A lot of this episode is focused on flashbacks to when Haruka, Ikuya, Makoto, and Asahi were in their middle school swim club. As a viewer who had never seen the Free! prequel film, these flashbacks were very helpful in understanding the relationships Ikuya and Asahi had with the character that we’re already familiar with. It also helps the audience to understand Ikuya’s attitude and personality.
When Haruka and Asahi realize that Ikuya is at the same swim competition, they, along with Makoto, try to see him. But Ikuya’s friend, Hiyori, tries to keep them away from Ikuya. It seems Hiyori doesn’t want Ikuya to encounter them and remember his times from middle school. But why? At this point, the anime hasn’t presented the audience with an answer to this question, but I hope at some point, we will get this question answered.
But it was satisfying to see, through a stroke of luck, Haruka and Ikuya have a chance meeting. It was awkward, as I would have expected. It’s just too bad that Hiyori had to come along and ruin the moment.
Most of this episode focused on Haruka and the other main characters who are in college. However, there was one scene with the high school characters at Iwatobi, and it seemed to present hints that something could potentially happen that could bring our high school characters and college characters together later in the series. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
And through a phone conversation Ikuya has right at the end of the episode, it seems to be hinted that there will also be a way to bring Rin into the story more, even though he’s in Australia. Hmmm. Hopefully these threads don’t become too complicated or feel forced in order to bring our main characters who are spread out back together.
Overall, this was a good episode, though. And I was grateful that unlike the first episode, the story wasn’t shifting between three or four different sets of characters over the course of it. But considering all the catching up that needed to be done, though, it was understandable. But I’m hoping that Episode 2 will be the storytelling that will be more common in this series. By having the primary focus be on one group of characters, with occasional appearances of references to other storylines each episode would be a more preferable way to execute the series. But only time will tell on this, though.