Wind Breaker (2024) by Toshifumi Akai

“So long as I am the strongest, I belong on the high.”

With so many new sequence premiering within the Spring 2024 season, anime followers had a lot to look ahead to. One of many extra anticipated sequence, “Wind Breaker”, got here in with important hype surrounding it. Many followers proclaimed it was certain to be the subsequent massive gang-related sequence, very like the 2021 science fiction thriller “Tokyo Revengers”, however merely being just like a well-liked sequence does not at all times assure a brand new present might be successful as soon as it debuts. Whereas “Wind Breaker” greater than delivered on issues like its well-choreographed combat scenes and character designs, many different points left so much to be desired, making a present that, whereas thrilling to observe, does not give the viewers a lot by way of depth or important character improvement till it begins turning into too late.

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Clover Works‘ “Wind Breaker” tells the story of Sakura Haruka, a current switch to Furin Excessive College. As your traditional, hot-headed major character with little steerage, he rapidly finds himself clashing with these round him. Nonetheless, a combat appears to be exactly what he is searching for since Haruka got here seeking to turn out to be the most effective fighter at Furin – the place energy is rumored to be valued above all else. It is an intriguing premise that lets viewers know instantly that this anime values motion and combat sequences above all else as effectively, particularly any actual connections or emotional improvement early on. Whereas that is not at all times a foul factor, as some reveals thrive off of solely excellent choreography, the dearth of improvement begins to hinder the sequence early on.

It isn’t that there isn’t any character improvement in any respect in “Wind Breaker”. It is simply that there is not sufficient earlier than the first combat towards Shishitoren, making it exhausting to attach with the characters or care about them. It is enjoyable to observe however the depth is not fairly there but, so among the extra emotional moments land flat, like Togame’s realization and development as he is combating Haruka. Their relationship hasn’t been fleshed out or solidified sufficient for them to share that. Plus, the awkward transition from intense combating to soul-searching to combating once more looks like a gimmick that kills any momentum or emotional funding and throws off the pacing going into Umemiya’s combat towards Tomiyama.

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Whereas the character improvement is missing and awkward, particularly to start with, it does get higher over time. “Wind Breaker” tries actually exhausting to not offer you all the info upfront, so it may give you intensive flashbacks and divulges in the midst of these fights. In some circumstances, it really works very well and provides you a greater understanding of characters like Tomimiya, who we have seen sufficient by the point his combat comes as much as sort of perceive his character. In different circumstances, like Haruka’s or Hayato’s, you do not know practically sufficient about them outdoors of their setup to narrate to or care about them till lengthy after their combat is over.

The dearth of depth could make some characters more durable to root for than others, despite the fact that the main target of the sequence is clearly Haruka and Bofurin. For individuals who watch “Tokyo Revengers”, whereas Takemichi will not be the strongest major character, actually or figuratively, at the very least you’ll be able to perceive his motivations and sympathize with him early. It takes so much longer to really feel that means about Haruka and to care sufficient to root for him, should you ever do. He hasn’t paid his dues or accomplished sufficient to really feel like he belongs in Furin, not to mention within the hearts of the viewers.

Though it struggles in some areas, visually, “Wind Breaker” doesn’t disappoint. From the start, Taishi Kawakami tries to draw viewers’ consideration with eye-catching character designs, which is widespread in lots of anime reveals. Distinctive traits, like shiny eyes or hair, can usually assist to differentiate or differentiate characters, making it simple to maintain monitor of them. Not solely is it a useful approach, however the vastly totally different seems really support in determining the persona traits of various members. Contemplating you do not study a lot about anybody however Haruka earlier than going into the principle combat arc of the season, the selection to at the very least give viewers hints by means of selections like Hayato’s eyepatch and magnificence or Togame’s conventional getas at the very least offers them a glimpse into what they’re like earlier than you actually begin attending to know them.

Together with the design, the animation by Clover Works on this sequence can also be accomplished fairly effectively. It is fluid and simple to observe, particularly in the course of the combat scenes. In a sequence that facilities round combating, that is completely essential, as gradual or uneven animation sequences can usually make or break an motion scene solely. Even when it feels more durable to sympathize with sure characters, their spectacular combating types and approaches converse for themselves and do lots of the heavy lifting for this sequence. Contemplating we get one in all our first important battle arcs within the first half of the season, the studio placing this a lot effort into them not solely is sensible however is way appreciated, because the fights are one of many major motivators to proceed watching.

General, “Wind Breaker” is not a foul sequence, however it’s very clear that it’s simply beginning out and getting by means of the hiccups early on. That is the sort of story that wants extra time to flesh out and develop. It most likely would’ve benefitted from having just a few additional episodes within the first season, if not 24. The combating and artwork pull you in early and maintain you invested even when the story hasn’t solely discovered its footing. Nonetheless, because the anime progresses and spends extra time introducing viewers to its characters and world, it does turn out to be a extra entertaining watch. With time and possibly one other season, “Wind Breaker” has the potential to turn out to be a stand-out sequence, particularly given its distinctive premise.