Episode 09 – “Hesitant Loosen Up”
Just when things looked their worst for Haru, he’s able to turn things around not only for himself but for the entire swimming team in the relay race. Despite Rei’s best efforts with the butterfly portion, he’s only a beginner and therefore Haru has some lost ground to make up. In a flashback this episode, we see that Rin actually did the butterfly portion in the relay race that all won together way back when. And like last time, it’s Haru that comes out as the pinch hitter to save the day with his freestyle, winning first place for the school.
It’s through this event that Haru’s finally reminded why he loves swimming so much. In my previous impression, I mentioned that the series would build up to the point at which both Haru and Rin will realize that swimming with friends is the true meaning of the sport. That point came a bit earlier than I expected for Haru, as he comes to this conclusion during the Squid Festival. The reason he was really upset after his free style heat was because he realized that that would be the last time he would get to swim with Rin.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case because the episode’s end gives us a surprising twist! With Rin also struggling to find his way through the proverbial swimming lane, he decides to enter the relay event at the regional tournament. This means that the four childhood friends will reunite in the same race, but on different sides.
All that seriousness aside, I love that fact that their town celebrates with a Squid Festival. Everything from fried squid to squid lanterns, the town’s got it all. Also, Kou and her friend clean up quite nicely in yukata. Well, I guess Rei and Nagisa don’t half bad either. I know I’ve been saying it for a while now, but I keep wishing that we’d learn a bit more about Rei, Nagisa, and Kou. Most of the series’s plot is derived from Haru’s and Rin’s struggle, which is fine and all, but I’d like to see more sides of the other great characters.