Free! – 08


Haru’s belated realization: It’s my liiiiiiiiiife

I hope you have been enjoying the multi-coloured aniblogging for Free! this season on Metanorn with most of the team members pitching in for the reviews. Next week, we’ll shift to tags for sharing the love with few episodes left but for this week, you’ll be in my care with some selected music. ^__~ We have been slowly inching towards character development with plot thickening around the tournament but who could have believed that Rin and Haru would never swim together again? I’m sure someone screamed BOLLOCKS after watching previous episode? Well, worry not, we have some progress!

Iwatobi Team Spirit


Smells like teen spirit

Whatever the outcome of Haru’s match, it was nice to see the Iwatobi team not losing their ground and continuing on with their own races. Most of them did their individual best, which proves that they pushed not only each other but themselves to reach the final. Of course, Gorou’s loudspeaker helped too. I’m also glad there was no miracle winning from any of them because honestly they just started practicing for a few months before the match. However, like most of us suspected with the relay race hints being dropped since a few episodes, Kou-chan had been busy pulling a big surprise on the boys. So, when none of them made it to the finals with Haru already sulking in the shadows, we finally find the next bread crumb of the plot: relay race competition the next day.

In a way even when the team hasn’t practiced enough, everyone watching Free! wants them to win it, just to see the look on Rin’s face or for the fangirls, more man-service and bishie expressions. Whatever your reasoning maybe, the team spirit is at FABULOUS MAX in Iwatobi Sweibu and there should be no looking back for them with Haru joining their relay fray. Rin can keep grinding his shark teeth all he wants but I see only good things coming out of the relay race. They should win this thang and get on with the story!

Haru’s slow conversion to yolo


Free Willywell almost…

Haru not winning was quite a shock with him freestyling every chance he got but then again, unlike him, Rin had been working his ass off since he moved out of Japan. This defeat finally woke something in him that was lying dormant since their elementary school tournament: he doesn’t want to lose while competing. This is a very normal emotion but for Haru, I’m sure it’s going to come with multi-layered reasoning. Since episode one, we have seen Haru as a noncommittal, moody guy, whose eyes only shine seeing a swimming pool. He’s close to Makoto and knows the concept of friendship but still doesn’t really show any feeling as if nothing can crack that deadpan expression on his face. I can blame it on living alone and feeling alienated to some degree but he should strive to do something, like any normal person? This is where the clue lies because sure, he’ll only do freestyle swimming but why he swims? Why he has a good time with his team? Why Rin’s challenge affects him so much? There are a lot of questions but the good thing is that we are finally seeing him react rather than being a dead mackerel. The answer will be something around team motivation plus swimming together for fun but let’s discover this with Haru as he plunges deep for self-discovery.

Extra Free! Gif Service


Erase and Rewind

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Extra Free! Fun


Cry me a river


Just a girl




I just called to say…


Personally, I loved the interaction between the guys when they waited around at Haru’s place for him to give the big news. The voice message to Haru was erratic but adorable. Which brings me to Kou-chan, who’s playing a very vital role rather than being just a girl in this bishie-fest. Who can dislike her? She’s a ray of sunshine with her surprises and strategic plotting. Now, I like Makoto as the strong pillar of the team but he’s not really very good captain material. I mean, if it weren’t for Kou, they would have just skulked back home nursing their defeat rather than looking forward to the upcoming relay challenge. He’s too much of a flow with the moment but as he’s such a good guy overall, I’ll look over this instance. Coming to Nagisa and Rei, they provided the right combination of comedy and reaction as usual. Andlast but not the least, I have a feeling Gorou has seen some of Amataka-sensei’s old modeling pictures (I’m pretty sure, she was a swimsuit model), as they are almost of the same age? I hope we have a concrete answer to this by series-end because damn, kininarimasu!

However much Nitori annoys me, at least he was there to poke Rin out of his sulk-mode to watch Haru compete. In the end, the story is heavily intertwined between resolving whatever issues these two have. From some previous foreshadowing, I was glad to find it was not just a dick-measuring contest rather Rin has some a displaced attachment to Haru, almost treating him as a hero-symbol. So, hopefully with them coming face-to-face in the finals, we’ll see progress in not only their relationship but some resolution so that Rin’s not such a jerk anymore. Seriously, he’s Kou’s brother, he can’t be all that bad, can he? I can almost see him doing good with the rest of the Iwatobi guys.

Preview: With that kind of a cliffhanger, you at least wished for some hints for the tournament result, but NOPE.JPG! KyoAni will keep us guessing till the next week with the predictable festival episode. But seriously, I’m sure they’ll win the race because hell, someone needs to teach Rin a lesson and the boys need some enthusiasm injections!


We go together


The Boss lady of Metanorn, who makes it all happen. An animanga enthusiast, who watches/reads almost anything that strikes her fancy. Just beware of her Death Perception and always keep her happy. Regularly found at @KyokaiTM & #[email protected].
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28 Responses to “Free! – 08”

  1. zztop says:

    Not a bad review, but why didn’t you mention Rei’s butterfly pyjamas? I thought they were an interesting highlight(︶ω︶)

    • Japaninspired says:

      I was just thinking the same thing! That was just so hilarious. And they look almost exactly as that butterfly swimsuit.

    • Kyokai says:

      I thought I covered it with the song subtitling under his funny pic but oh well, I did enjoy all the bed scenes including Kou’s. It was funny to notice that Rei and Kou sat almost exactly in the same Japanese tea ceremony style.

      This reminds me, I’m sure even this pajama will be cosplayed throughout the world because of the popularity of this series.

  2. zztop says:

    Oh, and I like how they write Gou to be both useful and engaging to the plot, as well as fun to watch in her interactions.
    Unlike SOME other shows(that shall remain unnmaed), where the heroine(or similar characters) are about as useful as a toothless comb, and has all the personality of a cardboard box.

    • Japaninspired says:

      I agree. I’m glad that Gou is REALLY useful and takes part in what’s happening. It’s fun to watch her, thought I have to say that at first I thought “huh?! Female character in this show? unforgivable!”, but I got to like her as they’ve shown her personality more.

    • Kyokai says:

      I agree with you both. Kou provides the branded KyoAni moe with actually being useful for strategizing the next move for the boys. I mean look at them, without her they would be sulking in the corner right about now.

      I was pretty dubious about female characters but then again, even Amataka-sensei was added to the mix naturally rather than superfluously. I don’t even see the whole gay swimming trope in some episodes because I think the studios are playing it safe with the storyline but whatever happens in dj circles is fine as well. :3

  3. belatkuro says:

    Back off, Shark-kun! Kou is mine!!
    Take Ama-chan instead.

    And Rin was just so jelly while watching that relay. Such a tsundere.
    There’s no doubt they’ll win that. It would be stupid to think otherwise, given that they seem to be in high spirits for the festival. Plot twist: they lose. 😉
    It still holds I guess that the show is more interesting in the water than in land(and not for that reason mind you).
    Let’s see what would happen in the festival episodes that sort of an obligatory thing for anime nowadays along with a beach episode. We’re still missing an onsen episode though.

    • Kyokai says:

      Ahahaaa, Shark-kun is kinda busy flirting with everyone in the cast but I’ll give him your message. 😉

      And yeah, it boiled Rin’s blood seeing Rei taking his place and swimming with his old buds, who he definitely doesn’t like. Yeah, right! He should be in for a surprise and I can’t wait to see more such expressions on his face. xD

      Festival episodes are obligatory in terms of KyoAni but beach episodes weren’t but as it’s already covered, I expect some excitement in preparation for finals. Oh yeah, so not ready for the plot twist.

  4. Liza says:

    Oh Rin. He was so jealous watching the guys swim together. XD Don’t worry Rin! You can be “free” with them too!(when you stop being a jerk)

    And I love how active Gou is. 😀 She isn’t the token female but an awesome member of the swim club that actually does stuff to help the guys out.

    • Kyokai says:

      He’s in tsun-tsun mode right now but with some FREE lessons from Haru-chan, I see some betterment coming to him. In the end, he’s really not the bad guy, just misunderstood. 😉

      And I love Kou for not being the stereotypical staple female. Go her for all her extra-curricular activities along with muscle watching! ;D

    • Namika says:

      The only thing is, she’s ignoring the captain of Sametsuka. He’s so cute, how can she do that??? 😀

      • Liza says:

        I agree! I love how adorable Sametsuka is. I can see them getting together as a sub-plot although I ship Gou with pretty much everyone. Lol.

        • Kyokai says:

          Also being voiced by Kenjirou Tsuda has its plus points (he recently voiced the Red King in K ;)). Though, like Liza, I dub Kou to be too adorable to go with any of the hot bishies really. xD

  5. Japaninspired says:

    Makoto: “I KNOW HOW TO BREAK INTO HARUKA’S HOUSE!” I wonder if that’s normal.
    And anyone notice how Gou shouted: “He’s not in the bath”? My thoughts were, Gou, what were you thinking to see when you went to see if Haruka is there? Huh? You perv. lol

    The part where Haruka was in the pool was so well animated. I even replayed that part a few times. And I now think Haruka is half-mermaid.

    Oh, and I think I found the perfect recap of this episode!!

    • Kyokai says:

      Being the best friend has it’s benefits, yeah? 😉 And Kou’s such a bishie-stalker but isn’t this one of the reasons we like her?

      Haru is a dolphin when he’s swimming and gets the most well-animated sequences on the series. That tumblr post was hilarious, makes so much sense! ^^

  6. Namika says:

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm~ Rin was jelous, wasn’t he? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm~ Serves that little bitch right =3=

    Haru’s expression was just priceless when he realized that Rei and Makoto were gone in a storm. He even raised his voice. So, after that he seemed more like a human being and not as a dead mackerel, as you said 😀 And if he’ll start to compete with Rin for real, it will be great and really fun to watch.

    Of course. Is this becoming a tradition? Putting filler episodes after cliffhangers, I mean. It’s so annoying

    • Kyokai says:

      Of course, he was! He couldn’t believe some n00b was taking his place. Serves him right being so tsun all the time.

      This episode could have been one of the first in terms of showing more emotions on Haru than his usual deadpan or sideway-glance face. I can also bet that there will be more of this soon.

      About the cliffhanger, I think they will quickly show the result of relay and then move to festival episode. It would be pretty stupid to hang around another episode just to find what happened… D:

      • Namika says:

        Yup, that’s more likely. But it seems so weird too. To skip from an important event to a festival. That’s so anime 😀

  7. skylion says:

    Thanks for posting the Bon Jovi link. His band was a guilty pleasure of mine back back back in the day (I was a proto-emo Cure/British 80’s new wave kid, not supposed to like hair metal).

    Good review, I look forward to more.

    • Kyokai says:

      You are welcome. I’ve liked some of his stuff and of course this song was pretty legendary back in the day.

      You’ll definitely be kept entertained with the more tag team posts coming soon. 🙂

  8. BlackBriar says:

    Even though Rin was being a total ass, I think the loss was something necessary to make Haru question about what he wants to do with himself. Rin wants to compete in the Olympics so he has a set goal. However, Haru has always been too carefree, sticking to his “I only swim free” response and has never once mentioned what he’d want to do beyond that.

    Rin’s jealousy is the perfect karma for over inflated ego. Hahaha, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    The shock here for me is that things haven’t gone with the typical forced win plot for the sake of the story with the eventual advances to the finals. I was surprised none of the guys were able to clear their rounds in the prelims. And they all went through that ridiculous training course in the islands just for this. At least they have another shot thanks to Gou’s sly tactics. Who would have thought she could be so sneaky?

    • Irenesharda says:

      Rin still my favorite, flaws and all. I still luv him. ^_^

      I wasn’t too surprised the others didn’t clear their rounds either. It will always be a team thing, and if Haru didn’t do it, then none of the others would either. I was wondering a little what was going to happen after, until Gou said what she had done, and then everything went back to formula. So they’re shaking things up a little bit, but not too much.

    • Kyokai says:

      For a carefree guy like Haru, you need someone as bossy as Rin to keep him in check. Sure, I don’t approve of his methods and exaggerations but still at least a switch has been pulled within Haru to discover what he really wants to do rather than just freestyling aimlessly.

      With sports anime, you either go win-lose-win/ lose-lose-win/ win-win-win theory along with multiple editions of the same so the failure was more of a reality-check then whoa, what happened. The relay race was hinted before so now we know the nugget that places them in finals. xD

  9. Irenesharda says:

    Well, while last episode focused on Rin and subsequently his victory, this one focused on the other 4 pieces in this man-puzzle and subsequently their own valiant victory. And with it, you can begin to see all the pieces of this rather emotional if simple sports plot, being sewn together.

    Needless to say, Haru’s defeat and Rin’s words to him have touched him pretty deep. He begins to question himself and realizes that his lack of drive is beginning to effect his swimming as well as his desire to regain his friendship with Rin. The symbol of “swimming together” has been metaphor for the bonds of friendship for quite a couple episodes now, and they certainly beat it over our heads with this latest episode. We see a lot of how Haru, Nagisa, and Makoto are connected to each other, and even Gou and Rei are beginning to become assimilated to this new comradeship.

    Rin, once part of this tight-knit circle of friends, who sacrificed this friendship in order to gain what he thought was a higher goal, is shown to be lonely is his success, watching from the sidelines as his friends who while alone aren’t always up to par, are their strongest together. The relay race, which came earlier than I thought it would, was quite a sight to behold. Rin’s narration (which shows how close he was to them, and still is considering that he still admires them) as well as the swelling triumphant music that reminds me of the Olympic Fanfare, really made the last scene worthwhile.

    While Rin’s jealousy was palatable here, it has further convinced me that he’s going to swim a relay with them in a later competition. I don’t want to condemn poor Rei who has worked hard, but this story started out with these four, and I think it will end with them. And it’s no lie that Rin is better at the Butterfly than Rei. I think Rei will be taken out of a later competition at some point (either by injury or by plot device) and somehow or other, Rin will substitute for him. I have no doubt that Rin and Haru will both recognize that it’s camaraderie and sportsmanship that is more important than winning in the future, and that they will actually swim together once again.

    This was a good episode and I’m excited to see what will happen in the remaining episodes. I give this episode an 8/10.

    • Kyokai says:

      I liked how they showed Haru’s character progression – better late than never. His aimless freestyle pulled a lot of questions before but at least he’s on track of realizing what he really wants to do and yes, swimming with friends would be definitely a highlight of it all.

      I’m not sure if they will ditch Rei soon enough but as plot devices are strong, I’m sure they will find a solution for them to swim together even if not in a tournament. Rin has always beaten around competition while Haru has been opposed to it on the sense of being free and swimming because he feels like it rather than for any other reason. It would be interesting to find how Haru finds his conclusion and how the Iwatobi team plays into the whole thing. Though, whatever the results are, the guys are friendly enough for letting Rin back into their circle. ^^

  10. Irenesharda says:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, those cheer-leading chants were hilarious! I loved them and was chanting right along! 😛
    I’m glad to see the two adults in this “dramedy” are contributing such fun comic relief.

    • Kyokai says:

      I know right? The adults are likable as the kids, which is saying something in terms of anime because except for a few examples, the adults are usually a bore and are there to set rules. Not these two and I like them more for it! 😀

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