I am not going to lie when I say that I have a box that I like to stick myself in when choosing what anime to watch every season. Then again, who doesn’t? We all know what we like to watch, and we just want to see more of that kind of stuff. Every once in a while, I like trying shows that I usually wouldn’t and that leads to success most of the time. At least that was the case for me when it came to shows like After the Rain, Scum’s Wish, and Days. I really need to do that more often, because I found two shows that I can’t help myself from watching every week. I already mentioned what shows they are in the title, but they go by the name Run with the Wind and Bloom into You. I am honestly shocked by how much I’ve been digging them, but they both feel like something special.
Bloom into You
I have never watched a yuri anime before in my entire life. There is this stigma of yuri shows of being trash or a show can be debatably yuri because some traits can be reduced to just being yuri undertones. Then again, I don’t know because I can only assume things from what I hear about from some of my close blogger friends. There is something special about Bloom into You that draws me into it and I think I know what it is. While it is a show about two girls falling in love, the way the show romance is a little more complex than a lot of things I’ve watched. Touko is a complex person who shows off a brave face when she becomes the class president and has to make tough decisions in front of everyone, but she is using Yuu as her pillar. She honestly hopes that Yuu never changes and never reciprocates her love, because she wouldn’t know what to do if that changes. On the other side, we have our protagonist Yuu who doesn’t understand what love is and is hoping that getting closer to Touko will help her find out what it means. Also, it’s clear that Touko is putty in Yuu’s hands because even things like Yuu sayig Touko’s name makes Touko blush. It’s pretty adorable. It’s this sort of stalemate of understanding and realistic drama that is at the heart of Bloom into You’s narrative that makes the whole show work. (Also, Yuu still feels very similar to how I feel about love because I don’t know what love is either.)
Let’s not forget the other things that add some interesting layers in Bloom into You. For one thing, there is an interesting and yet well-made love triangle (how often can you say that) between Sayaka, Touko, and Yuu, but everyone likes being in the position they are currently in. Sayaka sees Touko as her pillar in her own affirmation because she wants Touko to perform better then her. She loves Touko a lot, but she doesn’t want to put her love in jeopardy by making active movements incase it doesn’t work out as well as it could. Also, the supportive atmosphere provided by Yuu’s family that love Touko and the adult lesbian couple providing support to are cast is incredibly wonderful. Especially since this show takes place in Japan which is very conservative, it’s nice to see that there are people who support others in loving whoever they want to love. It’s a good message that needs to be spread around more often.
The last thing that makes Bloom into You such a great watch are the visuals. There is a lot of show not tell going on here that instantly connects to the audience’s mind. Yuu feeling drowned and separate from her friends because they talk about love and she can’t is material that I’ve seen before in other anime, but not many anime have got the feeling down as well as Bloom into You does. Other simple directional choices like focusing on a school uniform coat on a hanger trusts that the viewer understands that Yuu just took her coat off in her own room. Do I need to even mention the adorable train sequence in which Touko stole a kiss from Yuu or even the stair step sequence across a river sequence in which the argument between Touko and Yuu was displayed to the audience? There is just some terrific stuff going on all the time. Maybe I should watch other Yuri shows and see if they ever this hard for me? Or is this just a good romance anime that happens to be Yuri? Kind of hard to tell.
Run with the Wind
I am not a big fan of sports anime, but there is something special about Run with the Wind that bring me back to it. I think it has to do with the lovable cast and the fact that it takes place in college. The first episode of the Run established the whole cast with their personalities incredibly well and that sort of development kept going as these adults gained the well to run together. Yes, that’s right. Adults. Besides Kakeru, each member of the cast is chill and drinks alcohol in social environments legally which is fun to me. It’s a great way for cast members to blow off steam and say what their big deals are in a complete natural way and environment. Maybe Kakeru would stop being such a drag on everyone else if he drank from time to time, but that’s not legal. Still, Kakeru does have a lot of damage on him that pushes him to go faster and faster and faster. We can’t forget that his drama and getting how it gets resolved is the main driving force of Run with the Wind’s story.
If there were two characters that I wasn’t sure about first, they would be Kakeru and Haiji. Haiji started the show by being a little too forceful in getting people to run. He does get a lot better as more things are revealed about him. I mean, Haiji has a leg wound that he has been learning to run with so it’s not like there isn’t a reason for why he is doing this. He’s like a more mature Kakeru who resents the fact that he couldn’t run on an athletic level during over the course of most of his college career. By learning to run faster, he has a full love for all things that are running, and he wants to go the distance to take on the ultimate college race. It’s such beautiful stuff, really. On the other end of the dramatic core of Run with the Wind is Kakeru who is a very talented runner who has a dramatic past pushing him to go faster and faster and faster. Kakeru is quite a damaged person, isn’t he? His path of trying to find the love of running and Haiji’s absolute love of are the core conflicts of the show with the other characters adding extra layers to this show and its absolutely wonderful story telling.
I can’t let Run with the Wind go without at least mentioning some aspects of it’s visuals. Compared to Bloom into You, Run with the Wind has a more straight forward directional style. It is very well organized in how it characterizes and develops it’s cast, but how the scenes are shot don’t add as much as the scenes do in Bloom. That’s ok, because the scenes around running are beautifully animated. Especially the track meet which involved 3-D spinning techniques while the characters were running around a track. Like holy crap that was beautiful. There are other scenes that are up to that level of quality as well, but not many moments can break the wow factor of that scene. Run with the Wind isn’t a flawless show, but the strengths are much stronger then the weaknesses.
I need to remind myself to always step out of my comfort zone more. I don’t feel like I did that enough during the Spring and the Summer which may have hurt me more then I know. Nothing I can do to fix what my past self-did, but I can improve what I doing right now. I am looking at a slightly more diversified anime portfolio.
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