Took me a while to get to this episode but I’m really happy how it turned out. Many of the slice-of-life elements pile up in this episode making for less action but a lot more touchy-feely friendship building. The most intense moments of this episode are probably scheduled at the beginning which pick up from last episode with Rei and Rin’s confrontation.
Though Nagisa tries to cover for Rei, having skipped practice to go to Samezuka Academy, Haru’s somehow guessed that Rei went to see Rin. It’s nice to see a lot of the team building happening behind all the swimming and it makes me wonder if swimmers actually do this in reality.
Much of this episode is building up to the big finale swimming regionals that are coming up. I wonder if we’ll get to see the team go to nationals but probably not since there are only twelve episodes. Perhaps they’ll extend into season 2? The fangirls seem to go crazy for free (myself included at times). Though, I think the hype for Free has died down just a bit. The series started out strong but has died down a bit… not as much swimming and fanservice as I would have expected.
The big highlights of this episode must be between Haru and the other characters, where he starts to expresses gratitude to Mako and Nagisa as well as offers support to Rei (who seems to look up to him, d’awww). Also, we’re given shots of Rin’s time in Australia and how it changed him. Luckily in his second confrontation with Rei, he reveals that though he was at first fixated on beating Haru, his real reason for returning to Japan was because in Australia, he couldn’t swim the way he wanted to, it was lonely and he’d lost that initial drive. Swimming with Haru reminded him of old sentiments for the sport which is what led him to the Samezuka Swim Team.
Personally, I don’t think that twelve episodes given sufficient time to tell all the back-stories of each of the characters and I’d prefer it spanned out across at least two seasons. The story has been presented to us in large rather general chunks and doesn’t go into a whole lot of detail. I’d recommend this series largely because the animation is so stunning. The twist at the end of this episode was the line-up change for the relay team of Samezuka. The captain’s pretty perceptive, to have seen that Rin’s not at all concentrated on his team… but on something else. What do you think will happen next episode when the Iwatobi Swim Club finds out that they won’t be racing Rin?
If you guys haven’t checked out the extra Free! short special, definitely look that up! I hope you guys enjoyed this review and I can’t wait to write my final thoughts on Free this week!
What are you pondering today?