Free! Eternal Summer is the second season of the Free! Iwatobi Swim Club television 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.
Episode Five ends up being a character development episode for Nagisa. He starts acting odd, and the others wonder what’s the matter with him. Two nights in a row, Nagisa goes over to Haruka’s place. The first night, Haruka lets him stay. The second night, after Haruka starts questioning him, Nagisa abruptly leaves.
Nagisa goes to see Makoto next, and Haruka follows Nagisa. Nagisa admits that he’s run away from home, but won’t tell them why. When he asks to stay, Makoto says no. Later, Rei runs in after hearing that Nagisa has run away, and he’s reassured that Nagisa is with them. Each of the other members try getting Nagisa to tell them why he ran away from home, and he gives reasons that are nonsensical, and bribes Haruka to let him stay with him.
Later, all four of them meet, and Nagisa admits that he ran away from home because due to the bad grades he’s been bringing home, his parents may force him to quit the swim club. When the others offer to help Nagisa study to bring his grades up and to talk to his parents about it, he insists that they won’t listen. Nagisa then gets a text saying his mom is coming to get him, and he panics.
Makoto has a key to Coach Sasabe’s swim club, so they go to hide there. This scene has Nagisa explaining about how he went to a private school for middle school that his parents picked out for him, and all he was allowed to do was study. Studying became painful and he didn’t like being at the school; his parents didn’t like seeing him that way, so they allowed him to go to Iwatobi High for his high school years. Getting this backstory on Nagisa really helped me to understand why he’s had such a happy-go-lucky demeanor this whole time. He was so happy to be away from the private school, and I think he was also trying to hide the unhappiness that he had felt while he was at the private school.
The rest of the episode sees the others, but especially Rei, trying to convince Nagisa not to give up and to talk to his parents. They end up getting help from an unexpected ally at the end of the episode…
During this episode, I think I could feel the “bromance” between Nagisa and Rei quite a bit, especially when it came to Rei. He’s the one who rushes over in a panic when he hears that Nagisa’s run away, and he’s ultimately the one who’s trying to hardest to convince Nagisa to go home and talk to his parents.
And Nagisa was trying so hard to hide the truth from the others. He ended up pulling a similar stunt to what Rei did a couple of episodes back when he was hiding the fact that he was receiving swimming lessons from Rin. And Nagisa’s explanation to Makoto as to why he ran away was amusing too; but even more amusing was the fact that Makoto actually believed it and started crying.
While this episode did have humor in it, it was also a bit more serious in nature. But sometimes having a more serious episode is a good thing, though. And in this case, Nagisa really needed a character development episode, because I don’t really remember him having one in the first season. Most of the other characters got character development episodes in the first season of Free!, but Nagisa really didn’t.
From the preview for Episode Six, it looks like the series is about to hit the prefecturals already. So, theoretically, half of the season could be focused on the competition angle. It’ll be interesting to see if the Iwatobi team can make it further in the prefecturals than they did in the first season.
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