The following G-View is dedicated to two special ladies who made watching Free! so much better than it already was. Foxy Lady Ayame from The Beautiful World and Sabrina from Organization Anti-Social Geniuses. Here’s my review of Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club.
Genres: School life, Sports
Themes: Swimming, (reverse) fanservice, bishounen
Number of episodes: 12
Plot Summary: Four boys named Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa and Rin all participated in a swimming tournament shortly before graduating elementary school and later parted ways. Years later, they reunite when Rin challenges Haruka to a race and wins. Not wanting to be defeated so easily, Haruka gathers Makoto and Nagisa and a new recruit named Rei to form the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club.
When writing the story for a sports show or movie, the plot usually revolves around the following:
1: Team Building with an emphasis on character exploration.
2: Underdog Team overcoming all odds to win the gold.
3: Sports as a means of succeeding in life.
4: Death Sport.
I imagine there are more plots than these but you get the idea. As for Free, it falls under the team building plot. It’s more about the team members and their highs and lows than it is about making it to the top of their sport.
It is also about the youthful adventure of discovering what it feels like to be part of a team you enjoy being a part of and the ever popular conundrum of solving the personal life puzzle of “what do I want to do with my life?” and “what am I fighting for?” The show doesn’t break new ground but it does cover old grounds quite well.
This meme says it all about the animation. Yes. I know KyoAni is lauded for its superb animation but I cannot stress enough how amazing the water and muscle tone are on this show. If you are a person who loves swimming or looking at water and you’re a person who admires well drawn masculine abs that aren’t excessive, this show will be a visual treat. speaking of masculine abs…
This is the most tame picture I can use but believe me when I say that no expense was spared to making the ladies feel welcome when watching this show. Sure, the men do get a rare bone thrown for them but it’s all about pleasing the ladies in the fanservice department.
The music has a motivational and upbeat feel to it. Good stuff all around.
-Haruka: Mostly quiet, likes to strip near pools so he can swim freestyle all he wants. He does learn to smile more near the end but he mostly only says what he needs to.
-Makoto: Fav male character because he’s the most levelheaded of the group and their captain.
-Nagisa: Second fav male character. This is mainly because I can never find a reason to dislike the guy. He’s too optimistic to dislike.
-Rei: Man of beauty and all things weird. Rei is the impact player of the show, but I won’t spoil why for viewers who haven’t seen the show yet. Trust me, he makes his presence felt, big time. Also, being the newcomer helps viewers relate with him more as he goes through a lot of hardships to prove to himself that he belongs on the team and show the others that he too can be awesome.
Then there’s Rin the “Shark Boy”. Long story short, Shark Boy is a jerk who has no idea what exactly it is that he wants…until it becomes too obvious for even him to deny. Seriously, Shark Boy tries REALLY HARD to find ways for viewers to NOT feel sorry for him. I felt more sorry for his “uke” kouhai roommate. Poor lad.
This girl right here, Gou/Kou, has the most important job on the show. Not only is she the team’s manager and has to look good without showing much flesh, but she is also the embodiment of frustrated anime fangirls everywhere who felt left out all these years. Their selection of tasty strudels were incredibly limited for years. They usually had two-three male stereotypes to choose from at most (If those guys had hot bods they’d consider themselves lucky). Free on the other hand has many male stereotypes and they’re all hunks. Perhaps the guys girls like are not in the main five. Gou’s many joygasms perfectly captured the reaction of all frustrated women worldwide. If you are not a frustrated woman who has been denied her select dish of hunky macho flesh, then I admire your titanium garden.
Besides the fair Gou, I also got my fix of sexy cougar goodness in the “foxy” Miho-sensei. I had to wait a while and even Gou wearing a one-piece wasn’t enough, but in the end my wait was worth it. Oh yes it was.
Overall, Free was a neat show. It was another enjoyable Boys Club anime and I do hope the second season will focus on the team going for gold as there is little left to tell in terms of team building. I’d recommend this show to animeniacs of any gender who are either not afraid of masculine abs or aren’t diehard KyoAni fanboys.
P.S.: Foxy One. About the yaoi subtext, now you feel the yuri nation’s pain every time a subtext couple appears on screen and their potential is through the roof. FEEL OUR PAIN FOXY ONE!