I came across Free! while perusing Tumblr (yeah, I know) and couldn’t resist based on people’s fanart, comments, fanvids, etc. From what I gleaned online, Free! is about a group of boys that love to swim and are all gay for each other. The first is true. The second…well, I’ll let you be the judge of that.
So, we meet four of our players when they are just kids on the same swim club. There’s Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa and Rin. They’re all adorable and great swimmers but Haruka is all serious about him and his water, like they share some kind of symbiotic relationship. It’s a little strange for someone so young, but…Anyway.
Jump to the present and we have Haru in a tub, in his swimsuit, and Makoto coming to get him for class before they’re late (or Haru misses another day). It’s only five minutes in and I feel like we’re getting a lot of gratuitous half naked guy. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. But I have to remember these guys are in high school (which, when I was in high school no one had bodies like that, thank you very much) and I’m far too old.
Alright, so, where was I? Right. Haru and Mako are at school and they run into Nagisa who just transferred to their high school. He also has knowledge that the pool where they had swim club back in the day is getting torn down. And wouldn’t it be great to go dig up the time capsule/trophy thing they buried there before it does? Haru agrees, but only because there is a pool there and he can’t swim in the ocean yet since it’s still too cold and maybe he can swim there.
Things we learn about Haru from this episode:
When the three guys get there, it’s all dark and abandoned and we get some cute moments of them being adorably scared. Like, bringing salt to ward off evil spirits or something (too bad it’s sugar. NAGISA!). Mako is a big ol’ scaredy cat. It’s so cute, seriously. Everything about this episode so far is cute.
So, they go to dig up their relay trophy and Haru is having flashbacks as he looks at the photo of adorable baby Haru, Mako, Nagisa and Rin. We see it was Rin’s idea to bury the trophy and then come back later to dig it up. And he uses the term romantic to describe the whole thing. Well. Okay then. I’m cool with it. Rin moved away after that to go to Australia and train for the Olympics or whatever. I’m pretty sure Haru was upset about that.
It only makes sense, then, that they happen to run into none other than Rin at the abandoned pool. He’s all grown up with pointy teeth. He’s kind of standoff-ish and nothing like the sweetie we’ve seen. He even challenges Haru to a race. Which gives us the excuse of seeing the two fling off their clothes and show off those swimmer bodies.
Too bad the pool is empty.
We get to meet Gou, a girl with a boy name (I’m not well versed in the way Japanese names work so I have no idea why that is, sorry). More importantly, we learn Gou (or Kou as she likes to be called) is Rin’s sister. And they’re back. Only Rin is attending a private school that is known for their swimmers.
The three boys got in trouble for trespassing at their old swim club. But does that stop them from going to the Academy Rin attends to check it out? Nope. They go. And Haru does his level best to fling all his clothes off again. Seriously, first episode and guys are getting naked everywhere.
Somehow Rin thinks to come to the pool and catches the trio. There’s a weird moment between Haru and Rin, a challenge again I assume, but the episode ends before anything else can happen. DAMN.
Here’s what we learn of Haru from this first episode:
he has a girly name
he loves water…probably more than he should
he cooks in his swimsuit
he loves to eat fish
he lives alone (his parents moved for his dad’s job…idk how this is legal, but okay)
he doesn’t swim competitively anymore
he swims like a dolphin
he wears his swimsuit under his clothes, like, always
Here’s what else I have to say about Free! I love how light it all is. After watching so much AoT I needed something like this, badly.