of things. It's too damn hot outside, and the art style takes a turn for the soft and fluffy while the twins fantasize about chilly Hokkaido. Of course, their natural leader Haiji delivers a solution that's more reality than fantasy—a training camp! So everyone including Nitta the dog packs into the van for an adventure. Between Haiji's comically bad driving and Shindo and Musa's nighttime cartoony dash into the van, it's a showcase of all the ways the team can be goofy together. With 11 episodes of character development behind them, it's the most successful example of their hijinks yet. Like in the scene with the reporter, small details show how every character is an integral part of the story. Rewatching the episode, I noticed that every scene had something special for each character, like Kakeru's silent mayo obsession, or when Nitta perks up to listen to the conversation.
What is the “Summer Prank” that the episode title references? Perhaps it has something to do with Sakaki's childish provocations of Kakeru. He and his team cut off Kakeru and Haiji bad enough to almost make them fall over. When Haiji asks them to share the road, Kakeru and Sakaki are ready to come to blows. We hear a fist connect to flesh, but there's no visual, so what happened? It'll only be the latest upheaval in a show full of quiet surprises and the day-to-day magic that can occur when ten people all start working toward the same goal. This episode nailed its serious and silly beats alike, reinforcing a show that's flexible enough to tell a story with both action and heart.
Run with the Wind is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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