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 have started a swim club at their school, and the fourth boy has returned from Australia but goes to a different school.
The high school team acquires four members after Ryugazaki, a non-swimmer, joins the team; they have worked with him enough so he is now a beginning swimmer. Gou, the younger sister of the friend who went to Australia, serves as the team’s manager.
This episode begins with a slight recap of the end of episode seven, where Rin wins the heat and qualifies for regionals. We also see him gloating at Haruka, who failed to go on to regionals. Haruka ends up spending quite a bit of time in the episode questioning why he doesn’t feel free after racing Rin and starting to wonder why he’s swimming in the first place.
Unfortunately, it turns out that none of the members of the Iwatobi Swim Club qualified to go on to regionals in their individual events. They think it’s all over, but Gou admits that she secretly signed them up for the medley relay. Haruka is already gone by this point, so they have to look for him; however, Makoto warns that Haruka probably won’t agree to participate.
When they get to Haruka’s house, they find he’s not there. Ryugazaki finds the picture of the rest of the club and Rin when they were younger that was taken when they won a relay. Nagisa decides to call Haruka’s cell phone and leave him a message; however, after leaving the message, they discover Haruka’s phone is still in the house.
The rest of the episode focuses on finding a way to convince Haruka to participate in the medley, and then see what happens the next day.
In one respect, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that neither Haruka nor Makoto qualified for regionals in their respective events. However, at the same time, I think this turn of events is natural, since their swim club just started back up that school year and hasn’t been going for very long.
It was also interesting to see Haruka questioning himself and what he’s doing, especially since he’d spent so much time in the series up to this point being so confident. I think this episode will end up being a major game changer for Haruka, and I’m interested to see what will happen to him as a character in the remaining episodes of the series.
I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in episode nine, because episode eight ended in the middle of a scene. I can’t wait to find out what will happen to Haruka and the other members of the swim club.
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