Kakeru is a former elite runner who finds himself on hard times. After shoplifting food, he’s saved by Haiji, a Kansei University student and a fellow runner. Having nowhere else to go, Kakeru moves into a dormitory with Haiji and eight other strangers. Haiji then announces his plan to enter all ten of them in the Hakone Ekiden, a prominent university relay marathon. But aside from Haiji and Kakeru, few of the others have run competitively before.
Source: Sentai Filmworks
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Ok, so this is definitely my favorite series this season. That’s pretty hard to achieve with a show that is basically just about a bunch of weirdos trying competitive running but than … here we are. The show features beautiful animation that wouldn’t look off at a cinema theatre, well-developed characters that have great chemistry and a simple but emotionally engaging story that keeps You glued to the screen. First - the story. The show is more of a character study of the protagonist and other characters than a typical sports anime. Sure, running is a big part of the show and glues the story and the characters together but it’s not as central to the plot as, let's say, dancing is for Welcome to the Ballroom (also a great series with beautiful animation by the way – check it out if You haven’t). That is not to its decrement though – it’s just a different type of story. The plot revolves around participating in Tokyo-Hakone Round-Trip College Ekiden Race or "Hakone Ekiden" (basically a very difficult marathon). The main characters, most of whom are not and never have been interested in running are more or less forced to participate. The main theme of the anime is - as one might have guessed - running. The series does a good job showing what it means to each individual character and why they are interested (or start to get interested) in it. As with all good slice of life anime, the story takes a back seat and the main dish of the show are the characters, their relationships with each other and character development overall. What can be said in the story part of the review is that the series takes enough time for them to develop organically and not feel forced. Second: the animation. The animation is beautiful. It truly does look on par with a movie. Character movements are fluid and natural, character expressions immediately capture attention and convey their emotions clearly. If I were to nitpick anything it’s the quality of the crowds but that's a problem for any anime that doesn't have a budget of a movie (and for a few of them that actually do). The character design is quite interesting – each character has a unique style that captures his or her nature. That’s a pretty difficult job when you create both them and their environments as realistically as possible but the show pulls it off. Third: the sound. The sound is decent but nothing truly great or innovative. I liked the OP quite a bit though. Fourth: the characters. I’ve mentioned in many of my reviews that the characters make or break a slice of life anime and I feel Run with the Wind should be judged as one. All the characters are realistic, different from each other and very likable. Each of them has a clear goal in life (or a clear need of one) and a motivation for running or trying to turn away from it. Despite quite a large crowd of characters relationships between them are very well developed. The chemistry between them is great and feels more natural than in most shows (anime or otherwise) that I’ve seen recently. If I were to force myself to find a flaw in the characters of the show it would be the protagonist. With all his ‘I’m running away from my past’ and ‘you can't do it, your just amateurs!’ attitude he shows at the beginning of the show, which (unsurprisingly) ends with him opening again to the sport he always loved he feels a little bland and predictable – especially when compared to other people in his group. Verdict: I have trouble imagining anyone not enjoying this show. Maybe if You’re really young or just into one or two specific types of anime? Anyway: go try it out already!
It's a testament to how good it is that Run With the Wind is one of the few sports anime I've actually finished. With its character-driven story and focus on how individuals, each with their own unique personalities and struggles can come together as a team and achieve something inspiring, it has a wider appeal than your typical underdog play-to-win team-spirit sports anime. The coming-of-age aspect of the show was really nice- I appreciate character growth more than anything else, but the setting has to be appealing too, and it was handled pretty well through running. It's true that some of that growth was a bit rough around the edges, but I appreciated a story that happened more naturally, rather than being shoved in your face like a shonen anime might. The character development is less than I could have hoped for some of the characters, but still very satisfying for what we do get. With ten characters to cover, it managed to make them unique and not rush their stories. I found the character growth in this series much more relatable than your average high school anime, because unlike how college often seems the endgame for most anime stories, it's actually just the beginning of adulthood, and figuring out who you are and what you want from the world is a challenging thing- something which this anime portrays really well. The characters are all different, and they don't give up their individuality for the good of the team. Most impressively, they're not all sports fanatics- they all run for different reasons, and running comes to mean something different to each of them. I really enjoyed the music, and the show knew how to use it effectively. It's not anything bombastic, but in keeping with how the show chose to show rather than tell, it subtly set the mood. And that piano theme that plays during emotionally powerful moments is really delightful. Otherwise, the sound design was good and the voice acting was suitable for the characters. For the most part the show has a very good sense of dramatic timing, and consequently the situational humor, while often subtle, is very well-done. While it gets more serious as the story progresses, the little humorous moments really help balance out and brighten what could otherwise become somewhat of a slog at times. The show goes at its own pace, which can seem rather slow at times, but I think it worked in this situation. The viewer gets to experience the endless practice and exhausting effort along with the characters, which gives the final outcomes more weight. The art and backgrounds are very nice. All the characters look unique and move and act in different ways. However, the animation is probably the show's weakest point because it's not consistent. The characters are incredibly expressive, but it gets a bit off when it comes to the running at times. That said, many of the running sequences are absolutely beautifully animated. In all, I'd recommend Run With The Wind to anyone who enjoys a nice mature coming of age story. If you like slice-of-life, sports, character drama or coming-of-age stories, this is likely to appeal to you.
So just like that, after 23 long weeks, we have finally reached the end of the road, and honestly guys, I couldn’t be any happier. This show, from beginning to end, was one of the most satisfying sport anime’s that I have seen in a long time. Like the last time I enjoyed a sports anime this much was with Haikyuu, but unlike Haikyuu, this show actually has a satisfying ending, there are no cliffhangers, there are no little tease to the possibility of there being a continuation, the story is closed, and I am completely 100% OK with this fact. To me the most surprising thing about the conclusion to this show is the flash forward, because they never tell you how far the team has progressed within the 3 years that had passed in this flash forward. Because even though one of the biggest moments in this episode was showing that they made it into the top 10, this show never was about the running itself, instead the show’s core theme was the friendship between each of its members. So, to me this reaffirming of the show’s values at the very end where they focus on a reunion of the original team members, rather than the sport itself, really was a nice touch in my eyes. Honestly guys, there is really not enough nice things I could say about this series, because by the end of it, I cared about every single character on the team, even the characters I originally felt were annoying. For example, At the beginning I really didn’t like Prince as a character, he was lazy, always complained, never worked with anyone, and was just generally a black hole of motivation for the team. But by the end of the series, I couldn’t stop myself from rooting for him, because the progression of his character from beginning to end was just all inspiring. Prince, by the end, grew into a character that actively tried his hardest while running no matter what was going on around him, as well as always taking into consideration how his performance would affect the team, with you actually being able to feel all the heartache and emotional turmoil he went through to get to this stage. And this process is echoed in how the series approached every character within the main team. On top of this, the pacing in this show is phenomenal, there is not a single episode that I felt was drawn out unnecessarily or was just there to pat the runtime. From beginning to end every episode had a purpose to fulfill in progressing the story, and that’s the kind of pacing that I love to see within a series. In all honesty, it is genuinely amazing to me how well this story flows, the fact that the story started with members of the team being literally at square 0, and then by the end of it (within a single year) they are able to become a team that places within the top 10 college long distant teams in the nation, that is just amazing. And I still haven’t even talked about the fantastic animation and the beautiful music in this series. Just so you guys can understand my experience, I watch this show on Tuesday, you know what else comes out on Tuesday… that’s right Black Clover, so what I usually do is watch black Clover 1st and then watch Run with the Wind right after, and honestly guys, (I know that it is not a fair comparison) but the complete night and day between the animation quality for these two series is just insane. The only reason I bring this up, is just to highlight how incredible the animation for this series really is. Seeing scenes like Kakeru running through the universe while he describes how he feels literally like a nothing mad me just without words because of how gorgeous these scenes are. Then there’s the music, and you know what guys, you already know that both the OP’s and ED’s are fantastic, so I’m just going to leave it at that since we’re all probably on the same page about this. In the end guys, I honestly cannot see any way this show could be improved, which is why (unless someone can point out a flaw to me) I am going to give this show a 10 / 10. It has definitely been a while since I’ve handed one of these out, and I really do feel like this show deserves it. Everything about this series from the animation, the music, the characters, the plot progression, everything is fantastic, and does exactly what is set it out to do from the beginning of this sports anime, so really it delivered on its vision, which is really all I ever want in a series. And then on top of all of this, it has a satisfying ending that closes the book on this story in an extremely satisfying way, so really what more can I ask for. So, there you guys go, those are my thoughts on Run with the Wind what did you guys think about it? let me know in the comments I love to hear your thoughts😁😁😁
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