「決戦のスタイルワン!」 (Kessen no Sutairuwon!)
“One Final Style”

I am completely stunned by how this episode ended — and I mean completely and utterly stunned. I don’t know about any of you out there but I never for the life of me thought Haru would lose to Rin!

But before I get into how sly Kyoani is trying to be, I really enjoyed this week’s perspective change. Besides seeing Rin as a total jerk to everyone but his sister, it was nice to get a closer look just what makes him tick. While it isn’t too hard to believe that he was inspired by his dad to become the best at swimming, I wasn’t sure what to make of his explanation behind how he lost his dad. Because unless I’m imagining things, his story sounds a lot like the one Mako dropped on us last week. And if I were to make an educated assumption, wouldn’t it be nifty if the Ojii-chan that Mako cherished so much ended up being Rin’s dad? Sure I could be completely wrong since the sole act of being a fisherman is quite dangerous but I wouldn’t put it past Kyoani to setup some crazy link between characters. (And it occurred to me that the Ojii-chan may be too old to be Rin’s dad but what if the Ojii-chan was Rin’s grandfather who died together with his son? WOULDN’T THAT BE A CRAZY PLOT TWIST!?)

Crazy theories aside, was I the only one who was blown away when Haru actually lost to Rin? Because after building up the pairs rivalry since the very first episode I was at a loss for words when Rin not only beat Haru but eliminated him from competing at nationals! But as the initial shock faded away (and after I listened to the preview) I think it became pretty clear where the writers are heading — it’s not about winning by yourself but together as a team! And seeing how the battle between Rin and Haru has finally been sealed, I can’t wait to see how intense things will get once everyone’s getting a piece of the action.

Overall I think this episode was another winner in my book. Not only did we get what this show promised us (swimming!) but after a whole week of Gou not going oogly eyed over sexy man muscles I was grinning when she finally succumbed to the pressure. On to next week!



End Card


  1. Gray-haired shota really looks up to his cool, hip senpei. :3 He even likes to be on top.

    The dream sequence was incredible. Not only did it offer great surreal animation (seeing Rin bump into Haru before the competition really tenses me up because Haru said he never wants to see him until the main event, there are goldfish bowls and flower bottles placed in hidden places) but now we know of TWO main characters who know a fisherman who died in the same boating incident, AND offers a bit more humanity to Rin by explaining WHY he’s so eager to beat Haru. This was clearly HIS episode to me, as even at the end, I was literally at the edge of my seat! And the boast he made when he DID win just punched me in the gut!! What an asshole move.

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more. This episode was very much Rin’s. At the same time I think it incorporated just how much his friendship meant – and still means – to Haru (as best evidenced by the heart-wrenching ending).

      I am nothing less than shocked by the emotional depths Free! has risen to. And I could scarcely be happier to be wrong.

      As far as the fisherman theory, my immediate thought was Makoto’s exact words when revealing his backstory: more than one fisherman died in the tsunami. So I took Rin’s flashback to mean his father was among those that died, and that’s why he was aware of Makoto’s resultant thalassophobia.

  2. I really enjoyed this episode as well. Getting the insight into Rin’s personality was definitely long overdue and that’s also why the last 30 seconds of this episode hit me really hard. It was pretty obvious from the start that Rin was the kind of person who would end up either a sore loser or a sore winner, but WOW. I was already disheartened from Haru’s split-second loss and then Rin proceeded to pour salt in everyone’s wound. My heart sank right along with Haru’s when Rin declared they would never swim together again. I wanted to will myself into a kyoani character so I could walk up and punch him right in the face! Or at least shove him back into the pool or something. This episode (especially the last part) really got me riled up lol. I want to sympathize with Rin (and I did for the first half) but he’s got a lot of making up to do after pulling that. Hopefully he’ll come to realize that winning alone can only make you so happy. He’s going to need his friends one of these days.

    Also, I thought that dream sequence looked awfully familiar! I was half-expecting little Mako to show up during the funeral part. It would be really interesting if the two stories ended up being connected!

  3. Yeah, it was a surprising turn of events how they ended it with Rin winning the showdown against Haru.

    This is purely speculation on my part, but it would seem to indicate in Rin’s flashback sequence that his father was the deceased/missing fisherman that Mako-chan had met when he was younger.

    1. A more possible explanation is that the old man and Rin’s father were crew members of different fishing boats, but both boats were caught in the same storm so many years ago.

  4. I saw Rin winning from a mile away, it was obvious he was going to win. There’s no way they would have had Haru beat him with 5 episodes left. They’re probably going to beat his school in a relay and Rin will see that they have more fun swimming as a team than alone.

    On a side note, I fucking hate that guy with the gray hair. Every time he’s on screen I keep hoping he’ll fall and break his neck! I’m a bad person.

  5. I think most people saw Rin winning since we still have like what… 5 more episodes to go?

    Even though I’m a strong believer hard work should always win against talent I was cheering so hard for Haru the whole time. But still think Rin deserves some closure with all the hard work and about his father.

    LOOL and the end card XDDD

  6. It’s not even the series finale yet, of course Kyo-Ani aren’t gonna let Haruka win like that, so I’m hardly surprised Rin won this one. Besides, Rin probably deserves this win better since Haruka only started getting serious recently whereas Rin worked hard all his life to surpass Haruka.

    With the 100m Free option gone, Haruka will actually have to put in some team work and participate in the relays if he’s to duel with Rin again.

    This should be a good kick up Haruka’s backside for him to rise from laid-back protagonist to epic protagonist.

  7. You see a huge difference in the way Haru swims during this race then in his previous swimming. He used to “feel” the water and try to be at one with it from the first scene of the show and just him idling jumping in, I felt that during the race the water was against him as show during the face close up in the water when it looked like the currents were against him when in earlier episodes it looked like it flowed with him.

    That may be me elaborating too much on it, somehow I feel like they’ll have another one on one and Haru will win because that this time he won’t care about winning or losing (which is something he wasn’t supposed to care about initially)

  8. My predictions for ep 8(translated from Japanese):
    Gou: ONIICHAN BAKAAAAAAAAAAAAA———-!!!!!!! ヽ(´□`。)ノ
    Nitori: How could you, Matsuoka-sempai?!(◞‸◟)
    Mikoshiba: You made Gou-kun cry!!!ლ(ಠ益ಠ(sends Rin flying with single punch)

  9. I’m excited to see Haru work as part of the team (especially after Makoto’s confession!)–I know he loves to swim, but maybe he’ll realize that swimming with his friends can add to the enjoyment as well! Everybody else seems to have already accepted this paradigm in our little group. And speaking of Rin, I hope he meets someone with shark teeth like him in the next level of competition who can take a “bite” out of his enormous ego… 🙂

    Thanks for the review, Takaii!

  10. Well of course Haru would lose. He’s only been training for around two or so months and hadn’t been doing it for around four years. There’s no way he’d be at his physical best.

  11. After reading the translated version of the drama CD that was just released….I kind of want it made into an OVA because I got a kick out of it and it was just in script format Show Spoiler ▼

    1. And by gay you mean happy, right? Because substituting the word with “homosexual” would mean that you see every show with female fanservice as such. And I’m not sure if you would use “the gayest anime ever” on those kinds of shows.

      So you must have meant “happiest anime ever” instead! 🙂

  12. I always knew Rin wont like that if nothing happened him I mean he had a sweet smile when he was a kid then… still he show his caring side sometimes & I always wonder who that kid in the pic was. Yeah the end was a surprise Haru lost & he was in shock when Rin said he wont swim with him anymore, I there still away that they can resolve this it not over yet!

  13. Hey….well..ibex there will be a rematch between the two..I men, what’s a story without the main character failing at least once?? I bet that Haru and his team will reach the nationals and beat Rin to the dirt!! And I HATE rin’s kouhai….he’s so damn fucking annoying…I hope he gets less screen time..


Leave a Reply to lune Cancel reply

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