First Impressions – Free!

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.

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OOPS THEY DID IT AGAIN!

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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!

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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?

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BONUS MATERIAL!

Show ▼

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THE VERDICT: YES HOMO!

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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-chiseled high school boys, it’s actually a pretty enjoyable show, which is what I expected from KyoAni. Their shows hardly strive to be overly-extravagant plot wise, but their slice-of-life charm and characters (and of course great animation) always manage to keep me interested. Of course Free! has that and more to keep me hooked. Anyway, Nagisa and Mikoto are what made the episode most enjoyable for me. Haruka’s and Rin’s overly-intense rivalry that’s somehow lasted all these years turns me off a lot, and really just leaves me laughing with tears in my eyes more than anything. The other two, who so far have been taking things quite lightly (and more rationally), are much more fun to watch. Their light-heartedness and comedic interactions are what appeal to me the most. I enjoy Mikoto’s character a lot actually; I simply like the motherly types.  

Of course under all this ~fierce swimming~ there’s that glorious subtext that’s got me shipping the male characters already (though I’m still figuring out who to ship with all my heart). As for what seems to be the only main female character in this show, I’m interested in seeing how Rin’s sister will play out in this boy fest. Most likely she’ll become their friends and/or someone’s love interest, as well as some catalyst for drama in the show. It’s something that I am seriously hoping for because what would make this ~intense~ swimming anime better than some good ol’ romance drama? Free! is definitely going to be my guilty pleasure this summer, and my friends have already started judging me for even giving this show a thought. But I say yes to Free! It’s not every season we fangirls get the chance to ravel in some nice fanservice. So I will embrace all the ridiculous aspects and enjoy what I can! Plus, shipping is fun whether there is gay subtext or not, so why not?~

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THE VERDICT: NO HOMO!

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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? ~_^

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It’s going to be a surprise every episode on who will cover it on Metanorn and how! Ja ne~

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We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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114 Responses to “First Impressions – Free!”

  1. Restia says:

    Oh yes, Freeeeee XD
    oh my gosh, 6 people hahaha

    I-I don’t watch Free for the sexy bishies….I watch it for that water!! Such good water animation! Oh man, it’s so fluid and beautiful!

    I Doobstap in Free. WUBWUBWUB GLUBGLUBGLUB

    Haru x Pool = OTP

    Haruka genderbend full of win

    • Namika says:

      Bitch please! 😀
      Haruka x Rin = OTP

      • BlackBriar says:

        Nice! Let the fujoshi craze begin. Pace yourself or you’ll wear yourself out too quickly. 😉

        • Namika says:

          Don’t worry, there’s plenty of fujoshi energy in my shameless soul 😀

          • BlackBriar says:

            I’m sure you’ve been storing it up a long time for this.

    • Foshizzel says:

      Yep! The 6 of us are going to have a fun time with this series so expect some interesting posts in the future!

      True all the sexy bishies bring out all the fangirls.

      DUBSTEP FTW

      Best shipping~

      I have that picture saved somewhere its amazing!

    • Kyokai says:

      That genderbent picture reminds me of SNAFU’s Yukinon.

    • DarkMemory says:

      Makoto is a better partner to Haru u.u Rin doesn’t desurve him, nigasawa is too young and rei… well I don’t know him so I can’t lend haru to him

  2. Restia says:

    I got caught up in random stuff that I forgot to type my thoughts on Free lol

    It was definitely overhyped, I have to at least say that. I was expecting a bit more yaoi bait, but it was pretty alright, except for Haru & pools lol

    It wasn’t bad, but not stellar. I was kind of hoping Rin would swim on the same team, but being a rival isn’t bad either. I believe I’ve brought it up before somewhere else, but I’ve watched yaoi with like 5 other guys and 3 fujoshis on Skype before. I feel similar to what I was feeling at that time when I watched Free. It wasn’t as revealing as we thought it would be, so it made it more awkward XD (they said they showed us a “mild” yaoi anime, so it wasn’t that hardcore haha)

    • Foshizzel says:

      Yeah I can see where Free was overhyped thanks to twitter, tumblr and youtube! I guess KyoAni knows what they are doing in the end.

      I bet that was an interesting skype call! I haven’t tried that but I think you might hear some audio stuff on Free with a few surprise guests one day~

  3. Soliia says:

    Oh god, I loved the first episode so much!

    I actually really like the characters, my favorites being Nagisa (he kind of reminds me of Haru from Tsuritama, who was my favorite from that, too) and Rin.

    The animation was wonderful, and it’s cool to see Kyoani do something aimed toward a different audience. All those glorious muscles and butts and half-naked high school boys! I personally felt some BL undertones (I’m totally shipping Haru and Rin), but I think it’s subtle enough that people can interpret it either way and they won’t be wrong.

    Fanservice usually only holds my interest for so long though. Fortunately, I’m pretty easy to please story-wise. I’ll take it and enjoy it for what it is.

    I wasn’t crazy about the music, but I loved the ending!

    So Free! is certainly a keeper for now. It’s just a whole lot of fun to watch! I’m looking forward to seeing more.

    • Namika says:

      I don’t think those hints were all that subtle. The main thing is that guys don’t act like that, especially with friends o-o

      • Kyokai says:

        Tsk Namika, KyoAni boys have mostly been over-friendly but yeah, I think skin-show is more in Free! because of all the pool-love and Haru practically stripping everywhere.

      • Hawthorne says:

        The main thing is that guys don’t act like that, especially with friends o-o

        I was on a competitive swimming team for four years, and let me tell you … it might be a bit exaggerated, but it’s pretty damn close.

        • Soliia says:

          My guy friends aren’t even on a swim team and don’t act too different from this. And they are definitely straight.

      • Namika says:

        Rly? o-o
        All the boys I’ve known are kinda….. different. o-o

    • Foshizzel says:

      Not a bad first episode!

      All the characters so far bring their own thing to the table and I kind of like Nagisa even though he might come off as super annoying, but those kinds of characters are really fun to watch xD

      True I hope the story flows well and a little bit of fanservice for the girls is fine.

      Awesome I hope you stick around for the reviews <3

  4. skylion says:

    I hope KyoAni can get as much free hype as they can for S2 of Chu2Koi, cause it didn’t do it for Free!

    I’m probably closer to OC’s read on this. Hype has to die down, fan-rage has to be ignored. When all has been said, and it’s time to get down to cases, we have a rather typical high school sports drama. I didn’t see anything in my two viewings to suggest that the staff has gone beyond that. While both the OP and the ED do pay a little attention to the hype, it is just a little.

    I don’t see gratuitous shots. (for the record, my take on gratuitous is To-LOVE-Ru). I hardly saw anything that could be called homo; I mean reaction, except between Rin and Haru were all rather bland. Some of the dialog had more undertones than the images (I’ll show you something new or I’ve got something new to show you). If this is fujioshi bait, then it’s just an empty hook. If I was a paying yaoi customer, I would want my money back.

    All of that aside, what did I enjoy about it? The dynamic between Rin and Haru is the selling point. I get the notion that when Rin left town, he took all the competition with him. Without Rin, Haru had no one he considered to be anyone to beat, no one else that understood the water the way he did (and now I’m laying undertones ;-P ). Now that Rin is back, Haru has to get back what he lost. Cause this mystical approach to water just isn’t “paying the bills”. I’m looking forward to this competition, it’s the meat of the story.

    Now ring out that ED….that’s the stuff right there.

    Oh, Makoto is Mio, and Nagisa is his Ritsu. Image the show with female leads and Nagisa’s nude antics in the pool…..Nice play on that Fosh…

    • Foshizzel says:

      FREE HYPE FTW! I hope this series is successful because that means more $$ for KyoAni to work on creating more seasons for older shows or work on brand new projects.

      The OP was awesome and the ED made me think of Magi xD

      True the gratuitous shots of To-LOVE-Ru are a bit crazy and with FREE it is obvious where they would focus on for the guys especially with those muscles! I was like wait what is going on there? LOL

      I like the drama that is forming with Rin and Haru’s past together! I want to see this damn race!

      Spammy loves the water <3

    • anaaga says:

      Sometimes one has to look deeper when he wants to feel the yaoi force out of the said title. This is one of them, sky. Unleash the yaoi aura within you!

  5. skylion says:

    Oh, Spammy, can’t take my negativity can you. Did Kyo set you at the gates?

    • BlackBriar says:

      Bite your tongue! Boss lady Kyo wouldn’t do such a thing. 😀

    • Foshizzel says:

      Spammy made an appearance in the episode! Can you find him? I hear he loves water <3

      • BlackBriar says:

        We’ll find him once we drain the pool then it’ll be a piece of cake.

  6. JapanInspired says:

    I might actually get interested in the plot, not just watching the bishies swim, lol.
    The ending was quite hot, huh? 😉 The song was really nice, now it’s stuck in my head.
    Oh, I also noticed in the ending Rin had really Shark-like teeth. And Haruka was called a dolphin, so I thought it was kind of a pun since dolphins and sharks fight a lot.
    And about the ending, if you look closely in the ending they’re dancing in the pool of the Taj Mahal.
    The people in the background are wearing gas masks to breathe in the pool, as the main characters are not wearing them because they live with the water.
    Which I guess it’s just symbolical, since gas masks won’t be really useful, even with oxygen tanks.
    Actually, if someone has their own thoughts about this, I would like to hear them, since it’s kind of confusing. And I may be wrong.
    As the animation itself, KyoAni did a great job once again.

  7. Highway says:

    I enjoyed the episode, although I thought it might have been a little light on the plot overall. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Haru and Rin’s size measuring contest throughout, or really Rin at all, but thought that the group was pretty good altogether.

    • Kyokai says:

      One of the good things is group dynamics. I hope they expand on that.

  8. JapanInspired says:

    Oh and also, this is what I found in the internet, about the dancing part. Their ‘dance moves’ refer to the swimming styles they do.
    Nagisa – i’m not sure if his dance move has anything to do with swimming, i think it’s just vocal sync.
    Makoto – Back-stroke swimming
    Rei – Butterfly or breast-stroke swimming
    Haruka – He moves his head to the side like “catching a breath” in the Front Crawl in Free Style swimming.
    As the styles in the Medley race are Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle.

  9. Namika says:

    Nanase annoys me, I don’t like characters like that. Rin was also annoying. Were they stupid not to notice the absence of water in that old pool? Are they stupid? -_- But I have to say, that pairing is extremely shippable. And notice how in the ending, it’s like Nanase was looking for water and nobody had it except Rin. You get where this is going? :3 oh yes 😀

    Where’s my megane!! I have no idea what kind of character he is but I already like him! I want t see that megane bishie in action! 😀
    As expected, the fancervice was of the highest quality. I swear, in the beginning, when Nanase was coming out of the tub I gasped a little. Until I saw the shorts and sighed in relief o-o
    And I loved the music too. The opening, the ending and BGM. Shortly – I’m sold! 😀

  10. JapanInspired says:

    Oh, also, the part in the ending where the main characters are dancing represents the different styles in swimming.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Can you name any of them? Just being curious.

      • JapanInspired says:

        Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle.
        I think Makoto’s is Back-stroke swimming.
        Haruka moves his head to the side like catching a breath in the Front Crawl in Free Style swimming.
        Not sure about the other too, though.

  11. BlackBriar says:

    And so the controversial anime of Summer arrives. Whoa, now, 6 bloggers?!! This post is overpowered and there’s only guy among them. Fosh, watch your back!! You’re alone out there. Hahahaha!!

    I was compelled to see how this went because I’ve seen KyoAni’s other works (Hyouka, Tamako Markert, Chuunibyou). The first episode was alright and the OP was great. My main reason to continue watching would be for the rivalry between Nanase and Rin. One has to ask what happened to those two when everyone separated. You’d think there would be a friendly reunion after so long.

    Since this is another KyoAni production, there’s temptation to compare characters from other shows. Nanase is like an athletic Houtarou, Rin is an aloof Yuuta and Gou is a more grown and red headed version of Nibutani.

    The only problem for me are the two annoying backup friends Makoto and Nagisa and the latter is like a more effeminate version of Hyouka’s Satoshi which is difficult to overlook. Did these two types of characters really have to be part of the show? I’ll be doing my best to deflect the potential BL elements in the meantime. I mean, come on, I survived Phi Brain with Takahiro Sakurai and Hiroshi Kamiya playing white haired ukes stalking the MC.

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, I got Faker Mori Summer vibes off of Gou as well.

    • Foshizzel says:

      I know right? But I am in good hands xD

      • BlackBriar says:

        You better hope there’s a lifeguard for you in this sea of fujoshi hype.

    • Hawthorne says:

      Did these two types of characters really have to be part of the show?

      Give them some time! I’ve heard Makoto has some heavier plot elements behind him and I also noticed there’s a pretty depressing shot of him crying in the OP.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I hope so for his sake because he’s type of character I tire of very easily.

        • anaaga says:

          Don’t worry, my yaoi intuition tells me that there is more in Makoto. I think he’ll be the second person people ship Haruka with the most that will be involved with Haruka the most, with the first being Rin

  12. Irenesharda says:

    Well, honestly I wasn’t even going to bother with show, since I’m not really into sports shows nor SoL that much. However, as this seems to have become a phenomenon and BroCon royally disappointed, I decided to try it out.

    I was actually pleasantly surprised. The plots and characters are simple but likable, I like the three amigos though Haruka-kun takes off his clothes just a little too much for me. I know other girls might like that, but as he isn’t my type, I just get Jacob from Twilight flashbacks.

    Of the main 4 characters, Rin is my favorite. I don’t know, I have a thing for mysterious, bad boys with drama. Though I have to admit that Haruka though not entirely my kinda thing, would make great shipping material with him. My fujoshi senses are tingling (though with this show, they can just as easily be put into overdrive!). ^_~

    While this show isn’t great by any means, it has a lot of good potential and there’s lots of things to go on. What happened to Rin on his trip Down Under? Will his dreams of being an Olympic swimmer lead to future possibilities in the plot? Most of these competition/underdog sports shows have similar themes so it will be interesting to see where that leads us.

    Alright Free!, you got me. Now, don’t let me down. :)
    I give this episode a 7.4/10.

  13. belatkuro says:

    Is it bad that the reason I’m going to be using to continue this is for the imouto? Just kidding. Though she is cute :3

    That was certainly an interesting first episode. Haru(ka) strips too much for my taste but I bet girls love that so I’m gonna shut up now.
    Story-wise, it’s fairly simple to follow and a straightforward one. The unknown factor here would be the megane since he’s not involved with the friendship of the 4. Let’s see how he shakes the story up.

    Been hearing rumors that it’s bombing in the Stalker rankings compared to Monogatari which skyrocketed in preorders. Though that’s interesting enough reason to continue watching this just to observe the reactions from fans. I’ve only had one or two urges to rip my eyeballs out so I’ll be continuing this. Let’s hope I survive till the end :X

    • Kyokai says:

      Imouto is cute, so no worries there. I’m sure someone at KyoAni was thinking, we can’t just have bishie-moe but their usual brand of bijin-moe too. :3

      Free! will definitely create a fangirls sensation so really I’m looking forward to see this bloat over. xD

      I’ve only had one or two urges to rip my eyeballs out so I’ll be continuing this. Let’s hope I survive till the end :X

      There, there! We’ll be there to hold your hands while this airs. xD

  14. Ceyrai says:

    I’ve said this before – I’m not really a fan of BL (my sister’s the fujoshi, I ship het like FedEx and my other sister is tsundere for yuri) but even I can tell that the sexual tension between Haruka and Rin is thick enough to drive screws into. So I just shake my head, embrace the fact that Haruka x Rin is as canon as it gets, continue shipping Haruka x Water-chan in my corner that smells of crack, and join the fujoshi in celebration of AGGRESSIVE SHIRT STRIPPING and UPPER BODIES.

    The story isn’t that much new to me, and there’s odd dubstep music at inappropriate junctions, but I’m biased enough to say that I’m prepared to ignore those for pretty water and mai waifu Makoto-chan. I mean. UGH. This character screams WAIFU so much I’m waiting for his (almost) naked apron scene. My best friend summed it up the best: “He’s like Haruka’s waifu who approves of Rin being the hot bit on the side.”

    And to feed my Chronic Shipping Syndrome, Type Het, THERE ARE OVARIES IN YOUR BL-BAIT SHOW, YO. I’m sooooo glad that Nagisa isn’t the only one with questionably low testosterone levels. Gou is soooo cute! I’ve seen her shipped with Nagisa and Megane-kun so far, and the teacher with Makoto (as soon as both girls were announced by KyoAni) but it’s still too early for me so I’ll hold off for now.

    Also, DANCING BOYS IN THE ENDING WHO SOMEHOW CROSSOVER TO A MAGI-TYPE SETTING. What is that even. Whatever. I don’t care. Eyecandy.

    (I have thoroughly abused all caps on this comment. NO REGRETS.)

    • Kyokai says:

      Never have regrets Ceyrai! Keep up with your fangirling because this will not be blowing over soon! :3

  15. PrimeHector says:

    Restia, is your name based on the Seirei blade dance spirit?

  16. Liza says:

    YES, FREEE! 😀 I didn’t know if my heart can handle the amount of stripping in this show. <3

    And all of the guys, I love Makoto the most. He is so sweet and seems to be the straight man in all of the crazy swimming loving characters. <3

    Plot wise is pretty simple but hey, whose watching it for the plot? XD

    I'm waiting for future strip scenes, pool escapades. And for the introduction of Rei into the cast.

    • Karakuri says:

      …I’m not here for the BL, but I’m totally okay with the amount of half nudity going on.

      • skylion says:

        …oddly, so am I…

      • Liza says:

        I’m not here for the BL either. I just want to see half-naked men. XD

      • Ceyrai says:

        Ditto for me. Half-naked Makoto, in particular. Nuhuhuhuhu~

        • skylion says:

          Why settle for half naked when you can have the fully naked yummy Nagisa…..

          • Ceyrai says:

            I would, but shota butts don’t intrigue me as much as those manly-man shoulders. Uhuhuhu~

            Keeping in mind that these boys are 5-6 years younger than me…

            • Irenesharda says:

              Nagisa does seem a little young. It’s one of the reasons I prefer the older looking ones like Rin and Haruka.

              I’m 8 years older, but who’s counting?

    • anaaga says:

      I’m for the bulges and ass shots

    • Namika says:

      Rei is my main interest for now. Swimming stripping scenes get the first place.

      Makoto is a sweetie. If Rei will be an asshole, he’ll definitely be my #1 character as well.

  17. Yvoon says:

    Why does the shota only the undie-looking swimmers?? :O

    • skylion says:

      Cause shota are cool like that? I dunno, I get in enough of a spot around here, I can’t be commenting on shota.

      • Karakuri says:

        …After so many years of anime, I’ve come to the conclusion that shota having shorter pants than everyone else is written as a rule in the official shota handbook or something.

    • Liza says:

      He’s a very special character. XD He probably just wanted to be different compared to everyone else.

    • BlackBriar says:

      It probably fits his character more than swim trunks.

      • skylion says:

        Ah, are we talking about SkinnyDip-kun. Yeah, he’s special. I’m surprised he doesn’t have Ritsu level cranial eruptions.

      • Ceyrai says:

        I actually understood that as “It probably fits him (as in, his hips) more than swim trunks.”

    • Kyokai says:

      Umm, the megane-dude supposed to have the TINIEST trunks of all if the PVs are to be believed.

  18. Hawthorne says:

    Makoto … *sweats* … thank you KyoAni, thank you.

    I wouldn’t consider myself a fujoshi (fudanshi?), but it’s nice to see a show that inadvertently panders to a gay male audience, because that’s not a common trend in anime. (Key word being inadvertently!) When it comes to non-traditional, female oriented fanservice, you either have boys love targeted at a female demographic, or otome which is much the same. (Both typically having very feminine men that pander to the stereotypical ideal of “what a girl would like,” which is a ridiculous assumption on it’s own, but I digress.)

    Even though Free seems to also be aimed at that same female demographic, the balance of masculinity and femininity within the cast (at differing levels obviously) is really … endearing? At least for me. I’ve noticed a lot of gay, male artists on pixiv have really fixated on some of these characters, so perhaps KyoAni has hit a demographic they didn’t realize they could hit?

    I don’t know, I’m loving it. It’s nice to feel pandered to, even if its unintentional. I also noticed a lot of male anime fans across the internet (not here!) seem to be pissed as all hell, but they need to take a step back and realize that every season of anime is a boob-fest, including this one. (And boob-fests are good and fine if you’re into that, but I like me some pelvis muscles, some abs, and some homosexual undertones thank you very much …)

    • skylion says:

      I straddle the line, having had many more girlfriend than boyfriends in my life, I don’t know if I can give a truly gay perspective. I enjoy the character design, as it hits all the right spots. But then, I find Gou attractive as well.

      About the only modern nerdy program that I can note that hits a gay audience in an inadvertent manner is Doctor Who (being a 30 year fan), as many gay men love David Tennent and Matt Smith, and I can very much see the appeal. But then when you’re 12 and both the companions and the Doctor (in this case blonde bishie Peter Davison) strike a note….

      • Hawthorne says:

        Funny thing, some people on tumblr were suspecting Gou could be a trap. I personally don’t see it at all … those legs don’t lie.

        Dr. Who shippers are scary as hell. David Tennent is attractive, but then again, saying anything otherwise would probably result in an untimely death. 30 years though, wow!

        • skylion says:

          No, those legs cannot lie, even if they tried. Now, my legs, they have lied.

          OMG. Yes, Doctor Who Shippers! This is terror. And yes, David Tennet is just cuddly. And he’s the same age as me. And yes, don’t die. Just admit that Tennent is as hot as all that.

          30 years. Yes. It’s what happens when you are born in 1971.

        • skylion says:

          Spammy doesn’t even like me talking about Doctor Who. What give, you little toothy urchin?

    • skylion says:

      Spammy is starting to tick me off, that like ten comments…

      • Karakuri says:

        I told you. Spammy just does not like people commenting on this post for some reason.

        • skylion says:

          Thanks for the rescue…

        • BlackBriar says:

          It’s because this post is attracting huge amounts of attention. He’s a sneaky opportunist.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Spammy is using the fujoshi craze as an opportunity to gobble up comments. He doesn’t care who it is. It’s all the same to him.

  19. zztop says:

    ED’s not bad. Getting a lot of Kpop vibes from the tune & composition.

  20. Miss Madness says:

    I honestly liked Haruka the best, not for the stripping either (that was a bonus) it was more for three reasons one, he’s kinda nuts, he’s aware of it and comes off as social awkward as heck.

    Honesty in another anime he’d be the character getting all the ladies and angsting over things. He isn’t in fact I get the feeling girls might be a touched freak out by his odd obsession with water and put off by how stand offish he is. He isn’t even angst, so much as being meh about anything that doesn’t have to do with water.

    I like that he was also a social awkward dork as a child as well. He’s just became a bit disillusioned with life as he grew up. Oddly I expected Haruka to also be a happy go lucky kid too but no he’s was an introvert even back then.

    • Kyokai says:

      You can say, he sees things differently than others and that might be endearing to some. I think we’ll be finding out more about his personality and why the hell he’s living alone.

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