Free! Eternal Summer: Episode 2 – “The Stroke of a Chance Meeting!”

Free! Eternal Summer is the second season of the Free! Iwatobi Swim Club anime series. This season begins in spring, when the new school year is getting underway. The focus of the series is still on the Iwatobi High swimmers (Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, and Rei), their manager Gou, and Rin from Samezuka Academy.

In Episode Two, we learn that Rin and Sousuke knew each other back when they both attended Sano Elementary together. It’s been five years since they last saw each other, because Rin transferred to the school Haruka and the others went to back when he was in the sixth grade. Sousuke has transferred to Samezuka, because he wants to swim with a school in his hometown and that he knows where he’s going after high school. It turns out that Sousuke has been scouted. Sousuke joins Samezuka’s swim team.

Haruka and Makoto are having to fill out career path questionnaires in class, and neither one of them truly seems to know what they want to do after high school. This is very clear when Haruka has a conference with his teacher about his questionnaire.

When the Iwatobi Swim Club practices at Sasabe’s swimming club, they see a flyer for the upcoming grand opening event. They help put flyers up around town, and they also help to brainstorm the main event: a relay race. Makoto phones in a favor to Rin, who ends up agreeing to do it. Sousuke says he’ll participate, and Nitori and Nakagawa also volunteer. We learn that Sousuke knows who Haruka is, because he raced against him once at a tournament.

On the day of the grand opening, Nitori informs the others that Nakagawa is unable to go, due to getting a bad grade and having to take a make-up test. However, luck is on their side when they hear someone call out the surname “Mikoshiba.” The previous captain is the only person they knew with that name, so they believe this is his younger brother; it turns out they’re right. Mikoshiba brags about how good of a swimmer he is but that he refuses to join the swim team. Rin forces him to go to the grand opening with him. After he sees Gou and thinks she’s cute, Mikoshiba is much more willing to stay and participate.

Before the relay gets underway, Sousuke corners Haruka and blasts him for what he did to Rin during the final race at the end of Season One. Sousuke declares that he never would have made Rin do something like that, and also threatens Haruka by telling him that he’d better not get in Rin’s way ever again.

The relay takes place, and the winner is…

Well, I’m not going to provide that spoiler, but I will say that I’m glad the team that won was the winner.

Now that Rin’s become a nicer person compared to Season One, there needed to be a new antagonist for the series. This episode makes it clear that Sosuke is the new antagonist. Whenever I saw Sosuke in this episode, he always seemed to have a rather “cold” look to him, and I think this was a very intentional trait for his character design. With Sosuke being Rin’s friend from elementary school, it makes me think there could be a struggle between him and the Iwatobi group for Rin’s friendship. If that’s the case, then poor Rin is going to find himself in the middle of it.

And from what we saw near the end of the episode, it looks like Samezuka Academy’s team will also be acquiring another new member. The impression that was given was that Mikoshiba’s younger brother will end up joining the team.

Episode Two did a great job of setting up the new elements that should be helping to propel the story of Free! Eternal Summer. I’m also happy to say that the amount of “fanservice” in this episode had been toned down quite a bit compared to how much appeared in Episode One. Overall, Episode Two decided to put more of its focus on story and character development.

I can’t wait to see the next episode of Free! Eternal Summer in order to find out how the story of this season will progress.

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