Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru Episode 20
MOOD: DROWNING IN A SEA OF TEARS
This week’s episode was pretty much the opposite of last week’s. It started off funny, but then it quickly became devastating and heart-wrenching to watch when we see the consequences of Jota’s carelessness. Had he not told Joji his speculation, then perhaps it would have put Shindo in a better position (though I don’t think it would have changed to much of him finishing last for the first half of the race). And sure enough, once Joji saw the condition Shindo was in, he immediately became ashamed and regretful of his performance, acknowledging that wasn’t his best run, and he should have done better.
Watching Shindo run, was an excruciating experience. There is no other way to describe it. Shindo’s struggle, and the powerful portrayal of how horribly dizzy he was, and how he was barely conscious was chilling to say the least. To top things off, watching Shindo’s family witness his struggle, was probably the second most heart-wrenching scene of the entire episode. His family had gathered altogether to watch and support him, but instead they were shocked, horrified and disturbed by his condition. It didn’t take me long before I starting crying really hard too. And I am sure I wasn’t the only one whose stomach dropped when we saw him fall, and Kakeru freaked out! At that moment, I thought that was it. A fall like that with no way to catch himself, it scared the daylights out of me to think he was going to wound up an awful injury. Luckily, he did not fall on his face as I feared, because that moment was when he had reached the finish line, he was caught by Kakeru and Haiji waiting for him.
But while it was brutal to watch, it is fair to say it was also equally as powerful. Shindo ran 20.7km of Section 5 while he was barely conscious and with a nasty fever. If anyone deserves an MVP, it’s him, because he was determined to fulfill his role for the team, even when the coach tried to intervene. My heart also hurts because I know Shindo was looking forward to this section of the race. He was supposed to be that dark horse, because this is his forte, climbing steep slopes is where he thrives. As cool as it would have been to see how well he could have performed if he were in perfection condition, that’s not what this story is about. Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru is story of learning what it means to run, be a team and overcoming challenges and doing what everyone said to be impossible. And today, Shindo did just that in the most terrifying and incredible way possible.
Speaking of which, the man who was responsible for putting this team together finally opened up a bit about his past. It didn’t surprise me that Haiji felt comfortable enough to share a part of himself to Kakeru. As it turns out, it’s actually quite a personal thing, and I can understand why he would be reluctant to tell the team about that part of his life. But if I am going to be completely honest with you, I did find it a bit anticlimactic… but then again, I also like that it’s a realistic choice, and I don’t think anyone really should have expected anything dramatic given his history and the general theme of the story altogether.
Haiji had asked Kakeru about his name, and if his father (who Kakeru revealed had also ran track) pushed him to run. Kakeru (to my surprise) revealed no, his father’s history in track had nothing to do with getting into the sport. In fact, their communication appears to have never good to begin with. Haiji in turn reveals his father is a high school track coach, and he was one of his runners. The problem is that track is all his father thinks of, and Haiji under his total supervision both at home and school, been running everyday until he one day broke. But it was only when he couldn’t run for the first time, was when he genuinely wanted to run. That’s why he formed this unique team. He wanted to run with teammates who shared the dream and earnestly wanted to run, regardless if they were weak or amateurs. As long as they had the passion and potential, he believed they could run.
However Haiji does feel guilty for bending everyone to his will. He forced his ideals onto them, dragging them into this. Yet somehow, despite the bumpy start, everyone became invested in the process and decided to run for themselves. But Kakeru makes a point that he is grateful for Haiji forming the team, and how even though there are only ten runners, their team as a whole is much larger than that, by including the shopping center vendors, the university and people from far away from them. And it’s exactly what Haiji needed to hear, as we have been seeing him open up about his insecurities and guilt of his actions.
Next week we are certainly in store for a continuation of a rollercoaster of emotions. While winning the race may no longer be attainable, there is without a doubt will have an even stronger resolve to make up the loss ground for the one who managed to overcome an incredibly difficult hurdle, and perform to the best of their abilities. I definitely get that sense from Yuki, who is probably feeling more determined to push himself for the team. He was there by Shindo’s side and witnessed his determination. That isn’t to say he isn’t in store for a difficulties on his own, as he will be running down the steep hill in chilly conditions. One concern to be worried about is since it’s snowing, there’s a risk of accumulation of ice forming on the road. I’m hoping there won’t be too much trouble though, as we also see Nico in good spirits as well.
ONE MORE TIME FOR SHINDO!
The mountains of Hakone are the steepest in the world!