「試練のオープンウォーター!」 (Shiren no Oopun Woaata)
“Trial in Open Water!”

In anime there are certain characters that leave an impression on you. Be it their personality or some strange quirk that only they have — once they’ve left that imprint on you it’s hard for anything to change it. And for me, at least this week, that character was Rei.

Let’s get one thing straight — I’ve been a fan of Rei’s character since his introduction. His quirky personality combined with his passion for always trying to understand the concepts behind things really just tickled my fancy. But when you factor in his super tsundere personality with his drive to keep up with his senpai, you have the makings of a truly lovable character. From the moment the training camp started, you could tell that Rei was having trouble keeping up with the others. But in spite of all of that, he still attempted to follow the same training regimen as everyone else. And even though his performance really highlighted just how behind he is, it really says something about his character when you watch him beat himself up for underestimating the difficulty of swimming. Which is probably why I loved how he swallowed his pride and went out on his own to make up for his inexperience. Not only did he accept that just understanding the theory behind something may not be good enough when compared to practice but isn’t it cute watching a kouhai try to make his senpai notice him?

Besides that though, everything else seemed like build up for whatever is in store for us in the coming weeks. Besides the obvious rivalry between Rin and Haru, I’m really hoping that Ama-sensei get’s an episode devoted to her. Not only am I really interested in finding out just what kind of OL she was while working in Tokyo but wouldn’t it be nice for her to show off some of those swimsuits she worked on?


「衝撃のノーブリージング!」 (Shougeki no Nooburiizingu!)
“Shocking No Breathing!”

After the first few minutes, it’s almost like you forget that Rei nearly drowned! Because as dramatic as the first few minutes were, especially when you throw in how dazed Mako became as he relived some of the worst memories of his childhood, I’m sure there was one scene that managed to grab your attention. Now, before all the Haru x Mako comments starting flying in, I just want to say that I really enjoyed for the most part how Kyoani played out the whole situation. Not only is Haru a hundred times cooler when he’s super focused but I’m sure that if any of us were thrown into the same situation, we wouldn’t hesitate to do the same.

That said, I wasn’t a huge fan of how I felt afterwards. Something about the entire thing felt a little forced and I was a little disappointed how Rei was thrust to the side to provide room for Mako and Haru to grow as characters. Add in how awkwardly timed Mako’s confession to Haru about how he just wants to swim with him felt and the whole thing felt like it was being shoved down our throats. I mean, after such a traumatic event it would make sense that the pair would grow closer naturally!

My guess though is that Kyoani was saving those feelings for Mako’s big reveal behind why he isn’t comfortable with the ocean. Now, I’m not one to question why certain things effect people the way they do but a short three minute flashback isn’t going to do much in terms of building sympathy inside of me. And during that whole scene, there was a small thought that kept bugging me — why did seeing Rei nearly drown trigger Mako’s sudden panic attack? Correct me if I’m wrong but Mako never once said he saw how the old fisherman died or rather he said that he died because of the raging sea sinking his boat. Sounds a bit fishy to me…

Don’t get me wrong though, the episode was still super fun to watch. Between the creepy rest house and ridiculous stories about sexy waterfalls there was a lot to balance out all the seriousness during the beginning of the episode. Plus, after a crazy event like this week’s you have to wonder just how insane things could get in the future. Judging from the preview though, it looks like we’re jumping straight to the competition! Which means its finally time for Rin and Haru to duke it out in the pool!

P.S. Sorry for the late post everyone. I’ve been swamped at work and get home feeling super exhausted. Once the semester gets started next week though, things should be a lot more stable and I’ll get these posts out on time just like usual! If you have any complaints, please forward them to Stilts who will promptly send you some virtual whiskey to make everything better.




  1. Wait a minute takkun, since when am I the one who has to deal with all your–eh, screw it, send em over. I can always use another reason to drink. Other than not being able to tease Rei-chan or comfort Makoto <3 <3 <3

    P.S. That image of the stars reflecting off the water pooled at their feet…beautiful. Just a beautiful moment.

  2. “Now, before all the Haru x Mako comments starting flying in”

    How can it not!?

    This week was awesome. Not only did we nearly got to see a mouth-to-mouth we even got to see Rei-chan undy and i thank you with that screencap!

  3. Ok, so the reason Makoto was scared is because the old fisherman died only 3 km out to the sea and he mentioned that that is the distance they swim almost everyday. If something like this can happen to the fisherman, it can definitely happen to them (as in him and his friends too) and that is what scares him.

    Get some rest Takaii!! Great job BTW!

    1. I didn’t read the novel, but I was expecting that kind of past too. Plus, the story that Makoto told didn’t involve Rin, but in episode 5, he seemed like he knew something about Makoto’s fear. And when Makoto told the story, Haru told Makoto to stop saying any further; I guess that would have been about Haru’s then?

      1. After hearing the story I took Rin’s comment to mean Haruka might have told him (Rin) since they were all such close friends. Nagisa might’ve been seen as too naive/young-minded even though they’re the same age, so they didn’t tell him. *shrugs* Just my guess.

        In any case, really enjoyed this episode; the heart, the terror, the embarrassing stories, and the friendships that strengthened as a result were each a joy in their own way.

  4. Uwaaaaaa~ Tak-kun, you came back!!!!!! \(;O;\) (rushes to bearhug Tak-kun)

    It is true there is no buildup that makes us, the audience, emotionally invested in the old man. However, I personally enjoyed it because of its believability. It’s able to give us some info to Makoto’s backstory without having to resort to ridiculously overdramatic plot twists as other anime (or certain J/K/C-dramas) are wont to do.

    Also, pineapple + mackerel combo…( ̄□ ̄ ” )

  5. ‘(The waterfall) doesn’t count as a love story, Haru.’
    It does if you’re aquasexual like Haruka!

    Also, Nagisa’s interpretation of ‘March of the Penguins’ strongly resembles something they’d pull on the Gaki no Tsukai No Laughing specials. Anyone familiar with the show?

    Also, some info on upcoming Free! DVD release and bonus shorts:
    Makoto’s attempts to stop Haruka from stripping near bodies of water should make for good laughs. >_<

  6. That’s funny, I could’ve sworn Free was NOT on the list of Current Series in the Current Series tab on the right hand side of the home page yesterday. Anyway, glad you’re back Takaii.

    That said, surely you RC writers know that RC.com has an Announcement tab, which I’m of the impression is supposed to be for moments like these when you know you’ll get bogged down by RL stuff. So please USE IT next time! So we readers know what to expect and not left hanging wondering whether you’ve dropped it.

    A little communication goes a long way.

  7. Seeing that map made by the old swimming club members, for a moment I thought these guys were really into World of Warcraft, with a bunch of islands on a yellow parchment with a Maelstrom in the middle of the sea to boot.

    Episode 5 had plenty of Gou-chan moments, with some hinting at Ama-chan-sensei’s secret past.

    As a regular swimmer (or used to be before I grew lazy), I instantly knew it was quite foolish of Rei to go swimming in the sea alone at night. Thankfully, Kyo-Ani was not the type to kill people off. (Kyo-Ani even put in a disclaimer in that scene just in case anyone was anal enough to decide to sue them. )

    In a genderbent world, Rei would easily have been the diligent megane tsundere.

  8. A bit off-topic, though it’s Kyo-Ani related. Please bear with me.

    Here is the trailer for Kyo-Ani’s new series announced during Comiket for this fall.

    You could almost feel as if ChuniKoi was merely a dress rehearsal for what would be some epic fight scenes. (OTOH, I totally feel sorry for FMP fans. As a Haruhi fan, I’m still waiting for season 3. )

  9. Can’t wait for the next episode. Free! is turning out to be way better than I thought it’d be. I knew it’d be gorgeous – Kyoani + fanservicey boys, natch – but I didn’t expect the kind of heart a lot of the eps. so far have shown or hinted at.

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