Okay, so, in the interest of full disclosure, I don’t care one way or the other about sports anime. I don’t hate it, but it’s not really my bag of tea. That being said, I actually… kind of enjoyed this one? Like, a lot. I was surprised. And not just because of the dog.
Run with the Wind is about a group of college guys who inadvertently (we’ll get to that) join their school’s track and field club. The animation is interesting in a good way, the sound design is good, and the plot moves at about the pace you’d expect for a first episode, without being boring.
After a short intro that sets up the two main characters, Kuwahara and Haiji, it jumps straight to the apartment building where Haiji introduces everyone else living there, and we meet Nira, Haiji’s dog and the most important character, in my opinion. The character designs are unique, even for the twin characters. We’re introduced to everyone in a way that not only tells us their names, but gives a feel for their individual (unique!) personalities. There’s the self-styled “Trivia King,” Yohei; the mildly creepy, if kind, Shindou; the aforementioned mischievous twins, elder Jota and younger Joji; the otaku ‘Prince’; Nico-chan-senpai the nicotine addict; Yuki the stressed out genius law student; Musa, the Black foreign student; and Tazaki-san, the elderly landlord. The subsequent welcoming party also gives us a feel for the relationships between the characters, and shows us the current goal for our intrepid characters.
The show then uses a fairly clever flash back to show what happened between Kuwahara stealing some sort of food item I couldn’t make out and the pair arriving at the apartment. Basically, Haiji persuades Kuwahara to apologize for stealing and come check out the apartment, since Kuwahara lost all his living expenses being a dumbass college student (or so he claims). This sets up a dynamic between Kuwahara and Haiji that will be fun to explore as the show progresses. The flashback itself also serves to provide a sense of how overwhelmed Kuwahara is by the time we get to the welcome party and Haiji’s announcement. We also find out that Haiji has basically tricked everyone there into joining the track team, since residence at Aotake (the apartment building) is automatic membership of said team. Everyone is sufficiently outraged by this, but there’s not much anyone can do about it.
At the end of the episode, we also get a hint of backstory for Haiji (he hurt his knee in high school) and the realization that Kuwahara isn’t actually a college student, he just graduated high school.
Overall, this show did really well on most every level. Unfortunately, it did have some potential problems, that might turn into major ones if the show creators aren’t very careful. To whit: there are no girls outside background characters in the credits, and they introduced their only (so far) Black character completely nude (with a towel to hide his dignity). While it is possible I’m overreacting – Kuwahara was notably uncomfortable, and Musa isn’t the only character shown naked – it lays a precedent that I’m not entirely comfortable with. Here’s hoping the show gets better about that soon (and also introduces some girls, I mean come on now).
That being said, I have high(ish) hopes for this show, and if you like sports anime, I have very few qualms recommending you giving this one a chance.