I didn’t have any particular assumptions about this show going into it – mostly because it just seemed like the kind of thing that’d be fairly average, even if you happen to be more into sports anime than I am – but based on the opening episode, I’d say we’re off to a pretty decent start.
Right off the bat, there’s a certain sense of realism and solidity to Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru that most sports anime titles simply don’t have. I’m not saying that’s inherently either a good or a bad thing, but generally speaking, shows that go for the bright, optimistic, sweat of youth! type thing don’t really work for me. Kaze ga Tsuyoku, on the other hand, exudes a sense of quiet calmness, even amidst ten male university students lounging around in their old, rundown dorm building. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest to learn that this series is based on a novel by same person who wrote Fune wo Amu (whose anime adaptation viewers may remember from back in 2016), because there’s a very similar restrained, contemplative air about Kaze ga Tsuyoku – one which at once lends the series a lot of maturity without anything needing to be explicitly stated or explained.
Partly this is thanks to the characters. They’re university students for a start, and they certainly act and sound older than your average anime high schooler. They also don’t seem much given to loud emotional reactions or bouts of drama; even main character Kakeru, who clearly has some unresolved issues simmering beneath the surface, still comes across as a fairly pragmatic, self-possessed kind of guy. The incredibly true-to-life setting also does plenty for the overall atmosphere though, right down to the light fixtures and texture of the walls. Seriously, I haven’t seen an anime depicting such on-point background art for a long time, if ever, and it strikes a major chord with me. You’d think the character designs would look strangely cartoonish and out of place in comparison, but even they come across a bit less ‘anime-like’ in terms of which features and movements are exaggerated and which are downplayed.
If I have any single qualm about Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru, it’s that there might be too many cast members to keep track of and to give decent character development. While Kakeru and Haiji will likely remain the focus point, that still leaves eight boys to account for, plus any other recurring or side characters that may play a role in their story. Luckily, the show is slated for 23 episodes, so there’ll hopefully be room to give everyone the attention I’m sure they each deserve.
If you naturally gravitate towards boisterous, action-packed sports anime with a lot of tension and excitement, and with characters that have near superhuman abilities or talents, you may want to look elsewhere. If however you’re after something more understated, and which refreshingly appears to target no specific gender demographic, I highly recommend giving Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru a shot.
Question of the post: What did you think of this first episode? Do you prefer your sports anime with a bit more youthful passion, or does Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru’s quieter mood appeal more to you?
8 thoughts on “Anime Taste Testing: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru”
Huge casts always give me pause… Even if the focus cast (Kakeru and Haiji in this case) is limited, few anime seem to handle this well.
Agreed. Even if there are enough episodes for the story itself not to seem rushed, large casts often result in cliches and stereotypes just to make it easier for the writers to write dialogue and the viewers to remember who’s who. However, I have enough respect for Miura Shion that I believe she would never write something like that, so if this is going to be a relatively faithful adaptation (and signs so far point to that being the case), I think this show has every chance of remaining very solid.
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I’m having more issues with Haiji then the large cast. His wanting to do something and tricking/forcing the other characters along with his goal just kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
I felt that a bit too, although I didn’t end up putting it in the review since I felt I already had plenty to say. Haiji’s actions certainly come across as quite manipulative (albeit not malevolent), and I certainly wouldn’t appreciate something like that being sprung on me.
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This was my top pick of the season (exclusively because of the Fune wo Amu connection), and it didn’t disappoint. I can’t say, I expect anything to top this this season; other than this show nothing really stood out.
I like huge casts, and the show’s already doing a good job differentiating them. What you have to do in huge-cast shows is have them interact a lot (for screen-time efficiency), and keep them distinct. The character designs make the characters easy to differentiate, and they’re also adaptable to understatement/hyperbole.
The setting feels real, and the time spent on, say, water-drops on the ceiling, are just enough. The pacing is excellent; nothing felt rushed, yet there was always something going on. And I really liked the sound-direction in the opening scene, where you hear the character before you see him, and where the agitated shopkeeper is almost-but-not-quite background noise.
On a side note, we have one lit major, and two sociology students. I have a degree in sociology, with a side-focus on linguistics/literature. That gives the show a relatable air, for me. Minor point, but fun to notice.
I try (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to learn as a little as possible about most new anime before watching them, so I only knew of the Fune wo Amu connection after my viewing. Like I said though, that information was completely unsurprising in context, and for me at least, a pretty great sign for the rest of the series.
I hear ya – I’m a Lit. major myself. Always nice to get peripheral details like that in anime, as it often helps make characters not only more relatable but also more realistic in terms of fleshing them out.