「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.