Wind Breaker Volumes 2 and 3 Review

Wind Breaker’s anime has begun! Brought to life by CloverWorks, the adaptation has got off to a truly excellent start and with so much excitement around the series right now what better time to return to the original manga? With two volumes in hand, let’s discover what’s in store for the cast! 

Here in Volume 2, we find Haruka starting to settle into being a member of Bofurin. He might still want to battle his way to the top of the school, but gradually he’s learning to open up and accept the camaraderie of those around him. But that doesn’t mean Haruka won’t find himself in plenty of trouble and, sure enough, while on a routine patrol of the neighbourhood, Haruka, Hayato, Kyotaro, Akihiko and Toma come upon a junior high student being pursued by a rival gang: Shishitoren. 

Bofurin and Shishitoren’s turf is separated by overhead train tracks, but our protagonist can’t stand by and see a young boy get hurt, so he and Kyotaro step in to clobber the members of Shishitoren and protect the student from harm. But in doing so they’ve crossed onto the rivals’ turf, breaking the agreement that neither side would interfere with the other. 

Ultimately, Shishitoren challenges Bofurin to a set of 1-on-1 matches to settle the score but Toma is less than thrilled about having to report all this to Bofurin’s leader Hajime Umemiya. All the same, he leads the group up to the top of the school, where Haruka finally comes face-to-face with Hajime for the first time. Haruka has heard nothing but praise for the group’s beloved leader and Kyotaro is particularly devoted to him, but when they find him gardening and cheerfully talking about the vegetables he’s growing, our protagonist feels underwhelmed. How can someone so carefree lead a group like Bofurin and have earned such respect? 

As it turns out, Umemiya is perfectly laid back unless Bofurin or the residents of the town are under threat. As he and Haruka’s group head to an abandoned theatre that serves as Shishitoren’s headquarters, there’s an ominous air surrounding their leader as he prepares himself to fight their opponent’s leader. But before the main event Kyotaro, Toma and Haruka have fights of their own to contend with! 

The back half of Volume 2 begins the fights, which continue into Volume 3. While these chapters give mangaka Satoru Nii the chance to show off with some fantastic action scenes, they also help develop Haruka and his teammates. It’s also interesting to see one of the rival gangs in the area and how their beliefs differ from those of our main cast. They don’t believe in having weaklings in their gang, only the strong survive and anyone else is kicked out and left by the wayside should they lose. This is something that neither Umemiya nor Haruka can support and only serves to anger them further as they see first-hand how Shishitoren treats their own. 

Shishitoren as a group is made up of the kind of stereotypical delinquent characters that you’d expect to find in a manga like this, but to Nii’s credit, the characters who partake in the fights against Bofurin have a surprising amount of depth. Toma’s opponent Sako even has a prior history with him, which showcases the strength of Nii’s storytelling since it doesn’t take long for you to grow attached even though we’re only seeing short snippets of their backstory during the fight. This aligns with Volume 1 where, sure, the action was a highlight but the emphasis was on Haruka’s feelings and here it’s on Toma’s

I also appreciate that Haruka is made to wait his turn in the fights, despite being our protagonist. Things kick off in Volume 2 with Kyotaro’s fight and then Toma’s which concludes at the beginning of Volume 3. Then Haruka finally takes the stage, having been made to wait and grown more and more frustrated with Shishitoren. But he’s facing off against the group’s second-in-command, who is a fearsome foe. The odds are stacked against him and unlike other similar shonen series, Haruka isn’t overpowered enough to be able to overcome this challenge easily. Watching him struggle is part of the fun and his fight is certainly worth the wait. 

The contest looks set to conclude in Volume 4 with Umemiya the only one left to take the stage. This feels about right in terms of pacing and I’m sure by then we’ll be eager to see the fallout and how it will affect both gangs going forward. Whatever happens, I’m certainly eager to see where things go from here, which I think is the most important thing. Wind Breaker is consistently engaging and enjoyable, delivering on what Volume 1 promised with its accomplished first outing. 

Wind Breaker Volume 2 and #3 come to the West thanks to Kodansha and continue to be translated by Jacqueline Fung with lettering with Michael Martin (Andrew Copeland for the eBooks). Both books read well with no errors and include plenty of extras in the form of sketches, character profiles and designs for various areas the members of the cast frequent, including the café and school. 

Volumes 4 and #5 of the series are already available in print with #6 set to follow in June. The much-anticipated anime adaptation is also currently airing as part of the Spring season and can be streamed on Crunchyroll. It’s well worth a watch if you’ve been enjoying the manga so far!

Overall, Wind Breaker’s second and third volumes follow up well on the impressive first release. There’s plenty to enjoy here as Satoru Nii introduces new characters, develops our existing cast and gives us some truly impressive action scenes. 

Our review copy from Kodansha was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK. 

9 / 10


When she's not watching anime, reading manga or reviewing, Demelza can generally be found exploring some kind of fantasy world and chasing her dreams of being a hero.

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