Once again, this is a surreal Wednesday. Never did I think I’d one day be sitting here blogging Free! or anything remotely similar to it – who knows how it ended up being me doing this. I’m out of my comfort zone like never before. Well, I suppose everything’s an experience – and while I won’t go so far as to claim that I love the show, it’s definitely interesting enough to catch my attention somehow. It’s not because of the manservice though, I can tell you that.
Initially disguised as the next stage of Iwatobi Swim Club’s recruitment drive -I thought Gou had long accepted they weren’t getting any new members- the episode turned out to be one focused on Rei. While Free! doesn’t seem to be a sports show in which the characters noticeably power up and get stronger (barring technique and form, there’s not much you can do other than swim faster) it’s sort of understandable that Rei’s been feeling down about only being able to swim butterfly. Which I’ve always found really, really odd, because butterfly’s way harder than the other three primary strokes. But yeah, in contrast he still excels at running – maybe he ended up refusing to join the track club again, but I bet the thought did cross his mind.
This show very much enjoys its theme of friendship and camaraderie, so I had a feeling Rei was taking all that time to do something in secret to surprise them. And Rin was a bro too for giving up his free time to help him. I scoffed just as hard as Rei laughed when Gou confronted him on having a girlfriend – this is Free! for goodness sakes. No offence, but from the perspective of me blogging this as a guy, these characters are all as straight as rainbows – you could argue that Gou might be interested in them, but I think she’s after their muscles instead of them. Girls would probably want the yaoi, too – Nagisa was noticeably very sad when he thought Rei was leaving. Do people ship them? Actually, that was a stupid question. Everyone is probably shipped with everyone else.
I’m glad that we’re actually getting glimpses of Samezuka each week as well. Even though it’s not like any deep character development is going on (yet), it’s still nice to see they haven’t been forgotten – after all, last season Samezuka was pretty much synonymous with just Rin. With Rin moving in with Sousuke and Nitori now rooming with the younger Mikoshiba, everything’s now set up for them to officially form their own relay team that’ll compete against Iwatobi! Sousuke didn’t do much this week, but to me he’s still as cryptic as ever – I know he disapproves of Haru (and perhaps even Rin’s relationship with Iwatobi) but I can’t really guess at what he’s thinking of beyond that. His relationship with Rin ties into it all somehow, and I have a feeling that a long Rin and Sousuke flashback is awaiting us next episode, which will hopefully shed some light on that.