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Characters / Run With The Wind

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Characters from Run With The Wind. Beware of unmarked spoilers.

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Kansei University Track and Field dorm

     General tropes 
The main protagonists of the story. A group of various young men who end up joining the track and field team due to Haiji's methods.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Downplayed. Some of the episodes focus more on one or two specific characters, but rarely leave out the other guys. From Episodes 19 onwards, each member gets a part of the episode dedicated to themselves while they run their section at Hakone.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Their training routines are usually exhausting enough to leave them sweating and panting, while their facial expressions are notably much more serious and courageous, symbolizing their dedication, growth and increased confidence.
  • Backstory: Majority of the team have their origins explored throughout the series, especially during Hakone Ekiden. In particular, there's a lot of emphasis on the story behind Kakeru's high school track team (and why he's very cynical in his debut) which is revealed early on in the novel (and later in the anime during Episode 13).
  • Ensemble Cast: While Kakeru and Haiji are the main two characters (which one is the deuteragonist and protagonist depends on the version), the other members on the team have the same amount of focus and plot relevance.
  • First-Name Basis: Everyone refers to one another by their first names or preferred nicknames (with the appropriate -san honorific for members older than themselves), demonstrating their good relationships. This includes Kakeru—as the newest member he's initially called by his surname in the anime, but this gets dropped in favour of his first name once the others warm up to him.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite many of the members having their own eccentricities that act as their defining traits, everyone on the Kansei team is revealed to be harbouring more depth than they let on.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A major hurdle they need to overcome is the vast differences in personalities and athletic experience. Only two of them are experienced runners (one of them is still recovering from an injury and the other is socially awkward), the twins and the transfer student are reasonably fit but lack in finesse, the oldest member of the team isn't much of a long distance runner, while the rest are anything but athletic. And then there's the otaku Prince.
  • Senpai Kouhai: The age range of the Kansei varies from first year to fourth year university level, so there's various upperclassmen and underclassmen in the group. In particular are those studying the same degree, for example both Nico-chan and Musa study Engineering (and there's a brief scene of the former teasing the latter and scolding him to listen to his department's seniors). The younger members will talk to the older members more politely, and Nico-chan is the only member that is referred to by the senpai honorific since he's the oldest. It's also occasionally discussed that the team will have to scout for more track members if they decide to try run at Hakone next year, since a couple of the current members are in their final year and they'll be short on members.
  • So Proud of You: Everyone is prone to showing great support whenever someone makes big improvement and achieves a good result, such as an official record. This especially applies to the non-athletic Prince's achievements at the track meets and when he completes his section of Hakone.
  • You Don't Look Like You: The character designs in the manga adaptation (done by Unno Sorata) and anime adaptation (done by Takahiro Chiba) are drastically different, since the anime is a completely separate work from the manga. The different art styles alone make the characters in the two mediums almost unrecognisable, with the manga style making everyone look a bit sharper overall (Kakeru for example looks more hot-blooded in the manga than his reserved self in the anime). Additionally, at least half of the main cast have different hair styles or colours and other different features.
    • The twins have spiky red hair and freckles in the manga, but shorter blonde hair and lacking the freckles in the anime.
    • Yuki wears his hair slightly long in the manga, whereas in the anime he has the sides shaved for a cooler hairstyle.
    • Nico-chan has a slight Perma-Stubble in the manga and short hair, whereas in the anime the Perma-Stubble is more obvious and he wears his hair long and in a ponytail.
    • King is perhaps the most changed character of the bunch. In the manga he has Hot Blooded Sideburns, a goatee and slightly wavy brown hair; in the anime he's shaven and simply sports short black hair, and he also has a more prominent jaw and larger nose.
    • Hanako has long dark hair in the manga, whereas she has short light brown hair in the anime.

     Kakeru Kurahara
Voiced by: Takeo Ōtsuka
Room number: 103

The protagonist of the anime and deuteragonist of the novel. A first year Sociology student and the final recruit to the team. He's a talented runner but is less than keen with everyone's goal to go to Hakone Ekiden thanks to a troubling past with his high school track team.

  • Adorkable: Kakeru has some endearing moments, most often caused by his lackluster social skills.
    • In Episode 1 he is comically flabbergasted by the noise caused by the other dorm members.
    • In Episode 6, when he sees that he is the only one not donning his Fun T-Shirt made to promote the team yet (aside of King who barely arrived at the time and initially didn't want to wear them in the first anyways), Kakeru awkwardly rushes to put on his as quickly as possible.
    • In Episode 10, when he attempts to make peace with Prince after trying to kick the latter out of the team, Kakeru uncouthly tries to ask him to lend him some manga.
  • Alliterative Name: Kakeru Kurahara.
  • Bad Ass Boast: In Episode 21, Fujioka tells Kakeru he intends to break the record for their section of Hakone. With absolute confidence, Kakeru replies, "Then I'll break your record. You'll probably only be the record-holder for about ten minutes." And he succeeds by a second.
  • Broken Ace: His backstory. Due to his remarkable running speed and his high school track team coach treating him as the Teacher's Pet as a result, he was left loathed by his peers. After losing his temper and punching the coach, this resulted in the team being banned from competitions for a year to cover up the incident, which made his teammates loathe him even more.
  • Character Development: Realizing the flaws in his views and seeing Haiji collapse from overwork causes him to become much more open and understanding towards his team's shortcoming, as well as willing to put effort into helping them overcome said shortcomings. Lampshaded in Episode 11.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Played With. While he's no Casanova, Kakeru occasionally draws some attention from girls while running but isn't paying much attention to them. Haiji even uses him as an example to get the twins to be more motivated.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: While he is the best runner in the team (alongside Haiji), Kakeru is often half-mockingly called out for failing to show such productivity in other fields.
  • Defrosting Ice King: From Episode 10 onward, he starts properly socializing with the rest of the team and is generally a lot nicer then before.
  • Fatal Flaw: He cannot keep his emotions under check. This is the real reason why he ended up on sour terms with Sakaki.
  • Forgot I Couldn't Swim: Kakeru lost his money the day he arrived in Tokyo because he tried to earn more by gambling with it in a game of mahjong... and he and his opponents only realized he didn't actually know how to play it mid-game.
  • Icy Gray Eyes: Has grey eyes in the anime, which suits his reserved and troubled demeanour.
  • The Lancer: Kakeru is the second most prominent figure of the Kansei team after Haiji, being the best runner and eventually lending a hand as the unofficial co-leader. He has a very different personality to Haiji who is warmer and more optimistic, but after a rough start the two become close and come to rely on one another.
  • Lonely at the Top: Kakeru being a prodigy runner in high school made it difficult for him to be friendly with his team since the coach always singled him out and punished the others for not being on his level. In the present, he initially finds it difficult to sympathise with the other Kansei members because, as Haiji puts it, he's always running far ahead which leaves him unable to look at the members behind him. Watching his team members compete from the audience's point of view for the first time and training Prince helps improve his outlook and dissolve this trope.
  • Meaningful Name: The kanji used for Kakeru (走) means to run, fitting his natural talent for running. Haiji lampshades this in both the novel and anime on the train, and it's revealed it was chosen by Kakeru's father who's a former runner.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: His loss to Fujioka in his first official track meet is what briefly strives Kakeru to do better. This hinders his progress and mindset as a result, however. Haiji notices and forbids him from entering the team's next track meet so he can watch everyone run and re-evaluate what it truly means for him to run.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Him beating up the detestable Sendai Josei High School coach leads to the school withdrawing the team from any further competitions for a year, effectively rendering the efforts of everyone else in the team for naught.
  • No Social Skills: Begins rather awkward and antisocial, especially in the anime (where unlike the novel it's never made clear that he's made any friends outside the team). After some self-reflection, Kakeru becomes a much more pleasant person and starts interacting with the other guys in the dorm.
  • Only Sane Man: The least eccentric member of the team and tries to avoid getting involved in members' occasional over-enthusiasm.
  • Perpetual Frowner: In contrast to Haiji's Perpetual Smiler, he usually frowns or looks uncomfortable in some way at the start. He starts to smile and relax more as he changes resolve.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Ace runner and main character Kakeru is socially awkward, cynical and more reserved, making him the Blue Oni. In contrast, the leader and other main character Haiji is the warm, optimistic and enthusiastic leader of the team, making him the Red Oni.
  • Teacher's Pet: Deconstructed. Kakeru easily outmatched everyone else in his former high school track team, much to the delight of the coach. Much to the dismay of everyone else in the team, he gave Kakeru special treatment (which he didn't even want). All of this resulted in Kakeru being isolated and loathed by his peers.
  • Team Dad: While the idea was initially was presented to him by Kazuma, Kakeru briefly settles to take over some of Haiji's roles in training the team while Haiji's collapsed from overwork. He proves to be surprisingly efficient.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Kakeru is a fairly attractive guy as noted in-series, but he's also going through a hard time when the story begins thanks to his high school track team days turning him cynical.
  • When He Smiles: Initially, any nearby team members are surprised whenever he genuinely smiles and tease him when he's in denial about it since he's still a Perpetual Frowner at this point.
  • Worthy Opponent: Some opponents come to respectfully acknowledge his talent and become keen to compete against him, such as Fujioka and Iwanki.

     Haiji Kiyose
Room number: 101

The protagonist of the novel and deuteragonist of the anime. A fourth year Literature student and leader of the team. Willing to use almost any means necessary, Haiji successfully assembles the track team, thus kick-starting the plot. A talented runner in the past who's still recovering from an incident that left a scar on his leg and hindered his running for a while.

  • Accidental Pervert: In the novel and manga adaptation, Haiji is concerned when Kakeru trips during their first meeting and grabs his leg, checking if it's alright. Kakeru freaks out and backs away, wondering if he's a pervert.
  • Almighty Janitor: He is well-versed in all aspects of the track team and on good terms with one of the most famous runners of his generation, and is revealed to have been good enough to be offered a place at Rikudo University while he was in high school. However, he belongs to a completely new and inexperienced track team in the present and is virtually unknown to the younger competitors. Justified, as the leg injury he suffered years prior to the start of the series kept him from competing in the recent races, leaving the more junior competition unaware of Haiji's existence.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": When the team has no choice but to use the public bathhouse while their dorm bath is out of commission, Haiji enters the baths and feigns very Large Ham surprise at the boiler being somehow broken. It doesn't take much for the members to figure out who's really responsible for the boiler.
  • Career-Ending Injury: He injured his knee during high school (implied to be due to the intense track training) which still affects his ability to run in the present. The physical strains on his leg from running his section of Hakone Ekiden officially ends his days as a competitive runner, and in the Distant Finale he can be seen slightly limping.
  • Country Mouse: From the countryside in Shimane, and the food he makes really shows.
  • The Determinator: He wouldn't ever give up on assembling the track team ever since his first year, no matter the means. He's also been very committed to rehabilitating and going back to his running ways ever since injuring his knee. During his leg of Hakone Ekiden, despite being on painkillers, he's still in a lot of pain but he bares with it and makes it to the finish line just as his leg completely fails him.
  • The Dreaded: Parodied. After having a taste of Haiji's obsession with gathering the track team members, the rest of the team are terrified whenever he's on their tracks. There is even a brief visual metaphor of him as an Oni.
  • Drives Like Crazy: His driving tends to get out of control, and he has a habit of not keeping his eyes on the road. It's to the point that when Shindo and Musa go missing at the summer training camp and Haiji proposes that they split into two groups, everyone volunteers to go on foot since none of them want to get in the van with him. He eventually fixes his poor driving habits, which does not go unnoticed by the team when he drives them around the Hakone course.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: This appeared to the case of Haiji's father, who was his high school track team coach. The pressures his father put on him is said to have broken him mentally (and implied to be the indirect cause for his knee breaking down from training), and he only came to appreciate running after the injury.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Haiji, aka one of the two main characters and also one of the good guys (his scheming aside), got his leg injured during high school. A big scar remains—it isn't pretty to look at but isn't a complete distraction from his standard bishounen looks, either. Haiji is not fully recovered yet and apparently shouldn't be running, but he still insists on training and competing at Hakone Ekiden.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: In the beginning of the novel and manga adaptation, Haiji takes the older man's bike at the baths on a whim so he can chase after Kakeru.
  • Hot-Blooded: While an usually calm fellow, during the races he's not competing in he's overly pumped and garishly cheers for his teammates.
  • Iconic Outfit: Commonly seen in his green hanten coat at the dorm or walking to and from the bathhouse.
  • Ill Boy: Though mostly fit, it becomes evident his lingering knee injury (which he's had since high school) still bothers him and affects his running. A minor focus in the series is his constant efforts to rehabilitate and keep his leg in check so he can still run at Hakone, and his health is a frequent concern for the team. After Hakone Ekiden his leg appears to be permanently damaged, if his limping in the epilogue is anything to go by.
  • The Leader: He takes on the role as the leader once the Kansei Track Team is established. He handles not only their training sessions but also their track meet registration, cooking and schedules. Although everyone is initially reluctant due to his slightly manipulative ways, they all come to trust him and look up to him.
  • Perpetual Smiler: He usually has a cheerful, optimistic smile on his face.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Haiji is the warm, optimistic and enthusiastic leader of the team, making him the Red Oni. In contrast, The Ace runner and other main character Kakeru is socially awkward, cynical and more reserved, making him the Blue Oni.
  • Supreme Chef: An outstanding cook, as his fellow dorm residents can attest. Being a Country Mouse, most of it consists of traditional style cuisine.
  • Team Dad: Sure, he is very pushy when it comes to the recruitment itself. Once the practice starts, however, he proves himself to be surprisingly benevolent in regards to the recruits' shortcomings.
  • Team Mom: Aside for encouraging and mediating between the team members, he also does most of the chores around the dorm too, including cooking. Filling both inevitably leads him to getting overworked and exhausting himself to the point of fainting.

     Takashi "Shindo" Sugiyama
Voiced by: Kouki Uchiyama
Room number: 205

A polite third year business school student. Later on he creates a fan website to gain more support for the team.

  • Beauty Mark: Has a mole next to his right eye, and he's one of the more attractive members of the team.
  • Bishōnen: Despite of already being a third year, he is noticeably less rugged than some of the other guys in the dorm.
  • Brainy Brunette: Shindo has brown hair in the anime and is noted to be a smart honour student, which Yuki constantly grumbles about.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Downplayed as there's no real indication of how much or little he actually drinks. However, whenever the (legal) members drink at the dorm, Shindo is the only one that completely loses it. While drunk he's a bit louder than usual and speaks with less hesitation, and in the Christmas montage there's a brief scene of him being a rowdy drunk and having to be dragged away by Musa.
  • Career Versus Man: In Episode 11, his girlfriend settles to break up with him, given that Shindo obviously has a hard time juggling his numerous assignments and duties, on top of actually finding the time to be with her.
  • Country Mouse: His family runs a farm and their home is in the mountain area (Akita in the movie, Yamagata in the anime), so he would have to climb the valley just go to school. This fitness is what convinces Haiji that Shindo is suitable for the track team. He particularly appears to be good at running in steep areas thanks to this, as seen when he runs uphill with more enthusiasm than the others during their summer training.
  • The Determinator: Shindo's determined attitude is commented on, even if he doesn't believe it himself. The greatest example of this is in Episode 20 where he's very sick and struggling to move let alone run, yet refuses to withdraw from the race and successfully completes his Hakone section (which is uphill, making it the most difficult section). Even though Kansei drops to 20th place on Day 1 as a result, everyone acknowledges that he, in the commentator's words, "[demonstrated] he has the strongest will in the country".
  • The Heart: One of the most caring and determined members of the team, not to mention very proactive. It's only after his (drunken) speech about running at Hakone that the others truly start to reconsider their stance on running, and his insistence on running another lap during training post-breakup motivates the rest of the team to do the same. Kakeru notes that the team would be unable to form nor keep going without him.
  • Honor Before Reason: In Episode 20, Shindo is so ill during Hakone that the coach urges him to drop out before his condition gets worse, and even gets out of the car to persuade him in person. Despite that, Shindo insists on completing his section for the sake of everyone on the team.
  • In-Series Nickname: Is called Shindo (which appropriately means "prodigy") by the group.
  • In Vino Veritas: He's usually calm and polite, but when he's drunk he becomes louder and more rowdy.
  • Meaningful Name: His nickname Shindo means "prodigy", and he's an intelligent business student.
  • Nice Guy: The most warm-hearted member of the team, and his default look is his kind smile.
  • The Smart Guy: Though not the brains of the team when it comes to running (that naturally falls with Haiji), Shindo's still helpful in this regard and handles all the administration work, including their website and negotiating with the small businesses supporting them. His intellect is what got him the nickname Shindo ("prodigy"). Unfortunately the gradual build-up of the work takes a toll on him and he falls ill just as Hakone begins.
  • Stepford Smiler: Downplayed, as he's a naturally optimistic and happy guy. However, his smiles often cover up how much he truly struggles juggling everything together.

     Akane "Prince" Kashiwazaki
Voiced by: Miyu Irino
Room number: 204

A second year Literature student nicknamed "Prince". Usually immersed in manga, he has a huge stash of volumes in his apartment.

  • Adorkable: His personalty and meekness regularly results in hilariously endearing and awkward moments.
  • Bishōnen: Has the most effeminate appearance of all the boys in the team.
  • Butt-Monkey: Even more so than the twins. He gets hit the hardest by the training due to his lack of sports experience and struggles to finish the course without fainting or collapsing spectacularly on the ground.
  • The Determinator: While he lacks physical prowess, he makes up for with pure determination.
  • Fun T-Shirt: Usually wears a plain white shirt that has some (hilariously) appropriate comment for the given occasion.
  • Geek Physiques: A huge fan of manga... and has the scrawniest build of all the guys in the team.
  • In-Series Nickname: Is called 'Prince' by everyone in the team.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: While not outright girly, but he is the most feminine character of the cast, lacking athleticism and preferring to only read manga in his free time, including romance manga. He also looks quite feminine with his rose-colored hair and slender physique.
  • Meaningful Name: His nickname Prince is appropriate for his slim pretty boy looks.
  • No Respect Guy: Parodied. At one point he openly wonders if Nira has a higher status than him.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Prince is calm and usually only shows over-the-top emotion when manga is involved. He doesn't even properly join in the team's boisterous celebrations, preferring to sit back and quietly watch them. In Episode 23, he's ecstatic when Kakeru finishes his leg of Hakone, shouting at him and jumping up and down, showing that yes Kakeru breaking the record section (and a mere 10 minutes after Fujioka did it) is that damn impressive. He's also never shown crying until the end where he cries with his team when Kansei finishes Hakone and earns a seeded position.
  • Otaku: Specifically for manga; he has an absolutely enormous collection of manga volumes, to the point that it takes up most of the space in his room. Since he's a literature student, he also counts as something of a Bookworm.
  • Rose-Haired Sweetie: Has pinkish hair and is dragged in so many inconvenient situations that some viewers cannot help but want to hug him and protect him.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Prince is the sensitive man to all nine other members of the team, being more fragile mentally and makes it clear he hates trash-talking.
  • Serious Business: If anyone makes even the slightest reference to some manga, Prince will be the one to point it out, no matter how inadvertent the said reference is.
  • The Stoic: Most of the time, Prince's facial expression is calm and/or indifferent. When cheering for his teammates, he is comically reticent compared to Kakeru and especially Haiji. The sole exceptions are 1) when he's racing and struggling in some way, and 2) when he gets passionate about his manga.
  • Took a Level in Badass: While the other non-athletic members initially have at least some average running form, Prince is completely hopeless at the start of the series and can barely run properly without collapsing, making him the last guy you'd want to recruit. Thanks to some encouragement from other members and sheer willpower, he slowly yet surely manages to improve his running speed and becomes more invested in his training. Finally finishing one of the track meets within 30 minutes (in contrast to the initial 45 minutes) is made a big deal by the team, despite everyone else's confusion. To everyone's joy, he finally gets an official record on his very last attempt, enabling the team to participate in the qualifier.
  • Youthful Freckles: Although not the youngest, his freckles further emphasize how newbish he is to running compared to the other members. More-or-less the standard red-hair version.

    Tarō "Jōta" Jō
Voiced by: Jun'ya Enoki
Room number: 201
A first year Economy student and the older twin brother.
  • Always Identical Twins: He and his younger twin Joji have few differing features at a glance. During Jota's A Day in the Limelight moment in the Hakone race, he explains that the two are more different than people realize but they enjoy messing with others by confusing them. One notable difference he remarks on is that Joji has a more natural talent for long-distant running, and Jota is interested in seeing him going on a different path from himself so that he may one day challenge Kakeru.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Jota's protective side and affection for his younger brother, whom he declares is a part of his soul, is made more apparent in his inner monologue later in the series. He fondly reminisces over Joji's growth as a runner that's come to see Kakeru as his rival, and Jota acknowledges he's now prepared to let him go so he can pursue his own path.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sometimes on the short end of the stick in wacky situations along with his brother, like getting accidentally puked on by Prince.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Jota isn't the best secret keeper one could ask for. One stellar example is him informing the team about an argument between the Prince and Kakeru and mentioning that Haiji told him to not tell anyone... Cue the Oh, Crap! right afterward.
  • Casanova Wannabe: He and Joji remain on the track team in hopes of picking up girls.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: His Casanova Wannabe tendencies aside, he is a fairly decent guy. He also happens to have the brightest hair among his teammates in the anime.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: His track suit is blue.
  • In-Series Nickname: Called Jota by everyone on the team, combining his surname and first name in Japanese order.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Subverted; at first glance he and Joji seem like one character in two bodies, as they look and often act very similar. However, there are some subtle differences in their clothing choices (like how their track suits are different colors) and a look into their inner thoughts shows that their personalities are more different than most people think. Jota in particular has a Big Brother Instinct for Joji and wants to see him grow beyond the relationship they have with each other.
  • Theme Twin Naming: The Jo twins are named Taro and Jiro, with Taro's name meaning "first son" since he's the older of the two. Equally applies to their nicknames, which combines their names with their surname to get Jota and Joji.
  • Youthful Freckles: In the manga adaptation, he has freckles and is one of the youngest members alongside his brother and Kakeru.
  • Will They or Won't They?: He and his brother both like Hana, who returns feelings to one of them according to Musa. Hana later confirms she does like one, but also strongly implies she likes both of them. In the Distant Finale, the twins have made a pact to not pursue her until after they graduate.

    Jirō "Jōji" Jō
Voiced by: Yuuto Uemura
Room number: 201

A first year Economy student and the younger twin brother.

  • Always Identical Twins: There are very few differences between himself and his older twin Jota at a glance. As Jota explains later on, they aren't as identical as they let on, for example having different tastes and interests. Joji is surprised when he finds out Hanako's never had trouble differentiating the two.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sometimes on the short end of the stick in wacky situations along with his brother, like getting accidentally puked on by Prince.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: As unreliable in the secret keeping department as his brother. He only remembers that he promised Haiji to keep Prince and Kakeru's argument a secret after he told the team.
  • Casanova Wannabe: He and Jota remain on the track team in hopes of picking up girls.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: In Episode 20, Joji realizes he likes Hanako after Jota's claim that she likes the older brother sparks some jealousy and confusion in him.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Just like his brother, he has blonde hair in the anime and is a very friendly guy.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: His track suit is red, and he wears a necklace at official track meets.
  • In-Series Nickname: Called Joji by everyone on the team, combining his surname and first name in Japanese order.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: This is Joji's reaction to passing his Hakone sash to an ill Shindo in Episode 20. He notices how warm Shindo feels, and he berates himself for not running his section faster and taking the burden off of him.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Subverted; at first glance he and Jota seem like one character in two bodies, as they look and often act very similar. However, there are some subtle differences in their clothing choices (like how their track suits are different colors) and a look into their inner thoughts shows that their personalities are more different than most people think.
  • Theme Twin Naming: The Jo twins are named Taro and Jiro, with Jiro's name meaning "second son" since he's the younger of the two. Equally applies to their nicknames, which combines their names with their surname to get Jota and Joji.
  • Youthful Freckles: In the manga adaptation, he has freckles and is one of the youngest members alongside his brother and Kakeru.
  • Will They or Won't They?: He and his brother both like Hana, who returns feelings to one of them according to Musa. Hana later confirms she does like one, but also strongly implies she likes both of them. In the Distant Finale, the twins have made a pact to not pursue her until after they graduate.

     Yukihiko "Yuki" Iwakura
Voiced by: Kazuyuki Okitsu
Room number: 102

A fourth year law student who passed the bar test on his first try.

  • Academic Athlete: A smart guy who passed the bar test in one try, and in addition to running with the track team he also used to do kendo in the past (which is what convinced Haiji he's suited for running).
  • Adjusting Your Glasses: Sometimes seen adjusting his glasses by the bridge, establishing his status as the cool guy of the group. He'll do this during various kinds of moments, including annoyance and smugness.
  • Agony of the Feet: At the end of his Hakone race, blood can be seen seeping its way through his shoes which indicates just how much he pushed himself while he was running his downhill section at a super speed.
  • Berserk Button: Nico-chan's smoking absolutely infuriates him. He doesn't have much patience for loud noises either.
  • Brutal Honesty: Especially in the novel. He prefers reason and truth, even if it means being cynical or hurtful when stating his opinions.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Frequently snarks in response to any Berserk Button of his getting pressed.
  • Disappeared Dad: The novel explains that his father died in an accident when Yuki was young, so he grew up with just his mother. He became attached and protective of her as a result. His negative reaction to his mother remarrying wasn't so much aimed at his stepfather than it was at himself for no longer being the one to take care of her.
  • Irony: His teammates don't miss out on the opportunity to lampshade how much he got interested in running despite of initially being strongly defiant to the idea.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Shares this dynamic with Nico-chan. They're prone to snarking at one another and petty squabbles, but they frequently stick to one another and consider each other good friends.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In Episode 21, he sees his mother alongside his stepfather and half-sister wholeheartedly cheering for him while he runs at Hakone, and he feels incredibly guilty as he realizes it was wrong of him to resent her and estrange himself from her.
  • Only Sane Man: The most normal person on the team other than Kakeru. He'll get annoyed if everyone is being irrational in some way, like when he finds everyone (sans Haiji, Kakeru and Prince) acting a lot more enthusiastic than usual in Hanako's presence.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Wears glasses, and his academic track record is pretty stellar. He also has a scientific approach towards their training, impressing even Kakeru.
  • Spanner in the Works: A strangely neutral example. Annoyed by the ruckus caused by the twins, he interrupts Prince's attempt to buy a treadmill online. Shortly after, it turns out that there is an unused treadmill back at Shindo's house, which ends up saving Prince a sizeable amount of money.
  • Stoic Spectacles: The only one in the whole team to wear glasses, and he at least tries to be the most level-headed of the group. This applies more in the novel where he's not as emotional as his anime counterpart.

     Musa Kamara
Voiced by: Hideaki Kabumoto
Room number: 203

A Tanzanian transfer student in his second year, and studies Engineering.

  • Academic Athlete: A science student that becomes a part of the track team, so he's both studious and well-built. His muscles is what convinced Haiji that he's suitable for running.
  • Angry Black Man: Averted; Musa is Tanzanian but otherwise avoids any aggressive stereotypes black people are associated with. His soft personality, if anything, makes him the second least intimidating member of the team (only Prince surpasses him in this regard).
  • Black and Nerdy: Downplayed; Musa is from Africa and is legitimately academically gifted (he studies Engineering and speaks Japanese well), yet lacks any stereotypical nerdy mannerism and comes off more of a dorky Academic Athlete.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: He's a government-sponsored international student from Tanzania who came to study in Japan. However, he mostly avoids any typical Funny Foreigner traits and he's very fluent in Japanese. One of the on-site reporters and cameramen take particular interest him while he and Kakeru are waiting at their base during Hakone and remark how unique his situation is (as unlike the other exchange students Musa's had no prior running experience).
  • Naked First Impression: He's just had a bath and greets Kakeru without bothering to put on clothes first when they're introduced to each other.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Is a reasonably athletic guy, but is also frequently seen wearing pink clothes and is very gentle compared to everyone else. He's also quite interested in any potential romance brewing.
  • The Reliable One: In terms of running. While he's a midtier level runner amongst the team, Haiji describes him to be brave, calm and "without fail", which is why he chooses him to run the second section (aka the "secion of aces") of Hakone. The others agree with this sentiment, with Jota and Kakeru specifically calling him the ace of the team.
  • Secret Keeper: Nagged by the team, during Hakone Ekiden he asks Hanako in private which of the Jo twins she likes. She tells him but makes him promise to not tell anyone else. In the Distant Finale, he's still keeping the secret and refuses to tell the team, making it unknown to both them and the audience who her crush is.
  • Shipper on Deck: He's very interested in the close relationship between the twins and Hanako.
  • Tender Tears: Is prone to crying for various reasons due to his delicate nature, like being moved to tears after Shindo's (drunken) motivational speech.
  • Token Minority: Musa is a Tanzanian exchange student and the only non-Japanese member of the main cast. Downplayed as several other African exchange students are also present in the story as minor/background characters taking part in the races. Stereotypes are mostly avoided and he's well-liked by others, although he and Kakeru once overhear two guys' disgust over the team not being completely Japanese (and this exchange annoys Kakeru to no end).

     Yōhei "King" Sakaguchi
Voiced by: Riki Kitazawa
Room number: 205

A fourth year Sociology student. Obsessed with quizzes and trivia in general, to the point that he declared himself the 'king of trivia'.

  • Age-Appropriate Angst: One of the older members, and a big deal is made of his efforts to find a job. His worries about not finding employment is why he's initially reluctant to run with the others.
  • Be Yourself: One of King's concerns since starting university is having to put on an act that contradicts his true feelings, especially when socialising with others. Running with the team helps him to put aside his pride and accept his true self, no matter how vulnerable.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Played for Laughs when he feels like the others don't hold him in very high regard as a fellow member or upperclassman, like when the team skips him when asking around for a temporary substitute leader (and the others lampshade that him complaining about it makes it harder to respect him). He even gets put in the backseat of the van on their way to their summer base because he lost the better seat to Nira.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: The twins walk in on him changing in the opening, and he's seen wearing a quiz-themed pair of underwear. The same underwear is seen again when he's changing into the track pants in Episode 22 after completing his section of Hakone.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: One of King's anxieties is revealed to be fitting in with groups. He feels he hasn't been able to open up to anyone despite his efforts and at one point during his first year he worried fellow freshman Haiji didn't accept him nor truly thought of him as a friend. He's however too proud to acknowledge this, and admits he's tired of having to act differently from how he truly feels. He feels better when running—not only does he feel at ease and have a sense of belonging with the Kansei team, but he can also properly embrace his solitude when running alone and face who he truly is.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: In the manga adaption he is from Kansai and so speaks with the dialect.
  • In-Series Nickname: Called 'King' by everyone on the team.
  • Lonely at the Top: King alludes to this trope when making excuses for his solitude, saying that he's the king and therefore everyone should stay away from him and let him be by himself. The trope itself doesn't truly apply to him, as his supposed loneliness is due to his anxieties rather than his talents pushing people away.
  • Meaningful Name: His nickname King is a reference to his self-proclaimed "king of trivia" title.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In Episode 19 King mentions he hasn't been looking for jobs for a while, shocking Jota. This emphasises how seriously he's been taking running and preparing for Hakone, a stark contrast to the beginning of the series where he was declining to train because he would rather focuse on job-hunting.
  • Serious Business: He is very devoted to quizzes and is frequently seen watching them on television.
  • Tsundere: When he starts willingly joining the team in their training sessions, he tries to downplay his enthusiasm by claiming he forgot he was doing it for his work prospects and is only continuing it because he doesn't want to quit halfway. This doesn't convince the others in the slightest, if their grins are anything to go by.

     Akihiro "Nico-chan" Hirata
Voiced by: Takanori Hoshino
Room number: 104

An older recruit to the team. In his third year and has yet to graduate, even though he was originally Haiji's upperclassman. He was a part of the track team in high school. Like Musa, he studies Engineering.

  • Dismotivation: Had a passion for running but was told to quit the team by his coach during high school, since he didn't have the right body type for it. This did such a number on him mentally that he gave up not only his passion but also his motivation in life in general. When the story begins, he's incredibly slack and struggles to even pass his subjects. Thanks to the team's training and goal to go to Hakone, he reignites his love for running and becomes motivated again.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: A flashback of him shows he had short hair while he was part of the track team in high school. After being told by his coach he's not suited for running, he goes through a slump up until the present which is symbolised by him growing his hair to a lax shoulder-length style. In the Distant Finale, he's cut his hair short again and appears to have gotten his personal life back on track.
  • In-Series Nickname: Goes by the nickname "Nico-chan", and everyone in the team calls him Nico-chan-senpai since he's the oldest. This is derived from Tazaki's nickname for him "Nicotine", which he got due to his smoking habits. The nickname still sticks even after he quits smoking.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Shares this dynamic with Yuki. They're prone to snarking at one another and petty squabbles, but they frequently stick to one another and consider each other good friends.
  • Meaningful Name: His nickname relates to his smoking habits.
  • Ronin: In addition to having already repeated at least twice, it took him two years for him to get accepted into university in the first place.
  • Perma-Stubble: Has an unshaven look, which establishes him as the oldest guy in the team and a bit of a chill guy.
  • The Slacker: A chill guy who's not all that motivated, if him repeating a year or two is anything to go by. He works to improve on this after Haiji announces his plans to get the team to Hakone and becomes proactive in his fitness and training.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Subverted; his smoking seems to give him a cool, laidback image, but he's well aware that it's detrimental to his health and Yuki constantly complains about how much he does it. He eventually quits once he starts to take running seriously.
  • Team Dad: As the oldest and perhaps most masculine of the team, he keeps the members under control, gives the occasional heartfelt advice and will put the hammer down if someone's about to wreck havoc. The team initially suggests he lead the team while Haiji is sick thanks to this attitude and his experience as a runner, although he declines.
  • Weight Woe: When he becomes more invested in his training, he starts to worry about his figure. As a result, he starts skipping meals or eating smaller portions in an attempt to lose weight. Haiji notices this and tries to set him straight. After Haiji's collapse, Nico-chan goes back to eating normally but still frequently checks the scales. Fortunately, it's implied that having regular meals alongside training has a better effect on his weight than skipping meals.
  • Younger Than They Look: His (lack of) shaving habits and the effects of smoking makes him look older than he really is (doesn't help that he's the oldest on the team and should have graduated already). A few students mistake him for the coach at one point, much to the team's amusement.

A Shiba Inu at the dorm.
  • Babies Ever After: In the Distant Finale, Nira's shown to have found a partner and fathered a couple of puppies.
  • Canine Companion: Frequently goes along with the club with their running activities, but he mostly sticks by Haiji who's usually the one to take him out for walks.
  • From Stray to Pet: According to the novel, Nira was a stray dog that got adopted by one of the former student tenants of the dorm prior to the story.
  • Keet: Wholeheartedly joins the boys in their training whenever he gets the chance and clearly has a lot of fun running with them.
  • Meaningful Name: His name means "bliss", and he's a very cheerful dog.
  • Running Gag: Some random event will provoke a lot of barking by him.
  • Team Pet: A Shiba Inu that belongs to the team's dorm. He frequently accompanies them in their training, even coming with them on their summer trip.

     Genichirou Tazaki
Voiced by: Koutarou Nakamura

The coach and actual landlord of the dorm. Used to be a remarkable runner in his younger days.

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: He's not above getting on his knees to beg, earning his Red Baron name "Tazaki the Beggar". Sure enough, when Kakeru's past is leaked, Tazaki goes all out and dons a hakama while kowtowing to the university staff alongside Haiji and Shindo.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Has very pronounced eyebrows.
  • Eyes Always Shut: His eyes are usually closed, and they're almost completely obscured by his Big Ol' Eyebrows. He'll only open one eye when he's being especially serious.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Despite of his athletic past, his current self has a very small build and is way past his prime.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Non-fatal example. After Haiji collapses from overwork, Tazaki expresses regret over not doing anything to ease the burden that was placed on the young man.
  • Old Master: Subverted. While he certainly has the experience, it is Haiji who takes over most of the work around the team. Tazaki only had one condition: the team had to be assembled in the first place.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Since Haiji handles all the training for the team, Tazaki is the team coach in name only. Lampshaded by the members when he seems to finally be offering important advice (which is to... alternate using your left and right feet; he was drunk at the time). He does offer some words of wisdom and encouragement while the team is running Hakone, such as urging Shindo to drop out and warning the rest of the team to refocus for Day 2.
  • Red Baron: Parodied. Apparently, he is known as 'Tazaki the Beggar', which comes in handy when he's begging the university to keep Kakeru's high school incident (which was leaked) under wraps.
  • Retired Badass: Apparently had a career in running in his younger days and was good at it, which makes him an appropriate coach for the team.

     Hanako Katsuta
Voiced by: Juri Kimura

A local girl who handles the managing duties of the Kansei team. She's a first year at Kansei University in the novel (and other adaptations), whereas in the anime she's in her third year of high school. In the manga and movie, she was previously a part of Kansei's Tea Ceremony club.

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Has long black hair in the original novel (as well as the manga and movie adaptations), but has short brown hair in the anime.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: She first appears in the novel when the team are doing their summer training at Lake Shirakaba. In the anime she appears in Episode 3 when encountering Kakeru during his run.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Is called Hana-chan by the Jo twins who are her age (novel) or close to her age (anime adaptation) and have slight crushes on her. In the anime this extends to everyone else on the team who are older than her and treat her fondly.
  • Age Lift: Inverted, Hanako also goes to Kansei university in the novel but is in her third year of high school in the anime adaptation.
  • Cute Sports Club Manager: She's a sweet young girl who takes up the manager role and helps out the Kansei team by recording their times and accompanying them in their training/official races. Downplayed in the anime as she handles all those jobs but isn't formally associated with them since she's only a high school student, although by the three year timeskip she's joined Kansei University and has officially become the manager.
  • Fangirl: Becomes very enthusiastic and fond of the track team, albeit in a supportive way instead of crushing on anyone.
  • Lethal Chef: In the anime adaptation she cannot cook well, at all. When Haiji is unwell, she cooks breakfast for the team but it just sends everyone to the bathroom (except for Kakeru and Prince who like her food just fine, somehow).
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Inverted in the anime adaptation. In the novel Kakeru is revealed to like her, but she never notices and he doesn't pursue her in favour of the twins. In the anime, he shows no romantic interest towards her whatsoever.
  • Sailor Fuku: As Hanako is still in high school in the anime adaptation, she's often seen wearing her high school sailor uniform.
  • Sixth Ranger: While not a runner (and not even formally a member of the team in the anime), she often assists Kansei's training.

Other Universities

     Kousuke Sakaki 
Voiced by: Kengo Kawanishi

Kakeru's former teammate from high school. He attends Tokyo Sport University.

  • Adaptational Jerkass: Sakaki is unnecessarily bitter and hostile to Kakeru and his team in the novel but does not do much else. In the anime adaptation he's even more of a jerk and frequently goes out of his way to antagonise the Kansei team.
  • Evil Redhead: Downplayed. He has red hair, but is at worst a Jerkass.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He derides the Kansei team for having only the bare minimum needed number of members and mockingly ponders what will happen if any of them were to catch a cold. His assesment is proven correct when this happens to Shindo.
  • Jerk Jock: A mean-spirited and somewhat petty athlete.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sakaki's frequent mockery of Kakeru and his team eventually comes to bite him, as Tokyo Sport University places 11th at Hakone (after Kansei, no less) and narrowly misses a seeded position.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe. After Kakeru dished out a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on their almost Spartan coach in high school, the team was banned from participating in any further races for the time being in order to cover up the incident. Even in the present, Sakaki still deeply loaths Kakeru for it.
  • Satellite Character: Most of his character boils down to his nearly chronic contempt of Kakeru.
  • Smug Snake: Relishes in mocking the Kansei team for their admittedly underwhelming lineup of runners, yet he himself doesn't initially have a big role in his own team. On top of that, as soon as Sakaki notices Fujioka, he is shocked and the very presence of Rikudo University's leaves him unnerved.

     Kazuma Fujioka 
Voiced by: Satoshi Hino

An old friend and rival of Haiji. The champion of Hakone and Rikudo University's captain and ace.

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Fujioka is described to be bald in the novel (which the manga adaptation keeps), leading Kakeru to calling him "the monk from Rikudo". In the anime adaptation, however, he has short dark hair which gives him the Tall, Dark, and Handsome vibe.
  • Badass Baritone: In the anime, thanks to Satoshi Hino, Fujioka sports a very deep voice which suits his status as the champion of Hakone.
  • Coat Cape: After finishing his section of Hakone, Fujioka wears his coat like a cape, as one would expect from the most prominent runner of Hakone.
  • Friendly Rival: Was friends with Haiji during high school and on the track team together. Fujioka doesn't intend to go easy on him and acknowledges him as a great runner, while also asking from Kakeru to help him out. He also offers some kind words and advice when running into Kakeru and Musa following an incident where two passer-bys complained about the Kansei team not being fully Japanese.
  • Graceful Loser: He barely bats an eye when Kakeru beats his section time and becomes the new record time holder during Hakone Ekiden. The commentators consider this feat to be a taint to Fujioka's "happy ending", however he simply smiles and says it's not over yet.
  • Perma-Stubble: Less than Nico-chan, but his chin is left unshaven.
  • Purple Is Powerful: His team wears purple uniforms during official meets. He himself has quite a reputation, not to mention that in his debut episode he manages to beat both Kakeru and Manas.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: In the anime he's one of the tallest characters in the cast and a hunk, complete with short black hair.
  • Worthy Opponent: He makes it clear that he sees Haiji as good rival despite his injury derailing his running career. He also becomes the object of Kakeru's determination and respectfully returns the favour, telling Kakeru to lead the team with Haiji and announcing his plans to not only achieve a record time for Hakone but to also beat him.

     Manas Justy 
An African transfer student from Boso University.
  • Bit Character: Unlike the other competitors, Manas' most significant scenes are only in his debut episode where he poses as a challenge for Fujioka and Kakeru. He appears again but does nothing more than race against Kakeru.
  • Foil: Twofold.
    • To Kakeru. Both of them are constantly frowning perfectionist runners. However, Manas is a transfer student, while Kakeru is a native student. Manas doesn't seem to care much about how gifted or not the other competitors may be, wherein Kakeru is initially plagued by a bad habit of underestimating others and overestimating himself.
    • To Musa. Both of them are transfer students from Africa who are enjoying fairly good reception from their Japanese hosts. Their personalities, however, are in contrast to each other, as Manas is very serious and focused, while Musa is far more easy-going and Adorkable. Manas appears to have come to Japan solely for honing his running, while Musa is a science and engineering student who joined the track team due to certain 'circumstances'.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: Like Musa, he's a sponsored African student who came to study in Japan. Unlike Musa, he specifically came to compete at Hakone.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Downplayed. He certainly doesn't mess around, but he isn't openly malicious to anyone among his rivals.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Manas smiling is a rare sight, as he prefers to wear a very focused and intense glare.
  • The Quiet One: Among the more prolific runners in the story, Manas is the only one who doesn't engage himself in chitchat or any passive-aggressive exchanges.
  • Scary Black Man: Averted. Manas is very intense and focused at the track meets, which can make him seem intimidating; however, with the ironic exception of fellow African peer Musa, nobody is actually afraid of him. If anything, a serious no-nonsense disposition and absolute concentration towards results like his is something that makes him more appealing as a character.

     Johann Iwanki 
An African transfer student from Kofu Academy. A relatively well-known runner who's aiming for his fourth Hakone Ekiden race in the present.
  • Foil: He is far more sociable and amicable than fellow prodigy runner and African exchange student Manas.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: Like Musa, he's a sponsored African student who came to study in Japan.
  • Friendly Rival: Competes with Kakeru for a good chunk of the Hakone qualifier race. He congratulates Kakeru with a pat on the shoulder after being beaten by him by mere inches, and he's also quick to go have a friendly chat with him and Musa while they're waiting at the base during Hakone itself.
  • Worthy Opponent: A talented runner who's quick to acknowledge how well Kakeru competed against him in the Hakone qualifier, and he expresses his disappointment over how they won't be racing in the same section at Hakone itself. Kakeru returns the admiration, and while they watch him race Haiji remarks how privileged Kakeru was to be able to compete against him.


     Shingo Katsuta 
A local man runs the Yaokatsu grocery place. Alongside his daughter, he aids the Kansei team however he can.
  • Doting Parent: Dotes on Hanako greatly, to the point he cannot bring himself to directly criticize her cooking.
  • Nice Hat: Easily identifiable by his green cap.
  • Recurring Extra: Appears in a decent number of episodes, yet has a strictly supporting role.

     Shuji Mochizuki 
A reporter of the Shinjitsu Weekly magazine who is intrigued by the Kansei team, but especially Kakeru.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: In the novel he appears considerably late, attempting to interview Kakeru and then writing an article exposing his past not long afterward. In the anime he first appears in one of the track meets (where Yuki and Shindo achieve their official records) and consistently tails them in later track events.
  • Bit Character: Has very little screen time and only serves to build up the revelation of Kakeru's Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Kubrick Stare: Usually has this unnerving facial expression.
  • Paparazzi: Has shades of being an obsessed paparazzi, especially in regards to Kakeru. He's also implied to have lent a hand in exposing Kakeru's incident with his high school track coach in the news.
  • Perma-Stubble: Has the unshaven look, not too different from Nico-chan. Unlike Nico-chan, it serves to emphasize Mochizuki's creepiness.

     Sendai Josei High School coach 
The coach of the Sendai Josei High School where Kakeru and Sakaki used to be part of the same team.
  • Asshole Victim: Kakeru delivered him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, much to the shock of all the witnessing students. Unfortunately, as much as he deserved it, attacking a coach still has consequences.
  • Evil Mentor: Despite of Kakeru's violent disdain of the him, many of his condescending views had become a part of Kakeru's mindset by the start of the story and required considerable Character Development to dissolve.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Wears glasses and is rather unpleasant to deal with.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As insufferable as he is, he brings up some valid points.
    • While quite harsh, him basically saying that only those that can prove themselves already in their high school years are the ones who will succeed in their adulthood is not unfounded: In Japan, school clubs are seen as the place where the next generation gathers valuable working experience and discover their talents and limitations.
    • Given how prestigious the Sendai Josei High School is, he is expected to produce the best possible results, as the school's reputation is at stake even if he weren't such a Glory Hound.
  • Karma Houdini: Zig-Zagged. While Kakeru delivered him a cathartic No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, the school covered the whole incident up and prevented the team from participating in any competitions.
  • Training from Hell: Was prone to using incredibly excruciating training methods especially as punishment, to the dismay of every student in Sendai Josei High School team. Kakeru remembers him being especially harsh towards one member who was admitted to the school on a scholarship but still couldn't keep up with the coach's training. While his talent enabled him to overcome it, even Kakeru was repulsed by the way the coach managed the team.

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