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Literature / Run with the Wind

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Having lost a lot of money during a mahjong game, a young runner by the name Kakeru Kurahara ends up surviving either by hook or by crook. While shoplifting at night, his running piques the interest of Haiji Kiyose who happens to be passing by. Haiji then invites Kakeru to the Kansei University Dorm. Little does Kakeru (or any of the other residents of the dorm) realize that the place is actually the Kansei University Track and Field dorm; Haiji himself seeks to gather a 10 man team of runners, and Kakeru is just what he's been looking for. His dream? To run in Hakone Ekiden, a prominent relay marathon race. Too bad majority of the team aren't actually all that athletic, so a lot needs to be done for them to stand a chance...

Run with the Wind (風が強く吹いている Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteirunote ) is a Japanese novel written by Shion Miura (the same person behind the novel and anime Fune Wo Amu) and published in 2006. (Not categorized as a Light Novel, as this book is over 600 pages long and uses more complicated text, far larger than light novel standards.)


A manga adaptation was serialized from 2007 to 2009 (starting out in Weekly Young Jump, then moving to Monthly Young Jump in 2008), and a stage play and movie adaptation were both made in 2009 (the latter with the English title Feel the Wind). An anime adaptation by Production I.G premiered on October 3rd 2018 with 23 episodes, and can be viewed on Crunchyroll.

Not to be confused with the Run Wild novel with the same name, nor the other novel and movie Gone with the Wind.


This series shows examples of:

  • Adaptational Context Change: Later in the novel Kakeru confesses to Joji that he likes Hanako. In the anime adaptation he does not have the crush on her but the line is still (sort of) kept at the same stage of the story, as "I'm in love, too". This is purposely left ambiguous and puzzles Joji, however it's strongly implied to be a Call-Back to his first meeting with Haiji where he was asked if he liked running.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Transitioning from a 600+ page novel to a 23-episode anime has naturally led to some added characterisation or subplots, especially in the first half.
    • Only Kakeru is resistant to being a part of the Kansei track team in the novel. In the anime, the others are also initially reluctant, and it take a bit of convincing on Haiji's part to get them on board.
    • As the novel focuses a lot more on Kakeru and Haiji, many of the characters' personal ordeals or side stories are anime original. This includes King looking for jobs, Nico-chan's weight struggles and Kakeru's dynamic with Prince (including both when he asks Prince to leave the team and when he helps Prince with his training).
    • It takes considerably more time for the team to achieve official records in the anime, so their struggles are emphasised further. (For comparison, in the novel Prince is the last to get his official record in June; in the anime, he gets his in September, mere weeks before the qualifier)
  • An Aesop: A recurring theme in the series is that winning is not everything, and that you can still get something meaningful out of a sports competition other than placing first. The ending reinforces this; the Kansei team doesn't win Hakone Ekiden, but everyone on the team has made important realizations about themselves and/or come out of it as better people.
  • All for Nothing: During Episodes 19 to 20. At Hakone Ekiden, Prince is the starting runner for Kansei and unsurprisingly comes last in his section, but the admirable efforts of Musa and the twins help the team climb up the rankings. Unfortunately, the last runner for Day 1 is the very sick Shindo; he has to push himself to move at all, let alone complete his section, and the team drops back down to 20th place for that first half. The team of course has nothing but admiration and concern for Shindo, who insisted on competing since withdrawing would mean Kansei dropping out of Hakone together.
  • Alone in a Crowd: During his inner monologue, a bleak shot of King standing alone while everyone surrounding him goes about their day is used to symbolise how lonely he often felt prior to the series.
  • Always Identical Twins: The Jo twin brothers from room 201 not only look almost identical - aside from their outfits - but are also very similar personality-wise, at least at a glance. As Jota notes later in the series, the two do have subtle differences in personality and interests.
  • Badass Crew: The Rikudo University Track and Field Team has the reputation of being a pretty damn formidable bunch (being the several-time defending Hakone Ekiden champion and led by The Ace Fujioka), in clear contrast to its Kansei University counterpart.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Sometime the anime uses an artistic shot of Kakeru running naked to symbolise his "runner's high", so his more delicate features from the torso downwards are usually not made apparent. The anime otherwise averts this, showing the guys' nipples as well as their butts in their nude scenes.
  • Bathtub Bonding: The team is shown visiting the public bathhouse a couple of times where they bond or talk about their training. Additionally, Musa's been shown twice sharing a bath at the dorm with someone while having a deep conversation—first with Kakeru (when talking about Prince's progress) and then with Haiji (when discussing Musa's strengths and why he was chosen to run the second section of Hakone).
  • Bears Are Bad News: Played for Laughs. When Shindo and Musa go missing at the summer training camp, the other guys in the team are worried that a bear might have attacked them. Just as they're about to go search for the missing duo, they're interrupted by strange noises coming from the forest. They're about to brace themselves for whatever might come out of the bushes (with Haiji even diffidently pulling out a bell)... only for Shindo and Musa bursting out of the bushes at such great speed that they end up slamming into the van.
  • The Big Race: The story is about the new and mostly inexperienced Kansei University track team training to compete in the prestigious marathon event Hakone Ekiden, which Haiji is determined to run at. To even have a chance to participate, they must first all achieve official records (16 minutes and 30 seconds or less in the anime) which they can do at an official track meet, and then they must compete in the qualifier and rank among the top ten teams.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The team doesn't win Hakone Ekiden, and it's heavily implied Haiji's efforts in his race has left his injured leg permanently crippled. However, thanks to the team's efforts they get a seeded position which is astonishing considering the disadvantage they had, and the emotional journey is fulfilling enough for everyone involved. In the epilogue, the Kansei track team —led by Kakeru and the twins— is still going and boasts a lot more members now, and the older members have also progressed with their own lives.
  • Bishie Sparkle: When Haiji introduces Kakeru to Prince, sparkles fly everywhere while the latter flicks his hair to emphasise his pretty boy status (and hence his appropriate nickname).
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Unlike the rest of the team, Kakeru and Prince seem to be just fine with Hanako's maladroit cooking.
  • Bookends: In the anime, "Do you like running?" is both the first and last spoken line.
  • Blank White Eyes: Pure white eyes are sometimes used along with Color Failure for humour. Musa's eyes also go completely blank from shock when Haiji announces in Episode 18 that he's chosen Musa to run the second section of Hakone ie. the "section of aces", something he thought would be saved for Kakeru.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": In the anime when trying to convince the dorm residents to join the track team, Haiji informs Prince that only members of the track team can stay at Aotake which means he'll have to move if he doesn't comply. Prince asks if he's being kicked out, and Haiji insists that's not what he's saying. When he rephrases the statement, Prince argues that he is being kicked out, and Haiji replies, "I guess you could say that.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: In the anime the members on the Kansei team are either pretty or ruggedly handsome guys. And that's without taking the other teams into consideration.
  • Character Development: Done at a remarkably balanced fashion in the anime. Each of the ten main characters getting just enough screen time to develop slowly, yet surely and without completely eclipsing one another.
  • Cliffhanger: Numerous episodes of the anime end on cliffhangers, leaving audiences to ponder until the next episode.
    • Episode 9 ends with Haiji suddenly collapsing while cooking dinner and conversing with Kakeru. The next episode clarifies he's been overworking.
    • Episode 12 ends with Kakeru coming close to punching Sakaki after he provokes him. In the next episode his teammates manage to stop him before his fist makes any contact, but this also kicks off his troubling backstory reveal with his high school team coach whom he punched in the face.
    • Episode 15 ends with one of the runners bumping into one of the tables and knocking it over during the qualifier race, creating a potential hazard for Haiji who isn't far behind him. Lucky for him he manages to jump out of the way the following episode, but this puts stress on his injured leg as a result.
    • Episode 17 ends with Haiji waiting at the hospital, with the Orthopedic Surgery sign clearly showing. The following episode doesn't give any specific updates on this situation, although a brief shot of the x-ray and Haiji's thoughtful stare implies things don't look very good for his leg.
    • Episode 18 ends with Yuki trying to escort a very sick Shindo out of his room on the morning of Hakone. In the next episode, Shindo's managed to get on the train on the way to Hakone but is visibly in a poor condition.
  • Color Failure:
    • As a result of Hanako's... questionable cooking in the anime, almost all the guys in the team end up losing color from their faces. Only Kakeru and Prince manage to survive it without any complaints.
    • After barely qualifying for the Hakone race in Episode 16, Haiji proudly announces to the reporters that the team is going to train harder than ever before (and not taking a single day of rest), which leads to nearly everyone else in the team to lose color (followed by the older members angrily and comically shaking Haiji).
  • Daydream Surprise: In a flashback shown in Episode 22, King asks if Haiji intends to stay at school since he hasn't been looking for work. King then seemingly declares he'll stay if Haiji does as well so the two can run at Hakone together next year, which touches Haiji. This exchange is revealed to be King's imagination; in the next scene in real life Haiji replies to King that he doesn't plan to stay at school, much to King's disappointment.
  • Death Glare: When the twins are mocking Kakeru in Episode 17 and being uncooperative in general, all it takes for them to shut up in fear is Haiji giving them an angry glare.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Kakeru's flashbacks to his experiences with his high school track team are in greyscale, but the color very suddenly comes back when Kakeru remembers punching his coach.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue takes place after a three year time skip. Kakeru and the twins are fourth years and leading the now huge Kansei University Track Team, while the older members are either working or at graduate school. The original team gather together when the Aotake dorm is about to be taken down and they are still shown to be close.
  • Dragged by the Collar: In the anime, Prince is dragged (and even lifted) by the collar a few times by Haiji when forced to join the rest of the group in some tiresome activity (whether it be a dorm party or their training).
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: The manga-only runner from Tokyo Sport University, Marutani, has such a feminine face that Nico-chan mistakes him for a girl until he starts talking to him.
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: Eye circles are subtly done in Episode 9 to hint at Nico-chan, Kakeru and Haiji not taking good care of themselves. Shindo also has them in Episode 20, one of the many physical signs he's unwell and shouldn't be competing.
  • Evolving Credits: During the first half of the anime's second ending, there are Deliberately Monochrome shots of the characters looking pensive and troubled. From Episode 18 onwards, this is replaced by shots of the characters all facing the sun with confident looks on their faces, and it's all in full color.
  • Eye Catch: The eyecatch used before the commercial breaks is of Nira playing around and barking at the end.
  • Female Gaze: While their upper bodies aren't too spectacularly built (in no small part thanks to some of them not even being full time athletes prior to arriving in the dorm), each guy will at least show that He's Got Legs. There are also several scenes of them naked, usually when they're having a bath.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Episode 9, Haiji has slight under eye circles and his vision briefly blurs while the team is at a track meet for Yuki, Shindo, Musa and the twins, but he thinks nothing of it. At the end of the episode he collapses while making dinner, and it comes to light that he's been overworking as of late.
    • Two things foreshadow the ending of Episode 18:
      • In Episode 17, Sakaki gloats at the Kansei team for having so few members (10 is the absolute minimum number of members needed to run Hakone) and mockingly ponders what will happen if any of them were to catch a cold. This is exactly what happens to Shindo, right as Hakone starts (and he's scheduled to run that day).
      • Shindo mentions all the administration work he's been doing in Episodes 17 and 18, much to the concern of the other members who feel inclined to help him. Overworking does come to bite him in the ass and makes him fall ill.
  • Full Episode Flashback: Episode 13 includes a lot of flashbacks to Kakeru's Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Furo Scene: A couple of scenes of the guys taking a Japanese-styled bath at their dorm are shown. They're not (only) for mild fanservice as something else is usually happening, like Kakeru brooding in the first episode and the Bathtub Bonding conversations with Musa. There are also Public Bathhouse Scenes with the team while the boiler for their dorm bath is broken (totally not because of Haiji).
  • Genre Deconstruction: Episodes 15 and 16 show the many probable hurdles almost all the runners in all the teams have to go through, including the possibility of collapsing without getting anywhere near the finish, as well as having a hard time getting to the water meant for avoiding dehydration because there is just way too many people out there at once which results in a table collapsing, in turn creating an accidental road hazard for the other runners.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: The twins are surprised when they learn Shindo has a girlfriend, as no one has ever met her. Later in Episode 11 they notice how busy Shindo is and wonder when he ever has time to see her between the studying and training. They panic and conclude that the girlfriend must be a figment of his imagination due to overworking. The episode confirms the girlfriend's existence when Shindo meets up with her—however in her only appearance she breaks up with him, citing his busy schedules as the reason.
  • Group Hug: When celebrating results, at least a couple of the Kansei members tend to gather into group hugs. In Episode 16, a group glomp ensues when the team finds out they've qualified for Hakone and they all proceed to stack on top of each other to form a hug pile, starting with Haiji.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: In Episode 1, when Haiji opens the bathroom door in Kakeru the second time, the latter has his towel covering his crotch while his back is also turned to the former.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Repeatedly discussed. Haiji's goal is to get his team of mostly non-experienced runners to participate in the Hakone Ekiden (a prestigious university relay marathon) sheerly through training—these ambitions constantly clash with the nearly abysmal chances of the team, who are understandably cynical.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Kakeru and Yuki help Shindo with his center of gravity by having him run on the treadmill in Prince's room. Prince grumbles that they could be doing this outside. Yuki snarks that he has no right to say that, considering Prince took the treadmill specifically so he could train without having to leave his room.
  • Imagine Spot: The twins imagine enjoying a typical summer vacation in Hokkaido, including running in the fields and swimming around. The imagine spot ends with them hugging a polar bear, and it fades away to show they've been hugging a confused Musa in real life instead.
  • In Medias Res: The first half of the first episode starts with Haiji chasing after Kakeru (who's on the run after stealing bread from the store) and skips to him introducing the latter to the rest of the dorm. The second half explains How We Got Here.
  • Irony: Members of the Kansei team don't miss out on the opportunity to lampshade how much Yuki's gotten interested in running despite him initially being one of the most defiant to the idea.
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: Kakeru spends most of Episode 10 trying and ultimately succeeding in understanding Prince's tempo by following him and copying everything he does. It gets to the point that they start reading and flipping manga pages (from Prince's stash) at the exact same pace. Facetiously, Prince does appear a bit ticked by the sudden copycatting at first, but rolls with it shortly after.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Downplayed in Episode 16 after the team runs the Hakone qualifier. Yuki scolds some of the members for not recording their times, unaware that there's a cameraman filming him until Nico-chan informs him. Yuki looks at the cameraman in annoyance but then continues his rant.
  • Iyashikei: The series presents running an outlet that - even if only briefly - helps one forget all their worries and try something that they've not been previously interested in, unlike most other sport series where only a few characters in the cast tend to have a particularly philosophical view towards a sport.
  • Japanese School Club: An older variant. The series revolves around the Kansei University Track and Field team and their attempt to compete at Hakone Ekiden. In the manga and film adaptations at the same university, Hanako is also originally a part of the Tea Ceremony club.
  • Lonely at the Top: This topic is sometimes brought up. Haiji hints to Kakeru that his struggles to sympathise with the other members early on is because he's always running ahead and never been able to have a good look at the others behind him. Later on, Yuki worries about Kakeru being such an ace runner that he'll feel lonely from running too far ahead and enduring everything by himself.
  • Magical Security Cam: When Nico-chan is helping Shindo set up a website in the anime, a couple of photos of the team at the track can be seen on the screen. The photos are the exact same screenshot the audience sees from the anime itself, even though some of them are suspiciously upclose.
  • Man Hug:
    • Two of the exchange students that come in first and second place at the Hakone qualifier give each other a proud hug before being rushed off the course.
    • Showing his gratitude and overwhelmed with emotion, Iwanki gives a heartfelt hug to one of the members on his team in Episode 19 after competing in his final Hakone Ekiden race.
  • Miracle Rally: Downplayed. The Kansei team claws their way back into the Hakone Ekiden race on Day 2 from 20th place—it's not enough to win Hakone Ekiden itself (which would had required a lot of unrealistic factors), however they do still clinch fifth place for that day and get ranked tenth overall which earns them a seeded position (their secondary goal). Commentators and spectators do not fail to comment on this astonishing comeback.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Played for Laughs in one of the official 4-koma strips for the anime, where Haiji looks at and talks to the guys' legs as if they're their faces. At first his comments are fairly normal remarks about their legs (eg. saying Musa's legs look nice) but then quickly get ridiculous:
    Haiji: (waves at Nico-chan's leg) Oh, Nico-chan-senpai! Good morning~!
    Nico-chan: At least look at my face while greeting me, Haiji...
  • No Antagonist: Aside from the initial internal discord in the team and a very bothersome ex-teammate from Kakeru's high school track team, there is no real antagonistic force.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: This happened to Kakeru when he was in high school. While Kakeru punching his track team's coach after getting fed up with how poorly the coach treated one of the other members was well-deserved, hitting an authority figure still has consequences. The entire team was banned from competing for a year to cover up the incident, and this is largely the reason why Sakaki still antagonizes Kakeru.
  • No Longer with Us: While Haiji is recovering from a collapse, Nico-chan attempts to resolve the tension happening in the team and at one point tells everyone present to not let Haiji's efforts go to waste. The way he words it makes it sound like he's dead; in the novel a barely conscious Haiji snarks that he doesn't remember dying, and in the anime Kakeru and Prince tell him off for the misleading phrasing in unison.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Played for Laughs the first time Haiji and Kakeru meet in the anime. Haiji's enthusiasm prompts Kakeru to start walking away out of discomfort, only for Haiji to suddenly appear in front of him. Kakeru looks behind him, confused.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Played for Laughs in Episode 2 when Haiji starts worming his way into everyone's daily activities to manipulate them into joining the track team, which warrants horrified reactions.
    • The twins decide to ditch a trip to the Hakone course with the team to play soccer, only for Kakeru to come chasing after them. The twins start to run away, except with Kakeru being The Ace runner there's no way they'll outrun him and they know it. Cue the terrified looks on their faces.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Yuki admits he doesn't get along with his mother (who he hasn't seen since he started going to Kansei), and it's implied in a flashback that her remarriage to a man he hardly knows while also pregnant contributed to his resentment of her. He later sees his mother alongside his stepfather and half-sister cheering him on during Hakone and he begins to feel terrible over distancing himself from her.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Downplayed and justified after the Hakone qualifier. After a long peaceful time of everyone genuinely investing in their training, the twins suddenly become cynical about their chances in Hakone after seeing how their qualifier results pale in comparison to the top teams, and wonder what point there is in running the real thing if they're unlikely to win. Although this concern isn't too unreasonable (which Haiji acknowledges), this sudden change in attitude troubles the other members, especially considering how happy-go-lucky the twins usually are. They don't quit the team, but they stop cooperating and then try to skip out on the trip to the Hakone course (Kakeru manages to chase them and drag them along). By the end of the episode, after a talk with Haiji, the twins have softened up but admit they still feel uneasy. Although they don't get to formally apologise, they do settle back in by the next episode.
  • Potty Failure:
    • Thanks to Hanako's Lethal Chef cooking in the anime, most of the guys who eat it end up scrambling for the bathroom. Hilarity Ensues when they're all struggling to hold it in while waiting for their turn and collapse on the floor while suffering Color Failure.
    • In an unadapted scene of the novel, the twins go missing at one point during summer camp when it's raining. Kakeru goes out to find them and it's revealed they got diarrhoea (from drinking too much milk) while running at Lake Shirabaka, making it difficult for them to leave the bathroom and go back to their base for a while.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: The gang often goes and clean up at the public bathhouse. For part of the story they have no choice but to go there thanks to Haiji totally not damaging the dorm's boiler. The group sometimes bond or discuss their progress here.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Done In-Universe to a ridiculous degree in the novel for both ends. Kakeru moves in to the Aotake dorm and a welcome party is later held for him. All the residents gather for the party, except for Prince; Kakeru's never known about him until then, since he's been hiding in his room the whole time Kakeru has been here. Prince is as confused as Kakeru when they're introduced, and asks Haiji if the latter is new. Haiji then informs Prince that Kakeru's already been here for two weeks. That's right, a full fortnight passed between Kakeru's arrival and the party without the two of them even being aware of each other's existence.
  • Scenery Censor: The boys are often shown bathing or about to bath so their private parts are usually hidden by the scenery in some way. For example, when Musa is fresh out of the bath and offers a handshake to Kakeru, the camera pans down to his extended hand which conveniently covers his crotch area in the shot, and in the next scene a tap covers it up.
  • The Scream: In Episode 12, the titular painting is parodied twice by members. First is when the twins find out the "moist air" they're feeling is actually Prince's vomit (they're being driven in a van and have their heads out the windows), which they respond to with the pose and horrified screeching. The second time is when the team is looking for Musa and Shindo at night time, and what they think are bears come rushing at them—cue the terrified poses and yelling from every member minus Haiji, as the "bears" (actually Musa and Shindo) zoom past them and crash into the van.
  • Setting Update: The novel was published 2006. In contrast, the anime adaptation takes place in 2018-9, so the use of modern technology is incorporated into the story, such as mobile phones and the creation of their internet homepage.
  • Ship Tease: The twins' fondness for Hanako aside, the novel and anime likes to play with the idea of her liking at least one of them, as seen by how frequently she hangs out with them and blushes when near them. She does have a crush on someone, but who it is is never revealed since Musa is sworn to secrecy when she tells him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title of Episode 6 is The Emperor's New Clothes.
    • In Episode 7, Prince compares Nico-chan's wired-up cigarette box (as part of his efforts to quit smoking) to Rikishi of Tomorrow's Joe, since he gave up water for his fight in the story.
    • In Episode 10, when discussing a temporary captain while Haiji's recovering from his collapse, Yuki declines with a "but I refuse!" (daga kotowaru!). Prince is thrown off since that phrase is famously said by JoJo's Bizarre Adventure's Rohan Kishibe. When the others are confused, he repeats the phrase and makes the exact same face as Rohan.
    • In Episode 19, when trying to liken himself to a hero of a sports story, Prince rattles off all the names of famous sports manga protagonists—Joe of Tomorrow's Joe, Hanamichi of Slam Dunk, Ippo of Hajime no Ippo, Sakamichi of Yowamushi Pedal, Sango Jugo of Judo-bu Monogatari, Hinata of Haikyuu!!, Yawara of Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl, Sena of Eyeshield21, Goro of Major, Tsubasa of Captain Tsubasa, and Ryoma of The Prince of Tennis. Their silhouettes can even been seen in the background.
  • Sibling Triangle: Both twins take a liking to Hanako, who gets along with them well. Musa takes an interest in this potential love triangle and points it out to Kakeru. This becomes a minor focus during the Hakone Ekiden race when Jota sees her cheering for him during his section and concludes she likes him, and he tells Joji this when he passes him the sash. This initially throws off Joji during his section as realizes he likes Hanako, and this catches the attention of the other members. Joji is only able to get back on track when Kakeru (via the coach) tells him to run for her sake. In the epilogue, it appears both twins are aware of each other's feelings for Hanako but have made a deal to not pursue her for the timebeing.
  • Sick Episode: Haiji collapses from overworking and is left bedridden for half of Episode 10, leaving the team to train themselves (under Kakeru's supervision) and cook for themselves (which ends terribly since 1) none of the guys can cook and 2) when Hanako does offer to cook for them, it sends most of them to Potty Failure and Color Failure).
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Official Japanese media/goods seem indecisive on whether the official romanisation for Musa's surname should be Camara or Kamara. Crunchyroll's translation uses the latter.
  • Spoiler Opening: In the last couple of seconds of both openings (especially the second one), the setting of the scenes makes it easy to infer that Kansei University do successfully qualify for Hakone Ekiden.
  • Team Hand-Stack: Haiji initiates a hand stack for the members to do before their races while shouting, "The mountains of Hakone are—the steepest in the world." The others are reluctant at first, but eventually come to do it with full enthusiasm.
  • Tears of Joy: Crying out of happiness often comes up. In particular, a couple of the members of the Kansei team show happy tears when their team qualifies for Hakone Ekiden. And everyone, from the team (Prince included) to the coach are crying out of joy when Haiji completes Kansei's run in Hakone and secures their seeded position.
  • Too Good to Be True: The Kansei University Dorm is relatively favorable, except for that one detail about having to join the track team which Haiji conveniently does not mention until it's practically too late for anyone to turn back.
  • Training Montage: Montages of the team training are sometimes used, though they're not usually done for epic build-up and instead have more of a slice-of-life vibe.
  • Translation Convention: Despite Musa being a Tanzanian student, his inner monologue in Episode 19 is said in Japanese presumably for the audience's benefit.
  • Tyop on the Cover: Shindo organises t-shirts for the team to wear to promote their Hakone goal, with each shirt having the same handwritten message on it. However, Musa (who's a non-native Japanese speaker) forgets the last kanji character for Hakone Ekiden (箱根駅伝) when writing King's t-shirt, so his says he wants to aim for Hakone Station (箱根駅). Musa and King feel embarrassed, but everyone else finds it hilarious.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: A theme that often comes up. In Episode 16, the completely new Kansei track team, where only two of the members are experienced runners, was the last team everyone thought would qualify for Hakone. At the end of the series, this is averted at Hakone itself, even though it's the norm in sports series for the protagonists to win or be runner-ups. Despite Kakeru and Haiji's talents and the rest of the team making remarkable progress, their lack of experience and overall skills compared to the other teams (as well as other unforeseen factors) come into play and they barely make it to the Top 10 to earn their seeded position. Getting this seeded position however is a great result for the team and still considered an underdog result by everyone, who is shocked by a new team coming out of nowhere, let alone making a comeback from 20th place.
  • Unreadable Disclaimer: What Haiji's snare for the other club members relied on. The small writing indicating it's specifically the track dorm was so dirty no one bothered to read it when they moved in, and Haiji reveals the truth only when it is too late. Yuki is dumbfounded that not even Nico-chan (who's been at the dorm longer than Haiji) noticed.
  • The Unreveal: One question really bugs most of the team in the anime epilogue, which goes unanswered. They want to know which of the twins Hanako likes, and during Hakone they make Musa go and ask her in private. The flashback of this moment doesn't reveal her answer, and when asked about it in the epilogue he says it's a secret between her and himself. Cue the disgruntled members comically throttling Musa.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Prince (the least athletic member of the team) is frequently shown puking, sometimes from motion sickness (no thanks to Haiji's reckless driving) and sometimes from exhaustion like in Episode 16. However, the puke is usually not colored in and looks quite watery.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Kakeru notices that Prince's form (which is hilariously disastrous at first) already looks a little better when he's reading manga on the treadmill (his back straighter and he faces forward to read instead of downward like he usually does in races). Kakeru thus uses manga to help hone Prince's running, by holding the manga up for him to read while he runs and making him hold the books in his hands while running (mimicking running to his room to read them) to fix his arm positioning. Although more needs to be done to whip him into shape for Hakone itself, this does help Prince to cut down his track meet time significantly.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Episode 9 ends on a particularly stressful cliffhanger, with Haiji suddenly collapsing on the floor while cooking dinner just as Kakeru's expressing his doubts about the team's chances of Hakone.
    • Episode 16 gives the suspenseful shot of Kansei University being revealed as the 10th qualifying team for Hakone.
    • Episode 18, just as Hakone is starting, ends with Shindo collapsing at the dorm while visibly unwell with Yuki trying to escort him.
    • In Episode 23, emphasis is put on two particular results: Kakeru's time for his Hakone section, which has broken not only the record but also beat The Ace Fujioka's time; and Kansei's overall result in Hakone, which got them a seeded position at 10th place.
  • Working Through the Cold: A tragic example in Episode 20. Shindo is struck with a bad cold, but he refuses to withdraw from his Hakone race as it would mean Kansei having to drop out altogether. He astonishingly manages to finish his section before collapsing, but his poor form leads to him being outrun by other competitors and the team falls to 20th place after Day 1.
  • You Are Not Alone: A recurring theme is that running in a track team means no one is alone—everyone is running together. This is particularly something Kakeru struggles to come to terms with at first, thanks to his unfortunate history with his high school team. This is also the title of Episode 14, where the support for Prince from the team is emphasised and gives him the push to achieve an official record on his final attempt.
  • You Owe Me: In the anime when the team is reluctant to join the track team, Haiji chats up Musa's part-time work boss, and it's revealed he was the one who recommended Musa to her. As Haiji converses with her, he not-so-subtly hints at Musa that the latter owes him, pressuring him to join out of obligation.