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Wind Breaker Manga Series Review


Volume One Cover Art Wind Breaker which depicts Haruka Sakura putting on his school uniform

Publisher Summary


Haruka Sakura wants nothing to do with weaklings—he’s only interested in the strongest of the strong. He’s just started at Furin High School, a school of degenerates known only for their brawling strength—strength they use to protect their town from anyone who wishes it ill. But Haruka’s not interested in being a hero or being part of any sort of team—he just wants to fight his way to the top!


I purchased Volumes 1-3 of Wind Breaker personally with my own funds for the intent of writing this review.


(Note: The views and Opinions expressed here are those of MangaAlerts. These do not reflect the official position of BehindTheManga)

 

Background


Kodansha's Wind Breaker comes from writer and illustrator Satoru Nii (にいさとる). The series was serialized in Kodansha Japan's Magazine Pocket in January 2021 before making it's English Debut via digital release April 2022 through Kodansha Digital. The series then received a physical print release in English speaking territories August 2023 through Kodansha USA.


Before writing Wind Breaker, Satoru worked on the sports series Danshi Badminton-bu ni Joshi ga Magireteru: Secret Badminton Club which currently does not have an English release as of writing this


 

The Review

Haruka Sakura walking down Makochi Town- Tonpu Market Street

Our story begins with an opening shot of main protagonist Haruka Sakura walking into Tonpu Market Street with one goal in mind: becoming the top of Furin High School by fighting the strongest delinquents he can find. While scoping out Makochi Town, he comes across a gang of delinquents harassing one of the townsfolk. Enraged by this, Haruka springs into action with an off-screen beating down. When the dust settles, it's revealed that the townsfolk who was targeted is restaurant owner Kotoha Tachibana. In most cases, most people would freak out at the site of witnessing a street brawl; however, Haruka notices that Kotoha is unfazed by what transpired. After settling down with a plate of omelet rice, Kotoha explains that Makochi town has lots of gangs breaking out into fights. She adds that it's become so unsafe, the townsfolk don't even venture outside anymore. We then cut to a short but sweet moment in which Haruka returns a misplaced birthday present to one of of the restaurant's customers. When Haruka walks outside, he runs into the same group of delinquents he pummeled earlier but this time with backup. Haruka initially takes on the gang by himself, but suddenly another delinquent wearing the same Furin uniform shows up last minute. He loudly proclaims "You understand what doing this shit let gets you, right?" The scene switches to an all-out brawl as Haruka looks at each of Furin students taking on someone from the rival gang. But like before, he notices that something is off about this encounter: instead of cowering with fear, the townsfolk are actively cheering on the Furin uniformed delinquents to push out the rival gang. When the fight ends, Haruka reassures himself that he's found the right place to achieve his goal of , becoming the top of Furin High School by fighting the strongest fighters he can find, and the chapter ends with our first look into the world of Windbreaker.


A furin high school student standing infront of the school menacingly saying "it's time to welcome the first year newbies again"

The first immediate comparison people are going to make about this manga (which surprisingly is also present in it's own promotional material) is Seven Sea's Tokyo Revengers which reads as follows


An adrenaline-filled manga set in a high school for delinquents who are now heroes protecting their town. A fierce, new student arrives at the school determined to fight his way to the top and become the strongest of them all. This edgy, action-packed manga is guaranteed to excite fans of Tokyo Revengers and other stories about high school delinquents


With that said, I went into this manga with low expectations. But honestly? Wind Breaker was able to stand on a league of it's own by striking a balance between it's high octane fight sequences backed with an engaging & gripping narrative to leave the reader with a sense of emotional impact throughout each of the fights the manga presents.


Characters:


As mention before in the introduction, the main protagonist Haruka Sakura walking into Tonpu Market Street with one goal in mind: becoming the top of Furin High School by fighting the strongest. But what's interesting is that when compared to other titles with similar character motivations such as I want to be strongest, be the number one hero, etc. Wind Breaker choses to tackle loneliness as it's motivation. and as said by Haruka himself


This method of storytelling helps give thee reader a sense of relatability to each of the characters Wind Breaker introduces in later chapters. While some of them might be "cornier" than others, everyone in Wind Breaker feels grounded & authentic and as I was reading each of the character sheets makes me want to know them more.



One of my personal favorites is the third-year student and leader of Bofurin, Hajime Umemiya. We're first introduced to this character when he forgets what he's going to say during the morning announcements. What transpires next is honestly one of the more comedic moments of the story where he says, Enjoy your youth, go to the beach or the mountains! But I'm more of a beach guy myself.


But as the story progresses onward, we see how, while Hajime Umemiya is just a third-year high schooler, he can step up to the plate when needed, and his leadership skills really make him a step above the other leaders we encounter in the story and give a sense of "comfort" and "acceptance" that the environment




Art:

Haruka Sakura performing a high flying kick to another furin highschooler in the face while shouting "It's so damn cool!"

The choreography & paneling of the fights go hand-in hand to create engaging fights. From the initial street brawl we're shown in the beginning to a high intensity tournament later on in the story. Wind Breaker does something I haven't seen since Naruto: It was able to strike the right balance of engaging fights with an engaging emotion behind those involved in the fights it highlights. Hajime explains in a conversation with Haruka "Fighting is a still a type of communication, Sakura-kun. Sometimes, Fists are a language that allows you to understand your opponent better than words"


Here's a few of my favorites without getting into spoiler territory



 

Final Thoughts


The story Satoru Nii presented here truly surprised me.


I came into this manga expecting another delinquent story, But I walked away with an impactful narrative that asks the reader how do you protect what's important to you & what it means through it's language of fists in the world of Wind Breaker


Verdict: Buy It


Wind Breaker Volume 1 from Kodansha is now available at Retailers

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