Anime Blu-ray Review: Free! Eternal Summer Season Two

Free! Eternal Summer Season Two includes two Blu-ray discs that include all 13 episodes of the second season. The set includes both an English dub and the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Free! Eternal Summer Season Two
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: February 5, 2019

This series continues to follow the four members of the Iwatobi Swim Club: Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, and Rei. They have also repaired their friendship with Rin, who swims for Samezuka Academy. Rin’s sister Gou continues to serve as the manager for the Iwatobi team.

Free! Eternal Summer introduces a new character named Sousuke Yamazaki, Rin’s childhood best friend from elementary school. He transfers to Samezuka so he can spend his last year of high school swimming with Rin. Sosuke is a talented butterfly swimmer, but he also has a rather aloof personality.

With several of the main characters now being third-year high school students, there’s a strong focus on the characters trying to figure out their post-high school plans. Rin knows exactly what he wants to do, but Makoto and Haruka aren’t sure of what it is they want to do. Near the end of the series, Haruka’s confusion nearly causes him to break.

When it comes to the swimming aspect, Iwatobi’s team makes it to nationals for the relay, while Samezuka sends swimmers for both individual races and the relay. But Haruka’s issues almost destroy Iwatobi’s team and their chance to compete in the relay at nationals.

When I watched this series as a simulcast back in 2014, I thought that the first episode did a great job of setting up the new elements that were being introduced to the series. With Episode Five, I was very happy to see Nagisa get a character development episode. While most of the other characters had received character development episodes in the first season, Nagisa was the only one who hadn’t. After watching Episode Five, I felt I understood where Nagisa was coming from a lot better than I had previously.

With how the prefecturals progressed in Episode Six, it allowed Free! Eternal Summer to differentiate itself from the first season, since there was a story that focused on the Iwatobi team going to nationals.

I re-watched this series when I got this Blu-ray set, and my husband saw this season for this time. He was a competitive swimmer for his high school’s swim team, so it’s interesting to see and hear his reactions. Overall, he was impressed with the realism that went into the animation for the swimming. He also pointed out the realistic depiction of the aquatic centers and their Olympic-sized pools that appeared in this season. Another thing he pointed out was that he was happy to see the Iwatobi team emphasize improving the transitions in their medley, since this had been an aspect that had been ignored previously.

This set also includes an OVA titled, “Forbidden All-Hard!” This is something I had never seen before, and I thought it actually worked well. The members of the Iwatobi Swim Club go to Samezuka’s Culture Festival, and it climaxes with the four members of Iwatobi’s team and four members of  Samezuka’s team (Rin, Sosuke, Momotaro, and Nitori) competing in a survival game using water guns. The water guns felt so appropriate for this, and the decisions and reactions of the characters were on point. I especially enjoyed Haruka’s reaction to being hit with the water from the water gun. This OVA was funny and amusing, and it was worth the watch.

The Blu-ray video is 1080p High Definition 16:9 (HD Native). The audio on the Blu-ray had Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Dolbu TrueHD: Japanese 2.0.

There are several bonus features included on this release. You can listen to audio commentaries on Episode 1 and on Episode 7. The “Web Previews” just seem to be the next episode previews that were included at the end of each episode that were put together into one feature. This didn’t make much sense to me, though, since they were included at the end of each episode in the main program.

Extended End Card collection was a roughly two-minute feature that showed various images being zoomed around and then showing the full image as the final shot for each one. My guess is that these were the shots used at the end of the episodes when they aired on Japanese television to announce the sponsors of the program. The Illustration Collection was another feature that ran for about two minutes, and it also primarily zoomed around the images and ended up with the complete image for each one. I’m guessing these were promotional images that were used for the series.

The Memorial Promo Video appears to be a video that was produced to be aired at an event to announce the forthcoming airing of the Free! Eternal Summer anime. This was an OK feature, although it was probably more interesting when it was first shown to announce this season. It spent most of its time recapping important scenes and shots from the first season, then briefly teased this season. There were also a couple of promo videos included that would have aired on Japanese television to promote the forthcoming airing of Free! Eternal Summer.

The textless songs were textless versions of the opening and ending credits. The U.S. trailer promoted the release of the series, featuring the English dub. Finally, there were also trailers included for other FUNimation Entertainment releases.

This Blu-ray release of Free! Eternal Summer is definitely worth it for fans of the Free! franchise that want to own the series in their anime home video library. It’s worth it both for the 13 episodes of the series and the OVA.

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