Posted 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!

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Posted on 27 March 2019 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Welcome, one and all, to the finale of Kaze Fui. It has been a wild ride to get to this point, as the series did the impossible. It made running ~140 miles more interesting and dramatic than a fight for the fate of the universe (Looking at you DBZ). So, for the final time, let’s talk running boys.

Starting off, visually, Kaze Fui was beautiful this week. The animation team really kicked it up a notch, with numerous high fidelity shots. Examples of this include Haiji’s panning shot as he runs under the bridge and basically any shot of the dog. I swear, the frame count must have doubled, there was so much motion going on. As if that wasn’t enough, Kaze Fui also knocked it out of the part with its direction and cutaways. Conveying so much emotion in individual images or scenes, with no spoken words, is a feat worth lauding. Simply put, as a finale, this was more than up to snuff visually. Really, the last 5 episodes straight have met that requirement, with only minor CGI popping in. But this episode didn’t even have that. Now though, lets get on to the actual story.

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Posted on 20 March 2019 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Hello all and welcome to the penultimate episode of Kaze Fui! This week we see King’s struggle, Kurahara takes off and Sakaki becomes a little less hate-able. Lets take off running, we have a lot to cover!

In terms of animation and production, Kaze Fui surprised me this week. I didn’t think that, after Yuki last week, that it would do anything new. I assumed we would get some more of Kurahara’s running through dimensions bit, which looks good, but isn’t new at this point. What was new though was King’s facial expressions and Kurahara’s stunning shedding of his earthly concerns. The first was just funny. It meshed well with King’s story and helped lighten the tone a bit, so the shift isn’t so sudden when we go to Kurahara. Meanwhile Kurahara’s bit was just beautiful to look at. Like an animated Buddhist enlightenment, it was like Kurahara was shedding his earthly concerns and just dedicating himself to the run. For someone who started such an angry boy, it really struck me then how far he had come. But we will get to him later, onto spoilers!

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Posted on 14 March 2019 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Another week, another set of Kaze Fui boys run the Ekiden. Today we have Yuki and Nico, from the older half of our group, running their hearts out. There’s family drama, crushed dreams and more emotions than I can handle. Lets jump in!

Sticking with my stereotypes, let’s start with production. There was some reused footage this week when Yuki was running down the hill. Taking some bends, as he swayed right and left, with only the backgrounds being different. I actually didn’t notice this at first, because of how engrossing the narrative is, and so I can’t dock it to much for it, but it is there. We also saw the return of the CGI that, when placed up against Yuki’s leg muscles flexing as he runs, only become more worthy of criticism. All that said though, direction continues to be Kaze Fui’s strong point. With multiple wide shots of the landscape, our characters small against the mountains of Hakone, drawing the eye. There was also some fantastic, expressive, facial animation on Jota with Kurahara. So all things considered, it wasn’t a bad week for Kaze Fui. Now, onto spoiler territory.

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Posted on 7 March 2019 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Another day, another double feature catch up from my vacation, this time on Kaze Fui. This week we watch 5 of our 10 boys run the Ekiden, in one of the most emotional jogs I have ever witnessed. Lets jump in!

Right off the bat, I have to say, Kaze Fui made me tear up. I can’t say I outright cried, because I am emotionally dead. But Kaze Fui made a fantastic try and busting through that, in both episodes. Prince, Musa, Jota, Joji and Shindo all hit me in different ways, and really showed my earlier concerns were misplaced. I made mention in earlier posts that I had concerns about pacing, about how a single race could take up 4-5 episodes. I now see how. Each section has become a deeply personal exploration of a character who has been built up over 2 cours. This legwork, this built up story, is a rock solid foundation for this finale I find. I only have a single complaint of both episodes, which we will get to later. For now though, let’s dive into the episodes themselves.

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Posted on 20 February 2019 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Welcome to the big one, the start, the opening moments of Kaze Fui’s Hakone Ekiden! This week Fujioka drops some wisdom, the team learns their sections and Yuki gets some time with Kurahara. Lets jump in!

This week was Kaze Fui’s big setup, along with some drops on Haiji’s background. Before we get to either of those though, how did Kaze Fui do on the production department? Like always, the backgrounds were beautiful. The shot near the end of Mt.Fuji was simply stunning, similarly with Haiji and Fujioka’s walking rice fields. We didn’t get to see much animation this week sadly, but with the Ekiden starting next week, hopefully it will show up in full force. That isn’t to say it was non-existent though. During Fujioka’s flashback there was some great running/shoe animation near the end, and I quite enjoyed the character acting we got during the sections explanation. However, unlike Mob Psycho, animation isn’t one of Kaze Fui’s focal point’s. That dubious honor goes to the story and characters, and my goodness, is what good as always.

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Posted on 14 February 2019 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Welcome to the feel good relaxation week of Kaze Fui! This time the Twins confront Haiji, they see the track and Sakaki continues to be a dick. Lets jump in!

Starting off, this episode was a very subdued one. Similar to Mob, Kaze Fui slowed down this week. Giving the characters room to breathe again and building up for its final arc. Once again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A good series knows when to slow down, to perform a falling action, and let the audience relax. If a series is 100% go from the beginning, not only do the narrative climaxes feel dull, but the audience gets apathetic. If everything is important, nothing is. So while I was not enraptured with this episode, it was necessary and I am glad it exists. For instance, Kaze Fui spent a lot of time with the twins this week. They have, before this point, gotten even less focus than Musa. So they really needed it. As for what their story is specifically? Well, lets chat about that.

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Posted 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.

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Posted on 31 January 2019 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Welcome back to running made interesting, Kaze Fui! This week the team makes it to the qualifiers, Hana teases some twins and Haiji finds a cliffhanger! Let’s start runnin!

Starting off, I am surprised we made it to the qualifier so quickly. Sure, we just had a training arc, but I figured we would get another episode of buildup. It’s a good thing, really, because we have 8 episodes left and I expect the Ekiden to take up probably half of those. As for the team, it was nice seeing them come together, again. I really should stop enjoying it, it’s happened so much, but I just can’t stop. It’s nice seeing them all prepare in their own ways. King memorizing the route, Yuki relaxing with his music, Musa in the bath, Kurahara going for more runs. Its all these little personality quirks, the in between moments, that make each of these characters feel equally important. Each of them have, or will soon have, their own stories that all tie together, and I love it.

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Posted on 23 January 2019 with categories: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Welcome all to another episode of Kaze Fui, Best Boy Simulator 2019. This week we have some more qualified times, lots of wholesome bonding and a hint mystery. Lets dive in!

Starting of light and happy, I loved Kaze Fui’s attention to detail this week. All of our boys, aside from Yuki and Prince, tanning from all their running in the sun. Makes it clear time has passed, to go along with the running montage they had. We also get to see how this has started to effect some of our boys, such as Kings short interview segment. He seemed to sit up straighter, with more confidence, and the Ekiden line is a real conversation starter for an interview. While I am sure Haiji didn’t intend for this to happen, not entirely, it is not to see King’s job search getting addressed. Seeing him move forward on that front. Lastly, I am pretty sure Kurahara was smiling throughout this entire episode, and I loved it. Our boy deserves a little happiness after all his emotional struggles.

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