Home Wind Breaker Just Made Its Case for Anime of the Season After Episode 8

Wind Breaker Just Made Its Case for Anime of the Season After Episode 8

Wind Breaker episode 8 aired on Thursday giving fans a rollercoaster of an experience. Even from the action-packed moments of Kaiju No. 8 to the gut-punching comedy of The Fable, Wind Breaker delivered a spectacle of directing brilliance with one of the best soundtracks in recent memory that made the series standout amongst all others this season in the best ways possible.

Episode 8 was not simply incredible from top to bottom — it proved that every anime fan needs to watch Wind Breaker at some point in their lives. Yes, the season hasn’t even finished and I’m already making that claim. I usually save the score for the end of my articles, but I’ll tell you right now that episode 8 of Wind Breaker is one of the easiest 10 out of 10s I’ve ever given. So let me explain why…

Everything About Togame vs Sakura

I’ve watched a lot of anime over the years, especially at the turn of this decade. And with many anime come many fights. So I’m ready to go as far as to say Wind Breaker just delivered some of the best hand-to-hand combat work since Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song did back in 2021.

But hand-to-hand fights in anime, at least the best ones, are so much more than just fist-flying and some stunning special effects. To this day, I still tell people that the best fight in anime I’ve ever watched was Kakashi vs. Obito in Naruto: Shippuden. Few words, exquisite sound design, soul-stealing soundtrack, flashbacks mixed with the present, the long script behind it, and the intensity of knowing that one wrong move means death for one of them. It was perfection in my eyes.

While the stakes for the fight between Sakura and Togame weren’t that extreme, episode 8 undoubtedly told a story in the best ways possible. The music in this episode composed by Ryo Takahashi, who also composed beautiful soundtracks for High Card and the movie Sing a Bit of Harmony, was one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard since Yuki Hayashi’s work on My Hero Academia. It did what a soundtrack is supposed to do — emphasize the emotion of the current scene and setting —and then some.

The impact a soundtrack can have in the right moments can either deter or uplift the source material by a thousand percent. When we take into account the emotion of Togame’s internal conflict and build that up to the excitement of both him and Sakura enjoying their fight, it speaks to what Umemiya told Sakura before the fight in the first place — the entire battle was a conversation.

A well-executed fight adaptation has the opportunity to strike the heart in ways the source material simply can’t with just words and/or still images. Breathing life into a fight when it comes to anime takes precise consideration of everything, including the script, which, yet again, was obviously flawless here. Togame’s story had me going from rolling my eyes at the beginning of last week’s episode to almost shedding a few tears at the end. It showcased that Wind Breaker is more than capable of writing a well-thought-out antagonist.

I originally wanted Togame to be a villain at heart in this part of the story. I thought Wind Breaker was missing a true antagonist and that Togame would be the one to fight Sakura and take him down a peg due to his superior demeanor and fighting ability — I was ecstatic at how wrong I was. Togame’s internal conflict is one of the best I’ve seen in recent memory. Was it on the level of Vash in Trigun Stampede? No. But in the allotted time we had with Togame, the writing was pretty damn good.

An anime’s ability like Wind Breaker‘s that makes me easily root against Togame at the beginning only for me to get choked up watching his story in the end is all thanks to some fine series composition. But who is surprised? The series has an industry veteran in Hiroshi Seko handling the script and series composition. For those unfamiliar, Seko has fulfilled the same role in big-name series such as Chainsaw Man, Vinland Saga, Attack on Titan, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, and many others. So of course Togame’s backstory was going to be adapted without fault.

Then when we get into the storyboard of it, I can’t help but give a round of applause. The rain coming and going during the fight mirrors not only Togame’s mood during his fight with Sakura but also the shifts in the episode entirely. The constant use of wide shots turned to close-ups, and similar shots between Togame and Sakura during their fight were especially noticeable. The storyboard from Tomohisa Taguchi, director of Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War, and episode direction from Shinichirou Ueda, who worked under Taguchi on Bleach, was, again, flawless.

It’s no surprise that the storyboard work during the fights in episode 8 looked great considering Taguchi also did the same for the opening of Wind Breaker, which also has its share of wonderful fight scenes. Despite the majority of the fight heavily focused on Togame, many shots painted Sakura in the right light, sometimes literally. But the use of scene transitions in this episode rivaled even that of the currently airing Sound! Euphonium Season 3, which uses this technique throughout its episodes brilliantly.

Just take a look at the image above. I think the visual storytelling in Wind Breaker episode 8 was genius. Lycoris Recoil managed to do something similar that really caught my attention just as this episode did. You can see a story just from the visuals alone and the symbolism that comes with it without any words being spoken.

Choji stands in the spotlight as if he’s a god while Togame lies defeated under the gang’s logo and everything that leads up to that moment. It was an emotional journey that managed to take this random side character in Togame and make him actually matter to the story and, more importantly, the lessons Umemiya wanted Sakura to learn. In the end, the two were similar in some ways but different in others. And, for example, I loved how that was also shown with the similar poses the two took during the fight when they started getting serious (see below).

Episode 8 Made Wind Breaker a Series Candidate

Of course, saying the series is a front-runner for the Anime of the Season award strictly because of a single episode is ludicrous. Some need to understand that Wind Breaker has been great from the jump. It hasn’t hit a single valley yet. Wind Breaker is one giant, consistent uphill climb with each episode being better than the last.

The series was already invited to the dinner table four episodes ago for Anime of the Season conversations, but now it’s turning out to be a major player for the top seasonal award because of episode 8. When an episode this good isn’t even the climax of the season, there are only more prime events to take place after and that’s what we’re getting with Umemiya versus Choji to end this one-on-one tournament. The two heads of both gangs are ready to clash to end this once and for all with high stakes attached to it.

And, again again, the production made the start of the fight everything we hoped it would be. Choji kicking Togame out of nowhere was a scary twist. Umemiya having some sort of “dark side” that even flustered Choji was a surprise. And also Choji’s fluid and bizarre movements to start the fight even surprised Suo, so much so that he describes him as a monster. Instead of leaving off the episode with just the two getting ready to fight, it left off when it was just about to get serious.

The dialogue is anything but corny and I thought it personally showcased each of the characters in this episode, especially Umemiya and Choji at the end, just who they truly are deep down, even on an ideological level. Choji is a psychotic monster with twisted views on his own life while Umemiya is rather the opposite…for now. Yes, we got a glimpse of who Umemiya possibly is, but stepping in after Choji kicked Togame the way he did shows that Umemiya is all about protecting while Choji is all about conquering.

Even their fighting styles show this, which was beautifully animated. Notice how Umemiya was constantly blocking and reading Choji’s moves while Choji was swarming around like a slippery bug constantly wanting to pummel Umemiya. The details in Wind Breaker episode 8 almost felt infinite. I couldn’t help but go back and re-watch it to catch things I missed the first time around on top of enjoying the ever-living hell out of each moment.

Wind Breaker Episode 8 Wrap-Up

Wind Breaker is crushing every angle of its adaptation so far. As someone who wasn’t even set on watching it to start the season, I’m blown away by the staff, voice cast, and everyone else putting this series together. After watching episode 8, I no longer have to question whether the quality will be maintained because it’s obvious that the production in Wind Breaker will continue to be top-tier on many levels. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

If you enjoyed Wind Breaker episode 8 then be sure to vote for it in our weekly poll! Episode 9 will air on Thursday, May 30. Crunchyroll is currently streaming the anime with English subtitles.

Screenshots via Crunchyroll
© Satoru Nii, Kodansha / WIND BREAKER Project

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