Posted by Lenlo on 29 November 2018 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Welcome one and all to another week of Kaze Fui! This week Haiji takes care of his team, the twin’s can’t keep a secret and Kurahara shows more growth sitting on the sidelines than some MC’s do in their pivotal moments. Lets jump in!

To start off, let this episode be proof of Kaze Fui’s Director’s skill. So much was conveyed purely through shot composition and framing. The entire track meet, with the angles, the focus on their expressions while running. Kurahara’s slow realization, showing us what he sees. I loved it. Definitely these details earn the Director a pat on the back. But to me, it also reflects well on Kaze Fui’s source material. To give the Director this much to work with. There is a clear difference in quality of writing it seems, between lite-novels and legitimate Novels. It helps that this is the same author who wrote Fune wo Amu, a personal favorite of mine the year it aired. She has a talent for writing realistic characters, who are more than just a bundle of personality traits slapped together. As proof, let’s look into some of those characters.

Take Haiji for instance. Kaze Fui spends the entire episode building him up, with how much he does for the team. It addresses Nico’s unhealthy dieting, by having Haiji notice his well-made meal plans aren’t being followed. He sees how Prince is down from Kurahara’s words last week, and tries to connect with him through his hobby. Haiji even see’s how the best way to help Kurahara, whom I will talk about later, is by forcing him to take a step back. Kaze Fui shows us, rather than telling us, how much Haiji cares for his team. It doesn’t excuse his behavior before, he has still forced his dream on them. But he is not without his redeeming qualities. He isn’t just forcing them into this and then abandoning them in the deep end. Haiji is determined to be there with them the whole way through.

It’s funny because, in a way, Haiji is being hypocritical about it all. He is forcing Kurahara to relax on his training, and Nico on his dieting. Yet at the same time is overworking himself. You can see throughout the episode, the subtle bags appearing under his eyes as the episodes progress. It’s a detail that I really appreciate Kaze Fui putting in, because it makes the ending much less out of left field. We as audience members, or at least I didn’t, really notice it because he isn’t doing it for himself. Haiji is overworking himself caring for everyone else, instead of Kurahara or Nico’s doing it for themselves. It’s still self-destructive, but it’s a weird sort of productive self-destruction. Combine that with Kurahara’s realization this episode, and it’s a recipe for narratively forcing him and others to start doing their own work around the club.

Speaking of Kurahara, I did mention I wanted to talk about him. I quite liked what Kaze Fui did this week, managing to grow him as a character through inaction. Kurahara, as a character, is personified by running. Running in meets, running away from his problems, always running to the next goalpost. Most likely never with any set goal in mind. It makes sense to me that, for him to finally start moving past this, he first has to stop and look around. Kurahara needed to take a breather and ask why he is running. Figure where he is as a person. I’m not sure how much of this Haiji saw, but he clearly knew Kurahara was over working himself. If nothing else his worsening time, how he never rests, was reason enough to stop him from running. That it helped him focus on his team is a bonus.

I mentioned the Direction of the episode earlier, and its here with Kurahara that it really shines. It’s a slow build, as for the first time, Kurahara is watching a meet instead of competing. Normally he is in the front, always running ahead, never looking back. Unable to see the faces of those behind him. Based on his past with the coach and his current negative attitude, its possible he always thought those behind him just didn’t work enough. But from the sidelines he was finally able to see it, the effort his competitors put in. The struggle on their faces, the sweat on their brows. This of course extends to his own team, and I think has given him a new appreciation for them, since he cheered so hard. With Haiji’s current condition, it’s his perfect chance to learn how to lead with this newfound respect.

As far as the rest of the team goes, I still think Kaze Fui is doing a fantastic job with them. Sure, King still needs his job search resolved, and Prince has absolutely no way of hitting the 15 minute mark. But I still like them. I enjoy Nico’s passion, the twin’s goofiness and Musa and Shindo’s sweet wholesomeness. I find Haiji’s enthusiasm contagious and Yuki’s drive to be good at whatever he does commendable. Most of all, I like that Kaze Fui didn’t have any of them win the meet. None of them even qualified for the Hakone. They made progress, and Kurahara is now able to see that, but they didn’t win. All of them have a long way to go, and now its Kurahara’s turn to lead them.

With all of my gushing over the characters out of the way, now lets talk about some technical aspects. Production I.G. does good work. When they actually draw the long legs, the musculature, our cast actually running, it looks great. I love seeing it in motion. There was a particular shot of all of the runners legs, where you saw the muscles bend around the knee-cap that I loved. But we hardly get any of it, at least at these track meets. Every wide shot consists of CGI models all on the same run animation, cycled a bit differently. Its disappointing, because every other aspect of Kaze Fui has a much higher degree of quality to it. I can only hope that Production I.G. is holding their big guns for the more important meets/runs later one, because so far, the running is below my expectations.

 

So all in all, a lovely episode of Kaze Fui. I found the drama well thought out and not your traditional ham-fisted trash. I thought the direction was amazing, and the episode even managed to fit in some metaphors. For instance take Haiji, who literally collapsed from exhaustion while cooking food for everyone. Showing how he is putting his team before himself. I also liked how Kurahara isn’t doing a 180 yet, but is still sticking to his guns that as they are, they can’t win the Hakone. He still wants to win, but I suspect now he cares more about the team and winning it with them, rather than for himself. Really, I love Kaze Fui, and currently count it as one of my favorites of the year.

What about you though? Am I reading to much into all of this? Is Haiji a Gary Stu and I’m just blind? Let me know below and I will see you next week!

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Amagi says:

    I also really like Akihiro and his type of character is exactly the reason why I love anime with a cast of different age. I wouldn’t wonder if they’re a lot of people watching this series who are more or less exactly like him. But you see, you can’t have a guy like him as teenager, these characters only work (and exist) as people around their thirties or so. Similar stuff could be said about After the Rain and its male MC.
    Anyway the cast is really damn good here and I wonder how Haiji’s story will end. I doubt he dies or anything like that but something is telling me he will get some sort of bittersweet end, I mean I doubt he will ever be able to run like the others anymore although I could be wrong.
    Strangely, this is just another connection with After the Rain, but this time its female MC.

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