Wind Breaker episode 9 review: returning to the light and changing for the better

Umemiya helps Choji return to his happy self and Togame apologizes to his friend for not being there for him. Read more in our Wind Breaker episode 9 review.

wind breaker choji grey

The Wind Breaker episode 9 review

wind breaker choji in fight

After all the hype built up in the previous Wind Breaker episodes, it’s finally here: the battle between the leaders Choji and Umemiya. But instead of a knock-down, drag-out fight, Umemiya helps Choji understand why he is the way he is and aids him in going back to how he used to be.

Unlike the other fighters, Umemiya doesn’t seem to be putting much effort into fighting his opponent. Choji is landing plenty of hits on the Bofurin boss, to the point where his hands are partially covered with his own blood. Soon, Umemiya manages to anger Choji by pointing out he doesn’t seem to enjoy fighting him and that he pities the Shishitoren head honcho.

This drives Choji crazy and results in him wailing on Umemiya, who reminds him about an incident where the factions fought and Choji seemed much happier. Umemiya urges him to think about what is needed, both for himself and for being a leader, before headbutting Choji and knocking him out. The rest of the episode shows Choji’s past and how he was more innocent before he was the head of the gang, as well as why he changed once he was the top dog.

He becomes conscious again and after Togame and Choji apologize to each other for how things turned out, Choji attempts to integrate the Shishitoren into the Bofurin. Umemiya isn’t keen on the idea, reminding Choji that it was his idea that the winner got the loser’s faction. The Bofurin says that their two teams will remain friends and that the fights that took place were simply a get-together before ordering everyone to leave.

Regretting what should’ve been done, but wasn’t

A heavy portion of this week’s episode is focused on the internal issue plaguing Choji, i.e. wanting to be a strong leader so that he could be free. This ended up with Choji not knowing where to go next since he was already at the top, leading him to feel empty inside and not knowing what else he should do or aim for. Because of this, he took it out on the other Shishitoren members, saying they were weak and wanting them to become stronger so he could be free.

Togame also takes some of the blame, too. He apologizes to Choji, saying that he shouldn’t have followed the orders Choji gave him and that he should’ve stuck by his friend so they could find an answer together. Instead, Togame ended up isolating his friend from the others and others began to fear him. Sakura’s little speech about not changing who he was or ignoring someone’s actions from the last episode continues to affect him here and its inclusion here works well.

This exchange between the two of them stands out because of the visuals during this scene. Choji’s mind is portrayed as this dark, barren land with innumerable cracks in the ground. In certain moments, memories of happier times in Choji’s life appear in the cracked glass beneath his feet, with the glass lighting up. This perfectly represents the void that Choji is feeling within and that the key to his freedom and happiness lies within the happier version of himself he was in the past. The buzzing of electricity that is occasionally heard within Choji’s mind is also a good representation of his internal struggle and not knowing what he wants.

The episode also makes you feel for both Shishitoren members because of how apologetic the two of them are towards each other and that it was Choji’s fault things turned out the way they did. This, combined with the deep sorrow they feel regarding how things turned out, their voice acting, the tears they shed, and the aforementioned visuals, really sell the sadness these two feel.

It’s not all gloomy since Choji seems to have done a complete 180 and feels remorse for what he’s done to the point where he tries apologizing to Umemiya and getting him to take over the Shishitoren. He even looks like the younger version of himself in the happy flashbacks. The guy’s clearly changed for the better.

In these scenes, the highlights are when the glass beneath Choji shatters, once when he falls through the glass and becomes conscious again. The other moment is when he visualizes becoming a leader as going up to a treasure chest and opening it to discover nothing held within and in his anger, smashing it against the glass and creating shockwaves. Another great visual is when a childish drawing of a hill with the aforementioned chest on top is shown before it warps into the dark landscape within Choji. It’s a great way of showing how his mental state and personality changed once became the leader.

Biting won’t shut him up

As for the battle at the beginning of the episode, it contains what are probably the most painful attacks shown so far. Early on. Umemiya lands a devastating blow to the back of Choji’s head as the latter is slammed into the floor. There’s also the part where the Shishitoren member is driven mad and pounces on the Bofurin boss to deliver a flurry of blows. He soon follows it up by literally biting into Umemiya’s neck when the latter continues to help his opponent with his internal struggle and Choji wants him to stop talking. The last powerful attack is delivered when Umemiya headbutts Choji into unconsciousness.

All of these attacks end up drawing blood and the sound effects help in reinforcing just how painful these blows seem to be. In particular, the punch Umemiya lands on Choji’s head and the bite to the Bofurin’s neck are the standout attacks.

umemiya wind breaker

Given that Umemiya doesn’t attack that many times, the endurance he shows is beyond impressive, especially when he’s bitten and doesn’t scream out in pain. He also shows just how wise and understanding he can be towards someone even when they’re attacking him. It just goes to show that his talent lies within understanding others and their struggles, though his endurance and fighting prowess help him as well.

Regarding humor, there isn’t any except for when Umemiya appears slightly horrified when Choji tries to hand the Shishitoren to him and when Arima wonders what’s happening when the Bofurin decides the fights were a “get-together.” Too many jokes wouldn’t have worked for a serious topic like Choji’s internal struggle, but since this moment arrives at the episode’s conclusion, it leaves things off on a good note.

Though Wind Breaker episode 9’s runtime is taken up mostly by Choji’s changing, it’s still compelling to see him change from the dark version of himself he was near the beginning of the series. There may not have been much action, but what was shown was brutal and will no doubt result in you exclaiming expletives at how painful they look.

Final score: 9/10

Wind Breaker can be streamed through Crunchyroll.

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