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How would you rate episode 9 of
Wind Breaker ?

Community score: 3.9


This episode was too much. I know, I know. I sound like a jackass saying that after gushing about the theatrical unreality that made last week’s episode one of the best. Let me try to explain.

A lot of it comes down to tone and how it does or doesn’t sync with the drama of this story. Last week, Sakura and Togame’s clash worked because it was ebullient. Even as fists flew and blood spattered across the floor, there was a sense of building a connection as the two learned more about the other and found common ground. It was heightened drama but still had a kernel of recognizable humanity. If you’ve spent enough time around high school sports, you’ve probably seen a couple of teenagers hopped up on testosterone get into a scuffle, only to come out the other end friendlier and with more respect for the other. What happened in the last episode was just a more dramatized version, and since the resolution was positive, it flowed in the same direction as the melodramatic framing. The gap between the dramatic stakes and the characters’ reactions worked to balance each other out in the long run.

Here, not so much. Choji’s wild beast fighting style is fun to watch but makes him purposefully less human or relatable. Combine that with the ultimately simple lesson he needs to learn – the real freedom was the joy he found with his friends that he sabotaged in his misguided tenure as leader – and you really need a subtler touch to make him feel believable. This episode does the opposite, with Choji screaming in agony and yanking out his hair over his internal conflict while digging through three or four different visual metaphors to extrapolate it all. It crosses the line from heightened emotion to just kind of silly the moment you remember that this whole thing is about some teenagers hanging out in matching jackets at the back of a burnt-out movie theater. I’m not asking for the show to be restrained or realistic, but a more somber expression of Choji’s emotional confusion would work a lot better. Instead, I stop feeling bad for the guy once he’s literally trying to chew out Umemiya’s throat.

The other big problem is that once Choji had his revelation courtesy of Umemiya’s headbutt, the episode grinds to a halt to reiterate everything concerning Choji and Togame. While they need to hash things out and reconnect, watching the pair laboriously re-cover every significant plot beat from the past three episodes is just a drag. To bring back the musical comparisons, there’s a reason Cats doesn’t follow up the final rendition of “Memory” with a lengthy scene of all the characters flatly reiterating Grizabella’s character beats for anyone in the audience who might not have been paying attention. Doing so would suck out all the energy of that show-stopping sequence, and it’s not necessary here because everything we needed to hear was said through those fights. We can already extrapolate how they’ll reconnect and damn near exactly what they’ll say to one another because what came before communicated it all in fewer words. This approach squanders so much of the momentum of the arc right at the conclusion and leaves you wishing the whole affair had been an episode or two shorter.

I still like some bits, even if the full package loses me. I enjoy that Umemiya never really takes this fight seriously, thoroughly un-threatened by Choji’s unhinged attacks and tanking hits to prove his point. It perfectly fits the larger-than-life aura of Bofurin’s leader, as does the non-confrontational way he ends the feud. He was never in this to take over Shishitoren or invade their turf but merely to turn around a rival who’d gone down a bad path and needed somebody to kick his butt back in the right direction. It’s simple, sweet, and well-served by not having Umemiya do too much compared to his opponent.

More than anything, I’m just glad to have this arc wrapped up. While there’s probably a reason it had to be this way, devoting so much of this season to a single feud where only two-and-a-half of the fights meant anything wasn’t a smart move. Now, we’re left with only a few episodes to (hopefully) explore the more unique and interesting aspect of Bofurin.


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Episode 9 – Wind Breaker