Episode 02 – “Memories in the Distance”
So I was right when I predicted that the three boys would start up a swim club to reconnect with their estranged friend Rin, but I was wrong when I thought that Kou would be the manager. I guess I should call her that instead of Gou, but I’ll probably end up constantly switching between the two names. I’m sure none of us are surprised that the boys create a club either, as this is KyoAni after all (it might have been in a synopsis somewhere, too).
This episode, more is revealed about the past as well as the outcome of the impromptu race between Rin and Haru. Even though Rin won the race, Haru is the one who felt more gratified as a result which pisses Rin off. Makoto finds out from their own swimming coach that after Rin returned from Australia, he and Haru had a race. Even after training over seas, Haru still manages to beat Rin without trying which understandably crushes Rin’s spirit. After this moment, Haru loses interest in swimming competitively. But, after the result of their most recent duel, Haru’s swimming vigor has seemingly returned.
With this change of heart, Haru no longer has any big complaints with starting a swim club at Iwatobi High, though it’s Nagisa that does most of the think tank work to bring to the idea to life. Ama-chan-sensei gives the okay for the club and is even coerced into being the faculty adviser. What would a club be without a young teacher adviser? Surprisingly (or maybe not), Kou joins the club as a regular member, fulfilling the club’s preliminary member requirement.
I’m really liking all of the characters in Free!, except for maybe Rin. Though, I typically am not too fond of characters like him (i.e. the cool guy who tries too hard, gets overemotional, and are often voiced by Mamoru Miyano). Still, the cast is solid, if not a bit conventional by slice of life standards. On the other hand, Kou has some great moments this episode. It’s rare that we see a girl in anime actually drooling over a guy’s body. Normally, she’s fantasizing about boys’ love or something so this was a hilarious change of pace. Kou for best character? It might just have to be…