Hello friends and welcome to Archi-Anime’s stop on the January Blog Tour.
Our January theme is: Metamorphosis
A brand new year means new beginnings and opportunities. We have a tendency to embrace the new year because it’s a time when we can start fresh. For this month’s topic, we will be exploring our favorite dynamic characters who undergo changes for better or for worse. We will analyze these characters’ transformations and how these transformations benefited or minimized these characters’ potential in becoming “great people/beings.” We will also use these characters as a way for us to reflect on our own lives and who we want to become. Lastly, we would like to say “Happy New Year, everyone!”
The Fall Anime season brought around one of my year’s favorite anime. It took a break over the holiday’s and now it’s back in the new year for the second half of it’s series. Yes, I’m talking about Run With the Wind.
This show has really grown on me from the beginning. A ragtag group of college students, that were randomly (supposedly) chosen to run the Hakone Ekiden. I honestly believe that when Haiji was recruiting roommates he was looking for people with certain traits. But, that’s a theory and I could be totally off. But that’s besides the point of this post.
When I thought about the prompt, I had to talk about two of the characters on the show and one specifically that has been the talk of my small ani-blog community:
Akane “Prince” Kashiwazaki & Kakeru Kurahara
The relateable otaku of the series; Prince really emphasizes the idea of “metamorphosis” on two levels; while Kakeru has his own in tandem with Prince’s.
Prince’s Physical Metamorphosis – Butterfly Symbolism
This is probably a stretch, but when we first see Prince running, his pace is slower than the butterfly he happens to chance upon. Butterflies are one if not the most popular uses of a metamorphosis when it comes to symbolism. And, for a butterfly to be associated with prince is so fitting. Of all the character’s in our beloved cast, Prince is the one that’s had to make the most changes to become a somewhat decent runner.
When Prince starts off, we see that he runs around like a zombie: hunched over and his hands at weird angles. He also, is the character with the least interest in running. To be fair, that could probably be said about a lot of the characters in the dormitory. But Prince sticks out more because he’s an introverted otaku. He sits in his cramped room surrounded by manga and reads.
While everyone tries to actively run outside, Prince decides he wants a treadmill to help him; solely because he can accomplish more reading if he’s mostly stationary; this is his way of training, at least he can do what he loves by multi-tasking.
Unfortunately, Kakeru Kurahara is in the mindset that absolutely no one, especially Prince, is training enough to even consider being able to compete in the Hakone Ekiden. It’s this episode where it comes to a point that Kakeru’s frustrations are literally running him ragged. Haiji has to pull him off the next race because he wants Kakeru that running isn’t just about speed.
Kakeru has the realization of the “team” and supporting his fellow runners. So, with that in mind, he decides to approach Prince first – because he’s the one lacking the most. The two try to understand one another and in the process really grow in tandem. They grow together as individuals and as teammates, and the episode that highlights this was actually one of my favorites. They don’t have much in common, but they try to find a common ground, In the process they do become friends that spend time together.
During one of their hang-outs, Kakeru tries to understand Prince by picking up his hobby of reading manga. It’s in that moment, that Kakeru realizes as he watches Prince on the treadmill, that his posture is much better here than when he’s actively running, and it’s literally because of the way Prince holds a book while he’s on a treadmill.
Kakeru develops a theory for Prince when they go for their morning run, realizing that his hunched over posture and arm placement was stuck due to muscle memory of holding and reading manga. Kakeru only realizes this because after he has a fight with Prince that he forces to stick by his side to train. That’s when he realizes the difference in his posture by holding a book. By making a few adjustments Kakeru straightens Prince’s posture which helps him run a little better. Prince also realizes he needs to tie his hair up in order to see.
Slowly but surely Prince had been passing that butterfly on his runs; and while he’s still the slowest of the bunch, he still hasn’t given up. The change in running stance and posture has helped Prince improve his running tremendously, and honestly it’s great. He looks so much more determined to improve once he and Kakeru start to have a better understanding of one another.
Prince’s Mentality Shift
I love Prince’s change of attitude towards running; another metamorphosis. Although Prince was manipulated into running (Thanks Haiji!) I found that his mentality towards running to be really inspiring.
It’s so easy to say, “oh I hate running,” or “running just isn’t for me.” For someone as introverted as Prince, I had expected him to say he didn’t care for it and he’d be one of the people that would be against the idea of creating the running team. But, he took me by surprise. He still went along with it despite his reservations. And I think Haiji really ignited a spark in him by quoting a manga to him when they first started.
But spending time with Kakeru and fixing his running has really been helpful for them both. Prince learns to face forward and really aims to be a better runner and he makes such an effort.
And as for the latest episode. Seems like I chose the perfect date to talk about Prince as there are no words, to how emotional prince made me in this week’s episode. Prince is the LAST person who needs a qualifying time to even get him to the qualifier. With only two track meets left; he can definitely feel the pressure and you can feel the weight of being the last one standing radiating off of him the entire episode. He misses the qualifying time on one of the two; meaning he really only has one more left; everything is riding on this last run. So he ups his training game (which Kakeru also wants to help a somehow).
What really got to me was his drive to finish his run. He knew he couldn’t let down his friends, his teammates, and ultimately he didn’t want to let himself down. He’d done the work, he put in the time. As he gets ready for his last run, he can see everyone is just as nervous as him to finish. He then asks everyone to write something on his arm – to keep him motivated to finish.
“When they look at me like that, how could I not do my best?”
They write forward on his arm, something that Kakeru has also been saying to him since they fixed his running posture. With running, there is only one thing to do: keep looking forward; keep moving forward and dammit if that scene didn’t hit you in the feels when he crosses that finish line with the official record he needed.
Prince has truly embodied a metamorphosis in his entire being, and that can also be said about Kakeru and his outlook towards running.
I won’t say too much about Kakeru, but I found his character development to happen in tandem with Prince’s.
As stated before Kakeru and Prince had a fight – clearly about how Prince just isn’t cut out to be running. Due to the fight ( and Haiji fainting) the two try to repair their relationship with Kakeru taking the initiative and trying to get to know Prince and his tastes by taking up reading manga. And it’s because of the time spent together that they fix Prince’s running stance.
Kakeru has always always been running ahead of the pack and has never looked back at his teammates. It’s not until Haiji takes him out from the race and makes him observe from the sidelines. That’s when he realizes that everyone HAS been trying their hardest to train – he can see it in their faces, and he never understood the urge to cheer on his teammates because he’s never been seen it with his own eyes. After spending time with Prince, he even sacrifices having the fastest time in order to encourage Prince to move forward and not give up.
For Prince, we saw the physical and mental metamorphosis that changed him from being someone dragged into running to being someone that truly decided to make a conscious effort to get better. He took his running time from 29 minutes to 16 minutes which was probably in a span of a month if not a few weeks.
Kakeru had changed from someone that was solely focused on being the fastest runner and looking ahead to someone that really learned to care about his teammates and learned to look back and give a helping hand to those who need it.
Episode 10 was truly a great turning point for both Prince and Kakeru in their relationship with one another, their relationship with the team and their relationship with running. They’ve come so far and it’s only halfway through the season. I can’t wait to see what happens to these two and the rest of their teammates as they make it towards the Ekiden.
What are your guys’ thoughts on Prince and Kakeru? Thoughts about Run with the Wind in general?
Let me know in the comments below!
Also, don’t forget to read Mel’s post about Kirishima from Boku no Hero Academia found here.
And don’t forget to check out Karandi’s post over at her blog also found here.
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