Wow everything is crumbling around Hiyori this week. I don’t like the guy, but I do feel bad for him and understand a bit more why he is so protective and even possessive of Ikuya. The truth is, he is scared of losing him to Haruka and the others (most Haruka though because that’s all Ikuya thinks about). For a long time, Hiyori grew up alone, he parents weren’t around and he didn’t have any friends. He would force a smile on his face in order to please the adults and not trouble them, but the truth is, he was really lonely. Of course this doesn’t excuse him for being an asshole to Haruka and the others, but at least we understand now how he became this way in the first place.
What I found to be quite interesting was what Hiyori thought about the Little Mermaid. We know Ikuya is fond of the tale, but Hiyori is the opposite, he dislikes it for its tragic ending. Throughout the entire episode, Hiyori constantly compares himself to the mermaid, sharing how he feels like he is the mermaid that turns into foam at the end, ultimately forgotten by the one he cares about most. Ikuya is the prince he wants to save, and Haruka is the girl who the prince thinks was the one who saved him. Of course this is where it starts to deviate because Haruka did save Ikuya from drowning in the past– but the actual point here is about how Hiyori has been by his side since they reunited in the states, making him the ‘mermaid… which leads us to how the two met. In fact, I was quite surprise to learn both Ikuya and Hiyori met in Iwatobi before at the swimming center. However they didn’t quite hit it off then, and only became friends when the two of them were living in the states. It takes them a while to realize they have may have met before. It made Hiyori really happy that he was able to meet him again, because it was Ikuya who helped him smile for the first time when they first met.
But Hiyori can only go so far with burying the truth, and trying to make Ikuya forget about Haruka. Instead, he only caused him to push him away. His frustration of being absolutely powerless got the better of him, and he paid the price. I don’t know if this means Hiyori will finally take a step back and not interfere with Ikuya and Haruka getting the chance to talk to each other, but perhaps this is the much needed window of opportunity everyone has been waiting for. It also helps that Nao is going to serve as the mediator and reach out to Natsuya for some assistance to help Ikuya and Haruka meet once more to have a proper talk about the past that absolutely needs to be addressed properly.
It is really sad how Ikuya wounded up with this really unhealthy mindset. It has gotten so bad to the point he doubts his ability to make it the the global stage, even though he is absolutely capable of it, and Hiyori and Natsuya knows it. That being said, I hope he will be able to truly put the past behind him sooner than later, perhaps as early as next week as the tournament is set to continue. Hopefully this will be the cue to perhaps closing the chapter of this particular arc. Honestly, I would hate to see this drama be dragged out until the very end. It’s clear there’s still another story that needs to be told, and that is what Haruka can do beyond freestyle. The mysterious dude who keeps popping up (and apparently runs a food blog as a hobby) finally got a name: Ryuuji and has one heck of a reputation as a former competitive swimmer, and now a super talented coach. It looks like he wants to train Haruka, so it will be interesting to see how Haruka will grow under his guidance, should he accept the offer. It also helps that it seems Haruka has figured out the answer he has been looking for, which came from the kid he and Makoto helped out of all people. (Leave it to the kids! They’ll figure it out!)
If there is one last thing I wanted to make a quick note of, it would be have to be the music choice for the scene Hiyori got intimately close to Ikuya. I don’t know why they chose that track, but as soon as I heard it, I burst out laughing and couldn’t find it in me to take the scene seriously, at all.
Random Note of the Week: THE DRINK HIYORI HAD LOOKS AMAZINGGGGGGGG!!!!! I WANT ONE!
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Someone commented on Reddit’s Free! discussion on how they felt the show’s pacing gives them hope that this season won’t end Free for good, but to keep potential doors open for more competitive rivalry-themed seasons.
They cited a few points, such as Ryuuji being Mikhail’s rival (Haru-Rin rival analogy), hints at Sousuke (and Natsuya’s) possible returns to competitive swimming, and Most Importantly the looming (and very low hanging) Tokyo 2020 Olympics hook. (There’s still about 2 more years to go).
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