Posted by Lenlo on 28 March 2019 with categories: Anime Reviews, Finished Series: Sports, Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Recently, sports anime have become a bit of a dying breed. Falling into the same hole as Mecha, aside from a passionate base audience, most are overlooked. There are the occasional hits like Haikyuu, Yuri on Ice, or Darling in the Franxx for Mecha, but those are few and far between, often taking years. Even then, rarely does a series come along that can reach the heights of the old classics such as Hajime no Ippo or One Outs. However, Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru, Kaze Fui or Run With the Wind, attempts to do just that. With a phenomenal cast, tight direction and a 5 episode finale that was executed neigh perfectly, Kaze Fui is one of my favorite sports anime in recent years.

So that said, lets jump in!

Animation/Art

We have to, as always, start off with the art and animation. This is perhaps Kaze Fui’s rockiest area, which considering the ending is saying something. Right off the bat, I need to start with the harshest criticism, the CGI. In multiple scenes at the start/middle of the series, CGI runners are rampant. They stand out, their run cycles are all basically the same, just offset, and they are ugly to look at. Simply put, the CGI is something that has to go in the BD release. Luckily, this gets less prevalent as the series goes on and we barrel down to the Hakone Ekiden, the big event. Had the finale been as laden with CGI runners as most of the other races, I do not think it would have been near as successful. However, with my only major gripe out of the way, what does it do right?

The answer is, a lot. Kaze Fui does a lot right. First off, when the animation is on, it is on. Multiple times in the finale I just thought “Wow, this is beautiful”. Its a combination of the direction and animation, sure, but it looks fantastic. Art wise the series also stands out. Production IG’s style here just resonates with me, as it is a similar style to their recent Welcome to the Ballroom. Tall, lean bodies with long legs and striking eyes. Bright colors to make every scene pop, and particular detail put into the characters musculature. When zoomed out for group shots, a good deal of this detail is lost. But when Kaze Fui focuses in on a single character, their experiences and their story, you can’t look away. So while the CGI is painful, it is surrounded by enough beauty to, if not forgive, to forget it.

 

Direction

Next up we have the direction, the cinematography, the art of the scene itself. At its worst, I would classify Kaze Fui as average. At a minimum, every shot serves as a place for the characters to interact. Never detracting from what is going on. Meanwhile at its best, the composition enhances the emotions on screen. The best examples of this take place, naturally, in the finale. Where each individual character has the spotlight and their stories are given time to shine. However there are plenty of examples of this prior to the finale. One stand out for me is during their training arc at the lake, with beautiful mountain vista’s. Often the shot places our cast in the corner, or zoomed out, making a point of just how small they are in the grand world.

Kaze Fui also makes great use of perspective and its “camera” during a number of its running scenes. Tilting with Yuki as he makes his turns, or tracking Kurahara as he sprints by from another characters perspective. The sense of speed pretty much anytime Kurahara runs is especially worth mentioning. As his talent is made clear without any need for words, making his performance never feel unearned or out of nowhere. Suffice to say, Kaze Fui’s direction does more of the heavy lifting than the animation does. Making scenes with minimal movement feel much more impactful. From just sitting in a bath at night to lounging in a field, the intent of the scenes are clear, and so I can’t help but call this category a success as well.

 

Story/World

Now though we can start getting to the meat of the series, the story and characters. Considering how intertwined the two are in this case, talking about one without the other is neigh impossible. So this section will be on the characters stories and journey, where as that section will be on their depth and personality. For those stories, once again, Kaze Fui did fantastically. The only complaint I can really make here is that some concepts/plot threads were shoved under the bed for conveniences sake. While most of the work was left for the finale to cleanup in one big chunk. Those chunks were fantastic and emotionally resonate. I teared up at least once an episode during the finale. However this does occasionally make them feel underdeveloped until the literal last seconds of their arc. The quality of those arcs more than makes up for it though.

While the individual characters stories, excluding Kurahara, might feel sparse at times though the overall arc does not. Their transformation from ragtag band of dorm mates to full fledged team is beautiful. Step by step we see them coming together, taking roles and putting their individual skills to use. Kaze Fui does a fantastic job of having each individual grow, but most of all, our lead Kurahara Kakeru is nothing short of astounding. His growth from angry and closed off to happy, relaxed and emotional was fantastically done. Considering a good 80% of the show is dedicated to this arc, that is a very good thing. This boy provides emotional payoff after emotional payoff, each step of the way growing as a person. Suffice to say, when focusing on Kurahara, Kaze Fui’s story is strong.

 

Characters

As far as the characters go, this is Kaze Fui’s strongest point. Each member of our core 10 is well fleshed out and established. While their individual story arcs are done with varying degrees of success, all of them are easily distinguished from each other. Every single member of this core group, from Yuki and Musa to Prince and King, are distinct in their personalities and histories. Its astounding really, as there are shows with a cast half this size that can’t manage that beyond stereotypes. Yet not a single member of Kaze Fui is easily classified as one, not by the end. Piece by piece Kaze Fui pulls back their layers. The tact and skill with which Kaze Fui does this makes each one relatable. And that might be it’s greatest strength. Somehow making 10 different people, with different dreams and circumstances, relatable in each their own way.

The biggest complaint I have seen, that I agree with about the characters, is their running ability. For lue of a better place to put this in the review, their progress simply isn’t realistic. For example, in the span of a year Prince goes from having never run a day in his life, to finishing a section of Japan’s largest college race. Sure, it’s a close thing. But as much as I love the kid, he had no business being in that race in the first place. Personally, I found this to be a minor gripe that stopped bothering me by the end. Kaze Fui had drawn me in to its narrative and it no longer mattered. If you can put aside the scientific quandaries of the original Steins;Gate time travel, or Hajime no Ippo’s bullet punches, then Kaze Fui’s stretching the effects of training shouldn’t bother you much.

 

Music

Finally, lets talk music. Kaze Fui’s OST is an interesting one, it’s very quiet and subtle. Its purpose being to enhance a scene, rather than dominate it. With only a few standout tracks, ones that stick in your memory, it just doesn’t fit the same mold as the recent Megalo Box or Devilman. It is an OST meant to be listened to with the accompanying visuals, not imbuing a scene with emotion inherently but focusing on enhancing what is already there. Personally I quite enjoy it, its the sort of tracks I could listen to while running and just zone out for 30 minutes. Never once hearing a spoken word or getting pulled out by heavy choruses. Basically, If I were to rate this OST as a standalone, it would be just a little above average most likely. Nothing to write home about. But in context, it fits perfectly.

Conclusion

So all in all, how was Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru? Phenomenal. One of my favorite series from last year and easily one of the best sports series I have had the pleasure to watch. I expected very little from it going in. After all, its a series about running, how exciting can that be? Yet still it managed to surprise me. Kaze Fui was never going to be some kind of mega blockbuster. It doesn’t have the bombastic nature of big Shounen like Mob Psycho, nor the brand recognition of Attack on Titan or One Punch Man. It’s a drama about sports, a genre most nerds tend to avoid because of preconceptions about sports. It was doomed to a niche audience from the start. But I firmly believe that, among that audience, it will and has become a classic. The sort you revisit time and time again.

What I am saying it, if you are reading this and have not watched Kaze Fui, if you have even the slightest interest in sports, watch this. You will not regret it. I know I don’t.

4 Responses

  1. Avatar Lorwyn says:

    I love reading your reviews. You explain the things I found beautiful that i could not put into words. Its wonderful.

    In the case of Prince. There’s a high possibility if we relate that to reality is agreeable. For one is, what other skills you really need in running? None. You basically only need to run and gradually just add more practice time for build up run.

    If you compare that to other sports like volleyball, that requires mastery of different skills and mastery of oneself. A year is not possible. In swimming, you need to master different forms and find what style suites you.

    However, running has only has one skill and one form. This makes your focus easier because you only need to think running. That’s why a year is possible to run in hakone, but dont believe your team will dominate it. ;) you still need alot of years for that.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      Thank you! I appreciate you reading! I do it for those few who comment.

      For running, I think boiling it down like that is a bit disingenuous myself. Skill wise, sure, it is less complicated I would assume. But its not the skill from Prince I am worried about, but rather the endurance. Athletic ability, discounting skill and everything else, takes time. Shaving 30 seconds off your run, takes time. Its a lot of work. I myself don’t run at the level of our beautiful boys in this series, but I do run when working out for Boxing. It took me a few months to be able to run an 8 minute mile, but shaving it lower than that took exponentially longer. Its a hard workout.

      So I dont deny the skill aspect of Prince’s growth. Just the physical abilities of it. Prince’s section was 21km or about 13 miles. Just finishing that is difficult, but to do it in an roughly an hour? Say hour and a half if we are being generous? Thats 13 consecutive 7 minute miles. That is tough.

      Still, it was a fantastic series, and I refuse to let a nitpick ruin it for me. I love Prince, and it was a beautiful moment to see him finish the race.

  2. Avatar Nimroth says:

    I have to say, despite being excited for this series since it started airing(just waited until it finished so I could marathon it) and reading all the praise on here as it was airing, I still ended up underestimating just how emotional those last 5 episodes were.

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

8 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Dororo – 15 [The story of the scene from hell]

Fuck you Osamu Kobayashi. Your a terrible director and you ruin everything you touch. Welcome to another week of Dororo, where for once OPM isn’t the show I am most disappointed in. Lets dive in. Let’s cut right to the chase, Dororo looked like shit this week. And all the credit goes to Osamu Kobayashi, […]

Sarazanmai – 02 [I Want to Connect, but I Want to Take]

And the wild ride is here. In turn for cardboard zombies last week, our three kappa-who-are-pooped-out-by-someone-else have to fight cat zombies, an acid bee-themed amusement park, a person with a cat face who clearly reference Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lamb, weeds and a (yuri) kiss at the end of the rainbow. It’s […]

Fruits Basket (2019) – 02/03 [They’re All Animals! / Let’s Play Rich Man-Poor Man!]

I believe it’s safe to say that one of the main concern for this adaptation of Fruits Basket isn’t about the source, but more about whether or not the current staffs have what it takes to bring this classic to life (while at the same time pleases the original author, but that’s beside the point), […]

Mix – 02/03

Star Crossed is one of the oldest anime blogs left on the English-speaking internet, so we’re bound to have a few devotees of Mitsuru Adachi, that master of classic storytelling, among our readership. If you fall into that category, you might wonder why someone who has never read or watched Touch, his seminal work, has […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 3 [Sabito and Makomo]

Welcome to Kimetsu no Yaiba, the premier Saturday Morning Cartoon of the season! This time we burn through a training arc, meet some ghosts and learn the arcs end-goal. Lets jump in! Starting off, like always, the production. Yaiba does a great job here, like usual, looking fantastic. Assume you like digital effects that is. […]

Paranoia Agent – 13 [The Final Episode] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome all to the finale of Paranoia Agent! People grow up, Shounen Bat is defeated and absolutely nothing makes any sense. Lets dive in! Starting off, visually, it worked very well as a finale. Lots of awesome shots, action and moments throughout, all blending into just a joy to watch. Really, it just flowed well. […]

One Punch Man S2 – 2 [Human Monsters]

Breathe deep… Siiiiiiiiigh… Guess we are doing this. Strap in folks, because this is going to be a rough season of OPM. Let me start off, with a friendly warning. If your here for my usual attempts at constructive criticism and attempted multifaceted analysis, I apologize. There will be very little of that for these […]

Dororo – 14 [The Story of Sabame]

Another week, another episode of Dororo. This time we learn the mystery of Dororo’s back, meet a new demon and get a lot of parallels to their current overall situation. Lets jump in! Starting off, Dororo once again is a bit disappointing on the production front. There were a number of dull or sliding stills, […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 2 [Trainer Sakonji Urokodaki]

Welcome one and all to the 2019 Spring Season! My name is Lenlo, and I am Shounen Trash. This, is Kimetsu no Yaiba, now with cute demon sisters, mysterious old men the the high possibility of developing a drool fetish. Sounds weird? Good, lets jump in! First off, production. Its Ufotable, obviously Yaiba looks fantastic. […]

Latest Reviews

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]

Mob Psycho 100 S2 Anime Review – 87/100

Upon finishing this series, the only question on my mind was how many animators did Bones sacrifice on ONE’s altar to achieve this. Following their prior season, Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 continues Bones adaptation of webcomic and manga author ONE’s 4th work, Mob Psycho 100. ONE has also authored the critically acclaimed One Punch […]

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai Review – 84/100

Anime draws on many different media types in its endless search for properties to adapt, but manga is still the king of the bunch. And why not? It’s a distinctly Japanese art form, their main demographics have significant overlap, and manga’s panel-based layout means that some of the anime staff’s work is already done. Plenty […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru Anime Review – 93/100

Recently, sports anime have become a bit of a dying breed. Falling into the same hole as Mecha, aside from a passionate base audience, most are overlooked. There are the occasional hits like Haikyuu, Yuri on Ice, or Darling in the Franxx for Mecha, but those are few and far between, often taking years. Even […]

A quick and dirty review of Garo: Vanishing Line

What it claims to be about: A secret order of knights and alchemists, the Makai Knights and Alchemists, fight horrifying creatures called Hollows who prey on human weakness .Part of the media franchise spanning anime and live action shows, this iteration is set in modern metropolis and concerns the attempts of Sword, the strongest Makai […]

Planetes Anime Review – 84/100

If there is one thing I have lost watching seasonal anime, it is patience. Every week I expect something to happen, some kind of payoff, to make watching that week worth it. Luckily, Planetes as brought that back to me. Its depth of writing, characters, and general structure belay an anime of a different age. […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]