Wind Breaker – Episode 9 “Umemiya’s Style” Recap & Review

Umemiya’s Style

Episode 9 of Wind Breaker continues the intense one-on-one between Umemiya and Choji. It soon becomes apparent that although Umemiya is fighting back, he is also intentionally absorbing Choji’s frenzied punches and kicks. “Huh? That’s weird. I’m landing all these hits,” says Choji. Umemiya replies, “Your fists have no weight. Do you know why? It’s because you’re not fighting for anything.”

Despite this, Choji continues to fight, landing punches non-stop. While they’re fiercely battling, Choji reiterates that he wants to be free. Umemiya asks what freedom means to him, and Choji replies that it’s when he’s having fun. When Umemiya finally corners him with his questions, Choji mentally gives up and begins punching Umemiya repeatedly in the face like a madman. To the audience’s astonishment, Umemiya doesn’t fight back. It’s when Choji bites Umemiya’s throat that Umemiya comforts him, saying, “It’s okay. There’s an answer within your heart,” and reminds him about the time Shishitoren and Bofurin had a dispute. Choji was surrounded by people and felt the happiest.

Umemiya stands up and headbutts Choji so he can recall his past memories. Choji’s story is finally revealed. The current version of Choji felt like he was walking alone in a desert, but in his past memories, he felt happiness and had the most fun with his teammates. He used to think that being at the top would make him freer and lead to having more fun, but he was wrong. As soon as he reached the top, he found himself all alone.

This is when Choji opens his eyes to Togame. Togame breaks down, apologizing to Choji for making him feel isolated. But Choji replies that it wasn’t Togame who led to his isolation, but Choji himself. He focused so much on the goal, like a treasure hunt, that when he reached the goal, it all felt empty. To make sense of his emptiness, he erroneously thought that the weakness of the team was an obstacle on his road to freedom. Choji finally comes to his senses and apologizes to Togame.

He gets up and offers Shishitoren to Umemiya since Umemiya had won, but Umemiya hilariously comments, “Huh? Hell no.” Umemiya proposes they be friends instead, to the shock of the audience.


The Episode Review

In this episode, we delve deeply into the character of Choji. Since the beginning of the show, Choji has been portrayed as a mystery, an enigma. However, this episode accurately depicts his psychological state through his fight with Umemiya. Along the way to achieving his goal of becoming the best, Choji lost everything he cherished—his friends and their companionship.

The anime beautifully portrays Choji’s journey through symbolism. His current state of mind is shown as either walking alone on barren land or standing on shaky ground that breaks with the lightest touch. The intensity of his psychological isolation becomes evident when Choji pulls out a few strands of his hair, screaming like a madman and lashing out uncontrollably at Umemiya. His character representation in this episode is marvellous. 

Wind Breaker continues shine with every episode. Despite being part of the action genre, the depth with which the anime handles its characters and plot is noteworthy. The execution of this depth, using allusions, analogies, and thoughtful dialogues, elevates and enriches the experience of each episode.

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