With all the drama that was taking place during the first half of the show, I didn’t realize how little time Makoto has had until this episode. So I was quite pleased we were finally able to see Makoto undergo his own character development! This was a special episode in a way because it certainly one full of hope, not just for Makoto, but for Sousuke as well. He went into surgery, and it was a success! That means Sousuke now will be able to start training again to become a competitor. Although it will take some time, at least he is at the starting line and he can work his way from there.
As for Makoto, this episode was all about him learning how he too can be involved in the World Stage. It brings much joy to my heart seeing Makoto discover how he can still be a part many of his friends are pursuing, but as someone who works behind the scenes, such as a Trainer. He didn’t much of the job before, at least not until Nao and Ryuuji brought it up to him. In particular, Ryuuji was impressed with Makoto’s ability to get through Haruka’s stubbornness by using mackerel as a means to communicate what his coach has been trying to tell him all long (aka: he needs to return to the fundamental basics, and work on his form from the ground up again). What gave him that last push was his experience with Misaki, the young boy he has been coaching to help him prepare for his long anticipated race against a friend and rival of his. It really does make me happy seeing Makoto do what he’s great at, being someone who can support athletes of all levels. It just took a bit of time to figure it out. While Makoto is open to working with athletes besides Haruka, I would love to see him work alongside him and Ryuuji.
Haruka’s loss against Albert certainly ignited a fire in him he hasn’t experienced before. He was frustrated and impatient, but was completely focused on his style of training, ignoring his coach’s instructions and neglected to check his phone for two weeks. Honestly I’m not sure if Makoto would have sought Haruka out on his own, but it was a good thing that Rin was around to hear about it, and took the initiative for them to visit Haruka to check up on how he is doing. For Haruka, what frustrated him the most was how it felt as though the water being taken from him, he didn’t feel like he was swimming. I guess you could say it was like being a fish out of water, considering Haruka almost lives and breathes in the water.
It surprised me how Ryuuji hasn’t ‘officially’ picked up any swimmers to train personally. Haruka is someone who had caught his eye, brimming with the potential to go further than he did during his days as a professional athlete. He is excited that he has a swimmer who is friends (Rin) with his rival (Mikhail). I wonder what Mikhail will think of it when he hears about it, haha!
Overall compared to last week’s episode, this was was soooooo much better. The time spent didn’t feel like it was dragging the story along, instead it was short and sweet, delivered what needed to be said and moved on to the next point. My favourite part had to be when Rin gave Sousuke that pink koala shirt. I burst out laughing because that’s Rin for you! He said it was to “soften” Sousuke’s image. PFFFFTHHHHH!!!
Next week, everyone will be meeting in Tokyo… at least most of the gang. Nagisa and Rei both quantified for their respective 100m, it’s crazy to think how Rei in particular, who has only been swimming for three years managed to make it this far. He is ambitiously aiming to become the butterfly champion, so I am excited to see how he fares in with the competition since this will be first time we actually see him and Nagisa in action all season– that is if they actually show it, which I am sure they will! in the meantime, Haruka has lots of training to do if he wants to have any chance of overtaking the Odin of the swimming world. We will have to see how far he gets in such short period of time, otherwise, it certainly does look like they are setting the stage for Season 4 (which I’m sure as everyone else is anticipating, will probably happen in 2020 for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo).