This post title might be a little bit confusing, this isn't a recommendation for an ad-riddled website with aheago faces everywhere, the show is literally called "Free!"
It's our second sports anime this month, this time centered around swimming and I'm quickly realizing that this genre just isn't for me..
It's not that the show is bad. Neither was Sk8. There are no faults with the visuals per se, its use of depth blur, lighting angles and smart handling of odd perspective shots is impressive. Hell, even the voice acting sits well on the ears BUT I have such little time to watch anime nowadays that I need something with more purpose when I do ya know?
I might need to re-think the slice of life shows for the remainder of this month, or at the very least, find ones that promises a splash more comedy rather than the sticking point being a love for [insert any hobby here].
I mean, I was a competitive swimming kid up in to my mid-teens so I grew up in this world, even competing at a regional level and knowing friends who went on to the Olympics but I just couldn't connect with the likes of Haru or Rin...
SO MUCH WATER, YET SO MUCH THIRST
Haru has this really strange affinity (bordering on fetish) for water. If he behaved this way in the real world, it might be cause for medical concern. Being drawn to water so aggressively that he bathes excessively, tries to clamber in to fish tanks at the pet store and wears trunks 24/7 😂
The way his eyes quiver as he mentally cums from the mere mention of a chlorine filled pit and talks about wanting to float aimlessly forever is a little distracting.
Sk8 toed the line nicely between showing passion for a sport but decorating the surrounding characters / competitions with enough to hold my attention, where as in this show, Haru just seems to be in his own head talking all kinds of soul related strangeness.
And just before we depart the topic of thirst. I've no issues with the role reversal in this show with Kou being infatuated by all the hot bods knocking about, the fan service in speedos was fully expected and they've done a damn good job of drawing god tier abs, chiselling in to these meat canvases, BRAVO!
Something tells me that in the next few episodes Ama-chan's history in Tokyo (clearly as a swimsuit model from the little info we've been given) will be revealed and there'll be a bit of hotness for people who enjoy the female form.
IT'S ALL IN THE NAME
I'd have to watch the dub to see how they tackle this topic but there's quite a lot of conversation around the characters names sounding feminine with their classmates often drop -chan at the end to mock them.
They even make a thing of it during the class roll call and Kou has frequent back and forths regarding her name Gou, apparently it's related to the Kanji being read in two different ways?
This is quite a niche and mostly Japanese concept so I'd be itnrigued to see how it pans out in the western language. Even if they kept the names, what would they replace -chan with as a mocking term?
NOT MAKING WAVES
There isn't a whole lot else to unpack here. There's interesting drips of information like Rin's unexplained return from Australia and the fact Haru lives alone but not enough to reel me in for a third watch..
The characters suffer from incredibly generic design which in a way stems it more in reality for a sport they can't spice up too much but I genuinely mistook Haru for Kirito (from SAO) at first haha
At least in Sk8 their story allowed for more distinct showmanship with flashy costumes and its races had an anything goes ruleset to elevates the drama.
This'll land in my DROPPED list on MyAnimeList but maybe I'll dig it out on a hangover day for some easy watching, who knows 🤷♂️
Full list for AniMAY can be found here:
I also now have a MyAnimeList for logging future consumption: