Published on September 26th, 2013 | by exo
Free! – 12 [END]
The day of the regional tournament has arrived, and the Iwatobi Swim Team lines the stands to watch Rin swim in the 100m Free. But, Rin is still shaken up by the news of his removal from the relay line-up and performs extremely poorly in his heat.
Everyone is worried after watching Rin’s abysmal performance, and the Iwatobi team heads off to search for him. Haru ends up finding him and after a bit of a scuffle, Rin breaks down in an emotional catharsis. He laments that he won’t be able to swim in the relay, but Haru exclaims that it’s not too late.
The Iwatobi Team gathers up and makes it back to the pool just in time for their heat. However, everyone is surprised to see Rin instead of Rei in the spot for the 100m Butterfly. Iwatobi performs incredibly well and ends up placing first in the heat, all the while rekindling their lost friendships.
In the end, their team is disqualified for excessive celebration, but Haru says, “We’ll be here next year.” to which everyone eagerly agrees.
With Rin off his own school’s relay team, having him swim for Iwatobi was the only realistic means by which Free! could have successfully resolved his emotional conflict. But man… I give Rei some major props. Being able to suck up his pride and let Rin swim in his place took some REAL courage.
If you took Rin and Rei out of the equation, Free! would have belly flopped big time. Haru, Nagisa, and Makoto had barely any emotional problems to deal with throughout the show, and pretty much just came along for the ride. They were uninteresting, one-dimensional characters that were just there to provide comedic relief, muscle mass, and sparkling wet hair flips to the show. But, I do give props to KyoAni for doing a swimming anime (I haven’t seen one of those before), and also selecting a genre that wasn’t Harem Romance, or Cute Girl – Slice of Life.
Overall, I would say Free! was an average anime with better than average visuals, some heartfelt moments, and a lot of fan service for the ladies (strangely, this did not interest my GF). KyoAni definitely could do a lot better in my opinion, and I’m sure that at the end of this episode’s broadcast, viewers around the world let out a collective sigh when season two was announced for KyoAni’s summer spot next year. Oh well, can’t win them all.
Summary: An overall solid show. Character design, scenery, and overall flow of the series was excellent, as one would expect from KyoAni. However, a generic and unengaging storyline, coupled with a boring/one-dimensional protagonist left much to be desired.