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「逆襲のメドレー!」 (Gyakushuu no Medoree!)
“The Medley Counterattack!”

While I don’t really consider myself someone who can really talk about “character development” in a compelling way, I really love what Kyoani is doing with Haru. I remember when I first started watching Free! that I wasn’t fond of his DGAF attitude toward everything. But with each episode since then, I feel that Haru has been growing into the protagonist this show deserves. Either by showing more emotion toward others or giving things his full attention, all that was left was for him to get some sort of figurative kick in the face to change his way of thinking. Conveniently that seems to have come in to form of losing to Rin — and I love where it looks like things are going.

Because up until this episode, don’t you think things have slowly begun to feel a bit cookie-cutter? We had the general character introductions with a little bit of hazing (mostly on Rei) followed by a bit of back stories but like in any good exposition we’ve finally hit the part where things should keep getting more and more intense. And seeing how the writers are totally pushing for the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, this should mean everyone should get their chance to shine in the limelight!

While there wasn’t too much Gou fawning over muscles this week, I appreciate that Kyoani still includes her in everything. Between being the cute element that keeps reeling me back in, I love how she’s used to help push the story forward — she’s not just some “girl” but an integral character in the story. That said, I wouldn’t mind if the writers decided to throw in a scene that explained just what Amakata-sensei did in her previous career — especially the part that she seems to be so self-conscious about!

All that said, I can’t believe the episode ended right as Haru dove into the pool. Not only did it create an immeasurable amount of stress wondering about whether or not our four boys made it past the preliminaries but after such a stupid sounding preview I hope I wasn’t the only one who felt like flipping their desk into oblivion.

 

Preview

Free   08   Preview 01 Free   08   Preview 02 Free   08   Preview 03

End Card

Free   08   End Card
August 30, 2013 at 7:22 pm
23 comments »
  • August 30, 2013 at 7:37 pmTheVoid

    It wasn’t losing to Rin itself that made him change, but what Rin said after Haru’s loss. That’s why Rei suspects there’s some other reason for the way he acts. Nice to see Rin be jealous of Rei as well. I love how they animated Makoto back.

    • August 30, 2013 at 8:06 pmJel

      I agree. I think it was more of Rin’s “I’ll never swim with you again!” that hit Haru hard. I mean… it seems to be that’s Haru’s ‘reason’ for swimming, that is, swimming with Rin again like they used to. 「あの時の景色、もう一度見せてくれ。何が見えたか忘れてしまったから」 = “Can you show me that scenery from that time again? Since I’ve forgotten what it looked like,” is what I remember to be the lines from Haru of an early PV when it was first announced. I’m assuming that Haru wanted to see the same world that Rin saw when he swam when they were younger again. Maybe it’s his reason for loving water?

    • August 30, 2013 at 10:18 pmTakaii

      I may have phrased that badly but yes, his loss coupled with Rin’s words :p

  • August 30, 2013 at 7:55 pmjn99y4

    Props to Gou-kun for being an excellent manager.

    • August 31, 2013 at 6:33 amzztop

      I agree! I like how they write Gou to be both useful and engaging to the plot, as well as fun to watch in her interactions.
      Unlike some other shows, where the heroine(or similar characters) are about as useful as a toothless comb, and has all the personality of a cardboard box.

      • August 31, 2013 at 7:55 amsonicsenryaku

        Honestly, what makes Gou most appealing to me is how they make her seem like “one of the guys”. She’s not that girl who just happens to bump into the guys and acts all flustered when they prance around her half naked. She’s always with them, she hangs out with them, and in ways she can be just as rambunctious as they can. Shockingly enough, her characterization is pretty down to earth of how a teenage female would hang out with a couple of guys she considers friends.

  • August 30, 2013 at 7:56 pmKurama

    What was with Rei’s pajamas?…

    And I think it will turn out that Ama was a bikini model before she became a teacher, and that’s where coach Sasabe knows her from :p

    • August 30, 2013 at 8:07 pmJel

      I thought it was supposed to be some obscure butterflies.

    • August 31, 2013 at 1:42 amDollar

      Yeah,I don’t really think there could be any surprises about sensei’s previous career.

  • August 30, 2013 at 8:20 pmMeldoy

    This episode is probably one of the best so far!

  • August 30, 2013 at 10:36 pmCroos

    it really suck when your goggle gets loose. It hinders your concentration.

  • August 30, 2013 at 10:40 pmMadWho

    Like this (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
    Still, I’m quite interested in seeing where they’re going with this. But the thing that really grabbed my attention and made my raise my eyebrows was… Rei’s pajamas. orz

    • August 31, 2013 at 3:30 amzztop

      Man’s gotta look fabulous, even in bed! >_<

  • August 31, 2013 at 1:37 amPlankton

    Amakata-sensei probably worked as a swimsuit model in her past.

  • August 31, 2013 at 10:32 amrufe

    I think they’ve been drawing Makoto more and more muscular with each passing episode, lol.

    I loved Rin’s jealous little rant against Rei at the end, incidentally. Makoto’s race, Nagisa’s room, Rei’s pagama’s. Lot’s of good moments this week.

  • August 31, 2013 at 11:54 amKira526

    I really loved this episode and I agree with your opinion on Haru’s character development. While I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this show so far, it was definitely nice to see a change of pace this time around. The dynamic between Haru and Rin was starting to get on my nerves because neither one of them understood what the other wanted. So, needless to say, I was more than pleased when this episode finally gave both of them some insight. It’s about time Rin realized how much his past friendship meant to the others (and himself)! Also, I absolutely loved how Gou and the guys helped Haru move forward after his loss. It was also nice to see legitimate swimming from the rest of the Iwatobi boys ^^ I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series.

    And in regards to Makoto… HOLY BACK MUSCLES BATMAN!

  • August 31, 2013 at 5:50 pmTsun

    I LOVED the ending when they were doing the relay together. As Rin runs out to see his former team do the relay without him, him reminiscing on everyone’s unique styles and what makes them stand out (This also shows that their is something special about Makoto and Nagisa’s swimming, the way Rin worded their first reunite to Haru asking why he’s still swimming with them implied to me that there wasn’t anything particular special about them compared to the two of them so it was nice to seem their swimming highlighted) and then when it was Rei’s turn you could see Rin’s regret his face practically yelling “It should be me out their with them not him”.

    As it was Haru’s turn and he looked towards Rin it felt like Haru was sad that it wasn’t Rin that he could do this relay but he had do accept their current circumstance especially after Rin said He wouldn’t swim with Haru ever again.

    I don’t know It was just really special to me … I feel like KyoAni does a really good job at these sort things and the background music really added to it.

  • August 31, 2013 at 7:34 pmlune

    I so love Haru more now!^^ I think the reason Haru was so shock was because of what Rin said in the old days everyone was happy swimming together but after Rin lose to Haru things change Rin became distant, Haru just want to swim with Rin again like the old days like Makoto point out. As for Rin I think after his fathers death he became more determine to be the best for his father dreams, he blame him self that his father lost his dream & died in a miserable way.

    I love the end were Rin recall the past while watching the guys swim the happiest memories & a bit jealous to Rei that he is swimming with them but the eye opener is there & finally Haru dives a nice cliffhanger I cant wait for the next eps.!^^

  • August 31, 2013 at 8:23 pmrandom viewer

    I have a feeling that revenge will be sweet… (:
    And their cheering was really “cutely” funny.

  • September 2, 2013 at 5:51 amMi-Chan

    I loved this episode a lot, mainly because of Rin’s words, Haru’s reaction, Makoto’s constant serenity, Nagisa’s amusing nagging and Rei finally fitting into the group, that’s not to mention Gou-chan’s smart manager move, I love this series by each episode. Just to comment on Takai, I think their sensei’s job must have been a swimsuits model from what I have grouped from previous episodes. Cheers, M.

  • September 7, 2013 at 10:43 amAshen-phoenix

    I just loved this episode. At times it had my heart in my throat.

    The way everyone tried their hardest and yet still came up short in their individual events was crushing, and Haru’s reaction to Rin’s words – effectively severing their friendship for good, instead of leaving it as a maybe-someday like when they were kids – was just shy of heroic BSOD to me.

  • September 7, 2013 at 10:47 amAshen-phoenix

    I just loved this episode. At times it had my heart in my throat.

    The way everyone tried their hardest and yet still came up short in their individual events was crushing, and Haru’s reaction to Rin’s words – effectively severing their friendship for good, instead of leaving it as a maybe-someday like when they were kids – was just shy of heroic BSOD to me.

    When everyone stayed at Haruka’s house and left him a message, which Makoto ensured was delivered even at the expense of his health, that scene really pulled my hear strings.

    And lastly, I loved seeing everyone work so hard in the relay, coupled with Rin’s heartrending pain – jealousy, anger, surprise, and bitterness at recalling the happiest time of his life and a place in that team he no longer occupies.

  • September 7, 2013 at 10:48 amAshen-phoenix

    Darn it. My computer lagged while I was posting so it did some kind of weird half-cloned post.

    Can an admin remove the uppermost one? I feel so embarrassed for goofing like that. >///<