The boys need to get training and Gou has the perfect idea. Beware, boys, beware!
What They Say:
Nanase Haruka loved to be in the water – loved swimming. In elementary school, Nanase Haruka, Tachibana Makoto, Matsuoka Rin, and Hazuki Nagisa attended the same swimming class together. Time passed, and as Haruka was living an uneventful high school life, he suddenly encountered Rin again. Rin challenged Haruka to a race and showed him how much stronger he had become. Soon enough, Makoto and Nagisa also rejoined the group, and along with a new classmate, Reigazaki Rei, they established the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The countdown is one for the Iwatobi Swimg Club as there’s just 48 days until the prefectural tournament and Gou has started doing her best to motivate the guys in a classic sense. They certainly do appreciate what she does, but there’s also a sort of simplicity about it and also something that’s just a part of what feels “predictable” in a way. But Gou is able to carry it off with enough charm and there’s the added fact that the guys aren’t just tormenting her or anything, or even just humoring her, but rather looking for her to help out in ways that they’ll miss. She may get into things a bit too much, such as how she dresses up to come up with the signage, but it’s also something that doesn’t feel like it goes over the top.
While the gang has done well to get things up and running with the pool and all that’s involved there, Gou has come up with some good training ideas, including time at a training camp where they can really excel. Naturally, she comes up with one that involves swimming around some deserted islands as she found in a magazine, but the club has no funds and their advisor won’t pay for it. The club is certainly hard up in a lot of ways, to be expected of a new club, but the boys are handling it well, even if they had to spend their own money for their track suits. That leaves Makoto with coming up with an idea of how to get some training camp time since it’s also an important bonding thing, and that means a way of just doing normal camping to keep costs down. The guys are comical in how they try to cash in a few favors but there’s just a good sense of fun about everything here that makes you smile as they progress towards this familiar piece of any sports style series.
The camp does get to take an even more amusing turn as Amakata shows up – in her tiny pink car and wearing a great little sundress and hat, where it seems like she’s going on a picnic. The boys do manage to get their island swimming on pretty nicely though with a fairly rigorous course that will give them the kind of hard training they need for the prefectural tournament. Getting them out on the beach and in the water is a nice change from the pools that have dominated, but there’s also some fun that comes from it all as well since it does hit up the camp side of it. While the boys get a lot of time, there’s also a bit with Gou as she ends up coming across her brother while out there and that adds nicely to the larger story going on with some of the connections that are shared.
While Free! has a bit of drama that comes into it at the end that will play a big part in the next episode as the training hits a serious issue, the majority of this episode is light and fun. And that’s exactly what I was looking for with it as we see the boys heading to their first training camp, dealing with trying to achieve such a feat for a new club like them and then getting in the water and doing what’s needed. It’s a very fun venture all around as the guys are all solid and we’re getting more and more little details about them that helps to flesh things out. Gou also manages to once again steal the show in small ways and that just reinforces her as being all kinds of awesome and an enjoyable aspect of the series rather than an annoying kludge and requirement.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Apple TV via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.