「ラン—ときに心がいっぱいです」 (Ran—Toki ni kokoro ga ippaidesu)
“Run—When the Mind is Full”
Strides in the right direction, even through a few stumbles.
Even though Prince of Stride Alternative is still mired by an overzealous pace, this week’s episode still managed to pack in a noteworthy amount of character development. The central character this time around is—unexpectedly—the zaniest member of our main cast, Kadowaki.
I really appreciated that the series actually spent some time fleshing out the comic relief (who I still find funny, especially this episode)—adding to him a level of depth that the show has neglected to apply to much anyone else besides Yagami. We got some greater insight into his worries with being the only non-runner on a team full of devoted, confident stride athletes. However, instead of wallowing in self-pity, Kadowaki approaches these insecurities head on and makes great effort to acquire competence with his stride game. It’s heavily implied that he made more effort than anyone else on the team to study the course the day before the race, and takes extra time to train himself in the tricky technical moves with Kohinata.
Though I wish the show spent a bit more of time showcasing the struggles of Kadowaki’s trainin and his unyielding conviction during, the development definitely pays off too. Despite the (wee bit) exaggerated dramatacism of the scene, I couldn’t help but get some mad chills when Kadowaki limped his way into the relation. The guy took a risk that seriously injured him, and he still found the willpower to complete the task. The fact that it was Kohinata—who is demonstrably closest with Kadowaki. Easily the most poignant scene in the show thus far. Just goes to show that these races would be all the more exciting and captivating if they were just a smidge more emotionally weighted. My only concern is that the episode’s concluding events might relegate one of our more fleshed out characters to the bench, meaning that a good amount of character growth was for naught. Here’s hoping he stays in the game though.
On the other end of things, while I commend the series’ attempt to develop the opposing Saitama High School, what resulted was a heavily rushed and cursory degree of character expansion. The writers tried to squeeze in a younger/older brother dynamic which despite being conflicted and tense, was ultimately one of hearty fraternal love, and it simply did not work. Absolutely miniscule amounts of time were spent fleshing this out—a brief mention before the race, to a sudden and jarring revelation before the race’s finish were literally it. I knew barely knew anything about the older brother, let alone the younger one.
Maybe if a flashback or two were provided, I would have deeper insight into their conflicted but ultimately loving bond. Instead, I was left confused and thrown off by an ending which felt emotionally contrived and unmerited. Again, if Prince of Stride Alternative just took its damn time I’m sure this character arc would have proved far more gratifying.
I did like, though, that the show briefly explained some more technical details of the various flips and tricks the sport involves. It’s likely to engage the viewer at least somewhat more in the Prince of Stride Alternative’s central activity.
Going forward, I’m excited for the arrival of Yagami’s older brother. Though little is known of him, his presence is continuously felt, for new characters continue to acknowledge Yagami as his older brother’s younger sibling. His arrival would certainly shake up Yagami’s newly founded confidence, and hopefully lead to a boatload of character development, as we finally get some finer details of Yagami’s past and the source of his insecurities.
Jus slo down tho, srsly bro.