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Wind Breaker
Episode 10

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Wind Breaker ?
Community score: 3.9

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The Shishitoren's story is well and truly finished this week, and the epilogue is a standard affair. Our bad guys have convincingly reformed after seeing the error of their ways, and give their farewells so they presumably show up at a pivotal moment several arcs from now. Our heroes return triumphant, celebrate over some nice food, and roll credits. If the conclusion to this whole affair had landed with all the pomp and circumstance it had intended, this might have made for a decent breather episode, letting us ease down from the emotional highs. Instead, it comes off as superficial, wrapping up the story with as many words as possible.

So instead of trying to pick through this self-explanatory outcome, we can take stock of the whole arc, as it's come to dominate much of this season. Whenever an arc drags on a little too long like this one has, it's always worth sitting back for a moment and figuring out what it accomplished with all that time. When things are stretched out longer than necessary, it can be tempting to say that nothing happened, and this whole thing could have been rushed or scrapped without losing anything. I was tempted to feel that way when this episode ended. However, stepping back to get some perspective, I can acknowledge that this whole thing accomplishes some important things, even if it could have done so more efficiently.

The biggest change is Sakura slowly evolving his perspective on power and leadership. You could argue that the entirety of Shishitoren's story is a cautionary tale for Sakura – an example of what blindly pursuing power as validation can turn you into. Seeing how Choji made himself miserable through isolation, and how it left him powerless against Umemiya's iron convictions, makes our dual-colored hedgehog of a protagonist reflect on what he's been doing this whole time, and how different the nature of power within Bofurin is from what he expected. He's not quite ready to accept the group into his heart, even as they've welcomed him with open arms, but seeing Sakura really think about what he wants to do and be is an important development that only happened because of everything with Shishitoren.

Outside of that, we got some good-looking fights and decent introductions to our main cast. Suo and Hiragi's stories feel overshadowed after a full month of Togame and Choji's tangled tale, but those were solid introductions to their personalities with some nice animation highlights. We now understand what makes Umemiya tick, and a solid baseline for what Bofurin is about. It's a good foundation for whatever stories Wind Breaker wants to tell next.

However, that's also what makes its length such a problem. More than half of this 13-episode season is dominated by a single storyline that best serves as a jumping-off point – a simple, straightforward story that allows for more complex ones to be told now that our introductions are out of the way. I imagine that episode limit is why we stretched things out so much – it's quite possible there's not enough room to fit in the Shishitoren arc and whatever big arc comes after it without making serious cuts. Maybe in the future, if this series gets a sequel season, it'll work out alright and this will feel like a slow start before the story hits its stride. The problem is, that we live in the here and now, and I can't give credit to a show for some hypothetical future where it compensates for its current faults. As-is, the show took too much time gassing up a story that couldn't fully justify its runtime.

The good news is that if the Shishitoren arc's worst sin is being overlong, there's still room for Wind Breaker to dust itself off and move forward without any lasting injuries. I hope that our remaining episodes can pack a punch before the final bell rings.

Rating:

Wind Breaker is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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