It’s SWIMMINGLICIOUS TIME~
We are all gathered here today for one of the most anticipated shows of Summer. Be ready for hatin’ and lovin’ both, which is a clear sign of a popular series and this is going to be one. Heck, who am I kidding? It already is! Now we have joined our forces for the first impressions but following the coverage of the series, we will be doing something interesting for the first time: one show and different meta writers covering it on different weeks to add a different spin of coverage. Hope you enjoy!
Hello! Yes, I’m joining everyone on this interesting first impressions post for FREE! which I wasn’t really sure on but whatever it is always good to try something new right? So what can we expect from the same people that brought us Hyouka, Chu2koi and Tamako Market? Honestly I have no idea aside from the fact that KyoAni will animate the hell out of everything in this series.
There’s not much to say about Free! that isn’t already common knowledge. It’s been getting a lot of attention for its shameless fanservice of the male variety, which is a true rarity. Anime is a medium dedicated to its own rules of boob physiques and panty shots every 3 seconds, so this is a nice change!
|So I’m not interested in this for the BL whatsoever (I doubt any of you believe me though), but for the KyoAni and actual plot. …Okay, and maybe for the megane character too (tch, he didn’t appear this episode, you have no idea how disappointed I am).|
First off, I have some mad respect for KyoAni, who decided to give fangirls what they desperately wanted despite their usual moe, slice of life shows. I hope they make as much money as they can with this (hurr). Anyway, Free! has turned out to be what I expected and more; not that it’s a bad thing! I think I may have enjoyed it much more than I originally thought I would…~
As soon as I heard that Free! Already aired, I knew I had to jump at the chance of fangirling about it. A bunch of guys swimming together? Which yaoi fangirl wouldn’t fangirl over this? I’m expecting lots of fanservice from this anime, since KyoAni is good at doing that. At least that’s what I heard.
OOPS THEY DID IT AGAIN!
Well, KyoAni did it to please the fangirls rather than fanboys, who they have been engaging since they revitalized moe with Haruhi franchise. Twin-tails and bunny ears were THE thing then and even when they have never forgotten their roots of pleasing majority of fanbase. However, females have turned out to be copious consumers as well and when the piece of pie gets bigger on profit, like any other mainstream studio, KyoAni came a knockin’ on the doors of many happy fangirls. Like any of their production, the animation is beautiful and motion is fluid. Of course, the cuteness and amazing ab cuts are quite a contrast but nothing is non-proportional and everything still ends up making anime sense. The Director of Chu2koi returns with this project and music to-date is pretty catchy (Interestingly the dude looking after Music is also responsible for Prisma Illya and Kakeru Taiyou this season). What I was most impressed about was the catchy theme songs. The opening “Rage on” is performed by OLDCODEX, Tatsuhisa Suzuki’s band (he voiced Makoto, you might also know him from Haru of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun). Better yet, the Arabian nights/Magi themed ending, “SPLASH FREE” was performed by the entire male main cast (Nobunaga Shimazaki, Tatsuhisa Suzuki. Mamoru Miyano, Tsubasa Yonaga and Daisuke Hirakawa) under STYLE FIVE. HHNNG.
The line-up looks amazing so did it really live up to it? It’s the first episode people, and we don’t want to judge a book by it’s cover. It was all about the character introduction and a glimpse of some plot along with lots of skin show. But I hope you were not really looking for something deep, if you know what I mean when you signed up to check this out. It seems that all these girly-named boys have one thing in common, their elementary school swimming club. Though, if at one side Haru is all about freestyling and no competition, we have Rin at the other end, fully passionate about competitive swimming. Their faceoff is pretty imminent but expect some fish parties at Haru’s place and school festival in the middle as the story goes on. Also, the megane-kun is still at large.
THE FREE CAST!
Nanase Haruka – Haru takes his clothing off a lot (which I am totally on board with), and he has interesting views on life. Or at least, I can totally see his logic behind people becoming ‘normal’ at age 20 since society likes to raise such a fuss about any child who’s really good at doing something and once you hit adulthood, it just kind of becomes expected. Though 20 still seems pretty young, so maybe that’s just a bit of naivety on Haruka’s part. Anyways, Haru seems pretty emotionless, but he gets those puppy eyes when people mention water and he apparently never takes his swimsuit off, so I guess the guy REALLY likes swimming. It kind of makes you wonder why he stopped, though I guess the plot kind of covered that already. So moe points, check. Personality? Er, he seems a little one dimensional at the moment, but really, all of the characters do. Haruka seems to be the main character of sorts, so hopefully he gets some kind of development at least… Or if not, I’m sure the fact that he seems to take his clothing off every 10 minutes or so will distract me from that.
Tachibana Makoto – I fell in love with Makoto as soon as he started speaking during the drool-worthy shota flashback. Of course, the love grew bigger as the episode passed by. Everything about Makoto is perfect. Physically, he is a tall brown-haired guy with a gentle and kind face. Kind and gentle he is, but the two won’t be there without the timid personality of his. It is obvious from his facial expressions and voice that Makoto has the weakest personality out of the three (soon-to-be-four) guys in Iwatobi high school. I love his timid personality though, since that gives him room to develop as the anime progresses, and character development is what I seek the most in every series I follow. Besides, Makoto has good points that make him likable as a character. Who wouldn’t like a character that is loyal to his best friend, in Makoto’s case, Haruka?
Makes him shippable to Haruka the most too. Makoto might be timid but I am sure he will become an extraordinary character, and I am looking forward to his development.
Hazuki Nagisa – Imagine an eager puppy wagging its tail and begging you to play with it. Congratulations, you have just pictured the canine version of Nagisa. He’s got boundless energy and positivity – all of which is used to get his more stubborn friends moving with various exciting plans. He thinks up the crazy ideas and hypes everything up while Makoto does all the careful persuasion. Nagisa is responsible for being the spark to start the fires. I doubt either of his friends would have went sneaking around pools at night if he hadn’t pushed it on them. Considering how rude and uptight some of the other characters are, it’s nice to have a party animal like Nagisa who knows how to let loose. Also, just look at how cute he is. Look!
Matsuoka Rin – Shark Teeth aka Mamoru Miyano playing another baddie. He does them well (who can forget Yagami Light?). Still, Rin’s moe-fang turning into shark teeth in a course of a few years make me raise the question: what the hell happened in OoSTRAILIA (Immigration peeps, I swear this is not me making fun of the country rather the funny pronunciation). From whatever we have glimpsed, it seems Rin was a friendly fellow who loved swimming just like Haru except for the freestyling and competitive difference. Their swimming shenanigans were Generation of Miracle level awesome in elementary timeline. However, the time apart from his friends has changed him into a power hungry, competitive beast. Though, rather than seeing him as the bad guy, I’ll dub him catalyst of awakening a dozing Haru, which would make him feel awesome about swimming again..,. I meant he has to come out of sloshing in his bathtub… The whole challenge stance, reminds of Taichi and Chihaya goading Arata to goddamn play again. Rin will be the strong opponent that Haru has to not only challenge but defeat to prove his point about free swimming for life.
Matsuoka Gou, Hanamura Chigusa & Amakata Miho – Surprise! There are girls in this series even though the dudes will be taking center stage with their swimsuits, but as it stands we only have three girls running around with a cute teacher character named Miho and Rin’s little sister Gou along with her friend Chigusa. Yes this series has an imouto character who is really worried about her brother and I guess that could label her as a possible bro-con? I just hope she is not super crazy for him, but I assume her role in Free is to convince her brother to join his old swimming friends once again! That could work for me or maybe she will develop a crush for one of the main guys like Nagisa? I noticed she kind of looked at him funny after he ran into her; however, that might be me stretching things a bit far but who knows anything is possible. So what are your thoughts on the random female characters of Free? Are they around to keep the males watching in hopes that they will play a bigger role later on or none of the above?
THE VERDICT: YES HOMO!
There isn’t a lot of substance in Free! but it certainly knows how to act like it’s the most amazing show in the world. It’s a bit of a bland story with average to mildly irritating characters acting it out. The main character is so abnormal that I wouldn’t be surprised if they reveal he has a mild form of autism and water is the only thing that soothes him. I know his love of water is supposed to be a joke, but sitting in the bath tub that much combined with his limited speech make me wonder if there’s legitimately something wrong with him. Rin is just an asshole, and the others are just okay so far. A show where not much happens other than idle chit-chat and the occasional competition needs strong characters, and I’m worried that might be missing.
Now onto how this show manages to carry the confidence of an “anime of the year” title despite lacking many compelling elements. Instead of having a good story, it has dubstep and rap. It has abs. It has tight asses with water dripping off them. It gratuitously zooms in on all the right places of these boys who seem so enraged by the concept of clothing that their shirts fly off (dramatically too!) whenever they’re within a mile radius of any body of water. It even has sexy animation to back up those sexy bodies.
Truly, Free! knows how to distract you from the fact there’s not much there by hyping everything up with music and showing you pretty pictures of topless boys. It works remarkably well. I’m falling prey to the fanservice and enjoying the show despite how empty it really is. I think this show could have every female otaku hooked if played right. The bromance is only there if you squint, but it’s enough to attract fujoshi. There are also some important female characters, so anyone wanting a straight pairing to ship has all the opportunities in the world. I’ll be really curious to see how this show fares with a male audience, who I assume will mostly watch this “for the lulz.” I’m just so content staring at butts while funky music plays that I honestly don’t care what this show is about. *contented sigh*
I enjoyed every second of Free! There is no way I wouldn’t enjoy it. The details of the male characters are great. Every muscle is animated with great detail, and god that makes every second of my drooling at the characters worth it. The swimming trunks too OH MY, lovin’ the realistic depiction of the swimming trunks (it’s actually the bulges I love). I appreciate all the details KyoAni did on the characters. This includes the personalities of the characters, of course. Each character is, um, unique in their own way. I’m actually not a fan of anime stereotypes, but their characters make it perfect for them to be shipped with each other NNNGGGHHHH. Seriously, everything about this anime is yaoi. All you fujoshi who don’t see this as a yaoi anime, I need to have some serious talk with all of you.
I have to admit, aside from the fabulous hair-flipping, weirdly intense love for water, and the nippleless-but-ridiculously-
THE VERDICT: NO HOMO!
Well, this episode was certainly something interesting! While I am not the biggest sports fan out there in both anime and real life I guess this could be a fun series to watch if they manage to stay on course with the sports theme. But whatever they decide to do with this project is fine by me at least we all know that Free will look amaaazing. Out of all the main characters so far who do you like the most? I liked watching Nagisa and Makoto because I think they will become the comedic duo of Free! Also for the K-On fans out there I think Makoto will be the Mio of the group while Nagisa is more of the Yui or maybe he will become a Ritsu type? Besides the odd characters I loved the opening song and you can expect more Free on Metanorn!
Damn, KyoAni+swimming=awesome. Even if this were a story about a bunch of females swimming, that doesn’t change the fact that the water scenes would all look really nice. KyoAni doing something predominantly around male characters is a bonus. Yay fanservice. …Though with that, I don’t know if I just don’t read enough BL or what, but I didn’t see any signs of the fujoshipocolyse or whatever everyone was so worried about this becoming (some of the comments of “ewwww female characters!” I’ve seen floating around probably isn’t helping my case). Seriously, I saw little to no hints of BL. Hell, I’ve seen more hints in otome game adaptations and those are meant to revolve around hetero pairings. The characters all came off as just being friends instead of friends with benefits to me and this was more like any other sports story. Well, any other sports story, just with the guys all having some sort of moe point to their character (I’m looking at you, hetare tall guy and shota). But that’s just pandering to the female audience and not just necessarily just fujoshi. I don’t know if this makes things better or not, but I really don’t see this ruining the industry or anything stupid like that. Oh, I’m not saying that this was a perfect episode either though. My only complaint really is that story was a little slow this episode, but they did okay with setting up the character relationships, so I’ll be sticking around to see where this story is going. …I’m kind of hoping for more swimming as opposed to cute boys doing cute things, but really I’d be fine with either to be honest.
I would only laugh at people who will say, I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS AT ALL. From whatever we saw in the trailers, we got it manifold in the first episode. Just look at all the pretty water and hawt bishies. Actually, I should explain that even the NO side doesn’t hate this series.
We tricked you in reading all of this! We have said NO for different reasons like we-can’t-see-gay-swimming-and-please-come-up-with-a-better-pun or nope-this-was-not-the-best-first-episode-ever. However, none of us will be dropping this because well, it’s the beginning and things haven’t even really started yet. Like where is my blue-haired megane-kun, huh?! He has to appear, not to mention the blood-boiling start of the Iwatobi Swimming Club. The shiny eyes of Haru are a great hint of that happening, which will come with a dose full of bishie and swimming trunks service as this series progresses.
Minus the weak plot, I can’t find any faults with Free! It most probably will end up being an entertaining series with well-animated bishies (fangirls say AYE on bad animation of most of the bishie-bait we have been getting for the last few years). Point to note, 2012~13 has been unique in a sense that more fujoshi-bait shows are releasing (K, Guilty Crown, Kuroko no Basket), and studios are actually making money out of it. I can only say amen to that and please more eye-candies for us. Because hey, after a long day, this is one of those things that keep us girls, happy, you see? ~_^
It’s going to be a surprise every episode on who will cover it on Metanorn and how! Ja ne~