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This Week in Anime
Run With the Wind Reaches Cathartic New Heights

by Michelle Liu & Andy Pfeiffer,

Run with the Wind takes its inspirational track and field story to some deeply emotional places in its most recent arc. This week, Micchy and Andy discuss what these twists mean for their lovable team of running boys.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.

@Lossthief @Liuwdere @A_Tasty_Sub @vestenet

You can read our weekly coverage of Run With the Wind here!

So Andy, it's Tuesday! You know that that means? Yup, the weekly workout routine of watching the runny boiz do their thing and thinking maybe I should start doing that too, until I realize I'm allergic to activities that involve sweating and being outside.
It's so cold here that I've completely given up on the second part. I now feel increased shame as Prince does his best while I can't even bring myself to escape the blanket pile I've embedded myself in.
Lucky for our favorite track boys, they're coming off the tail end of a summer training arc in the mountains! I can't say if I truly envy them, but at least they're not suffering in -20 degree wind chill, amirite?
It's all various degrees of hell, but I'll take any weather over whatever the hell the Tintin twins are into.
The Tintwins, if you will?
I won't, thanks. But yes, the runny boys have done a lot since we last checked in with them. Everyone is now fully on board with the team and working hard to meet all the requirements for the big race. Not that it's been easy, especially for resident angsty child Kakeru.
Being Kakeru is suffering.

So yeah, we finally got the full details on what exactly happened in high school to burn him out so badly, and it's not pretty. We knew that an overaggressive coach alienated him from the rest of his team by constantly putting them down and elevating him, but the real tipping point wasn't a breakdown over his own suffering, but his attempt at defending an underclassman from the coach's abuses, with an outburst that wound up costing his entire team. Yowch, no wonder the kid had reservations about running again.
Learning that his coach not only put undue pressure on the team, but was riding Kakeru's coattails to justify his shittiness and build his own image is exceedingly depressing and realistic.
His complete disrespect for the kids he's supposed to be helping finally goes too far when he ruins a scholarship student's life by forcing him to run with an injury.

And then Kakeru's should-be cathartic moment of breaking free from all of this is tainted by the real world consequences. Not only was he punished, but the entire rest of the team was banned from competition for the remaining year. His one act to stick up for a teammate is ultimately what made his team turn away from him.
That revelation re-contextualizes redhead Shinji Matou's grudge against Kakeru, but yeah, that whole situation is super shitty. Unfortunately, it's an all too common experience for moderately talented kids. Coaches are supposed to help their athletes grow, but they also have the power to fuck them up emotionally, and kids are all too vulnerable to abuses from adults.
Honestly though, fuck you Redhead-Shinji. He purposely antagonizes Kakeru with the idea that he doesn't deserve a team or friends due to his past, but we saw in the flashbacks that his motto was "only try when the coach is looking", and he's actively holding a grudge because Kakeru refused to be complicit in the coach's abuses anymore. It's ironic as hell that the only reason he doesn't get the same face pounding as their old coach is because Kakeru does have a team that cares more about each other than themselves now.
And I do want to mention how great that flashback sequence is. The way Kakeru's past trauma is animated all fuzzy and grey and then turns to color as he's reliving that exact moment is some of the best animation in the entire show.
It's a neat way of showing us what part of his high school career he remembers the most vividly. The trauma and the momentary catharsis are what sticks out and weighs on him constantly. Man, someone give this kid a break, and bless his newfound teammates for being different from the crappy authority figures he used to have in his life.
Bless Haiji for being the perfect boyfriend to save this kid from himself.
Hey, they're not textually a thing yet, but the subtext? The visions they get of each other's glowing naked forms ain't exactly subtle.
I'm just saying...
I think we can leave them at Angry Child and and Mom Friend for now, anyway.
Meanwhile, Yuki has gone from trying to worm his way out of the team to full day planner and Etsy shop runner.
It's really nice to see that even if everyone else doesn't have as much trauma as Kakeru, being part of the team has helped improve their lives.
They've come so far! :'D But the Hakone Ekiden qualifiers still await, not to mention the relay itself and whatever baggage Haiji is carrying.
Whatever it is, I expect it'll be too much for Kakeru to handle alone, but his team will be there to help. Or in true Haiji fashion, this entire process has already healed him, and we'll only find out how he's worked through it later.
Maybe! Whatever happens, I'm sure the boys will have each other's backs and be very wholesome all around.
This show manages to be an infectious dose of stress relief every week, and I'm definitely sticking it out until the end of the race. Plus I've gotta find out how deep Prince's T-Shirt game goes.
How many custom sharpie'd T-shirts can one boy own? The world may never know.

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