FREE! – Iwatobi Swim Club

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Sports show about FREESTYLE SWIMMING ! Well, whenever they actually get around to restarting the swimming club, presumably.

Characters

Haruka, our lead character. Utterly obsessed with swimming, to the point of wearing a swimsuit (and often not much else) at all times. Unfortunately, his current high school doesn’t have a functional pool, let alone a swimming club. And it’s too cold to dive into the ocean yet. Not that he’s got much competition drive at this point, anyway. If only he got some spark…

Makoto, his best friend from way back. The kind of childhood friend that’s totally comfortable with entering his house, finding him in his bath, and gently scolding him for being late. It’s pretty obvious that Haruka is mostly ignoring him, but Makoto can’t take the hint. He’s the guy who acts as a straight man in all conversations.

Nagisa, who used to be in the same swimming club back in elementary school, and only just came back in town, joining the same high school. He’s kinda miffed that his old friends aren’t doing any competition swimming anymore, but as the enthusiastic one he doesn’t let that stop him from convincing the two others to break into their old (abandoned) elementary school at night so that they can retrieve the trophy they had left in a time capsule.

Rin, formerly the fourth member of their relay team and Haruka’s rival ; he’s just come back from Australia, but has enrolled into the super-elite school nearby with the top-class swimming club. His mere reappearance (checking in on the buried trophy too) is enough to start reigniting Haruka’s competitive drive.

Gou, Rin’s sister, is in the three others’ high school too. She doesn’t seem to be very close to her brother, and I highly suspect she’s going to be their inevitable swimming club’s manager or something. (Also, in keeping with the running joke that all the boys have girl-ish names, she has a boy-ish one.)

Their new homeroom teacher is presumably going to be important too (club advisor, most probably), as a point is made to mention that teaching was her second-choice career. Three guesses what she tried to do before that, and the first two don’t count.

Production Values

This features KyoAni’s usual attention to detail regarding backgrounds and animation of body language… which in this case means much focus on those young muscled, supple half-naked bodies. But hey, it’s not that much different from your usual testosterone-ladden sports show.

Speaking of testosterone, I love the ridiculously gung-ho rap tunes that start playing whenever Haruka & Rin are in the same room.

Overall Impression

The question was on everyone’s mind after those trailers : is this just trolling, or is there a proper show in there beyond the homoerotic subtext ? Well, the good news is that this does have a perfectly serviceable premise… but it doesn’t rise much above the sea of clich├ęs inherent to the genre. It also has no subtlety whatsoever. (The naming joke mentioned above is spelt out explicitly, for example.)

But hey, I have a weakness for sports shows, and I have no problem watching one that’s in about the same league as, say, Kuroko’s Basketball. (Well, a bit prettier, maybe.) I’m probably going to keep with it, although I really don’t expect it to be great.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013 – Page 2.

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Jhiday

I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as RPG.net's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

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