Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru Ep 23 [FINAL]
EXCUSE ME I NEED A MOMENT, BECAUSE MY EMOTIONS!!!!!! Haiji, I am so proud of him, I legit cried seeing how he was able arrive 5th and secure the 10th Seed for next year’s Hakone Ekiden. When there were times he looked he was going to pass out, or his leg looked like it was about to give out, my heart! For a moment I was terrified that he wasn’t going to be able to make it to the finish line. Haiji ran knowing that by pushing himself may mean he will never be able to run again. But he was fine with that, because he finally obtained what he had been looking for, fulfilled his desire and purpose of having forming the ultimate team and pulling off the miracle so many said would be impossible. But the most beautiful part and way to end this story was how Kakeru and Haiji found their answers in each other. For Haiji, Kakeru was the ideal form he never reached, running like a shooting star, embodying hope. For Kakeru, Haiji has become the reason why he runs, and despite how simple statement is, it still has a lot of weight to it. Without Haiji, Kakeru would still be running astray. Their meeting changed his life for the better.
And what makes this finale all the more sweeter and different to most sports stories was how it didn’t matter that they didn’t win first place. At the end of the day, they were the ones who really came out on top by not only having Kakeru beat Kazuma’s record in Section 9 by a second 1:08:59, but Haiji successfully securing the 10th Seed for next years. What they have accomplished is truly nothing short of a miracle with the team coming together, who have trained for less than a year, only had ten members with no emergency substitution and continued to run when they did get sick. But most of all, what they have gained out of his is a lifetime worth of friendship, the memories and accomplishments they have made will be something that they will carry with them no matter where they go in life.
The Epilogue takes place three years after Hakone, the team is having a gathering at Chikusei, that is dude to be demolished. It makes me sad to see it go, as despite it’s run-down and in shit condition, it is place where lots of memories had been made. Since then, Haiji, Shindo, Musa, Akane, Nico have all following their own paths, currently the only original members who remains on the team are Kakeru and the twins (as it turns out: Jota ended up sticking around after-all), and are now 4th year students themselves. The team has since grown immensely, with Hana continuing with her job, but it will never be the same as the ultimate team Haiji has formed. It will be a memory Kakeru will forever cherish, and values he continued to carry as he led the team that has grown in popularity.
Hilariously we never found out which twin it was, or if it were even either one since Musa pledge his loyalty to Hana by promising to keep it the secret between them.
Final Verdict: 9/10
Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru is certainly not your typical sports story to the point some people might find it boring due to the lack of the usual fierce competition or flashy formula found in other series. However it’s important to understand that what sets this show apart from other titles in the genre is the fact it’s not about winning, but the spiritual journey. It focuses heavily on each of the characters learning something about themselves or growing as individuals as they train for the daunting task of qualifying for Hakone, something everyone but Haiji had initially believed to be impossible. Haiji had deliberately formed a group of misfits to create the ultimate team where even the weak and inexperienced were welcomed. It’s a group of amazing characters who forge a bond that you may otherwise would have not expected had they not been dragged into the circumstances as they were. The team was initially tricked into joining the track and field club when Haiji shrewdly had them fill out the forms when they looked into signing into the dorms. It’s crazy when you think about it of how far they come, and I couldn’t be prouder.
Although it is unfortunate that not all the characters were given enough time in the limelight to be fully fleshed out, I still found myself otherwise satisfied when we got their shares of backstories when it came to the final gauntlet. Many of the characters are endearing, and you are bound to find someone you can relate to, or feel like you are looking at your own reflection. It’s the characters that made this story such an emotional journey, one filled with laughter, heartache and tears. However that isn’t to say none of the characters were fleshed out. Among all of them, I consider Kakeru to be one of the best developed characters I have experienced in a long time. This guy truly has come a long way, and we are given consistent examples of how much he has grown out of his shell, and the effects of no longer being haunted by the past. And goodness, with the exception of the twins (I never really cared for them, much less after their tempter tantrum episode) I absolutely love every single one of these characters. It’s hard to pick favourite when you pretty much love them all. Seriously, you can’t make me choose, it’s too hard to!
I have no doubt in my mind that Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru will be a series that will remain vivid in my memories in the years to come, and one I will fondly rewatch again and again. It more ways than I could count, its story and characters all touched my heart. In fact I find myself brimming in anticipation for the snow to melt so I can start running again!
It has been an absolute pleasure to cover this series as it had quickly became one of my favourite sports anime to date (and it’s one that’s going to be tough to top in the future!) I would be delighted if its novel were to one day be localized, so hopefully an announcement will be made in the near future. If not, well, that’s what I studying for right? Haha!
Recommendation: HIGH – Seriously, you should watch this!