I’ve gotten back into sports manga and anime in a big way. And, yeah, most of my reasons aren’t very wholesome. I started with Yuri On Ice! so, that should give you an idea of how focused I was on the ‘sports’ aspect of a sports-centric storyline i.e. not at all. But I’ve started to appreciate the beauty of them, with how they showcase these individuals with a single-minded passion for something they work hard for. It’s why I picked up Windbreaker, despite not knowing how to ride a bike.
And honestly? So far, it’s worth the read. I did not expect much going into a webtoon that focuses on the one thing I failed at as a growing teenager but it’s surprising how complex Windbreaker is. From what I can see, it is a stellar entry into the sports genre, where a lot of manhwa and webtoons still haven’t ventured. Looking back, the most famous webtoons on the Line WebToon app are mostly romance forward with maybe some Shonen-esque sprinkled here and there.
But perhaps that is exactly why Windbreaker stands out from the crowd, despite being so criminally underrated. It’s a story of perseverance and heart, just one directed at passion rather than a love interest. And as someone whose sports genre enthusiasm begins at simping over Viktor Nikiforov and ends at drooling over the swim team in Free!, it says a lot about a webtoon that can keep me invested in its story like Windbreaker did without the fanservice.
And how does it achieve that? I mean, it has a lot of things going for it. Because it’s technically a Manhwa, the art and design definitely play a huge role. Alongside a roster of genuinely engaging characters, there is a story of freedom and passion that cycles its way into the reader’s heart. But is Windbreaker worth your time? Let’s discuss!
The Story So Far: A (Literal) Biker Gang?
The story starts pretty simply. Our protagonist is Jo Ja-Hyun, a second-year at Sunny High School, who has been on the student grind ever since he was a toddler. He’s been working hard at his studies, aiming to top in his class at every attempt. But that kind of pressure can get cloying, dragging a person down versus helping them rise.
It’s because of this pressure that he spares no time for anything but studying, becoming the student president of his high school. But effectively, he’s a loner with no skills to befriend anyone around him. But the diligent president hides a secret: He’s one hell of a biker!
And not just any old kind. Ja-Hyun is good enough to catch the eyes of others, those who are veterans in the hobby. One day Ja-Hyun is skidding his bike at top speed when he catches the eye of Yoon Min Woo, a classmate who happens to be part of a biking crew. Min Woo tries recruiting Ja-Hyun after seeing his skills but Ja-Hyun refuses.
But hey, If Ja-Hyun thinks he’s stubborn, Min Woo is on another level. He sees Ja-Hyun for what he is: A person who’s never really had the joy of sharing his passions with others and Min Woo is determined to change that. He decides to make a proposition—if Ja-Hyun manages to win against a member of Min Woo’s team in a race, they’ll let Ja-Hyun be. But if he loses, he’s joining the gang!
The Story Breakdown For Windbreaker
I’m going, to be honest; I didn’t expect much going into this. I know I’ve already reiterated this, but I can’t even ride a bike. Is that embarrassing? Maybe. But that speaks volumes about the writing skill of Yongseok Jo, the creator of Windbreaker.
I’m impressed with how the writer pulls you in from the get-go, making the reading experience very enjoyable. I mean, at no point did this story make me feel alienated and disjointed from the narrative created. It kept me engrossed the entire time. It’s very humor-forward, another thing I didn’t expect. The comedy just flows so naturally, with the banter between the characters being thoroughly engaging. And I think that’s what makes the entire webtoon so refreshing, making it the perfect light read.
And of course, then there is the art. Given it’s a manhwa-style webtoon, the art is gorgeous. It’s clean-cut, with dynamic visuals pouring through the panels. They immerse the reader in this high adrenaline environment of bike races and vibrant characters, which makes you want to keep reading more.
Is Windbreaker Worth Watching?
Even if you aren’t a fan of Shonen-style sports manga, I genuinely think Windbreaker is worth a try. It’s such an underrated gem and deserves way more accolades. It’s for those times when you’re feeling backed up by all the romance and just want some burnt-out kids letting loose through their mutual love of riding a bike.
And hey, maybe I’ll break out my bicycle from the shed! Though, I can’t promise any stunts. Perhaps I’ll leave that to the digital pages of Windbreaker.