This week spent pretty much the entire duration of the episode on the joint swimming camp between Iwatobi, Samezuka and Soufuukan. Among the students were two familiar faces, Sousuke and Natsuya. Once again, it’s a small world after-all! The primary focus was on Romio, a freshman student of the Iwatobi Swim Club who was struggling with his start. After messing up with a false-start in middle school that resulted putting his team in last by default, it’s understandable for Romio to feel burdened by such mistake. It was nice though to see Nagisa, Rei and even Sousuke come around to help him out. Sousuke offered the best piece of advice, but Rei was probably the best person for him to connect to. After-all, Rei was a newbie as well, he couldn’t even swim, and felt terrible for dragging down the team. But now it’s not something he worries about anymore, and has become stronger because of his convictions to do well. In fact even though Rei is has the least amount of swimming experience, he provides excellent leadership, and he demonstrated just that. Nagisa too, was clever enough to stay behind to not only keep an eye on Romio so he wouldn’t push himself, but give him the opportunity to open up about his fears. The freshmen students are very lucky to have them.
However I don’t particularly care for the freshmen students of Iwatobi, much less the rivalry between Capybara and Momotarou, Shizuru has certainly found his place on my radar. He is certainly a character I would love to get to know more of if given the chance to. He reminds me a lot of Makoto, in the way he worries and supports Romio. He seems like an endearing character.
As nice as it was to see how Iwatobi is fairing with their new members, this episode really didn’t do much for me. It was nice, but that’s about it. Unfortunately it didn’t do much to help progress the core plot that this season is focusing on, Haruka’s and Ikuya’s storyline. On the flip side, in some ways it was a nice change of pace, especially after the shit we had to go through in last week’s episode with Hiyori. In fact, it was nice that we didn’t really have to see him at all (with the exception of a flashback… actually this episode recycled a ton of scenes. Almost too much if you ask me.)
On the bright side, we were able to learn the kind of decision Sousuke has to make. The doctor says he can swim again if he keeps up rehab, but he won’t be able to compete. But if he were to have a successful surgery, he would be able to be a competitor again. Unfortunately that too comes with a risk: should it fail, his future as a competitive swimmer is over. So it’s understandable why he’s taking his time thinking about it.
Overall, I was hoping we would see a better balance of the difference circles, much as we had seen in Episode 3. I felt they did a fair job with the execution then, but this week not so much. In fact the transition to showing us how Hiyori’s words are haunting Haruka’s mind was so brief, there was little point of even featuring it at all. They may have very well just waited until the next time we actually get to see Haruka and the others. In some ways, the same could be applied to how quickly they showed Makoto taking up the job of being the kids swimming coach, before shifting back to the joint swimming camp.
However Makoto now working at the swimming center enabled him to reunite with a former senior: Nao! We haven’t heard much about what has become of him, but perhaps he might become a key player in helping them dealing with crisis they have at hand. We will have to wait and see.
Next week it looks like we will be diving into Hiyori’s backstory and how he became friends with Ikuya… Mermaid of the Abyss though, certainly feels like a fitting title.