Free! – Episode 12

The time is upon us, my friends (no, I’m not going to do an entire writeup in a McCain cadence, and who would even find that funny?). It’s been a long, mediocre, and inconsistently entertaining ride, but all moderately watchable things must come to an end. There were ups and downs, trials and gags, but through it all, Free held close to its strongest conviction – upper bodies are worth celebrating. Apparently this powerful message struck a chord with the people, for lo, Free has sold many thousands of BDs, and proven once again that KyoAni does indeed find a way. Though tonight we will be parting, this is not a time for sadness – for all those who held to the call of upper bodies this summer, let these sales numbers be consolation that some day soon, KyoAni will once again return to this fairly stupid show. It’s been a long paddle, Free. Let’s close out with the modest sum of dignity you’ve always managed to assemble.

Episode 12

0:52 – IT DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING. IT NEVER MEANT ANYTHING. IT IS MEANINGLESS. AAAAGGGGGAHAHHH 

Man, if this show were just a little bit better or a little bit more insane , I’d have a much easier time with these things. Not making it easy, Free. Not making it easy

And yes, I know, this is freaking “bonds” and GAH this show is shallow. I’m not even gonna make a stupid pun about that I’m so mad

3:36 – Wait, nationals are a thing?  But I thought… but regionals…

Oh, you mean Koshien. Of course!

3:46 – Look, it doesn’t become more significant the more you repeat it.  I’m sorry KyoAni. Hire a writer

3:59 – I’m irrationally blaming this entire season on this little pissant 

4:02 – I’m glad Rin feels similarly 

4:11 – Thank you 

5:30 – Even his sharkteeth have failed him 

5:39 – We interrupt this emotional breakdown to bring you some upper body 

6:41 – What are you doing, Haru?  What did you come here for?! GO TO HIM

7:15 – Clearly a high-stakes development 

It’s almost a bolder choice for them to not give one of the kids cancer or something, so all these events really are as low-stakes as they’d be in an average teenager’s life

7:27 – Also a good thing their school doesn’t have a real swim team.  I doubt most actual coaches go for, “we have to reunite our emotionally distant freestyle swimmer with his childhood friend or this race is over!

8:33 – Also an actual coach favorite 

But yeah, this has never really been a sports show. The problem is, it wouldn’t take that much effort to be a sports show – tying their emotional journeys (which honestly are faaar from significant or incisively portrayed enough to carry the show on their own) to tangible competitions would just increase the dramatic weight of both. It’s almost like this show doesn’t even… care… about…

Right. Upper bodies. 

8:54 – Oh my god these characters.  Got up, went downstairs, grabbed a beer, watched my housemate get killed in Demon’s Souls. Alright. I’m cool. Bring on the treacle

9:02 – Free seriously I’m gonna switch to hard liquor . Mari Okada couldn’t write scenes this maudlin (zing)

9:23 – That’s right. It’s not me. It was never me 

9:38 – Rei has mastered the logic of the heart.  Don’t ask me what that means

9:48 – Rei coolly makes the ultimate sacrifice.  Speedwagon would be proud 

10:45 – I didn’t want him to see me like this 

11:10 – Rin. I’d never… 

11:43 – Can’t you see, Rin? 

11:59 – DUN DUN DUN 

…stick to animation, KyoAni

12:29 – BECAUSE IT IS AN ARBITRARY CONCEPT 

12:34 – This scene’s obviously silly, but Rin’s voice actor is doing good work . Granted that’s about as far from my area of expertise as art can get

13:13 – This is amazing 

13:17 – Yes Haru take him there 

13:30 – Gou once again demonstrating a stunning lack of genre awareness 

13:56 – Sorry about that drama guys hope you forgive us 

14:42 – Excellent sequence.  Whipping out all the stops

14:52 – What the fuck I only took those tabs like twenty minutes ago 

14:57 – Dude dude seriously what the hell did your cousin sell us 

15:22 – EHHHHHHHHH?!? 

15:30 – Just look at that terrifying winning smile 

16:42 – Nice pacing and direction on this whole sequence 

18:29 – Alright, this is all pretty adorable 

18:55 – Ahaha great 

19:54 – Don’t worry. I actually wasn’t 

20:41 – Have to admit,  in spite of how much I picked on him, Rei pretty much stole the show

21:24 – Again, your show is about basically nothing, Free. Don’t sugarcoat it.  Incidentally, I cannot fathom a way they could make a more sexual monologue about competitive swimming

21:47 – I… kind of can’t believe I watched this entire show 

22:39 – Wow, non-emo Rin is an extremely strong addition to the cast 

23:03 – Those fuckers,  actually giving “free” a tiny bit of meaning with forty seconds to go

23:37 – Yeah, yeah,  rub it in, Free

And Done

Dear lord. Thirteen weeks, including one week of vacation. Plenty of upper bodies. Plenty of hit-or-miss jokes. Plenty of Free. It’s… well, it’s been a thing, people. Does this mean I can finally say I’ve finished a KyoAni slice of life? It better. My beer is done and my quips are spent. KyoAni has almost bested me.

I can’t say I have the most positive feelings on the show itself, but I’ve certainly enjoyed “discussing” it with you guys. Hope you got some amusement from this nonsense, and hope I can count on seeing you again for KyoAni’snext unparalleled masterpiece, which I will hopefully not have to write paranoid diary entries for to amuse myself. Until we meet again, stay Free.

Whatever the fuck that means.

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