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Ho Yay / Run With The Wind

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Run With The Wind is a bit of a doozy when it comes to this. On one hand, the interaction (including the dialogue) - for the most part - is less blatant than other sports series revolving around boys' teams that make it very easy to ship all the guys. But on the other hand, the original novel is six hundred pages long, while its animated adaptation with over twenty episodes, meaning that even the minimalist amount of Ho Yay gradually builds up plenty of moments to list. Shion Miura openly supporting boys' love (she's actually written a series of essays about it) certainly helps the argument that any subtext present was probably intentional.

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     Haiji/Kakeru 
  • Haiji and Kakeru are quite fixated on each other throughout the series. They start off rather Foe Yayish due to the unresolved tension between their conflicting views of the team's goal to go to Hakone Ekiden, but eventually find common ground and become very close to one another.
    • After episode 11 when things have softened between them, they become full-time Heterosexual Life-Partners and even cook together. By that point Kakeru is willing to take up some of the Team Dad duties, while Haiji can focus more on being the Team Mom.
    • A rare, more brazen moment in Episode 13: Haiji casually places his arm over Kakeru's shoulder and asks him if he had a girlfriend, only for Kakeru to bashfully retort that he doesn't. When the flustered Kakeru asks what's the reason behind the question, Haiji smoothly answers that 'the night sky was just so pretty'. This reply would almost be a Non Sequitur, if it weren't so suspiciously similar to the phrase 'The moon is beautiful'. It is used in Japan as a subtle and more dignified way of saying 'I love you [in a romantic way]'. Lampshaded by Hanako.
      Hanako: "What does that mean?"
    • In an unadapted moment in the novel during the Hakone qualifier, Kakeru is frightened and concerned when he notices that Haiji is in pain thanks to his leg acting up after he finishes racing, and urges him to quickly get an ice pack on. Haiji however pays no heed to it, ruffles Kakeru's hair and congratulates him on his good result, leaving Kakeru to ponder if that's even a good time to say that.
    • When the team finds out they've qualified for Hakone Ekiden, the very first thing Haiji and Kakeru do is turn to each other and scream in excitement and shock.
    • Having kept hush about his history up until this point, Haiji confides in Kakeru about his previous troubles as a runner during high school, especially with his strict father who was also his coach. He explains how awful he felt not only when he got sick of running but also after injuring himself and not being to run, and he finally admits to feeling some guilt for how manipulative he acted when recruiting the team. Kakeru does his best to comfort him, insisting that the team is thankful to Haiji despite the trouble he put them through.
    • In Episode 22, Kakeru and Haiji talk on the phone just before Kakeru is due to race. Haiji informs Kakeru that, having run together with him for a year, he considers him to be the greatest runner he knows. Moved, Kakeru in response earnestly tells Haiji to watch him race — to "watch what [Haiji] believed in".
    • When waiting for King to finish his section, Kakeru asks Joji what it's like to be in love (with Hanako). He then says, "I'm in love, too," takes the sash from King and starts his race before he can clarify any further to Joji. This obviously alludes to his love for running, as a Call-Back to the first episode. This moment however occurs not long after the heartfelt phone call with Haiji, making it seem like Kakeru is confessing his feelings for him.
    • Haiji's section of Hakone (Episode 23 in the anime) is the icing on the cake, as it doesn't even bother to downplay how much Kakeru and Haiji mean to each other and how the other's presence has made a huge impact on their life.
      • As Kakeru passes the sash to him, Haiji thinks back to their first meeting and that his immediate thought when Kakeru ran past him was, "That's my dream right there. It's taken shape, and it's running." He considers Kakeru the "ideal form [he's] never reached" and compares the way he runs to a shooting star. The two say nothing when Kakeru passes the sash, but the looks in their eyes are all they need to communicate.
      • Kakeru has just finished his leg of Hakone and is 1) being celebrated for breaking the section time record and 2) being pursued by reporters for an interview. The first thing he does? He runs to Otemachi so he can meet Haiji at the finish line in time.
      • When Haiji is about to complete his race in the anime, Kakeru is the only member waiting for him at the finish line. Both guys lighten up when they see each other—then Haiji's knee acts up once more; despite Haiji trying to cover up his pain with a smile, Kakeru notices and tears up as he realizes Haiji's running days are now over. Kakeru tenderly holds Haiji after he finishes and escorts him to the rest of the team.
      • As Kansei's race finishes up, Kakeru looks back at Haiji asking what running is. He comes to the conclusion that running, to him, is Haiji himself—this is followed by an artistic shot of Haiji running towards Kakeru, both glowing (and naked). This nicely ties in with his previous "I'm in love, too" moment which was referring to his love for running...
        Kakeru: You asked me once what running is. You said you wanted to know what it is. The answer is you. It’s you.
    Shindo/Musa 
  • Musa and Shindo spend a lot of time together and appear to feel closest to each other in the team.
    • Musa frequently shows concern for how often Shindo works (whether it be studying or doing administration duties for the team) and tries to check up on him.
    • The novel states that Musa, while fluent, occasionally has trouble with the more difficult Japanese the others use, and so the patient Shindo will go out of his way to explain it to him.
    • Shindo's drunken motivational speech about running at Hakone Ekiden brings Musa to tears. In all versions of the story, Shindo alone is enough to also convince Musa to run at Hakone.
    • They go for a run and get lost in the woods together in Episode 12 while everyone else is back at their base.
    • The two are prone to tearfully hugging each other during emotional moments, like when their team's revealed to be the 10th qualifier for Hakone Ekiden.
    • In Episode 18, while Musa is in shock and despair that Haiji's assigned him to run Section 2 of Hakone (the section that's known to be reserved for the aces), Shindo is nothing but supportive and wishes him luck.
    • In Episode 19, Shindo (who's really sick at this point) calls Musa right after he sees him on TV and invites him to go see the snow in his hometown after Hakone is over, making it sound like a date. Musa muses that he'll imagine the two of them having a snowball right while he runs, and after the call ends he gently rests his phone on his forehead which can be seen as a sign of affection.
    • Although just about the whole team tears up as well, Musa is one of the few practically bawling his eyes out when watching the sick Shindo struggle his way through his Hakone race. When the missing members hold a group video chat to Shindo at the end of the day, an overjoyed Musa nearly hogs the camera despite King also being with him. When their respective groups finally reunite at the train station on Day 2, Shindo and Musa immediately run to each other for a hug.
    Shindo/Yuki 
  • Yuki and Shindo support each other well as friends and running partners, and treat each other with much respect and trust.
    • In the novel, while being snarkier towards other members of Aotake, Yuki addresses only Shindo with "kimi", which is a more respectful second person pronoun of "you" and a contrast to the the less respectful "omae" he uses for everybody else.
    • In Episode 11, Shindo requests extra practice after his breakup. Yuki is the one that notices Shindo is struggling, so he initiates to run with Shindo. He also observes Shindo from behind, and later brings up his observations to improve Shindo’s running posture.
    • Also in Episode 11, Yuki learns how much Shindo devotes to his commitments. He compliments Shindo by saying “If I had a daughter, I’d definitely make her marry you.”
    • The two stick to each other the most when running at track meets. When the two finally get their official records it's at the same meet, and Yuki puts his hand on Shindo's shoulder with a proud look.
    • Yuki accompanies the sick Shindo for Day 1 of Hakone (the others are spread out depending on who's scheduled for which section) and tries his hardest to look after him. This includes buying a warm drink for Shindo and carrying his backpack as they depart for Section 5’s pit start.
    • In Episode 21, Yuki confesses his anxieties to Shindo before running his section. Shindo has faith in Yuki and responds with words of encouragement.
      Shindo: "You could even win your section."
      Yuki: "Can’t you be more realistic in your encouragement?"
      Shindo: "You always do what you say you’ll do. That goes for both the bar exam and Hakone Ekiden. Tell me you’ll try to win your section."
      Yuki: "Okay, okay. I’ll go for it. I’ll try to win."
    • In the novel, Shindo takes care of Yuki meticulously before the Section 6, from helping Yuki stretch his legs and massaging his calves, to jogging with him during warm up, chatting and playing Yuki’s favourite songs to help him relax.
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    Kakeru/Prince 
  • Episode 10 onward has Kakeru and Prince making peace with each other and gradually becoming closer, making them quite shipworthy.
    • Kakeru tries to reconciliate with Prince and ends up concentrating all his energy on connecting with him. For most of the episode he copycats everything Prince does. Given that manga is Prince's number one interest, Kakeru awkwardly asks him to borrow a manga as a way to get to know him better. The first genre Prince suggests? Romance.
    • During Prince's training montage there is a small scene where Kakeru helps him to stretch. However, Prince's facial expression and grunting, not to mention the position of Kakeru's body during the scene, makes it look like something else.
    • Prince mentions to Haiji that his ideal way of doing an activity together with someone is to have both of them read the same manga and flip the pages at the same time, "synchronising" their waves. During the training montage, he and Kakeru do exactly that.
    • In a track meet where only the two of them are participating, Kakeru is breezing as usual whereas Prince is struggling and appears to feel down. Despite being in the lead, Kakeru stops racing and spends a couple of seconds alongside Prince to give him words of advice. Despite grumbling about how constantly Kakeru nags, Prince grins and immediately shows both a better form and a better demeanour for the remainder of his run. When he finishes and breaks the 30 minute mark for the first time, Kakeru looks the most genuinely happy he's been since joining the Aotake dorm.
    • Kakeru shows concern when Prince struggles to get an official record and works hard to improve himself, and confides to Musa wondering if he's doing enough to help him. Kakeru even wholeheartedly offers to accompany Prince on his evening jog; while he's touched, Prince just smiles and tells Kakeru he's fine alone.
    • During Prince's run at his last track meet befre the qualifier, a brief flashback shows that he requested the other members to write words of encouragement on his arm. Beforehand while Haiji is talking to Fujioka, it's shown that Kakeru was the one to write the message. This message — "Forward!!" (mae ni!!) — helps Prince to push himself and finally achieve an official record.
    • During the Christmas montage, Prince excitingly shows off a Christmas scene from his manga to the confused Kakeru. The scene in question? A couple sharing a kiss while wishing each other a merry Christmas.
    • Even during the exciting moments, Prince's emotions are very subdued and he tends to just sit back while letting the others do all the extravagant celebrating for him. The one exception is when Kakeru completes his leg of Hakone—Prince, who is waiting for him, screams his name and jumps around in delight with the reveal that Kakeru has broken the record time.
    Haiji/Prince 
  • Aside from Kakeru, Prince's most significant interactions within the team are with Haiji. Despite his aloof personality and all the woes he has to go through, Prince seems to hold Haiji in high regard.
    • Haiji does his best to comfort Prince after Kakeru threatens him to leave, and says he geuinely enjoys running with Prince. In particular, he mentally compares the time spent training with Prince to the rehabilitation he went through post-injury and says it helps him reconsider what it means to run. While admitting he doesn't quite get it, Prince understands the importance of doing something together and confides with Haiji how reading the same manga with a friend is his idea of this.
    • Haiji is generally ecstastic whenever the members of the team improve and get their official records. However, it's Prince finally getting his record that drives him to tears; after finishing the race, Prince raises his fist in triumph while looking in Haiji's direction, and (via a P.O.V. Cam) Haiji's eyesight starts to blur while he watches Prince celebrate with the others.
    • During his leg of Hakone Ekiden, all of Prince's flashbacks are with Haiji during a training session. There, Haiji formally apologises for dragging Prince into this event (something he hasn't done with anyone up until this point). However, Prince rejects the apology and compares himself to all the famous sports protagonists; he says that while he likes the protagonists (himself), he also likes the people who lead them (Haiji), and he smiles saying an athlete wants to win rather than be shown kindness. When Prince finishes his race, Haiji (alongside Kakeru) catches him and takes back his apology so can properly show his gratitude:
      Haiji: I take back what I said. Prince, thank you.
    • Prince is the member that sends Haiji off when it's his turn to run. Despite previously complaining about how much he hates running, he sincerely tells Haiji he had fun, and Haiji responds by patting his head. Prince shows concern for Haiji's condition and asks him to come back in one piece, before taking it back and telling him to just run how he likes.
    Other 
  • King and Shindo have their moments in Episode 6. Shindo frequently checks up on King when he starts cutting himself off from the team, and he appears to be the only one with whom King is willing to discuss his insecurities with.
  • The close yet squabbling dynamic between Yuki and Nico-chan is best summed up as looking Like an Old Married Couple. Kakeru notes early in the novel that their arguing is just something they always do like "sworn rivals" and that there's nothing unusual about it.
  • The stretching scene between the twins has hints of Incest Subtext. This gets lampshaded by Nico-chan who understandably remarks that it comes off as gross.
  • Musa sharing the dorm bath with Kakeru in Episode 14 while having a heart-to-heart conversation is the standard for Bathtub Bonding in Japan, except 1) the room is also dark (because Musa has a odd habit of taking baths without the lights on), and 2) Musa gets giddy when he starts hinting at romance (he meant the twins and Hanako, but could easily be interpreted as something else), puzzling Kakeru. Musa's seen having a bath in this manner with Haiji in a flashback, suggesting he does this with members frequently.
    Kakeru: What is it? It's dark, and we're naked.
  • When King expresses his concerns over not fitting in in his inner monologue, he's particularly fixed on Haiji's companionship. When he first met him as first years he wondered if Haiji would accept him, and he felt saddened by the possibility of Haiji not seeing himself as a good friend. In the present day when asking whether Haiji plans to stay at school or not, King has an Imagine Spot of the two of them deciding to stay at school together and run Hakone again (complete with a blushing Haiji and Bishie Sparkles, no less).
  • Haiji tends to give the others the wrong idea thanks to his obsession with the members' bodies (for running reasons). His immediate reaction to Kakeru falling in their first meeting (novel and manga) is to grab his leg and check if it's alright, leading to Kakeru thinking he's a pervert. His reasoning for why Musa is suited for running is that he has nice muscles, and Musa's response implies Haiji has been checking his body out a lot. One of the 4-koma strips of the anime adaptation jokes that Haiji will only talk to the members' legs rather than their faces.

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