Free! Eternal Summer: Episode 7 – “The Crouching Start of Vindication!”

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.

After evaluating the individual performances of the members of his team, Rin has to make the decision to cut Uozumi from the relay and to put Mikoshiba into his place. Uozumi is noticeably upset, and Sousuke sees out of the corner of his eye that Nitori looks downcast. Later, Sousuke runs into Nitori and Sousuke surprised me when he gave Nitori some encouraging words; yes, he did couch them as if they’d be something that Rin would say to Nitori, but they still came out of Sousuke’s mouth. Up to this point in the series, Sousuke came across with such a cold look and demeanor that the encouraging words he says here aren’t what you would associate with him. I hoped that maybe this meant that Sousuke was starting to thaw out a little bit; unfortunately, I would learn later in the episode that I was wrong when Sousuke thinks that even though Haruka and Rin may be friends, he’ll never accept Haruka.

Something that comes up a couple of times in this episode is that both Rin and Haruka are now being scouted after their performances at the preliminaries. Rin’s really excited about being scouted, especially since the school that scouted Sousuke also approached him. Haruka, on the other hand, is ignoring the calls from the scouts. I find this kind of interesting, since Haruka has no idea what to do with his life; all he knows is that he wants to swim. Even though being scouted would help Haruka achieve his dream of swimming after high school, perhaps Haruka wants to be able to swim on his own terms.

During this episode, it appears that Makoto is concerned about how his and Haruka’s future will progress, and I wonder if Makoto’s concerned that the two of them will end up going separate ways after being friends and swimming together for so many years.

We see the relay race, and Samezuka ends up winning the event. Iwatobi is a close second, but their time doesn’t qualify them to compete in the relay at regionals. At least they all qualified with their individual events!

After the relay, Rin and Sousuke end up getting into a major fight. Holy cow, I hadn’t seen this heated of an argument in Free! since the big blowup between Haruka and Rin near the end of the first season! But with how the story had been progressing between these two characters, this big argument had to happen sooner or later. It seems to me that Sousuke is trying to cling to the Rin of the past, but Rin’s changed a lot during the intervening years, especially after getting back to good terms with Haruka and the others. The real question for me at this point is whether or not Rin and Sousuke’s friendship will be able to survive by the end of the season.

I suspect the next episode will probably be one that will lead us into regionals, and that regionals will probably start to get going in Episode Nine. Not only am I looking forward to seeing how the characters will do at regionals, but I’m also curious to see what will happen between Rin and Sousuke, and what will happen to Iwatobi’s swim club after the competitions are finished and the upperclassmen have to retire.

Additional posts about Free!:

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