Free! Eternal Summer: Episode 11 – “The Open Turn of Destiny!”

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.

Episode 11 sees Rei noticing at practice that there’s some hesitation in Haruka’s swimming. When he talks to Nagisa about this later, they both agree that they’re worried about Haruka and about how lost he looks. Nagisa thinks they seriously need to talk to Haruka about their concerns.

Before they can do that, though, Sousuke surprises Haruka by tracking him down at school and talking to him. While Sousuke still doesn’t acknowledge Haruka, he admits that he brings out the best in Rin when those two swim together. Sousuke lectures him about Haruka’s incredible ability and to stop wasting time on utilizing it.

I should have seen the red flag at that point for Haruka to break. Even though he doesn’t say anything to Sousuke, you can see by the expression on Haruka’s face that Sousuke’s words are making him think.

The episode ultimately leads to a major argument between Haruka and Makoto after all three of the other members voice their concerns to Haruka about his recent behavior. This is the second time that Haruka has lost his cool with one of his friends recently, with both times having to do with others talking about Haruka’s future. Even though I’d already seen him act this way with Rin, I never expected Haruka to blow up at Makoto like this. Also, it was really surprising to see Makoto actually yelling and raising his voice at someone else, because he’s usually so calm.

This argument forces Makoto to admit that he’s finally made a decision concerning his future, which comes as a shock to both Haruka and the audience. I was glad that Makoto finally figured that out, although I was a little disappointed to learn that Makoto had made the decision earlier but hadn’t been able to bring himself to say anything to Haruka. Hopefully the four members of the team will be able to reconcile before nationals, especially since their relay time has been going down since regionals.

This episode also sees Rin getting tickets to go to Australia. Right at the end of the episode, Rin shows up at Haruka’s place and declares that the two of them are going.

The preview at the end of Episode 11 shows Rin and Haruka in Australia. I suspect that somehow, this trip will wake Haruka up and force him to think about and deal with the things he’s been avoiding since the second season started.

With only two more episodes to go, we already know that the trip to trip to Australia will be taking place in Episode 12. I’m guessing that nationals will be taking place in Episode 13, as well as whatever needs to happen to wrap up the story.

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