Back again with the “First Impressions” series! Or should I say trilogy? Anyway, as you can see, the next series on my list is Free! Iwatobi Swim Club!! So, without further delay, here we go!
I’d like to begin by saying that this shouldn’t be nearly as long as my previous First Impressions post, but no promises! I say this for two reasons. The first one is obvious; quite simply, there are not as many main characters. 🙂 The second, and most important, is that I have only had time to watch the first episode! *sobs* Hopefully, I will be able to catch up this weekend!
I can’t remember exactly how I came upon the fact that this anime was going to be airing this season. I usually check on Anime News Network for the upcoming series, but somehow I missed this one entirely. -_- All I remember is somehow coming across and seeing that promo commercial from Kyoto Animation on YouTube and looking more into it after that. That was at the end of June. I really liked the promo and was really excited after watching it and couldn’t wait for the anime to start airing. If I’m not mistaken, it was originally supposed to only be a promo commercial, but there was such a fuss created about it, that it was decided it would be made into an actual anime series! No complaints from me if that is the case, てへ! Anyway, I’m just blabbing randomly, on to the actual subject of this post!
Free! is centered on a boy named NANASE Haruka, who loves to swim and to be in the water in general. When he was in elementary school, he participated in a swimming tournament with his two friends, TACHIBANA Makoto and HAZUKI Nagisa, after a new schoolmate and fellow swim club member, MATSUOKA Rin, suggested they compete together. Right after the four won, Rin left for Australia to attend some fancy swimming school there. The years pass and the boys are now in high school. Things seem quiet until Rin comes back into their lives, a changed person who is determined to defeat Haruka.
The first thing I really want to talk about is the animation itself! It is gorgeous! The fluidity, the quality, the art, the “camera work”… they are all amazing! I really am enjoying how it is presented, because it’s not typical and it gives a kind of I’m-not-supposed-to-be-seeing-this “sneak peek” feel to it. Very nice~! I really, really hope it stays this great all the way to the end. If not, I will be very disappointed!! It’s also nice that the story has some sort of an actual plot, and is not just “manservice”. There is nothing wrong with manservice, but I don’t think I would like it as much if it was just that for 12 episodes. The cast of seiyuu is also really good from what I’ve heard so far. Some of the voices are familiar to me, some are not. I know we haven’t met all of the main characters yet in just the first episode, so I’m looking forward to hearing more of everyone. I also really like the the opening and ending. The music as well. Actually, strictly speaking of just the production, there isn’t anything I don’t like about this anime!
Besides the animation, I’m also enjoying the character’s personalities. Haruka is gives off a very nonchalant vibe, although he becomes very serious when it comes to swimming. He seems to be an excellent swimmer, too. It would probably be safe to call him a fish. 🙂 Or a dolphin, as Nagisa puts it. The “shake, shake, swish” thing he does with his hair is hilarious! I wasn’t expecting that at all. And even though he claims to be used to being mistaken for a girl, he seems to get a bit defensive when his friends call him “Haru-chan”. Hmmm, maybe he isn’t so nonchalant after all. *suspicious*
Haruka’s shocking lack of smiles is more than made up for by the cheerful Makoto. I get the feeling that Makoto thinks he is best friends with Haruka, but Haruka doesn’t seem to feel the same way? If he does, he sure has a funny way of showing it. Makoto tries very hard to get Haruka interested in other things besides swimming, such as school. He fails miserably most of the time, but he also manages to get Haruka to tag along by bribing him with pools and the possibility of swimming in them. My theory is Haruka is either really gullible and Makoto knows it, or his current lack of swimming time is seriously impairing his brain function, because Makoto was able to pull this off TWICE in ONE episode. And Haruka got googly eyed both times, ignorant of what was actually going on. Haruka also wears his swimsuit under his clothes all the time, and he strips as soon as he gets to the pool both times, much to Makoto’s chagrin. Apparently, there is no swim club at their school, so Haruka swims in the ocean when he can. He must really love being in the water. (Speaking of stripping, the way they take off their clothes in this anime is epic!)
Haruka and Makoto are reunited with Nagisa in high school. Nagisa is a year younger and it appears that they haven’t seen him since the end of the swim club they were in when they were younger because he went to a different school. He seems pretty mild-mannered and he looks up to Haruka’s swimming abilities. I say mild-mannered, but he does go skinny dipping at one point with no shame. 😛 Aww, such a cute underclassman! You don’t meet the other swim club member, RYUGAZAKI Rei, in the first episode, but I have a feeling I will like him anyway. ^.^
Last, but not least, is Rin. All I can think to say is that he must have undergone a serious and major attitude adjustment after moving to Australia. He went from being all cute and friendly to being a cocky prick who appears to be obsessed with beating Haruka at swimming (he challenges Haruka to a race, after all). He’s actually a bit creepy now. Rin goes to a different high school, Samezuka Academy, that is famous for it’s strong swim club. Ironically, Rin’s sister, Gou, goes to the same school as Haruka and the others. I’m guessing the swim club at Iwatobi High School will be formed after they get Rei to help create a team. Maybe Gou has something to do with it, too. I’ll have to wait and find out after watching more episodes.
Well, I don’t know what else to say other than this is another anime that I’m definitely looking forward to watching! My thoughts about the third and final anime I’m watching will be coming soon! Please look forward to it!
Until next time,