“Metamorphosis of the Soul!”

「魂のメタモルフォーゼ!」 (Tamashii no metamorufouze!)

Races are always some of the most exciting aspects of Free!. Sports by its nature is competitive and after a season or two of following characters, you can’t help but feel invested in some of them. Long-time speculations can be put to rest as we can properly ascertain the true proficiency of participants. While the payoff felt absolutely great, with Hidaka U winning the freestyle relay, racing came out as a means to an end. What mattered most were friendships between the boys, and how these races helped in healing hurts and resolving drama.

The Importance of Genuine Things

I’m like an Asahi in temperament – extroverted, brash and obnoxious. Yet I find myself relating to Ikuya the most. And not his desire to be the best, but rather his powerful desire for true friendship. Fortunately, I’ve been lucky to have formed many true friendships throughout my life, ones where both myself and the person in question can be 99% genuine with one another. That 1% in question being matters that any sane person would take to their graves. On the other hand, Ikuya hasn’t had much luck. It is undeniable he was able to form true friendships with Haru, Makoto and Asahi. However, a string of unfortunate circumstances have had long-lasting consequences that greatly impacted him in a negative way. Broken promises and emotional scars have robbed him of happiness, resulting in a sullen and troubled youngster. This has also weighed heavily on Hiyori, who struggles to balance his own wants with what Ikuya needs.

Swimmer’s Therapy

You know what, Haru is here to save the day. I can’t say I’m too fond of how this plot device has been repeatedly implemented, where he becomes underwater therapy Jesus. However, there’s no denying that he went the extra distance in trying to fix wrongs. It mattered to him so much that he gave up his philosophy of only swimming freestyle, just so that he could have a shot at getting through to Ikuya. And even though he lost the race, his effort was worthwhile. His feelings ultimately got through to Ikuya and helped him overcome his slump – tell me with a straight face that you didn’t squeal at that poolside hug! And it was nice to see how Ikuya was able to use the resolution as a platform for sorting out his tensions with Hiyori. They acquire a taste for swimming relays together, and even though they do not win, it’s remarkable progress that holds a lot of promise for the future. In the context of his wish, Hiyori was able to remember that he was already a hero to that young boy in kindergarten, the very same person who is ardently committed to him till this very day.

Concluding Thoughts

Though it seems beyond belief that such heavy issues could be resolved in a single race, I’ll take it for now. There’s time lost that these four will never get back, but at least they can enjoy each other’s company in the present, much like the old times. We can move on from this drama and look forward to seeing what new things the remaining episodes are looking to introduce. Judging by the new swimmer being teased in the preview, there’s going to be some new competition on the horizon. I can’t wait to see what kind of speeds they can put up, and whether their skills will catalyse the evolution of Haru’s swimming, something that has been overdue since the inception of this series. As always thanks for reading my post and see you next week!




  1. Assuming 4-5 eps are left, the question now is how Free! intends to conclude this season. Will they close the franchise for good, or will they leave it open for a potential leadup to an upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic tie-in?

    Also, I thought the soundtrack for the Haru-Ikuya reunion could have been a bit more stronger, more dramatic. Something like the Chinese-language cover of Coldplay’s Yellow would have been fantastic, given the lyrics about shooting stars and hope.

  2. Instead of winning, Haru only focused himself on helping Ikuya out of stuck through the race (that’s why Ryuuji gave Haru 70 points). I agree what matter most are friendships between the boys, they were all concerned about Ikuya’s condition and were happy about Ikuya having won the IM…Hard times always reveal true friends.

    Ikuya is back. I’m glad to hear “Baka Asahi” again and hope to hear more.

    Speaking of the hero, I guess Haru will become someone else’s hero in the next episode.

    Mikoshiba is a good captain, he really takes care of his Kohais. He asked Asahi if he and Ikuya were buddies in the middle school. And I guess he put them to race against each other in the 400M freestyle relay. They all ended up having fun. Btw, I don’t know why he did not need to put on a swim cap when he raced in the relay?

    1. I was expecting Ikuya to call Asahi “monkey” or something like that ^^; ahaha …

      Mikoshiba is a very good captain ^^. Maybe the swim cap is an optional thing but i found it weird too :/ …

  3. – It seems that i guessed right about the I.M (that’s a first XP) ^^; hehe …

    – It was nice to see Natsuya giving his apologies to Ikuya and Hiyori. I think that both of them deserved one coming from Ikuya’s big brother.

    – There are a lot of people who own an apology to Haru but that’s probably never going to occur ¬_¬; …

    – Free and the magic of relays ^^; ahaha …

    – (I’m probably more like a mix between Haru and Hiyori, the kind who don’t smile at photos, with the bad eyesight of Nao-senpai XP. I joke about it but i’m too young to have glaucoma ^^; he).

    – In the preview of the next ep. they show Hiyori and Ikuya hanging out with Makoto and co. but without Haru. Nanase must be in some special training and there’s nothing weird behind Haru’s absence.

    – I was quite sure about that new “orange haired” character being a girl but i don’t know anymore ^^; ahaha …

    – There are some theories about Ryuuji Show Spoiler ▼

    – I don’t know if i want Haru to shift her swimming style into an “aggressive one” ^^;; …

    – I suppose that is Rin’s turn to spark Haru in competitive swimming ^^; …

    (If someone is curious: If you put “Kaji” and “Mermaid” in “yutuf” you will find a M. Miyano song about a mermaid ^^; ahaha).

    1. I noticed that Haru is absent from the gathering. The spoiler says he is chosen to take part in the Strength Training Camp in which only selected swimmers may participate for the All Japan Invitational. If that is the case, then why is Ikuya free from participation in the training camp?

      So I guess there are several possibilities why Haru is not there:
      (1) Haru is in the Training Camp
      (2) He may be eating Soba with Ryuuji
      (3) He is late
      (4) He may have an accident…

      The orange haired character may be Mikoshiba’s sister.

      1. Maybe that orange haired character gets lost in the big city and Haru ends up helping her (or “him”, whatever XP).

        I saw a strange ad. in Free “tuiter”. I wonder if they’re only advertising some silly merchandising or it’s something more significant ^^;; …

    1. Yeah, Makoto is not always to be there but i think that Haru is learning to manage himself better in “real life”. I think he is used to live alone and do house chores more than Makoto (and he has a car license) XP.

      I think that in the end i will feel a little sad about Makoto. He has now a healthy friendship with Haru but Makoto is going to feel lonely when Haru begins to be out of Japan *sigh*. Makoto was always my favourite character ^^; ahaha … Well … I’m thinking too much already XP …


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