Free! – Episode 8

Well here we are again. Last week’s episode kind of blew my mind – first, by being actually kind of really good (excellent, atmospheric direction, a bunch of beautiful shots and some actually effective drama), and second, by almost certainly being good specifically because they brought on the director of K-On and Tamako Market. Holy shit you guys. Up is down, left is right, moe isn’t garbage. Well, I mean, I guess being well-directed can only do so much – I gave each of those shows the fair three-episode shake, and as far as I’m concerned a gifted director tied to that genre will generally create a masterfully directed, evocatively lit version of watching paint dry. You can’t squeeze blood from a blob. A blob that is made of stone, that is. And by blood I mean thematic richness, or… look, it isn’t a perfect metaphor.

Alright. Enough regret – why fret over past misjudgments when I’ve still got so much time to make new ones? Let’s Free!

Episode 8

0:17 – Oh no!  What will Haru live for? Seriously, what else will he oh wait I forgot 

1:55 – Hey guys, how can we drain this episode of any dramatic tension? Oh I don’t know, maybe by naming itRevenge in the Medley . Not that the entire world hadn’t already guessed that plot development, but seriously, people

2:00 – I can also envision that splash as the fountain of dollars necessary to make water look this good 

2:11 – I’ve been trained to feel tension because they’re the only two adults in this world . A rule since literally forever ago 

2:25 – The Frees are uniformly disgusted by the thought of heterosexual tension 

2:52 – Haru seeks solace in the arms of his lover . It wasn’t supposed to be like this!

3:06 – Haru’s plan relies heavily on nebulous metaphors .

Holy shit, I’m actually kind of blind to the fanservice in this show now. I look at an image like that and only think of its wibbly-wobbly thematic implications

3:48 – Speaking of non-romantic tension . Man, anyone not on the male-bonding train has it pretty rough in this world

4:29 – In case you find this outlining of the show’s last act tedious, here are some free chests 

4:48 – “Who forgot to take out the trash?  Shit, did I say that out loud? We cool, guys?”

5:03 – Oh the tears.  The sweet, delicious tears 

5:17 – Between this and C3-bu, I’m beginning to wonder if sports shows have any other conflicts 

5:54 – “Am I just a substitute Rei?!  “Of course not, Rin. You also have glasses!”

6:20 – KyoAni sure loves its fans 

6:25 – And a liiittle more 

“This time, it’ll be manservice. And there’ll be a beach episode – no! TWO beach episodes. NO- A BEACH SEASON.”

7:07 – KyoAni you think you’re so cool you are so cool kyoani let me hang out with you

7:34 – I actually love this guy.  In fact, him, Gou, and the teacher are all great. KyoAni tends to nail it with the side characters… well, with a few exceptions 

7:41 – Seriously Rei you fuck this up we’re bringing in the next sub 

7:46 – Haru suddenly realizes he is not his own entire team 

8:33 – This episode’s quite the bounty, eh? 

9:33 – That’s encouraging, because frankly you look like shit.  Now let go of those glasses and win the heat, you damn freeloader

10:29 – It’s okay, you tried your best.  Now give me your goggles, your jacket, and your towel. You’re walking home

10:33 – Yeah, you beat your last time of ‘holy fuck are you unconscious’ 

10:37 – And on the bright side, the goggle thing drew attention from your shit swimming 

10:56 – Aaand he forgot them again 

11:28 – A nice little shot . This episode’s less impressive than last week, but that’s okay because I’m feeling funnier than last week. Win some lose some

11:46 – No there isn’t. You just swim fast and don’t fuck up your goggles oh my god someone smack him 

12:17 – Gou’s meddling strikes again 

12:20 – Pardon me for gendering a little, but didn’t this trip anyone else a little?  I feel like “woops, I signed all you girls up for something super-embarrassing or unexpected” “EHHHHH???” is so established that it’s immediately noticeable seeing the thing reversed. It normally works as a “let’s embarrass these characters because fuck you moe rules” kinda thing – it’s like a variant of the tsundere power-dynamic appeal (where you’re seeing a character reveal their secret side/vulnerability, thus hnnngghh)

12:45 – WHO GAVE YOU PERMISSION TO SPEAK  alright I’ll stop

12:59 – Tasty.  Man, I could cover my walls with this season’s bounty

13:55 – That’s something . It’s no Tasogare Otome pool , but it’s something

Incidentally, if you want my Tasogare Otome x Amnesia review, it’s a mediocre romcom with a flacid male lead and hearteningly pro-sex female lead lightly speckled with a few images as gorgeous as that one

14:14 – Seriously dude I don’t know you’re kind of a weird guy 

14:27 – Rei I am going to shove my fist so far up your ass it will break your nose 

14:58 – I’m sure this is how Haru imagines they spend all their time  when he and Makoto aren’t babying their asses

15:46 – I like this gag.  I also like that Makoto let them do their whole three stooges routine before mentioning it

17:14 – And the message ends. Don’t you see now, Haru?  It’s about togetherness

That was pretty adorable, though

17:49 Heeeeey  I remember this shot! Except now it’s all bright and… oooh. You’re a sneaky one, KyoAni!

18:04 – Please acknowledge Rei’s butterfly pajamas 

18:52 – “Yeah, sure… who are you, again?” 

20:12 – Rin is positively swimming in emotions right now .

Sorry. sorry

20:26 – Could anyone?  This show is the best kind of silly. Weeeell, maybe second best  (RIP Crimu Edge)

20:52 – THANK you 

And Done

Well, that certainly was an episode of Free. Less visually inspired than the last, but certainly more satisfying than the slice of life set. Races have been lost, teams have pulled together, and Haru has resolved to… figure his shit out later, I guess. That’s cool! Right there with you, buddy. Swimming is complicated (no it isn’t).