“A Solitary Medley!”

「孤高のメドレー!」 (Kokou no Medoree!)

While Haru and Asahi still have at least one more event to contend in, it seems that their training has certainly paid off. Together with Rin, they qualify for the main event in Tokyo. Meanwhile, there’s still a big question mark left.

The Meaning of Friendship

Ikuya is in the midst of a heavy slump, and is in danger of missing out on qualifying for the individual medley. His fracas with Hiyori certainly hasn’t helped, and the tension between the two is palpable to the point where even fellow club members are picking up on it. Naturally, Hiyori means well, something that Ikuya acknowledges in his conversation with Asahi. However, Hiyori allows emotions to get the better of him, namely his feelings towards Ikuya combined with jealous towards Haruka. Yet intentions and consequences are two different things. Hiyori yearns for acknowledgement from his one true friend, but he needs to step back and take a proper look at what he’s doing. Maybe question if this kind of behaviour is normal if say someone else were to do it. It’s okay to care about your friend, but Hiyori is proactively limiting freedom in a way that stifles Ikuya, and arguably contributes towards his slump.

What Ikuya needs is a true friend who can act as an emotional support, something he cannot attain with Hiyori at present because their relationship is fundamentally imbalanced. Their interactions are a far cry from the High Speed days where he was having the time of his life with Asahi, Makoto and Haru. Instead, Hiyori treats Ikuya like a caged bird. I get that he’s trying to fix the problem by himself. But just as Ikuya never asked him for help, he never asked Ikuya if this was the way he wanted to go about it and could easily be causing more harm than good. Nevertheless, Hiyori clearly isn’t a bad person, so hopefully he can come to realise this and change his ways for the better.

Brotherly Love

Another interesting contrast can be made between the older brothers of Ikuya and Sousuke. Natsuya is a wayward and free spirit, who has undoubtedly captured the hearts of many fangirls. Unfortunately, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. He has pretty much abandoned his responsibilities towards Ikuya, using the guise of ‘trust’ and ‘he doesn’t want me around’ to shirk around his brotherly duties. Nao rightfully calls him out for it too. On the other hand, Sousuke’s older brother periodically swings by his room to banter him off. But at heart, it’s clear that he’s just making sure that Sousuke is okay, as well as providing support and encouragement for the precarious path ahead. Sousuke has been presented with two difficult options, and sooner or later, he will have to choose between them. However, I seriously doubt that Free! would make him a cripple, so I’d expect to see Sousuke returning to the pool before S3 ends!

Concluding Thoughts

Still, can you believe it? After a lifetime of monogamy with freestyle, Haru decides to mix it up and use others styles too. Turns out we just needed a little kid to pipe up and say ‘You never know if you don’t try’. Obviously, there’s much more back context as to why Haru decided to take up the Individual Medley, namely getting through to Ikuya’s closed-off heart. And the culmination of his efforts allows him to swim right next to Ikuya. I’m pumped for this! That said, Ikuya cannot afford to slump any further, provided that he wants to step up onto the international stage. This individual medley is quite literally sink or swim for him, and I wonder how Haru’s surprise will play into the mix. What kind of effect will it have upon Ikuya? Hopefully a positive one, that lets Ikuya embark upon his road to emotional recovery. With Free! leaving us on a cliffhanger like this one, I’m truly excited to see the outcome! As always, thanks for reading my post and see you next week!



  1. – I suspect that the Free staff is going to press the gas pedal for what remains of the anime season XP.

    – It was fun to see Haru acting “cocky” in order to train for the I.M and Makoto “pouting” and getting a little annoyed with Ryuuji. I think that deep inside Makoto and that coach respect each other works ^^; ahaha.

    – Then we have Asahi appearing in a tight shirt and playing the “happy family” with his nephew and Kisumi (come on, Kyoani, give me a break *__*).

    – It was relieving to see Ikuya and Asahi having a conversation and the late even apologizing for badmouthing Hiyori (that’s how you do it, Hiyori).

    – It’s very human to feel that you f*cked up something too much and you don’t know how to repair the consequences of your actions. It was nice to see Ikuya hanging out with his teammates and i bet that Hiyori will join them very soon. It’s not like if anyone marginalised Hiyori there; they asked him first …

    – One of the best moments of the ep. was when Nao said to Natsuya: “Yeah, that sounds cool … How about going to see your brother and thinking about what are you doing in your life?” XP.

    – I suppose that they’re finally going to swim for real in Free ^^; ahaha …

    – I hope that this season ends with a clear conclusion and not in some OVA’s or movies. I’m still fearing some of that ¬_¬; …

      1. I think that Makoto is more than impressed with Haru’s changes in a good way. It’s hard to feel annoyed with that coach who goes with that “unglamorous ride” who helps Haru for free ^^; hehe …

  2. Look at the smile of Ikuya at the finish wall, Haru’s extra training seems worth it. I guess they both beat the base time…Haru’ll probably win back Ikuya’s trust by keeping his promise and proves that Ikuya can be strong through their race without sacrificing their friendship.

    On a side note, what if Ikuya hangs out with Haru and not with Hiyori…what will Hiyori do? I hope he won’t do anything bad to Haru.

    Now that Rin beat the base time in the 100M butterfly and 100M freestyle in Australia, he probably will race against Haru at the All Japan Invitational.

    1. I think that they’re both to do it well but it will be Ikuya who wins in the I.M … I’m not sure XP …

      Nah … I don’t think that they’re keep on going with the “evil Hiyori” route (maybe the “sad Hiyori”) anymore. It’s redemption time …


Leave a Reply to Usagi Cancel reply

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