“The Mermaid of the Abyss!”

「深淵のマーメイド!」 (Shin’en no Mameido!)

The Little Mermaid has been featuring rather frequently throughout S3, yet I wouldn’t be surprised if some people hadn’t picked up on the connections. Doing away with any remaining subtlety, Free! went ahead and hammered home the parallels for all of us to clearly see. As far as I can tell, Hiyori/Ikuya/Haruka all think they are the Little Mermaid. They all made sacrifices to try and get closer with what they love: Hiyori —> Ikuya —> Haruka —> Water. Incidentally, this episode answered something that had been bugging me for a while. Would Ikuya’s obsession with the past spur him to throw away the present? Turns out yes. He has never gotten over Haru and their reunion has thoroughly shocked him to the core. So much so that every aspect of his swimming has begun to deteriorate, as he slowly pines away. He would even discard Hiyori if it came to it, justifying Hiyori’s long-running insecurities and fears. And this is ultimately the source of Hiyori’s concern, and it’s understandable that he feels worried for his best friend. There’s no denying that he truly cares for Ikuya. Not to mention, it explains why he is particularly vile towards the Iwatobi folks. Simply put, he is deeply jealous of their past connection to Ikuya, especially Haruka and the emotional sway that he holds over Ikuya.

Even after Haru shattered their promise in an ugly way, Ikuya emotionally clings on deep inside. Yet when Hiyori tried to assert himself onto Ikuya, Ikuya pushes him away, outright rejecting him. What’s more, he expresses resentment towards Hiyori’s incessant meddling. To be honest, I can’t bring myself to feel bad for Hiyori. It’s a natural consequence of his entitled behaviour rather unnatural interference to how things should have unfolded between Ikuya and his friends from the past. I also want to point out that Natsuya isn’t asking Hiyori to obsess over his brother, as opposed to merely making sure he’s okay. And it soon becomes quite clear that Hiyori is going above and beyond in carrying out his duty, and has been an utter creep for quite a while. His actions are clearly stifling Ikuya to the point of actively limiting his freedom. However, I do empathise with the whole situation of loving someone and wanting to be somewhat acknowledged. I’m sure Ikuya will eventually come around and recognise the value of Hiyori’s friendship. But I’m sure that will depend on how things pan out between himself and Haru, which should help him overcome his past trauma, something that Hiyori is ironically trying to prevent. Or perhaps Hiyori sees greater value in maintaining the status quo, because he wants to control every aspect of Ikuya’s life, something he can only achieve provided that the latter remains dysfunctional. Nevertheless, it’s anyone’s guess as to the complex depth of Hiyori’s true motivations.

Anyway, my prediction about the coaches came true! Mikhail has some history of rivalry with Ryuuji, and now that they are going to become the coaches for Rin and Haru respectively, I look forwards to seeing their history reignited through proxies. Will Haru pick up other strokes? Does he have the talent to contend with Rin and Ikuya? An individual medley between all three would be extremely exciting, and mark yet another cornerstone where we can evaluate their respective growth. And while that still seems a long way off, wouldn’t it make for a fitting season finale?



  1. K I’m starting to see what kind of resolution this season is gonna depict, and in that sense, it’s getting a bit tired. Seems like a whole bunch of small problems that could once again be solved if they would just TALK to each other.

    1. While at uni, I lived in a house with four other dudes. I can assure you that for the most parts, guys are prideful + stubborn + dislike admitting to mistakes. Additionally, guys are not very open and suck at communications, though there are exceptions to this general trend. I am not at all surprised at the kind of problems arising because it’s actually pretty realistic in line with my personal experiences. In a competitive environment where testosterone is likely running at a high, it’s easier to imagine getting individuals behaving in such a way.

  2. – I think that i’m going to eat some of my words with fries, thanks XP.

    The little boy in Hiyori’s eyes was Ikuya after all … This is some of the fun of being a fan: nonsense theories ^^; ahaha.

    – Ikuya was who really scared me in the first minutes of the episode this time: Hiyori is listening to his friend, who seems really depressed, talking about when Haru saved Ikuya and how he regained that weakness because of meeting Haru again. He is the one who makes Haru “look guilty”.

    (Ikuya is like a “long lost twin” of Ageha from Starmyu XP).

    I can’t blame Hiyori for being frustrated, jealous or scared for Ikuya’s well-being -_-;.

    – Hiyori’s childhood had too little screen time to be so much into it but all of that reminded me when i used to be a Fruits Basket fan and how i wanted to give a hug to all of them XP.

    – What Hiyori did in the 4th ep. is still sooo wrong but i think that he just doesn’t know any better.

    I’m not going to “sanctify” Hiyori but i try to understand the characters like an “outsider” from this fictional world (some people don’t get that this is only fiction XP) …

    – Makoto and Haru go through issues in puberty that Hiyori and Ikuya didn’t seem to have solved. Hiyori himself appears to lack some big “emotional development” or self esteem.

    – This world needs more people like Makoto and Nao who take care of others and study for it.

    – It was also sad and scary to see Ikuya on the top of the slide like in trance with something.

    I said back then that i wanted Ikuya to get angry at Hiyori but i didn’t enjoy it even an inch.

    I only was delighted with “that moment” before the “fight” scene. The “BL-vibes” were above average XP.

    I don’t know how Hiyori wanted to finish that line: “If that is going to make you happy i will stay with you forever” or ” i will kill Nanase” ^^; ahaha.

    – I just don’t want any major drama happening or Ikuya drowning in the pool again ¬_¬; …

  3. To make amends with Ikuya, I guess Haru will pick up other strokes and do IM. Ikuya may be moved by what Haru does for him… a friend who always says he only swims free and even says it in his dream… Little Mermaid’s story also applies to Haru here.

    I find Ryuuji quite interesting; he is a food critic and Haru is good at cooking, he hates mackerel and Haru is very fond of it. I think Haru and his new coach will get along very well.. But will Makoto get jealous?! Couldn’t wait to watch the next episode.

    1. Haru maybe is going to swim an IM to get close to Ikuya but also in order to get himself stronger in competitive swimming. Haru probably is not going to do it perfectly at first and Ikuya will be moved with Haru’s efforts and struggles … I suppose that it could go this way XP …

      Yeah, Ryuuji seems interesting XD. If he coaches Haru they’re going to make a quite funny “odd couple” XP. I think that Makoto is going to worry about Haru but not in a “jealous” way ^^; hehe …

  4. Being a die hard fan of Yaoi, I wanted Hiyori to grab Ikuya, kiss him deeply and scream “I love you, that is why I worry and I want you to stop thinking about Haruka!” that would be epic.

    1. I’m also into BL but Kyoani is not going to show us any explicit content. Nowadays they censore even yaoi anime so it can’t be helped :/ .

      I think that Hiyori probably was inclined to do something but kissing Ikuya in that moment could be seen as forcing it into Ikuya and it could be worse between Hiyori and Ikuya now … It was just not the right time to do it XP …


Leave a Reply

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