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 the 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.
The major focus of episode three is for Nagisa, Makoto, and Haruka to find a fourth member for their swim club. Not only do they need four people in order to compete in relays, but they learn that they will need four people in order to compete in summer tournaments in order to build accomplishments for the club and potentially receive more funding from the school. During the episode, Gou also makes arrangements for the swim club to have joint practices with the swim team at Rin’s school; unfortunately, they need four members in order to do the joint practices.
Nagisa spends a bit of the episode pestering his classmate, Rei Ryugazaki, to join the swim club. Unfortunately, this smart bookworm is already participating in the track club, and he isn’t the least bit interested in joining the swim club. Ryugazaki is only interested in sports that, in his mind, make people look beautiful; track fits this definition for him, but swimming does not.
As part of the track club, Ryugazaki does the pole vault; he focuses on the calculations before making his jump more than anything else. During one practice, he makes a miscalculation and knocks down the bar. The track coach tells Ryugazaki that while he understands the calculations are part of Ryugazaki’s style, Ryugazaki won’t be able to get better if that’s all he’ll do.
Ryugazaki ends up approaching Nagisa and the others and says he will join the swim club for the joint practice as a trial member under one condition: he won’t do any swimming, The remainder of the episode focuses on the joint practice at Rin’s school and what happens at it. I was basically able to determine why Ryugazaki didn’t want to swim rather quickly, but it was still interesting to see what happens to him at the joint practice.
This episode is a very logical progression from where episode two ended. It made sense to focus on the idea of the club needing to get a fourth member, and this episode really helped to provide character development for Ryugazaki.
Admittedly, Rin doesn’t appear very much in this particular episode, but for the most part, he really wasn’t a terribly important character for the story that was being told here. Considering that he’s a major character of the series, I’m sure we’ll see more of him in future episodes.
After watching episode three, I find that I’m still enjoying Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club. There’s a good mixture of serious and humorous moments, and the overarching story is progressing naturally. After what happens at the end of episode three, I’m wanting to see the next episode to find out what will happen next to the characters as well as to the overall story.
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