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Friday, December 20, 2013

Anime Review: Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club

"The water is alive. Once you dive in, it will immediately bare its fangs and attack. But there's nothing to fear. Don't resist the water. Thrust your fingers in the surface and carve an opening" 

-Haru

Title: Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club
Japanese Title: Free!
Amount of Episodes: 12
Status: Completed
Air Date: July 4, 2013 - September 25, 2013
Tags: Swimming, Comedy, Slice of Life, School
For: Teens



Summary: Free! follows three teenagers, Haru, Makoto and Nagisa as they try to establish a swim club in their high school. On their path, they recruit track star and theory specialist, Rei, bubbly/fangirl, Gou Kou, and gentle (?) teacher, Miho.

Haru, Makoto and Nagisa share a deep history in that they were all in the same swimming club during elementary school with the all-mighty Rin. Rin, the shark-toothed hot head, who has just gotten back from Australia and is about to shake their simple plans to create a swimming sanctuary.

Wdebo's Review: (Warning: Review will contain a ton of gifs. You have all been warned) To be serious, I wasn't really expecting much from the anime when I first started and did not come in with very high expectations. Therefore, in the beginning, I was mainly just blinded by the beauty that is all of the half naked swimmers bodies. Honestly, Kou was literally me in anime form:



When the anime started, there was barely any storyline. I was just in it for the shapely male bodies. There was clothing getting ripped off at any possible minute and I approved (thanks mainly to Haru who strips anytime he comes in contact with water.) 


This anime was very blatantly marketed towards those who were attracted to males and it showed. Boi, did it show.


I


Was Totally 


Fine With 


That


The amount of fanservice they were able to stuff into this anime was very impressive. I do have to admit that it was refreshing to see oversexualized male bodies compared to females. 

Males: 


Females:



As stated above, the storyline was basically non-existent in the opening of the show. The main problem that was presented was the mystery surrounding Rin and his history with the boys, especially Haru. It dwelled on why Rin and Haru had such animosity between, wait, scratch that, mainly why Rin was always so competitive with Haru and Haru was so apathetic, well, until the dramatic ending that is. Damn, that ending was really something.

The story honestly seemed pretty tacked on in the beginning, like the author was like, "Hm, I really should add in some conflict instead of drawing hot anime guys swimming around with each." However, as the anime progressed and I became more and more attached to each of the characters, I became fairly invested in each of their backstories, especially what occurred between Haru and Rin. Truthfully, after finishing the program, I still have lots of unanswered questions. And some of the explanations did not make that much sense to me personally. However, I did like how it still went along the whole brotherhood and harworking theme that underlies many anime (especially shonen ones). The bond between Haru and Rin was really sweet and the change in Rin's personality in the last couple of episodes was an appreciated amazement. 

I was surprised by how much I liked all of the characters. This is a very rare occurrence especially since female characters are typically given a very submissive, whinny role which I can never stand. Though Kou and Miho are definitely not in the spotlight and are supporting characters, they still had their part to play (though it was smaller than I would have liked). They were not too annoying and were a welcome addition to the cast. The show was very humorous and the characters were a great reason why.

So, we've talked about the beauty that is the male protagonists' bodies which shows the wonders that is animation. I really liked the quality of animation except for the fact that at times I felt that the scenery details were foregone instead focusing upon the details of the characters, which is totally understandable but you aren't going to find Black Butler level details in here. Everything is just pretty but not beautiful. There definitely could have been more added to art of both the landscape and the people.

The music choice was very hit and miss for me. Sometimes I liked it other times I did not. Some of the songs (mainly the calming instrumentals) fit the mood perfectly and were a welcome addition to the scene, other times, uhhhh...one word...Dubstep. They played fucking dubstep in the "tense" scenes. Now don't get me wrong I love EDM except for the fact that it's very strange to experience it in anime, especially a swimming anime. The opening and ending songs also took some time for me to get used to, but after a while they did grow on me. They're just not something I would have on repeat all the time. 

Free! was seen as a somewhat controversial anime this summer which is understandable in the fact it is peppered with sexy half naked guys but not in that it was up against Attack on Titan which used blood like how other animes used cherry blossoms. 

Free! held a lot of homosexual undertones because you obviously cannot have so many wet and naked guys together in the same vicinity for so long without at least one of them wanting to jump the others' bones. Am I right? Coughs. The most obvious "couple" that comes to mind is water-loving Haru and the perpetually glommy Rin. Seriously, the sexual tension between the two was so palpable, I was gonna take it and smack both of them for not realizing their chemistry. (Even though I am definitely a Rei X Nagisa shipper myself). 

Finally, the specials that were bundled with the anime were really cute and adorable. 

All in all, Free! is a fun little anime to enjoy but nothing to be taken as a completely serious plotline. It is just a nice way to pass the time. Fun for all! 

Grade: B+ 

Wdebo :)

Watch it HERE
Watch 50% Off (A wonderful parody of the show) HERE

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