“Interference of Loss!”

「喪失のインターフェア!」 (Soushitsu no Intafea!)

Hiyori’s Attitude

Continuing on from last episode, we see that Haru, Makoto and Asahi are all determined to make amends with Ikuya. With the kind of character development this promised, you would think all was well and good with S3. However, an incredulous stumbling block lies in their path. Hiyori seems like a madman intent on running as much interference as humanly possible, disregarding any form of ethics or social conventions. I thought it was incredibly disrespectful for Hiyori to agree upon a set of conditions, before arbitrarily changing his mind. Refusing to shake Makoto’s hand then reneging on the agreement following their race was highly dishonourable, rubbing further salt into the wounds. We all know that Makoto is such a nice guy who clearly had honest feelings of warmth following that race. Taking a proverbial dump over all that goodwill was extremely unnecessary and in poor taste. For me, the final straw was when he lashed out at Haru in a severely underhanded manner. That kind of jerkass behaviour will never fly with me and it would take one heck of a redemption arc to undo the damage caused.

But although he had a heavy-handed way of going about his business, I can potentially understand things from Hiyori’s perspective. As far as I can tell, the reasons behind Hiyori’s seemingly one-dimensional nastiness are actually varied and complex. I have no idea as to exactly what they might be, but here’s what I’m inferring so far.

Falling Behind:

Firstly, he barely edged out Makoto even though Makoto hadn’t swum in ages. Rather than Makoto still having it in the tank, this tells me Hiyori isn’t a great swimmer. He’s already unable to keep up with Ikuya as it is, and then some random people show up who seem better suited to matching up with Ikuya. Subsequently, it’s conceivable that he feels that his position as best friend is extremely threatened, where monopolising Ikuya is relevant.


Secondly, he’s shown great insecurity and clinginess to Ikuya. He constantly reiterates that he is designated as the person to watch over Ikuya by his brother, making him the only qualified person to interact with him. Someone confident in the depth of their friendship would have no need to reiterate these things like absolute truths, which also suggests to me that Hiyori is possibly terrified that Ikuya is actually apathetic towards him. After all, Ikuya has shown much more of an emotional response to meeting Haruka again, compared to anything he’s ever shown towards Hiyori. And judging by what we’ve seen so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ikuya is Hiyori’s only friend.

Health Reasons and More:

On a less negative note, perhaps he genuinely considers the actions of Haru and Co to have traumatised Ikuya, and has associated them with being the cause for these oxygen deprivation issues. This is a somewhat legitimate cause which would reasonably explain why he wants to keep Haru and Co away from Ikuya. After correlating Ikuya’s recent struggles with past trauma, it makes sense to keep Ikuya away from sources of said trauma. Or perhaps KyoAni will go the extra mile in pleasing certain fans by having Hiyori be gay for Ikuya. Who knows. But if there are no complex reasons, and it turns out to be shallow drama for the sake of well… shallow drama, I’ll be extremely disappointed in KyoAni. Nevertheless, I trust in the process and believe that there is some method in the madness, regarding this ham-fisted approach to Hiyori’s characterisation.

Concluding Thoughts

This is merely one male anime blogger’s musings on how things might unfold. Optimistic though I may be in my own way, I’m outside of KyoAni’s primary demographic where Free! is concerned, making it likely that I don’t understand what people truly want. Or maybe I’m giving KyoAni way too much credit for what they can achieve through story-writing, where their original content is concerned. Anyway, I’ve discussed most of my thoughts for now and would be interested to here back from other perspectives in the comment section below. As always, thank you for reading my post! And stay tuned next week, because some certified Iwatobi Swim Club goodness is coming our way and more Natsuya can never be a bad thing.



  1. Regardless of how fujobait it is (…because it is), Hiyori really does seem concerned about Ikuya. I do think there’s more than one reason why Hiyori is adamant on driving Haru and co. away, but the most important one might be the most straightforward one: He’s pissed off at Haru and his friends for what they did to Ikuya. Hiyori seems to know about Haru’s incident with Rin in middle school, hence his comment about “people who swim with you end up suffering”. He has no way of knowing the full circumstances, so he might just see it as Haru being a jerk who breaks his promises and almost ruined the dreams of not one, but two of his friends.

    In a way, the refusal of the hand shake and the reneging of the agreement isn’t exactly dishonorable, but very much expected, especially considering his comment when he arrived at the duel: “I’ll have you know that I do keep my promises, unlike some other people”. It might’ve been intended as a “taste of their own medicine”, a way to make them feel how it feels when you can’t trust someone. And as rude, possessive, and overprotecting as Hiyori comes off, he really is trying to protect his friend (or more than friend?) from people who are likely to screw him over again. His attack at Haru was just added savagery.

  2. https://randomc.net/image/Free/Free!%20Dive%20to%20the%20Future%20-%2004%20-%2008.jpg

    I’m more interested in who this scruffy guy is.
    4 eps in and no one seems to know who he is. He wasn’t even in any of the movies.


    Next week’s episode may use more callbacks to the Take Your Marks movie. The capypa doll and Soufuukan were introduced in the segment where Rin, Sousuke, Momotaro and Nitori go to a hot springs hotel. Advice is to catch up with the movies for those who haven’t yet.

    1. Yeah, I mean… Rin realized he had issues and actively tried to change and he’s now awesome. Sousuke (if you count him) is healing and might return to swimming. Makoto’s suffering has nothing to do with Haru and is currently all set to a pretty stable future. Neither Rei nor Nagisa seem to have particularly big issues (so far).

      Maybe what Ikuya needs is to work his issues out, whether going to an actual therapist (in anime? those don’t exist!) or actually seeking his former teammates out and talking it out… But I guess Hiyori doesn’t want anyone getting near his man, you know.

  3. I don’t know what kind of trauma Hiyori has but right now he just looks like a “school bully” or an “abusive boyfriend”.
    Ikuya is not a dog or a newborn baby. He can think and speak by himself …

    I really feel like hitting Hiyori with a frying pan and i’m in the verge of not giving a s*it about Hiyori’s redeeming qualities -_-;… The way he says that hurtfull words to Haru with a twisted smile on his face is really getting on my nerves … That damn “psycho yandere” …

    I suppose that this Free Season is going to deal with how f*cked up and pressured young athletes can be but i really want the melodrama to low down …

    It’s really unfair that everyone keeps on blaming all into Haru. It’s like in real life when nasty people tries to blame it into the actual victim or sensitive ones…
    I don’t like fiction that “evangelize” bullies too much …

    I’m certain that Hiyori must feel jealous and insecure but right know is as bad as a famous soccer player father XP …

    I think that my mediterranean blood is very pissed off this week XP.

  4. Hiyori is creepy and this whole thing overprotecting Ikuya is just stupid. I already didnt like him since the beginning and he goes and do such disrespectful thing towards my baby ( Makoto ). That bitch must go down!

  5. I don’t think Hiyori is a true friend of Ikuya although he keeps saying that he is Ikuya’s best friend.
    He and Natsuya found that Ikuya is a swimming prodigy. They intend to train him for the global stage, that’s why Hiyori told Haru, Makato and Asahi that Ikuya doesn’t need weaklings around him and said they do not deserve to see Ikuya.
    Thinking of the story of The Little Mermaid who obtains her legs by giving up her voice and suffers pain, Ikuya doubts that what did he obtain by giving up his friends for? (when Makato races with Hiyori)
    To keep his promise, I guess Haru will race against Ikuya and teach Hiyori a lesson on what true friends are.

    1. I think that you must be partially right. Maybe Hiyori is like “the artist’s mother” and wants to realise his own dreams through Ikuya.
      I don’t think that Natsuya only wants his little brother to gain medals. He wants Ikuya to be happy and opening to the rest of the world. Hiyori doesn’t get Natsuya’s wish.

      That said i begin to think that there is more to it than that. They show Hiyori with a sad look and a little boy in his eyes. Maybe he lost his own little brother and he seeks “redemption” overprotecting Ikuya.
      Perhaps i let my imagination run wild and Hiyori’s trauma is not as deep as i think :p .

    2. It’s also possible that Hiyori himself has made some sacrifices in order to pursuit his athletic career and thinks that is the right thing to do for everyone. There is no time for children to play in that world. Maybe the little boy that is shown in Hiyori’s eyes is only himself as a child :p .

      Whatever the reason is not an excuse for being so cruel to Haru and the others -_-; …

      1. Perhaps you are right… Hiyori gets wrong about Natsuya’s wish. I hope when Natsuya comes back to Japan, Haru and the others might have a chance to see Ikuya.

        I also guess something lies behind Hiyori’s action… no matter what the reason is, Hiyori being so cruel to Haru and the others will heat up Haru and makes him stronger.

        As to why Hiyori has a sad look and a little boy in his eyes, my guesses would be he suddenly sees the group photos of Haru, Asahi, Makoto and Ikuya, which is displayed at Asahi sister’s cafe, and he finally realizes that Ikuya looks happier with his true friends.

      2. oop, I’m wrong, the little boy in Hiyori’s eyes is not Ikuya, and the cafe is not Asahi’s sister’s coffee shop…you may be right, that may be why he treats Ikuya that way……..

  6. At this stage of the story, Hiyori makes me see red. I love your analysis/argument that his actions stem from over-protectiveness since Ikuya has almost drowned twice and was clearly hurt/affected by the team breaking up in middle school. But a big part of me sees the way he’s acting around people who have expressed regret and want to make amends with someone who was once a close friend and teammate, and Hiyori is not just pushing them away–he’s being passive-aggressively hostile and disrespectful.

    The insecurity as an athlete/his only friend angle were not ones I’d considered and they too could go a long way towards explaining Hiyori’s actions, though it will take something extra to make up for them.

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