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Wind Breaker
Episode 12

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 12 of
Wind Breaker ?
Community score: 4.1


I feel confident saying Wind Breaker has got its groove back. It's odd to say that with only one episode left, especially after an episode with no action to speak of, but these past two entries have gotten back to what makes this show worth coming back to. What it lacks in drama or bloody knuckles, it makes up by being charming, allowing this big cast of rowdy doofuses to congeal into a proper ensemble.

Being back at Furin High – though I'm starting to question if this is an actual school or just an abandoned building the teenagers have taken over Camp Nowhere style – means we're finally getting a grasp of what Bofurin's day-to-day is like. Strangely, we're only getting that now, but it makes sense. Sakura's only just now in a place to properly interact with his new crew, and the Shishitoren story was necessary for getting him that. This new position offers him a chance to build rapport with the larger cast, something that's been lacking for a while, and make Bofurin feel like a living and breathing community. Whether he's chatting with the no-name background characters, trying to learn their no-names, or getting teased by Suo and Nirei, Sakura is at his most endearing when he's taking pains to connect with others.

In that regard, this episode's focus on the 2nd year's leader, Kaji, works well in fleshing out the show's definition of leadership while letting Sakura pick at the idea in his own awkward way. Kaji himself is pretty simple but has a likable personality and a good head on his shoulders, so he works as a more immediate role model for our hero. His motivation as a leader is to do whatever he can to help those around him while also trusting parts of the job to comrades he can trust. As much as Umemiya is all about putting the team on his back, shouldering all that responsibility isn't the only way to be a good leader. Sometimes, being a "leader" just means you're the go-to when somebody needs help – existing as a reaffirming presence that lets everyone else feel secure in whatever role they play. Sakura is taking baby steps towards that goal. Don't worry, man; I'm terrible at putting names to faces, too. Watching that journey is fun in a pretty laid-back way.

This is another chill episode that does what it needs to do, even if it never feels like the penultimate episode of an action-oriented delinquent show. Odd structure aside, Wind Breaker gives me the fun vibes and likable characters I asked for, so I can't nitpick it too much. Next week's finale promises to introduce us to Bofurin's leading players, who already look like a suitably colorful bunch. Here's hoping they live up to their designs.


Wind Breaker is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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