Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club: Episode 2 – “Memories in the Distance!”

Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club is an anime about a group of four boys who swam competitively when they were younger, but one of the friends went to Australia to go to school to become an Olympic swimmer. Now in high school, three of boys are trying to start a swim club at their school, and the fourth boy has returned from Australia but goes to a different school.

Episode two picks right back up from where the first episode ended. Matsuoka, the boy who came back from Australia, has challenged Haruka to a race. The race begins, and then the show cuts to the opening credits. When the show returns, it’s after the race is completed. At first, I was a little frustrated by the fact that we didn’t get to see how the race turned out; however, this ended up being done for a very good reason.

At first, the audience is given the impression that one of the boys had won the race. However, later in the episode, it’s revealed that it’s actually the other boy who won, and we get to see a flashback of how the race at the beginning of the episode ended. I thought this ended up being rather effective, because the story had had me convinced that the boy who I thought had lost had actually won. This fakeout was very effective.

Gou also learns something important about her brother when she goes to try to visit him at his school. Since the audience learns this truth the same time as Gou, I found myself trying to figure out why this was.

When it comes to Gou, there are a couple of scenes in this episode where she goes gaga over seeing boys her age in just their swimsuits and admiring their pecs and triceps. For one of these scenes, I was given the impression that Gou might be getting interested in Nanase; this would add an interesting angle to the series, because I’m pretty sure that this would not go over well with her brother.

In my review of the first episode, I mentioned that I had hoped that an explanation as to why Haruka quit swimming competitively would be given at some point during the series. I believe the audience is basically given that explanation by the end of this episode.

Nagisa, Makoto, and Haruka get closer to getting the swim club off the ground at their school, and they also get a little help from Gou.

The pacing of this episode was definitely much better than the pacing of the first episode. Since not as much time had to be used to establish the characters, more of the storyline could progress. At the end of this episode, I became so interested in the characters and the story that I want to watch more of the series to see what happens next. I’ll try to watch the next episode of Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club as soon as I can after it becomes available at Crunchyroll.

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