WIND BREAKER – Episode 1

By: ThatNerdyBoliviane April 5, 20240 Comments
The Furin gang standing in front of their high school

What’s it about? Sakura Haruka is a high school student who stands out because of his eyes and hair color.  Unfortunately, his own parents and fellow peers ostracize him for being different, which resulted in him being kicked out of school and having to live in a new city on his own.  Since everyone treats Haruka like a thug, he decided to enroll at Furin high school in order to challenge the strongest fighters there and hopefully find meaning to his existence.  

It’s kinda hilarious there’s a manhwa with this same name, so if folks are curious about the source material, just be aware that you’ll have to dig a little deeper to find what you’re looking for.  Anyways, WIND BREAKER is an interesting beast.  The last time I read anything related to teenage gangsters was Oresama Teacher, which still deserves an anime adaptation, especially now that Tokyo Revengers has sparked a resurgence in the teenage gangsters genre. Plus, I think everyone would love Mafuyu as much as I do.

Truthfully, I forgot I reviewed the first episode of Tokyo Revengers since it didn’t appeal to me personally, but seems to be a runaway success for its target audience.  Inevitably, folks will make comparisons, so the question then becomes, “how does WIND BREAKER distinguish itself from that series?” Thankfully, CloverWorks knocks it out of the park with that fantastic black and white animation sequence of Haruka walking on a tightrope while seeing images of how horribly he was treated by his parents and peers.  It wasn’t a long sequence, but it immediately made me understand the psychological trauma of this grumpy teenager who’s just trying to find his place in the world and rightfully has his guard up against anyone who might attempt to hurt him.  

Haruka blushing
Your honor, that’s a baby!!

Honestly, the moment he blushed at being thanked for saving someone from being robbed instantly made me far more interested in his journey to find self-love and a community that’ll accept him.  It helps that the animation is gorgeous and the colorful shots of different areas of Haruka’s neighborhood makes it feel like actual people are living there.  Regardless, the well-choreographed fight sequences are going to be the talk of the anime community and with the brief introduction of some of the main characters, I fully expect to see a wave of fanart on my timeline in the coming weeks.  It’s also interesting to note that Furin high school gangs aren’t just fighting for the heck of it, but are actively working hard to protect their community with the support of local residents.  While the emotions towards the end of the episode were too heavy-handed for my taste, the intentions of the residents came through and Haruka realized he found people that can accept him, but he isn’t ready to be vulnerable around them yet.  

The notion of teenagers coming together to help make their neighborhood a safer place to live isn’t entirely a fictitious idea.  The Guardian Angels were known to perform similar activities in the New York City subways during the 1980s to 1990s to keep civilians safe.  Both instances show how utterly useless law enforcement is on “protecting and serving” the people and while I don’t know if the rest of the series will actually critique the police in a meaningful way, at least WIND BREAKER is off to a decent start and deserves the three episode check-in.  

Furin students fighting other gangs
Let them fight!!

Lastly, I’m curious to see (aside from Tachibana Kotoha), if there’ll be any significant presence of women characters in the show.  Based on the opening and ending visuals, I’m assuming that’s not going to happen, but I’m hopeful fans of the manga can prove me wrong. That’s why we need Mafuyu to grace us with her presence someday; until then, let’s watch the boys battle it out.

About the Author : ThatNerdyBoliviane

ThatNerdyBoliviane was originally born in New York City and essentially lived there until the age of 17 when they had to move to Toronto for reasons. They are currently struggling to survive in this weird-ass world that does not celebrate awesomeness enough. They self identify as Queer Quechua (Mestize) Bolivian-American and are involved with social justice work of all kinds. Aside from that, they are an avid lover of anime, manga, cartoons, (on rare occasion live-action TV shows if it’s good), and having amazing discussions with other folks about nerdy things. You can visit their blog Home to my Bitter Thoughts or follow them on Twitter @LizzieVisitante.

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