Free! – 12 [END]

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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!

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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

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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 

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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

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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!

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Shark-kun will miss you all!

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Rin is a super vampire!

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Don’t cry! We are betting, there will be a season two…

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Teamwork is always great!

Final thoughts

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

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Thanks for swimming with us!

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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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37 Responses to “Free! – 12 [END]”

  1. Highway says:

    Rin’s lucky it was Rei, who’s too nice’ there. For me, I would have said “Take a long walk off a short pier and hug an octopus.” Unfortunately, imo, Rin wasn’t redeemed by ever making the right decision on his own. He was bailed out by people who were all better people than he was and who cared enough about him to put their money where their mouth was and their own asses on the line. He should be eternally grateful to all of them (including the team captains and managers who had to get reamed out by the tournament organizers).

    I thought the show overall was fine. I enjoyed it most of the time, although as is probably clear, I thought Rin was still a boat anchor dragging a good fun show down. I thought Rei was probably the best character, with Makoto second. And I liked the ED song, with that 90′s boy band feel (never cared for the OP, I’d always skip it).

    • Namika says:

      Rei is definitely the best, with Makoto coming quite close. Nanase would be next, because he showed some development, too. It felt so satisfying seeing him shout and just showing human emotions, wasn’t it?

    • Liza says:

      I also agree about Rei. I felt like he was jiped big time.

    • Irenesharda says:

      Well, sometimes you need your friends to bail you out, even if you don’t deserve it. That’s what separates true friends from the rest of the rabble. Rin of course was my favorite, but I quite enjoyed Rei and I applaud him for his choice here. He recognized the path of Rin’s eventual emotional and psychological self-destruction, and made a selfless sacrifice to help the team and a teammate who was like that one lost sheep out of the 99. I am so happy they all became friends in the end, and I will be there for the sequel.

      I also thought liked the ED more than the OP, but neither was something that I really added to my collection.

  2. AllenAndArth says:

    the only ending i actually found to be good this last season…

    • BlackBriar says:

      Were the others that disappointing?

      • Irenesharda says:

        I understand what he means. All of my other shows I watched this season had mediocre (Gatchaman) to very good (Shingeki)endings. Free! had the only one I thought was perfect.

        • Highway says:

          Railgun’s ending was tremendous. Sheer Unbridled Awesomeness. Best ending of the season. UK probably second.

          • Irenesharda says:

            I’ve heard those shows were good, but I’ve never watched any of the Index/Railgun series so of course I didn’t watch this latest instillation. As for Uchuu Kyoudai, it had a little too much Japanese mythology that ended up turning me away on premise alone.

            • Highway says:

              Heh, oops, sorry. The UK I’m talking about is Uchouten Kazoku (which still might have turned you away on folklore, even though that’s a lot of what was cool about it). I don’t think Uchuu Kyoudai (Space Brothers) has finished yet.

            • Irenesharda says:

              LOL, that IS the show I meant, but I got the names wrong. Unless a show has a familiar title, I’ll forget it in a minute. :P

              I meant whatever show that’s about a crazy family of transforming Japanese mythological animals. As for Space Brothers, I know about that one too. Another one that held no interest for me and so never watched.

            • Highway says:

              Uchouten Kazoku was really excellent. I’d recommend giving it a try (and the finale post will be out today). There’s less outright folklore stuff than you might think.

  3. Namika says:

    I loved this so much. Despite the sometimes laughable drama, and other minor flaws, I loved this show to bits and pieces. It was so different than from I expected! And there wasn’t as much shounen-ai involved, either.

    I’m so sad it’s over. But now I’m in high hopes for the 2nd season, because why not? I think this show did great, because it’s something fresh. Not really a sports anime(but any scenes related to swimming look amazing), not really a flat-out fanservice show, and not too fluffy or moe, it’s just like the perfect, golden middle.

    My favorite character had to be Rei. Even before he was introduced, I knew I would love him. And not because of his glasses. I just knew it :D ;) But he was a rather nice character, and he was endearing to watch. It was a little tragic, really. He was a part of that team, but he was constantly reminded that someone else was on his place. And yet he had enough dignity and strength to let Rin take his place once again, when he, himself, was feeling like an outsider. He needs a hug for that.
    Even though my dark side tells me that Rin didn’t deserve that. Or maybe I’m wrong, because they’re supposed to be like… 15-16? Okay, scratch that. The end result is what matters. Seeing him interact freely with other guys was nice.

    Right now, I’m listening to the OST album of Free. It’s so nice~! There’s a song called Ever Blue, sung by all five seiyuus, and I have to say, screw Starish. I noticed it way back in the ending song, but didn’t really pay much attention, but now… Their voices are in such harmony, it’s so majestic~ both CDs are majestic. <3 *fangirling*

  4. Namika says:

    AAAAAAH I’m gonna miss Free so much!!!!! I sure hope we’ll have another season.
    And Spammy ate my comment again. Ijiwaru! >3<

  5. Japaninspired says:

    Once you watch it for the lol’s, before you know it, you are dragged into the pool of feels.

    I nearly cried this episode. I am so FREAKING HAPPY Rin stopped being suck a jerk. T_T
    But how Miyano Mamoru-san acted, that was just stunning. It just amazes me how well he can control his voice and put so much feelings into his acting.

    season 2 pleaseeee~

    • BlackBriar says:

      Miyano Mamoru’s Summer roles: Rin (Free!); Berg Katze(Gatchaman Crowds). Miyano puts so much contrast in his voice acting you’d think the characters are played by two different people. He’s awesome!

      • Namika says:

        Yeah, he’s definitely amazing. Add to the contrast list Tamaki Suoh and Kida Masaomi vs Light Yagami and Kiryu Zero.

        • BlackBriar says:

          He played that annoying angst-consumed brat Zero Kiryu from Vampire Knight? Whoa, I didn’t know that but it doesn’t help to make me like the character.

          As a seiyuu, I’m not as familiar with his work as I am with the others. Right now, I only know him for playing Yuu Kaneshiro (Ben-To), Saruhiko Fushimi ([K]), Zange Natsume (Inu x Boku SS), Kotori Matsunohara (Mushibugyou) and Bishop (Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle).

          • Namika says:

            Too bad those are the only ones you know, because his voice is like music to your ears <3

            Yup, he was the one behind that angst-consumed brat :D You're actually the first person to say that. But at least in the end he calmed down and stopped choking himself with the hatred.

      • Japaninspired says:

        Yeah, he’s not only good with his voice, he can also show such a large range of different emotions through it, and do it so well. When he gets angry and screams, I get really scared. Haha
        Oh, I loved how he imitated Hajime’s, Utsutsu’s and Jou’s voices, It was so “annoying”, like you can really feel what an annoying alien Katze is. It’s amazing.

        • Namika says:

          Oh yes. How he can make both his annoying and serious characters sound so true!
          And not only him, Daisuke Ono, Jun Fukuyama, Hiroshi Kamiya…. that bunch is so amazing~ <3

      • anaaga says:

        Wait wait wait, Mamoru Miyano is Berg Katze? DAMN I didn’t know that. He sounds so… Different *shocked*

    • Liza says:

      Miyano Mamoru is awesome! :D My sister is a huge fan of him and she loved this episode a lot because of the vast amounts of Rin.

      • Japaninspired says:

        When Rin/Miyano Mamoru started crying, I was like O.O wow. It was so convincing.
        He’s so talented. It’s a shame we don’t really see him that often.

  6. zztop says:

    And thus the collective anguished cries and screams of despair of millions of fangirls worldwide were heard as Free!’s final endcard flashed across both TV and PC screen alike. exactly as Monobear and Junko had planned, the 1st step in initiating the World’s most Despair-Inducing Incident, upupupupu~

    This show’s definitely a textbook case of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, being actually more deep and entertaining than it first made itself out to be. (Yes, I’m a straight male, and I enjoyed this show.) The fact that it can appeal to both genders is definitely a testament to the writing.

    Maybe the upcoming Rio/Tokyo Olympics could inspire Kyoani writers for a Season 2 plotline…φ(・ω・`)

    And now even Gou knows Amakata’s modelling secret!
    because Coach Sasabe was always doing ero things in there, that hentai ossan…This will be the perfect catalyst to start a new Super Duper Despair at Iwatobi High School,upupupupu~

    • BlackBriar says:

      Yes, I’m a straight male, and I enjoyed this show.

      Join the club. I agree with the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. It wasn’t that bad of a show. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

    • Liza says:

      Nuhhhh. D: Junko’s plan to throw the world into despair has begun! But…we must not lose hope! It’s there, in the far off future…a possible sequel! Hope for it everyone! Don’t let the world fall to despair!

  7. zztop says:

    There’s been quite a lot of apology/kowtow to Rei-themed Pixiv artwork ever since ep 12.
    My favourite:
    http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=38756091
    When bowing isn’t enough to express your apologies, then plank!!;D

  8. BlackBriar says:

    It took everything I had to watch this show! Well, not really but survival wasn’t easy. Free! turned out to be an alright series though I had endure some questionable scenes every now then. Fangirls must be lamenting as I speak at the show’s end. Come now, ladies. Everything that has a beginning has an end.

    KyoAni got in the clear with this experiment of theirs. Now I’m wondering what else they are going to tackle. Right now, I’m going to check out the first episode of Kyoukai no Kanata.

    At least Rin and Haruka finally managed to be on equal grounds. I did have to laugh when they all spent so much time training to deliberately blow their chances in the competition for a little reconciliation. That’s like a sucker punch. There’s always next year.

    Shark-kun will miss you all!

    Oh, come on! If Arpeggio of Blue Steel works out, Shark-kun could be doing some overtime. I look forward to finding out.

    • Irenesharda says:

      Have him in Naga no Asukara too, this time he’s hanging out with elementary school children from the sea! :)

  9. Liza says:

    Okay. I feel really bad but I was laughing my head off when Rin was being angsty. I don’t know why. I just found it…hilarious. And then Haruka came in and I started laughing more. It was somehow really funny….

    But other than that, this was a very enjoyable series. :D It was not just eye candy, there was a plot there and the boys worked hard to achieve their goal. Go you KyoAni for making an awesome series like this.

    The only thing I’m sad about is that Gou and the captain never got together in the end. *sails away on ship*

    • Namika says:

      You’re not the only one who found that scene hilarious. I swear, I couldn’t help but raise a brow.

  10. Soliia says:

    Ahhhh, I already miss it!

    I loved it much more than I thought I would because I have no interest in swimming and cute boys can only keep me entertained for so long. But it did hold my interest. The relationships between the characters was what really kept me watching. It was so nice to see Rin and Haru finally make up and just… ahhh.

    This was such a happy ending. I really do hope to see more in the future.

    • Namika says:

      Remember this example: I have never watched sports anime, I was never interested in it enough to even try. But last summer, I marathoned Kuroko no Basket. And now I’m being super obnoxiously hyperactive, because the 2nd season releases tomorrow. And I’m gonna watch Dia no Ace, too. So don’t be surprised and don’t judge a book by it’s cover :3 :D

  11. Irenesharda says:

    So far this was the best episode yet. It was a finale that was the best I’ve seen this season so far. It went exactly the way I wanted it to and I was amazed at the beauty of the relay race. :D

    The amazing feels in this episode were just….I am totally speechless. Poor Rin finally broke down and we found out how much of his self-esteem had been broken ever since Australia. That whole tough guy act was a facade to cover up just how bad he was hurting.

    I am so glad that everything came out and all of them became friends again. I loved everything about this episode and it really made this series a keeper for me. Though they didn’t go to nationals, it didn’t matter. They gained their friend and teammate back, which was more important. I will definitely get this on DVD and I was so glad that I watched it despite the hype. I will be highly anticipating next season in July 2014.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing them again senior year or something, or even college where they all go to the same college together. Though that may put a problem of having Gou in there since Gou would still be in high school, but then again, so would Rei and Nagisa since those two are younger than Haru, Rin, and Makato. So, we might have to do it where perhaps they are all in college together. They would be in a college swim team, which would be a whole other arena.

    I give this episode a 10/10, and the series an 8.45/10. :)

  12. berrish17 says:

    Loved this final episode!!!

    So cute when Rin was introducing himself <3
    Yes, definitely agree that Miyano Mamoru is perfect as Rin!! or actually they all fit their characters~!
    Hirakawa-san as Rei was awesome too!!He is one of my favs!!

  13. anaaga says:

    I will miss Free, but I’m satisfied that it ended this way. It’s so… Nice and refreshing to see such ending. And this is coming from someone who is not into KyoAni anime. Can’t wait for next summer for moar Makoto abs!

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