Run with the Wind
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 18 of
Run with the Wind ?
“If even one of you caught a cold…” Sakaki taunted the team last week, making a slicing motion against his throat. It's just another example of continuing threads this week on Run with the Wind. “And Then, Morning,” ties up a lot of loose ends before leaving us with a devastating cliffhanger in an episode that builds heavily on storylines from earlier weeks. It's exemplary of the layered relationship-driven storytelling that Run with the Wind has achieved by giving its characters room to grow and time for their interactions to take on new depth. Though this episode covers a lot of ground, it delivers a well-paced story that doesn't feel rushed.
Run with the Wind planted seeds ages ago that are just now coming to fruition. We hadn't seen the last of that sketchy reporter, not until he (aided heavily by Kakeru's terrible PR skills) released a scandalous tell-all about Kakeru's high school days. The following exchange between Yuki and Kakeru as they bond over bad relationships with their parents has been weeks in the making, a slow burn followup to Yuki's encounter with Kakeru in episode 15. Likewise, Fujioka's guiding words about transfer students and the equality of running events only have deep meaning because of his ongoing rivalry with Kakeru. Even in brief scenes of the boys unwinding during Christmas—Kakeru and Prince reading manga, Musa dragging away a drunk and belligerent Shindo, Yuki teasing the twins—we can see the character development of the series paying off tenfold, to the point that small dialogue-free visual cues can remind us of the team's growing closeness. That's why this episode worked despite how much ground it covered. With so much personality groundwork already laid down, the story doesn't need to handhold the audience through character interactions anymore.
“What would we do without Shindo?” King muses on Christmas. If only he knew what was coming! It's hard to say how much weight this cliffhanger will carry, considering how Haiji's multiple near-injury experiences have hardly had any bearing on the following week. I do think that Run with the Wind's continual need to manufacture a high-stakes cliffhanger is the weakest part of its storytelling. For example, there are so many examples of how early some of the storyline's current beats were telegraphed. Meanwhile, the only indication we had that Shindo might fall ill was earlier in this episode, when the boys were asking him if he was getting enough sleep between all his administrative fan club work. You can fool me three times with Haiji, but this time I'll wait until next week to see if Shindo's untimely illness really does have any lasting repercussions.
It's hard to believe that the Ekiden is already here. Considering we blasted through a marathon in the middle of the episode, I'm not sure what type of pacing the show has in store for its central race and ultimate goal, but I wouldn't be surprised if it takes the rest of the season. Despite the occasional narrative ups and downs, I'm excited to spend the rest of the series cheering on this well-developed group of personalities.
Run with the Wind is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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