10 Anime Like Wind Breaker You Must See

Sakura in Wind Breaker

‘Wind Breaker’ is an anime series that follows Haruka Sakura as he arrives at the town of Makochi. A social outcast due to his appearance, he enrolls at Furin High, a school known for valuing strength over academics. Aiming to land the top spot in his class, Sakura struggles to connect with his peers due to his delinquent persona. However, his fighting skills draw Bofurin, a local crime-fighting group, to offer him a membership, as Sakura learns to fight for others.

Adapted from Satoru Nii’s action-adventure manga series of the same name, the series subtly explores the themes of social acceptance and personal growth. If you’ve thoroughly enjoyed the series and are searching for visually compelling anime that also features similar themes, you can explore these anime like ‘Wind Breaker.’

10. School Rumble (2004-2008)

Kenji Harima in School Rumble

Created by Jin Kobayashi, ‘School Rumble’ is a high-school rom-com anime that follows the lives of the students of Class 2-C at Yagami High School. After falling head-over-hills for Tenma Tsukamoto, Kenji Harima, the series’ male protagonist, struggles to balance his tough guy persona or confess his love. Meddling Harima’s plans to convey the anime’s central love triangle are the extensive, non-linear sub-plots that range from action-packed sports events to an all-students’ intra-class gun shootout.

Harima’s image often leads him to brawls against fellow delinquents, pirates, biker gangs, notorious manga artists, and martial artists. His persona only ever attracts the world he seeks to forget; it also fails to make his classmates understand his feelings and take him seriously. With friendship as its central theme, ‘School Rumble’ does not shy away from portraying serious subject matters, such as hiding one’s true self, fear of rejection, and overcoming past mistakes, all of which it shares with ‘Wind Breaker.’

9. 91 Days (2016)

‘91 Days’ is an action crime anime set during the 1930 United States Prohibition era where the Italian Mafia aids the market of brewed liquor. An original work of director Hiro Kaburagi, the story concerns Avilio Bruno’s quest for revenge against the mafia boss, Don Vanetti, who had his family mercilessly murdered. Seven years later, having grown into a cunning and vicious young man, Avilio successfully befriends Nero Vanetti, the son of Don, and infiltrates the organized crime scene.

As he attempts to conspire with rival families to achieve his goal, in 91 days, his plans begin to fall through, yielding dramatic consequences that lead to a never-ending cycle of murder and revenge. A bloody, violent saga, ‘91 Days’ explores themes of betrayal, loyalty, and the consequences of vengeance. Like ‘Wind Breaker’, the series depicts the compromises one has to make to keep getting closer to their goals, even though it may question their moral principles.

8. Bungo Stray Dogs (2016-)

‘Bungo Stray Dogs’ is an anime adaptation of writer Kafka Asagiri and illustrator Sango Harukawa’s manga series of the same name. The plot follows Atsushi Nakajima, an 18-year-old who, after getting kicked out of his orphanage, meets Osamu Dazai, a detective and former Mafia executive. Ash joins the Armed Detective Agency, a group of gifted individuals using supernatural abilities to solve cases. The anime also paints a picture of the lives of an orphanage and the children living there as they struggle with their pasts and seek a sense of belonging.

Sharing those traumas, Atsushi vows to become stronger to protect the weak. When he becomes the target of a criminal organization known as the Port Mafia, he plans a counter-attack, to prevent the mob from hiring orphaned children and forcing them to kill. While Atsushi’s determination and selfless nature may appear to be the polar opposite of Haruka Sakura’s tsundere traits, both characters fight by the same code: protecting the weak.

7. Great Teacher Onizuka (1999-2000)

Onizuka sensei in Great Teacher Onizuka

Also referred to by its acronym ‘GTO,’ this slice-of-life anime focuses on a 22-year-old ex-gang member, Eikichi Onizuka, as he realizes his dream to become a high-school teacher. A creation of writer-illustrator Tooru Fujisawa, the series features a string of shady characters to whom the sensei likewise teaches lessons. Providing humor and action to the plot, Onizuka tackles a jealous principal, stalkers, kidnappers, bullies, schemers, and many others as they try to salvage his career across its 43 episodes.

Onizuka progresses emotionally, foregoing the desire to get himself a high-school girlfriend. Much like Sakura, he, too, faces challenges in his new school due to his delinquent manners. As he overcomes his flaws, ‘Great Teacher Onizuka‘ teaches students and viewers important life lessons in various unorthodox ways. Like Bofurin which protects Makochi town, Onizuka, too, vows to rescue his students, who have been socially repressed.

6. Crows (1994)

Crows anime OVA

‘Crows’ is a set of two anime OVAs based on one of Hiroshi Takahashi’s many Yankī-based creations. The story follows the protagonist, Harumichi Bouya, as he enters Suzuran All-Boys High School. Renowned for its troublesome students, including the group of Hiromi Kirishima, the school constantly witnesses classroom brawls. Along with his peers, Bouya exhibits maturity through their confrontations with various gangs.

The OVAs explore fierce hierarchy and brutal fights, both in and outside their classroom, showcasing the characters’ experience of growing up and the complexities that follow it. Combining raw violence and nuanced coming-of-age themes— loyalty, friendship, and the struggle for dominance — ‘Crows,’ like ‘Wind Breaker,’ highlights a grittier side of adolescence and the perception of the high-schoolers who find fighting cool.

5. Gyakkyō Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor (2007-2011)

Kaiji anime series

The action anime follows Kaiji Itou, a down-on-his-luck gambler who gets involved in some high-stakes games to pay off his debts. Organized by the twisted minds of some of Tokyo’s richest, these games put his and hundreds of gamblers’ lives at risk for entertainment purposes. Determined to destroy the class hierarchy that sees him as nothing but trash, Kaiji pushes through treacherous situations, accepting intense psychological challenges.

Based on the classic manga series of Nobuyuki Fukumoto, often credited for advancing the gambling genre, ‘Kaiji’ prioritizes suspense over action while sewing the themes of greed, desperation, survival, and free will into its story. Like Sakura, Kaiji goes through the journey of redemption and learns to fight for more than just his own sake. He also overcomes the barrier of socio-economic status in society.

4. Banana Fish (2018)

‘Banana Fish’ narrates the story of Ash Lynx, a young gang leader in New York City, who becomes entangled in a conspiracy involving Banana Fish, a mysterious drug, that may have caused his brother to attack his own aircraft. As Ash attempts to investigate Banana Fish, looking for answers, he uncovers that his former boss, Dino Golzine, is directly involved in the racket. Declaring war on Golzine, Ash makes various allies as they battle against mobs and the government involved in the gritty underworld.

Adapted from Akimi Yoshida’s manga, ‘Banana Fish,’ the anime showcases betrayal and corruption amidst other harsh realities of urban life. Ash’s past experiences as a child prostitute and his complex BL relationships bring themes, such as trauma and mental well-being, into the show’s political atmosphere. Like Sakura from ‘Wind Breaker,’ Ash learns to cope with his past, in a manner, that also makes the world a better place.

3. Kyô kara Ore wa!! (1993-1997)

Translated as “Starting Today, It’s My Turn,” this classic anime OVA series is based on the manga series by Hiroyuki Nishimori. The anime revolves around the mischievous adventures of Takashi and Shinji, two transfer high school students. Fed up with boredom and unpopularity, they aspire to leave their ordinary lives behind and reinvent themselves as the greatest delinquents in the country.

Arriving at their new school, the duo sets their plans into motion; however, being inexperienced, most of their attempts at lawbreaking lead to unexpected and comedic scenarios. The series smartly divulges its mature themes and character development through the moral dilemmas that often confuse its protagonist duo. The anime’s portrayal of the youth’s obsession with delinquency strikingly resembles that of ‘Wind Breaker.’

2. Black Lagoon (2006)

Revy in Black Lagoon

A terrific mix of action, crime, and violent gun fights, ‘Black Lagoon’ is based on writer-illustrator Rei Hiroe’s manga series. Blending explosions, shootouts, and a perfect soundtrack, the anime follows Lagoon Company, a delivery service founded by modern-day pirates who work with crime syndicates. Presenting viewers with crisp-and-clean animations, the company consists of Rock, a former salesman, negotiator, and the eventual brain of the group, who was abducted by fellow members; Dutch, the leader; Revy, the supreme gunfighter; and Benny, the mechanic and researcher. Being a newcomer, Rock often feels disregarded by his gang members and struggles to descend into the crime world. Like ‘Wind Breaker,’ the first step towards overcoming his shortcomings arrives once he accepts his fate as a modern-day pirate.

1. Tokyo Revengers (2021-)

Tokyo Revengers

‘Tokyo Revengers’ is a time-travel action-drama that follows Takemichi Hanagaki, a timid 26-year-old without an aim or a real job. After he loses his girlfriend, Ayumi, amidst a gang war, Takemichi discovers he can travel back in time to his middle school days, and commences his transformative journey, readying himself to confront his past and find his place in a world filled with uncertainty and danger. Vowing to bring her back from the dead, the character embarks on a mission to rise within the delinquent world and take over the Tokyo Manji Gang.

An adaptation of a manga series by Ken Wakui, the series explores loyalty, redemption, sacrifice, and the consequences of one’s actions. As Takemichi refrains from giving up or backing down, his heroism makes him mature, adding to his emotional growth. Extending his mission to include more selfless causes, Takemichi begins preventing further deaths in the present. Similar to Sakura, Takemichi’s mission readies him to destroy an evil entity that feeds on the weak.

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