Posted by Lenlo on 7 February 2019 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Welcome to another week of Kaze Fui, as we come right back to Haiji’s dangerous dilemma! This week our boys finish the qualifier, Kurahara earns a runners respect and the twins begin to question things.

The first I noticed about this week, simply because of how many there were, was the CGI. Normally I don’t mind it much. CGI can really help with crowds or larger setpieces. But this episode was an emotional high point for the series and while it worked, the CGI was nothing but a hindrance. There were so many characters on screen, that you couldn’t help but notice it. And with the 2D models of our lead cast at the forefront, it became even more obvious. I want to like it, I want to be able to look past, but I just can’t. Not when there are dozens of them on the screen at the same time. At least the 2D animation we got was nice, and the direction saved a number of scenes. But overall, the CGI just kills a lot of the hype.

For details, let’s start with Haiji’s knee. Simply put, I was a bit annoyed with this one. Last week Kaze Fui did this whole cliffhanger, only for him to side step it in a moment. I expected it to happen, but that doesn’t make last weeks cliffhanger any less annoying. Still, Kaze Fui is clearly playing it up, so that will definitely be a plot point moving forward. Not only did Haiji aggravate it at the start, and then disregard the pain near the end, but it was hinted all throughout the episode. We saw numerous other runners collapsed at the side of the road, or carried off. Not only did I like this detail, but I also thought it was a clear signal of how hard the sport is and how much our boys our pushing themselves. Basically, a bad sign for Haiji.

On the topic of the actual qualifier though, our boys made it! By the skin of their teeth, our boys managed to get in the top 10 and qualify. It was hardly a surprise of course, there would be no series without it. But it was still a joy to actually watch and see happen. However, I have to say it, the times made 0 sense. Kurahara finished at barely above 58 minutes. For them to end with the time they did, the average time of everyone else would have had to be 62 minutes. Even with their corrected form, I cannot believe that Prince and King finished anywhere near that. It’s a little insulting to all the runners who have trained for years, to be frank. While it makes for a nice, dramatic story, the times are starting to beggar belief.

What I did love about Kaze Fui this week though was the race itself. It was a fantastic thing to watch, surprising for what was just a run. But without a doubt my favorite part was during the 10km turnaround. Seeing Kurahara inspire everyone as he ran by, showing them how near the front he was. A sort of mascot for the team, showing them that as a team, they are at the front. Combine that with Kaze Fui’s score and it was just a beautiful moment for me. For once, Kurahara’s running that he has avoided for so long is helping his team instead of harming it. No one looks down on him or resents him for his speed and skill. Instead, each and every one of them admire it and upon seeing it, know that they can’t stop yet either.

Another aspect of the race I enjoyed was the sheer sportsmanship of it. From the crowd cheering on the runners, regardless of their school, to the runners themselves doing the same. Take for instance the guy who fell at the end of last week. Everyone cheers and roots him forward as he gets up to run again, regardless of the pain. Or the foreign students, one of whom pats Kurahara on the back, showing his respect. Even at the end, everyone is cheering and pushing Prince and the other runners forward. As if all they care is that the runner finishes. I thought this really added to the qualifier. It wasn’t a battle against each other, but against yourself. Pushing harder, refusing to give up, making it to the end regardless of how much it hurts. Simply fantastic.

The last aspect of Kaze Fui we need to talk about though, and that is the twins. It seems that today’s results have brought doubt into their hearts. The same doubts Kurahara once harbored. Why bother, if they can’t win? If they can’t stand at the top? Yet this time, it is not Haiji who must answer, nor are they rooted in the same insecurities. Now it is Kurahara’s time to show how he has grown, and to reassure the twins. I think this is a fantastic arc for Kaze Fui. It gives the twins some much needed focus, and Kurahara the chance to once again show how he has grown. To demonstrate this growth in a direct manner by helping others through where he once was. Depending on how Kaze Fui handles this, it could be fantastic. Alternatively, it could also fall apart very easily.

So all in all, while this wasn’t my favorite episode of Kaze Fui, it wasn’t bad. Sure, it had plenty of weaknesses. From the lackluster continuation of the cliffhanger to the CGI. But in terms of enjoyment and actual narrative progression? It was a treat to watch. We got to see everyone push on and finish the race. From Kurahara’s triumphant 4th place, to Prince staggering across the finish line. Kaze Fui, from its OST to its direction, really nailed that aspect of the qualifier. It’s just the smaller details that stop it short of being amazing.

What did you think though? Did this qualifier resonate with you as well? Or were the myriad of small issues to much to handle? Let me know below and I will see you next week!

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