Run with the Wind
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 14 of
Run with the Wind ?
Low-energy manga fan Akane AKA Prince has always been the wildcard on Run with the Wind. With an initially slow (but #relatable) 33-minute 5k time, he needed to shave off 17 minutes to qualify for the Hakone Ekiden. In “You're Not Alone,” Prince gets the partial spotlight following a series of one-minute vignettes all centering around the same theme: support.
“No one's alone anymore.” Haiji's words on the hilltop are a distillation of the message he's been trying to convey to the team since the beginning—that they're more than a group of random strangers who happened to live in the track club dorm. The first ten minutes of the episode consists of multiple extended scenes that illustrate the team's growing closeness, during and after the training camp. When Kakeru notes that Yuki is better than him at the scientific side of running strategy, Haiji replies, “That's why I made him a member.” To Haiji, the group's composition has never been an accident. We see Prince behind the duo with a solemn expression as if he's processing this fact for the first time. The affirmation of Prince's importance to the group lingers between artfully overlapping scenes, in which the sound from the next scene is superimposed over the visual of the present. The effect is a seemingly endless highlight reel of the team's most supportive and heartwarming moments. It's heavy on activity but low on actual animation, plus the art felt more off this week. (If you check the credits closely, it looks like Production I.G outsourced the episode this week.)
“There's nothing everyone else can do that you can't do,” Prince says to himself like a mantra. The manga fan is marking off the days on his Food Wars! calendar in between track meets, while doubling up on training runs. During this time, Musa and Kakeru have an oddly cryptic conversation in the bath. It's clear that Musa's reference to youth and Kakeru's inability to detect something is about a budding romance. I'm going to assume that it involves Kakeru and the only girl in the show, despite their lack of chemistry. At times like this, I really wish the show would develop Hana beyond “cute high school helper.” If she really does have a crush on Kakeru, she has an amazing poker face.
Previously, we've seen Prince mainly through the eyes of other characters—especially Kakeru, who once publicly questioned whether Prince was up to the task. Now, with Haiji off to the side, Prince is able to stand on his own. His voice actor, the accomplished Miyu Irino (Osomatsu-san, Kingdom Hearts, and much more) finally has a chance to emote beyond Prince's usual morose “please kill me now” vibe. When Prince wrote “forward” on his wrist and encouraged his teammates to write their hopes for him in a small notebook, I interpreted it as him taking control of his own narrative. From his own perspective, we can see that Prince is more than an underdog or a subject of concern for faster characters like Kakeru. It's only after Prince accomplishes his goal on his own that the perspective shifts back to Haiji's eyes, now blurry with tears. The relentless positivity had me worrying when the other shoe was going to drop, but it looks like we're still safe, at least until next week.
Run with the Wind is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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