…we all fall down.
— Apparently, Haiji knows a lot about Kakeru. We’ll find out later that he even knows about the guy’s troubled past and why he quit his high school track team. That’s a little creepy, isn’t it?
— During a meeting with all of the guys, Kakeru points out that you need to qualify for the marathon. You can’t just sign up. Since they’ll have plenty of competition, there’s a very good chance they won’t even qualify despite their best efforts. I want to say that he makes perfect sense, because he does… from his perspective within the narrative. But we all know how these stories work: make the odds seem impossible only for our heroes to triumph in the end anyways. It’s enough to leave me jaded.
— Haiji counters, “Dreams do come true if you try.” He then begins to list all the reasons why this ragtag team of amateurs is totally going to succeed. After all, he hand-picked this team. As their leader, he should know their strengths and weaknesses. But it goes beyond that. Let’s say they do try and still fail. What then? Will Haiji then take responsibility for getting their hopes up? How will he take responsibility?
— On that note, I almost want to see a sports anime where the team actually fails — where it’s about the journey and not the destination. Could Run with the Wind be that show? Probably not, but boy, I would love to see something different for once!
— This is amusing.
— Kakeru is the least receptive to Haiji’s assurances. In fact, he straight up announces that he won’t run with the rest of the guys. I really, really want to take him seriously. I really do! But we already know he’s going to run with them, so it almost feels like he’s just playing hard to get. I know he’s not! I know this! From his perspective, he’s confident that he won’t let himself get roped into joining the team. But from my perspective, it’s inevitable. Resistance is futile. You will run… and you will like it.
— Plus, if Kakeru was really serious, he would find some other place to live as soon as he can. I guess I can’t blame him. A nice, home-cooked meal is hard to pass up, especially if you’re a poor college student.
— Do they all sit in the same room for dinner? Feels almost claustrophobic. I’d be afraid of elbowing people accidentally.
— The other guys are in the same boat: they don’t want to run either, but they’re just not as upfront about their distaste as Kakeru. But as soon as Haiji leaves the room, they start voicing their objections.
— It sounds like Haiji’s been trying to bribe them with food.
— I’m just surprised these guys aren’t more pissed off. Some college students have a lot of free time. Some. The rest are busy as hell. Between studying for exams, attending labs, and working at your part-time job, who has time to train for a marathon? Who has time to train for a marathon just because one guy wants it? This is super selfish of Haiji, and he’ll need one hell of a sob story to avoid looking like a villain. At the moment, he’s pretty much an ogre to the rest of the guys.
— Afterwards, Kakeru learns that the twins are only keeping up with soccer in order to meet cute girls. This seems to annoy him.
— Meanwhile, Haiji starts playing dirty. Well, is it dirty? I mean, I guess that’s technically following the rules, but the guy wouldn’t be in this position if he wasn’t tricked in the first place. I think this is somewhat dirty.
— Haiji proceeds to haunt each and every single one of his housemates. This is straight up divide-and-conquer tactics. They’re all separated at the moment, so he gets to prey on them one-by-one. Job seeker wants his resume to stand out? Well, participating in a marathon definitely shows you’ve got some serious dedication.
— I’m terrible with names, so Kakeru and Haiji are the only ones I know for now.
— Oooh, flashback time. Apparently, Kakeru currently insists on being lone wolf because he had a bad experience with team sports back in high school. Eh, like I said, it’s just a matter of time. In the end, they will all be charmed by Haiji. Almost makes the guy seem dangerous.
— Musa is another unfortunate casualty.
— The twins also end up giving in (and punished) just because they were convinced that running would score them attention from cute girls.
— Near sundown, we see Kakeru sitting in a park with a duffel bag. Maybe he actually intends to move out, but with more than six minutes left in the episode, I expect to see him change his mind real soon.
— Kakeru bumps into the other guys, so they drag him to a public bathhouse. I could never see myself going to one. Getting naked around strangers? Nope, not gonna happen.
— I dunno about all twins, but these twins sure seem a little crazy.
— Haiji eventually arrives, and he makes it sound like the landlord’s bath was sabotaged on purpose. He then proceeds to challenge Kakeru to a contest: who can stay in the insufferably hot bath the longest? The loser has to do whatever winner wants.
— Why even accept the challenge, you ask? Because Haiji targeted Kakeru’s manhood, apparently. Haiji taunted Kakeru, suggesting that the latter is good at running away from his problems. So of course, Kakeru accepts the challenge, and I’m just shaking my head. Every single one of them got played like a fiddle.
— Then on the side, two other guys have their own little contest. It’s so silly. If you don’t want to run, then don’t run. But that’s not brotherhood, so people are accepting foolish challenges left and right.
— In the end, both Kakeru and Haiji pass out at the same time, so we have a stalemate for at least another week. When Kakeru wakes up, he hears all about how Haiji had been searching for so long to get ten guys together. So instead of running away, Kakeru now wants to try to make Haiji run away (i.e. give up on the marathon). What I don’t get is that Kakeru barely even knows this guy, so why does he care so much if Haiji taunts him? If Kakeru has justified reasons for avoiding team sports, then stand by them. Stand by your convinctions.
— Meanwhile, Haiji continues to scare the otaku by acting as though he’s going to help the kid start packing up all his manga. Harsh.
— Looks like we’ll finally meet the token girl in next week’s episode… unless it’s a trap.
— I still think this show is a little too lowkey for me to enjoy, but Tuesdays are typically terrible for anime. My only other option is Tokyo Ghoul:re, and well, that ain’t happening. That show isn’t even fun to tear apart.
Haiji just comes across as an asshole to me. At least Kakeru seems to actually enjoy running and just needs to get over his past trauma. That’s pretty standard. But everyone else is just straight-up getting blackmailed because they don’t want to get kicked out of their home. It annoys me because I sorta like the rest of the cast and it seems to be well-written, I just can’t get over the setup.
You’re right that these kind of stories always have to make the goal seem impossible. But usually we want to see the characters succeed in spite of the odds. In this show. I just feel bad for the nine others getting dragged into this. The fact that Haiji’s goal is so unrealistic only makes that worse.
Yeah, he’s the villain right now, but I expect the story to eventually try to tug at our heartstrings for the guy.