Posted by Lenlo on 22 November 2018 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Welcome one and all to another week of Kaze Fui! This time Kurahara takes one step forward and two steps back, the gang supports each other, and Haiji gets angry. Lets jump in!

Startin off, I loved this week of Kaze Fui. This is the kind of grounded drama I love. No 4-way love polygons, no ridiculous coincidences of overhearing the last line of a conversation. Just ideals and well done miscommunication. Everyone is trying their hardest, everyone wants whats best for each other. They want to succeed together. But they all have their own ideas of how to do that, based on their own life experiences. From Kurahara and Haiji, to Nico and Prince, each have their own perspectives. And right now, none of them are really communicating those perspectives with each other. Haiji and Kurahara at least both expect the others to just get it. To understand where they are coming from when they do or ask what they do. I love it, and all of this will be resolved once they just open up and talk to each other.

Now onto specifics. I think Kaze Fui nailed Kurahara this week. He was a complete asshole, yet at the same time this was without a doubt progress for him. Before this, Kurahara’s attitude was “This is not a team. I don’t care about Hakone”. However after the track meet, after meeting Fujioka and once again competing, this has changed. Now Kurahara’s attitude is “I want to win first place with this team, at any cost”. Its a fantastic advancement on his character I think. He moved forward, but still has a ways to go, and its rooted in his past experience’s with coaching. This attitude, this pushing people harder than they have ever been pushed before, of shutting them down if they don’t perform well. It’s how he was taught by his coach. This is how Kurahara think’s you should “lead the team”, like Fujioka told him.

Just look at his reactions during the review session, I think this was well done by Kaze Fui. He was unresponsive, shocked, at everyone’s words. At being told “good job!” for a 3rd place finish. Kurahara has probably never been congratulated like that for anything less than 1st place. It’s why he bases everyone on speed, on time and final results, rather than effort. To Kurahara if your speed doesn’t improve, it’s not because your not suited to it. It’s because your not working hard enough. You can see this in how he misses/ignores/misunderstands Nico’s excessive dieting or Prince getting a treadmill. To him this is goofing around from Prince, and Nico is doing the minimum expected. Meanwhile he is overworking himself. It all tie’s back to his Highschool coach, the environment he was trained in. I love it.

Speaking of Nico, I have a lot I want to say about him to. We learned this week that he had run before, as I suspected. But instead of quitting, he was told outright by his coach he couldn’t do it. He should quit. This makes so much sense with how he connects to Haiji, who had to stop due to injury. And just like Haiji, this Ekiden is his chance to prove them wrong, to make one final stand. It explains why he is so dedicated to it. Quitting smoking cold turkey, following Kurahara’s absurd overworked training schedule. Dieting to the point that he will, most likely, collapse from exhaustion and hunger. He is hungry for it, and to hear someone has fast as Kurahara egging him on like Yuki said, is only pushing him further. Kaze Fui is, truly, knocking it out of the park with these characters.

Another few great example of a well done character this week was Prince. Prince continues his place as the comedic foil of the series. Bringing humor to a number of scenes, and breaking up some of the heavier ones. At the same time though he has become the mirror, bouncing board, for a number of other characters. He provides insight into Nico’s smoking, by referencing it to Rikishi from Ashita no Joe. And he becomes the boiling point for Kurahara’s fight for excellence. If Prince can succeed, everyone can. Which is funny, because the moment he was caught by surprise on that treadmill, his form became much better. I suspect that this running with manga in his hands will, hopefully, correct his form. That alone will massively improve his time by stopping a lot of energy waste, and help his momentum. We will see I suppose.

Kaze Fui uses all of these great characters to support each other. That was one of the main themes of this week actually, I think. Kurahara arrives at the start of the episode alone, having run the whole way from the meet. While everyone else is inside, together. Throughout the episode we see Kurahara alone, more alone than we have seen him since episode 1. The only person ever really getting close, chasing after him, being Nico. Who has a similar unhealthy dedication at this point. For everyone else though, we see support. The twins backing Prince up. Yuki going to Haiji, to look after Nico and his unhealthy new dieting habits. We even see Shindo helping quiz King on his trivia, to help support his hobby. I think this kind of nuanced character writing from Kaze Fui is what makes it my favorite of the season.

With everyone else out of the way, I want to get back to Kaze Fui’s golden boy, Kurahara. I mentioned before that Kurahara was doing his best to “lead”, like Fujioka told him to. Now I want to talk about Kurahara’s treatment of himself. Throughout this entire episode we see him work, and work, and work. A 3rd place finish at this first University competition is driving him further and further. He has motivation and drive now, its great! Yet Kurahara is unable to channel that intelligently. He is so used to being on top, that he thinks if he just pushes himself harder than before, he will win. You can see throughout the episode bags begin to form under his eyes. His temper starts to flare, and his times fail to increase. He is falling down a hole, and in the end, takes it out on Prince.

Of course, this was the straw that broke Haiji’s back. For the first time we really get to see Haiji angry. This conversation was very interesting to me, because it felt like Kaze Fui telling us that they were the same. That Haiji used to be just like Kurahara, focused on speed and results. That it was only after his injury, when he couldn’t run, that he truly started to appreciate the sport and his team. Take the Haiji words of wisdom from this episode, “Is running only about speed, and leaving everyone else behind?”. Take his references to riding a train or a plane, if speed is all that matters. This anger, to me, is to well thought out to be on the spot. This is something he himself has had to struggle with. Normally I wouldn’t read so deep into an anime character, but Kaze Fui deserves it.

All in all, I thought this was a fantastic episode of Kaze Fui. It ticked all of my boxes. I mentioned in the first episode that I was worried about whether or not the characters could carry the show. About if a story about running, a rather dull sport all things considered, could be interesting to watch. Well this episode sealed the deal for me. With this episode, I am with Kaze Fui to the end. All of the characters matter, they all are getting arcs, and those arcs are going to be well thought out. I have faith, from this episode forward, that Kaze Fui will not fuck it up. Quote me on this in 4 months when the series is over.

But what did you think? Was the drama dull for you this week? Why? I understand this probably doesn’t resonate with everyone, but for me, Kaze Fui is the drama of the year. Though with it ending, I suppose that makes it the drama of 2019 huh?

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