Thank you for all the cheers!
And with this episode, our experimental relay-tag aniblogging of Free! has successfully ended. It suits the series because the end was almost symbolic and predictable. Overall, it was a very fun experience and I have to applaud the Metanorn team members who joined in this fun. Not to mention, our audience who kept up with some very interesting commenting. ^_~
To all the guys that survived watching Free until the very end, you deserve a giant pat on the back, but in all honesty this series was not that bad! I mean sure there was some yaoi-ish moments here and there, I can’t lie about that but will we get another season? Probably just because of how things went down in this episode I could easily see KyoAni making more Free in the future.
I have to say, KyoAni did really well with this series~. Maybe a lot of it was pandering to the fujoshi audience (those “cute guys doing cute things” moments), but from what I’ve seen, a good number of males made it through as well. So, it couldn’t have been that bad. …Or maybe they just really like swimming anime, in which case, KyoAni did a lot more of that than I expected.
Man, it’s actually the end of Free! It was a good ride for last season, having my Wednesdays/Thursdays filled with the joy of swimming with the bishies.
Everybody loves Free drama!
Or do they? I think we all knew the ending would have to include Rin going through a dramatic breakdown dealing with the tournament especially after he was removed from the relay race, but should we blame Seijuurou for that? HELL YA! We should seriously way to go bro… Just kidding! As the captain of the team he had to make the best choice for the team to win. I have similar experience with this subject even though most of my “team” related stuff dealt with online games instead of sports where I have to be replaced by another player because it meant the guild could defeat the boss. Did it make me mad like Rin? Sometimes, but after cooling off and thinking about it logically it was a good call. So, did anyone else think that Rei was going to leave and return to the track and field team at the end? I kind of expected that to happen but of course he won’t do such a thing right now because he found a great team of bros that love teamwork and swimming! I am curious to see more interaction between Rei and Rin even though I think the Rin and Haru is the official ship of Free.
Rei’s a Ray of Light
ALL OF MY FEELS. Man, he has that speech, and then despite feeling the exact same way, lets Rin take his place. Rei really took one for the team. However, I have to say, his sacrifice really was for the good of absolutely everybody (…and the show’s plot), since it FINALLY managed to solve the whole Rin drama. As a bonus, it also united the team as a whole. …Or I guess they’ve been pretty united already, but this put it into words and made them all conscious of it. Yay for team work! Who would have guessed that the serious (and oft silly) glasses guy, who was previously the outsider of the group no less, would be the one to step in and save the ending? Or maybe it’s because he’s the previous outsider that he was able to see what the main problem was. He and Rin have those interesting alternate positions where Rei is the new guy in who’s officially become part of the team and Rin is the former team mate who’s now the outsider. They both know the feeling of exclusion (not that Haru and the others were purposely doing that, but it can happen without anyone realizing). In any case, Rei stepping back and letting Rin have his time with his former team was rather noble of him. This might have been the only chance to fix Rin, and there will be other swimming competitions for Rei in the future. It’s a feel-good ending for everyone involved. …Even if the solution they came up with was blatantly against the rules.
Beyond Friendship and Love
There were many things I greatly enjoyed from Free!, and the relationship between Haru and Rin is one of them. When I was presented with their rivalry at the beginning of the series, I dismissed it as the same ‘ol rivalry that would have a cliché backstory. It has always been the same formula in anime, so I didn’t expect any difference in this one. Didn’t expect that it would be different. Well, it’s not that it’s that different from the rivalry case in other anime, but the relationship between Haru and Rin is composed of so many different things, making their relationship to have a different air from others while being enjoyable at the same time. Haru’s complex and apathetic personality, Rin cracking Haru’s shell, Rin’s frustration from Haru marking his life that leads to the stagnancy in his swimming career; these things might sound so small and ordinary, but these ordinary things are the ones that spice up the relationship between Haru and Rin. KyoAni’s way of exposing the relationship between Haru and Rin also contributes to my enjoyment when I see the two. KyoAni keeps switching from the present setting to the boys’ pasts back and forth, using flashbacks whatsoever to explain the strain and bad conversation the two had. Though flashback is a common source for explanation, I really like the flashbacks, which did a great job at completing the little details such as Rin’s pained expression, Haru’s reaction to Rin, etc. I can feel the emotion poured in the flashbacks, and it influenced my emotion as well. And not in the yaoi way.
All’s well that ends well
The events of the last episode weren’t surprising but everything ended with a happy note and that is all that matters in the end after all. From the complete aloofness of Haru, it was refreshing to see him showing emotions for not only realizing why he hung around with a bunch of weirdos but directing Rin in the right direction rather than letting him go to another angst fest. In the beginning, his deadpan looks and damn care attitude really did annoy me but then there was this excitement whenever swimming was involved and slowly with the Iwatobi Swimming Club, his personality sprouted. That ‘For the Team’ was not only a good touch but showed him grow as a character rather than alienating himself to a shell again. The team mechanics were a joy to watch and even a newbie like Rei did a marvelous job in keeping things afloat. So, go team!
Extra free swimming!
Shark-kun will miss you all!
Rin is a super vampire!
Don’t cry! We are betting, there will be a season two…
Teamwork is always great!
Holy manly tears of rage and happiness! This episode was a freaking roller coaster of raw emotion for Rin and Haru! I have to hand it to Mamoru Miyano for doing an outstanding job as Rin for the entire season of Free! That man is AMAZING, but of course to his credit he is probably the only known actor in this series that stands out on his own even though. I think Tsubasa Yonaga did a fantastic job as Nagisa who provided a good voice during the crazy moments. That said we can’t forget Akeno Watanbe as Kou and what about the girls who voiced the younger boys? Like Satomi Satou and Yoko Hikasa! Overall Free was a great series and the only character I ended up hating was probably Aiichiro Nitori because I just found him to be very annoying, but now we wait for a possible season two with the return of Shark-kun of course.
…And then fangirls all over the world cheered at the “see you next summer” message. But with good reason, since this was a lot more fulfilling than it could have been. Free! probably could have secured BD sales by just being a
gay swimming anime that was animated by KyoAni and had this list of seiyuu, but luckily, this show also had a rather solid plot and characters behind it too. Maybe the whole Rin angsting thing was a bit hard to watch at times, waiting until the end to solve it seems to have been a good thing. The final solution was rather uplifting and left the series off on a good note. So overall, this was more than I first expected, and if there is a second season coming in the fall, that would be amazing.
It was only twelve episodes, but those twelve episodes were more than just mere twelve episodes. They were fun and entertaining. It has everything I like. Bishies? Check. Fanservices? Check. Drama? Check. Cliche ending and resolution? Check. Yeah, it’s a typical anime for fangirls that’s filled with things evey fangirls wishes to see if the anime is filled with boys. If I want to look for something more than the mentioned things above though, there are none. I mean, that’s what Free! is all about. And some moral value about friendship bla bla bla, but that’s it. There’s nothing that makes Free! stands out (except the animation), but that’s okay. That’s what makes this anime great. It’s cliché and dramatic, it’s filled with fanservice and bromance, but it’s fine. Free! proves that even the simplest anime can be fun and enjoyable for us.
Along with the feels, drama and character progress that my tag teammates have already highlighted, I wanted to tip my proverbial hat to KyoAni for producing something different from their branded moefulness. Some people can argue that this was still guy-moe but hey man, dem muscles and all the baiting. It was entertaining to the least and not just in pretty sense. Almost every episode had beautiful swimming stroke detail that must have taken time in adaptation. The whole relay sequence was refreshing to watch with different highlighted strokes and the depth of detail. These guys did their homework right and in the end even when I don’t feel swimming is everything, I can at least understand the fascination with it. It was good to see the whole drama on the back burner with everyone bonding again. So what if they had to get disqualified just to accomplish it (I would have thrown a fit it had been okay because that would have been ridiculous!). In the end, all’s well and I am not surprised for the hints of another season because this did hella good and who else doesn’t want moar bishies with abs and entertaining manservice? :3
Thanks for swimming with us!