Run with the Wind isn’t your typical high school sports anime. The characters are older, in college, and have priorities and concerns that people entering adulthood have. They also don’t all start out as amazing runners, which is typical of the majority of sports anime series. One of the main characters is an amazing runner, but they’re not all that way, and they worked hard throughout the series to achieve their goal of running in the Hakone Ekiden.
I decided to check out Run with the Wind after I first started seeing promo pictures of an anime character named Kakeru Kurahara, who looked amazingly like Kageyama Tobio from Haikyuu. Upon further research, it wasn’t surprising that the two shows are produced by Production I.G. Even though I dislike running and thought that the show might not interest me much, considering that Haikyuu is one of my favorite shows, I wanted to give Run with the Wind a try. I was not disappointed, but I was surprised at how underrated the show ended up being.
I think that part of the problem may have been the lack of hype surrounding the show. Run with the Wind didn’t stick out from any of the other shows in the fall anime lineup as far as promotion went. I had also seen some people say on Twitter that they didn’t stick with the show, because they found one of the main characters, Haiji Kiyose, to be manipulative (he definitely was) and they didn’t like the underhanded way that he got everyone to join the track team.
I had seen characters similar to Haiji before in other anime series and figured that he would end up being likeable in the end. A few episodes in and it was already obvious that there was more to Haiji than just getting others to join his cause by any means possible. He was also very caring, responsible, inspiring, and motivational. And he did show remorse about how he had acted in the beginning, which is important. So, for the people who stopped watching because of Haiji, in my experience many of those who stuck with the show did end up liking him later on in the series. For me, he quickly became my favorite characters.
I asked some of the people in a Run with the Wind Discord group that I belong to what their thoughts were. I also asked them why they felt the show didn’t end up being as popular, considering how much the people who do enjoy the show seem to love it. Quite a few of them mentioned that the pacing is a little slower than your typical sports anime and that may have thrown people off.
It is also very much a slice-of-life type show in the beginning, which might be a turn off for people looking for the more fast-paced action and ultra-talented characters typical in a sport anime. Run with the Wind ultimately may take a little longer to get into at first. Many people I spoke with said that it took at least a few episodes. For me personally, I loved the show from the first episode. Everyone I spoke with who stuck with the show, though, ended up very invested before the end of the series. If you are willing to invest a little time into watching a handful of episodes, Run with the Wind is definitely a show worth watching through to the end.
It’s a very character-drive show. If you want to watch an anime with plenty of characters to relate to, Run with the Wind is perfect for that. For those of you who are like me and do not particularly like running, Akane Kashiwazaki (known as Prince), is a character who is very easy to relate to. He’d much rather be reading his massive manga collection than running every day. He would often wear hilarious t-shirts during practice that would simply say things like, “Why?”
On the other hand, if you do love running, Kakeru and Haiji are who you’ll want to pay attention to. They go throughout the show asking each other questions like, “Do you like running?” and “What is running to you?” What motivates you is a major theme for the show and for those two characters, the journey of preparing for the Hakone Ekiden reminded them of why they loved running so much. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I feel like there is at least one character in the show that would be relatable for everyone.
Another draw in for many of the people I spoke with is the fact that the characters are a little older. Let’s face it, not all anime fans are teenagers. And while Haikyuu is one of my favorite anime, I’m always happy to find an anime with college-aged or older characters. I’m in my mid-30s and at this point in my life, I feel like I’m beyond relating to a number of things that high school students commonly face. How refreshing it is when I’m able to see characters a little closer to my age! Their struggles are more similar to my own.
Ultimately, if you enjoy sports and/or slice-of-life type anime series with plenty of relatable characters, you’ll most likely enjoy Run with the Wind. The series isn’t just about running, it’s about the characters and the real life struggles they face while fighting hard for their dreams. It’s a very inspirational show with something for everyone to enjoy.
Author: Jessica Rae
Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.
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