「理論のドルフィンキック!」 (Riron no Dorufinkikku!)
“Theoretical Dolphin Kick!”

Back from the abyss, Takaii is back to cover the show that would make some guys turn their head away in shame. But not I, because not only do I accept all those abs, triceps, and shoulders; I OPENLY EMBRACE THEM.

To start things off, I have to say that once you get used to all the strange quirks that the main cast have, it makes watching the show a whole lot easier. Like, I’ve come to terms with Haru and how swimming is like crack to him or how Mako and Gou are probably going to be the only “normal” characters throughout this whole thing. But what came as a pleasant surprise was the introduction of our final member, Ryuugazaki Rei.

Something about him being this very precise and calculating person on the outside combined with that super-deredere personality on the inside is something that I don’t think I’ve seen in a long time — and I LOVE IT. At first glance, you see this ripped guy who could be a genius at anything he chooses — always talking to himself about angles and formulas before attempting something in order to achieve perfect execution. But not only do the rules of the real world literally cause his pride to drop but get within a foot of him and all the deredere starts flowing out. From his extreme poses to all the blushing he does, I couldn’t help but love everything about his character. But tack on the fact that he can’t swim in a swimming anime and is too headstrong to admit it and you get to see amazing things like a perfectly sculpted genius belly flop straight into the pool. Tell me, where else in the world will you get to see a buff dude embarrass himself like that?!

That said, with all the major players in place and general introductions out of the way, I’m excited for what the weeks ahead have in store for us. Besides that “trivial” hump of teaching Rei how to not faceplant every time he tries to enter the water, I’m really hoping the whole rival thing between Haru and Rin gets pushed to the side in favor of really building up the relationships between all our main characters. Basically I’m hoping that Gou, Nagisa, and Rei get a bit more of the focus. And by that I mean I’d love it if we got to learn more about Gou! Because as much as I love watching her fangirl whenever muscles appear, I’d appreciate it if she was more than just the oogly-eyed girl.

Anyways, before I end this post I’d like to give a shout out to Enzo for being gracious enough to cover this show for not one but two weeks. It was extra work for him and I just wanted to make sure that he got the credit he deserves.

P.S. I WANT ALL OF THOSE MUSCLES MAN. THE ABS, THE SHOULDERS, THOSE TRICEPS. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO BUILD TRICEPS LIKE THAT? THIS SHOW SHOULD BE RENAMED “WORKOUT MOTIVATION”. If you want to get an idea of what I look like, go check out my Anime Expo post. I’m in one those pictures somewhere — like maybe the first one.

P.P.S. Just curious, which character do you think represents you most? If anything I’d say I’m a mix between Gou and Haru. I usually keep to myself unless I get motivated but like Gou I just can’t stop fangirling.



End Card


  1. Nagisa and Rei: the next Dekomori and Nibutani

    “Basically I’m hoping that Gou, Nagisa, and Rei get a bit more of the focus. And by that I mean I’d love it if we got to learn more about Gou”! hahaha, glad you made that clarification; I would also like to see more development on Gou’s(kou)side.

  2. I think this ep made me really like Rei, AND appreciate Nagisa more. Rei, because he’s got a simple, base personality that’s easy to understand and he goes through an inner journey in this episode alone, and Nagisa because he’s not just being annoyingly talkative- he has motivations behind it, and he’s keenly observant. He noticed Rei keeps deodorant in his locker and runs miles without breaking sweat. … they may even be a shiptease. Did you notice how Rei said Nsgisa “has to take responsibilitiy” for him joining? 😉

  3. ‘Something about (Rei) being this very precise and calculating person on the outside combined with that super-deredere personality on the inside…’

    Something tells me Rei would get along very well with Shinpachi from Gintama. (^_^)

  4. Well I think I will drop Free now.

    If there is one thing I learned from Free is that just because it has fanservice (even if its good), it does not mean every person in the target audience will like it.
    Kinda feel sorry now for tearing a hole of every popular harem/ecchi show just because of the fanservice.

    I will quietly hope for a new direction for the next KyoAni show. Hopefully K-ON S3.

    1. It’s like you’ve literally never watched a kyoani show before. If you are dropping because you just plain hate it, that’s ok- but if you’re dropping because they took their time on character introduction, then that’s a bit lame. On average it takes about at least 5 episode to hit some serious plot line, and with clannad the first arc really got rolling around 5/6 and ended around 9. Meanwhile, as much as I liked K-on I feel like I had to wait a season for any “plot line”

      Don’t bash something then look for the same thing, you goober 🙂

  5. Hope Nagisa and Makoto get more characterization in future episodes. So far they’re too much Haru’s hangers-on. Gou is kind of the same, though she’s not as specifically attached to Haru as those two.

    Still, this was probably my favorite episode so far. Love the new swimming club member, and many great humorous moments.

  6. Protip to Takaii: You should have started working out during highschool.

    Man, I hate it when I see Gou stare at the guys, it feels just weird. Like I’m jealous.

    And they finally got to the “let’s get the last member of our club” part. And while I watch in jelly(or I think I am) of Gou, who isn’t a totally genderbent Rin, while she stared with love at all the jocks I am fully reminded here of that episode in K-ON where they were looking for a new member(that episode where Asuza joined). Well it was to be expected: can’t have a show about a club without an episode where they seek members. It’s the basics.

    So I guess 7/10 for now.

    P.S. I would like to have a girl stare at me like this someday. Also I’d like that girl to be a cute japanese red head.

  7. Hey not to knock the last person reviewing this but, I much prefer your stance on the series. Though my cousin and I are strait males, we love watching this show and cracking up at the Yaoi undertones (or overtones?) It’s quite enjoyable to watch and has me hooked. I’m glad you seem to have a similar way of seeing this series.

  8. I’m really Likin’ Rei! I find that I’m quite similar to him in that i tend to be obsessed with perfection and the technicalities behind the things that I do.
    Nagisa however is a different story… I just really really REAAAALLLY don’t like him :/ he’s just too “girly??( for lack of a better word)”.
    Anyway 3 episodes In and I think I’ll keep free on my watch list.
    I just hope we get to see more swimming and less “cakes and tea(lol)” in the future!
    don’t make this K-on with boys Kyo-Ani.

  9. “I expect you to take responsibility.”

    Oh my gosh! I heard this so many times in the anime its hard NOT to imagine Nagisa did something perverted to Rei and now he must take responsibility by marrying him! I bet that’s what Kyo-Ani wanted so the fujoshis will cheer!

    Rei is my fav character now! Just from the Op and ED he seemed like the cool calm type but I was totally wrong about that. His personality is so awkward its hard not to giggle while watching him

  10. While the posts from Enzo and Takaii have been fine, I really want a girl covering this show. Reading Cherrie or someone else fangirling over this every week would make me happy 😀

  11. Rei is turning out to be a funny character! I love his obsession with beauty- it feels like a meta poke at the show itself. I’m enjoying this series thus far, and I’m interested to see how they will fare in their first competition.

  12. But not I, because not only do I accept all those abs, triceps, and shoulders; I OPENLY EMBRACE THEM……..what can i say? u are a man amongst men…..me? i gotta do more cardio

    BROOKLYN otaku
  13. Great review, Takaii. I knew you’d understand and like the show for being what it is, rather than judging it as if it is aiming to be a literary masterpiece.

    I feel like nobody expected Rei to be as great a character as he was? I thought he would be the most boring due to him being “added” to the group after all the promos and initial PVs we got… but I was wrong. He was actually hilarious, and him and Nagisa together were amazing as well.

    This is going to be an incredibly ride. I am ready.

  14. Rei is so funny he fits well with the gang though he has seriousness he has his fun moments! Now I know why he wears a butterfly tshirt made his best in swimming (in time) is butterfly stork!^^ I cant wait for the next chap as for Haru & Rin I think they will solve there problem in there own way in the water…

  15. Rei is best anime musclesglasses™.
    (Not to be confused with the real-life musclesglasses of epicmealtime.)

    Also, did anyone notice the new swimming club poster Haruka was designing in the classroom?

  16. With this episode Free! has become one of my top series to watch this season next to Bakemonogatari, Blood Lad and Attack on Titan. The first episode seemed too artificial and the characters interactions didn’t impress me. The second episode got better by bringing a bit more conflict into the series. Then this episode with the introduction of Rei…Let’s just say I am now a fan! The comedy was great not just the scene with Rei, but with the other boys and Gou-chan. Hearing the guys figure out ways of promoting the club by having their teacher strip was hilarious, as was the way Nagisa assumed that Gou used her sex appeal to get them a practice match at Rin’s school. It seems as if with each passing episode the guys of Free! are actually acting more like, well, teenage boys (although if this were to depict realistic teenagers there’d be a lot more hazing, and perverseness going on). That and the amazing animation, and I am eagerly waiting to see where this series is headed!

  17. I know this is completely off topic, but it has been said that a fullmetal panic adaptation is in the works. It is to be based on the latest fullmetal panic light novel “fullmetal Panic! Another”. If that’s the case and Kyoto animation happens to be the studio to produce this anime, we just might get future installments of the main fullmetal panic storyline.

  18. Hm… I would say I’m like 60% Nagisa and 40% Makoto. I can be the influential energetic ball of sunshine and I am very considerate of my friends and loved ones. However, I do not stick to my loved ones like super glue. Even though Makoto and Haruka were always together from grade school, in my opinion Makoto seems a little too attached to Haruka…..
    Show Spoiler ▼

  19. Personally, I find this show pretty funny, especially considering the offerings so far. (Only Silver Spoon has made me laugh as much). I enjoyed Ama-chan-sensei turning from a flighty airhead into a slightly terrifying entity – probably a little too much – and I have hopes for Gou… though her inability to hide her oogling strikes me as more honest-teenager than fangirl (that could change though I’d be sad).

    Also, the art is pretty, and not just all the muscles.

  20. This 3rd episode sort of sealed the deal for me- will pretty much continue to watch it.
    I started out watching Free with a complete and unabashed acceptance of the fanservice ( heck, the anime *started* on fanservice in the first place ), but I’m pleasantly surprised that they are actually developing the characters and story properly. I sort of think that there is a level of awareness on this show that allows it to use cliches and stereotypes while carrying forward an entertaining, light hearted romp.

    I find all of them likable, the sweetie sempai, the token shota, the “tsundere” and now the “megane”- all of them are bishonen moulds to an extent, but I believe ( or i hope ) that in time to come, clever writing will come to show that they are not all they seem to be. Haru and Rei already show great promise, and for some strange reason I find Haru’s honest and deadpan love affair with water very refreshing. Rei himself is a deconstruction of the “megane” bishie trope- while these characters are usually associated with intelligence, grace, cunning, ect- we got some very human moments of Rei feeling embarrassed, fumbling, and flopping his way through his first dive. beautiful touch.

    I am most like Rei. I have a love for beauty myself, and sometimes I must admit that I fear people seeing my “ugliness”, or imperfection. I fear being judged for my flaws, and I long to be free myself- to let loose and find acceptance within myself for everything, warts and all. I really related to Rei in the diving scene- the anxiety of being judged for doing something “outside” calculations, outside my comfort zone- it is a feeling I know too well. When he made his imperfect long jump at the end of the episode I was almost soaring with him.

    Anyway, I will continue to watch Free because of small moments like these. Hope they keep it up ! 🙂

  21. I feel like Kou every episode….so many pecs <3. I like the comedy…water needs to file a restraining order against Haru. While the characters haven't broken out of their archetypes yet, I feel like there's plenty they can do from here on out to seize character development. Plus it's gorgeous, so I can stand looking at some of that for twenty minutes a week.

  22. I beginning to like Free! at first I was worried that this was going to be a show just to please fan-girls however it has a interesting plot kind of like Prince of Tennis.

    Sabirel Jones
    1. Lol never noticed that, but people only have 2 of them, I guess its called that since “ceps” just sounds stupid :p

      They are the muscles on the opposite side of the biceps.

  23. I think I am like Mako-chan and Haru-chan, I’m quiet, lack expression but I keep an eye on everyone 🙂 I love this series so far, I can’t wait for the swimming scenes! Wb Takaii. Cheers, M.

  24. I’m probably a mix of Haru and Nagisa with maybe a little bit of Gou and Rei mixed in. Weird? Probably, but they all relate to a different part of me. Is it cheating to pick 4 charcters? XD


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *