Saturday, August 24, 2013

Free! Episode 07

I have had an incredibly busy week, filled with enough adventure and excitement to pretty much sate the wanderlust of a viking warband. A lot's been going on, but the biggest change is that I'll be starting work next week. Which is a surprise since I wasn't expecting to do that for a couple of weeks out.

Of course, then things also happen in my personal life, which I'm not going to talk about here - it's just life, and shit happens. Then you plan to do things after shit happens, and other shit happens, and then you just kind of shrug and go 'oh well'. Because that's what real adults do in real life. I bet you were wondering where I was going with this, but this is where I segue into a show that wants to be real life by not being real life at all, with people who could only exist in a thing that isn't real life - even though they're convinced they are in real life.

God I hate this show.

Maybe we'll get lucky and this show will be over next episode.

I figured I would break things up a bit, and start with this lovely little reminder that with any luck, Free! is almost over. Because honestly, the whole plot is building up to the whole swimming competition between sharknado and dolphinflutter, so I really can't see them trying to drag this thing out any further.

Actually, let me clarify that statement because I totally can see them dragging it out. What I mean to say is that I hope they don't try to because this show is already straining credibility hard as it is. We know what's going to happen, and we seem to only be one episode away from the 'big payoff', so let's just be realistic and hope there will never be any more of this anime ever again. Because while some people claim it is "surprisingly good" (that is, people on the internets), that does not mean it is actually a good show. It just means their incredibly low expectations were somehow exceeded, and truthfully, right now the show is at least slowly climbing its way out of the deep pit it dug itself into within the first two episodes. But it's still got a lot of work to do if it is going to make me forget those ever even happened.

Right, so today the group is training in the pool, and Haru's times are just getting better and better. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that he described himself as a swimming prodigy in the first five minutes of the show.

So while Gou is telling them how far everyone has come in such a short time, she feels that with FIVE DAYS left until the competition, this would be the perfect time for them to get a real coach to train them. Because clearly, it doesn't matter how good you actually are at something, so long as you have enough hope and blind optimism to ignore the realities of the world surrounding you.

She then goes on to say "even if it's just some last minute pointers, every little bit will help us". While I understand the sentiment, I really don't think it's very applicable here, because this really just makes you look like you have zero idea of what you are doing. Which I am fairly certain you don't. Because you're an idiot.

Then Haru says "not necessary" as if that explains anything, and we get our overpumped intro which totally doesn't suit this show whatsoever. Seriously, this opening is so hot-blooded you'd think this was for NEEDLESS or something. Except instead of high intensity action, you get a slice-of-life show about guys playing in water all day.

After the OP, in a surprising twist, Rin decides to pop on over to his old buddy Haru's house. Y'know, just because. No big reason. Probably not gonna rape you in the butt or apologize for being a complete asshole since coming back from Australian swim school. Oh, but it turns out nobody is home, so what does he do?

He lets himself in.

Seriously. Why the f**k does everyone in this goddamn show just go "oh, he's not answering the door guess I'll just LET MYSELF IN"? Why is this even a thing?! Like, in what f***ing world do they live in where this is ever considered an okay thing to do?!

Anyhow, he sees a goldfish in a bowl swimming around, and turns out Haru is home after all, and wants to know why the hell he just let himself in. Whoops. Then things become surreal, as Rin says he's come to challenge Haru to a race. But Haru only swims free. Oh, and his goldfish is clearly some eldritch horror from R'lyeh.


Okay, so we're clearly in a dream sequence of some sort, as Haru turns and walks out of the room. Then Rin follows, and suddenly they're at the pool, wearing their swim gear. At least this isn't like most nightmares, where you wind up standing around naked - the fangirls would probably lose their shit if that happened, and they've had enough yaoibait as it is from this show.

Then things continue to get weird as a little kid holding a trophy shows up, which Rin starts calling "dad". Um. What?

If this is your dad then this show just mind-f***ed me.

So he goes chasing after the kid, then there's the funeral at sea thing, and he sees himself and his sister walking along the crowd, and finally he wakes up in a dead sweat. Wearing his clothes at least.


Next we go back to the other school where everyone is on the roof, and Gou comes to show everybody the photos from the training camp. Some of which are more flattering than others.

Ginyu force and Jigglypuff. Oh Japan.

Then they take notice of pictures taken of some other swim team, and find out that Gou has been digging up info on their opponents. This way everyone will know exactly what they will be up against at the competition. Guess who's in the 100m Free? If you didn't guess sharknado, you've clearly never watched this show. Because that's the answer. Then Nagi makes the astute observation to Mako that while Haru claims to never care about jack shit that isn't swimming, when Rin is involved in the picture he seems pretty motivated.

Over at the other team's pool, some silver-haired prettyboys don't understand what Rin is doing. This dude is pretty much one of those friends that you're never quite sure why anyone really puts up with - all he does is kind of pester you and pester you. I'm actually amazed that Rin even puts up with this guy, because all he does is try to get all into Rin's business, and it's not like he's even really particularly talented at swimming, so what's the deal? I really don't understand, because this is the kind of guy that Rin probably should've punched in the face at some point. The captain comes over, blah blah, nothing going on, then Rin goes diving into the pool to practice.

So why hasn't the Captain said anything to Rin about wasting his talent? Well, he's actually smart enough to see there's something going on, but he's not going to get in the way of things. Maybe because he's cool with people joining the team just to do a crappy small relay and uh, yanno, fulfill longstanding childhood rivalries. Does this make him a good leader? I'm not entirely sure.

Cut to the scene where the team we're supposed to be rooting for is making offerings at a shrine with their hard-earned yen, and discussing why Rin is only swimming free. God just saying that makes me feel all icky. Ugh.

Then Rei is all "so I rented this video of the Olympics and saw this relay race and was like 'man that is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen' and now I wanna Relay race too".


I love how everyone only cares about themselves.

Rei then goes on to talk about how style is the be all end all of everything and oh god why just stop talking.

I've been rewatching Macross Frontier actually. Why do I mention this? Because Rei seems to suffer from the same style disease that the main character from Frontier does. The only difference is that Rei is nothing like a badass whatsoever.

Then everyone starts making a big deal over Haru's fortune: Half Luck. What does taht even mean? Nobody knows.

Foreshadowing in my gay swim show? Never.

Oh god. Then the next scene rolls around and I just.... augh.

Everything about this scene is just wrong.

Okay. So ignoring all of the homosexual connotations here, let's just point out all the other things wrong here. You are doing sit-ups. On your bed. While someone is holding your feet in place. Now, this is a horribly ineffecient way of exercising, because your muscles really aren't doing any work whatsoever. You should honestly be doing this stuff on the floor, where you would actually need someone to be holding your feet in place.

So the fact that this is even a thing that is happening just makes me want to destroy some sand castle a six year old made. Yeah.

Then his little friend keeps freaking out about everything, like "why aren't you riding the bus" and "you're gonna see that Haru guy aren't you" and "why don't you love me?" and "paint me like one of your French Girls!" Rin even asks "are you stalking me?" That's a really good question.

Oh god now he's gonna get all pouty and shit.

He's upset that Rin is only doing Free swimming when he can do so much more, while he is pretty much forced to do his one role because that's the only thing he's even remotely good at, even if it's something he really could care less about.

Of course, he stops before he actually starts to cry, and Rin starts to console him about how he has endurance, and how it's a good thing he's doing the 400m race, because I guess he can probably just swim forever or some shit. Which makes his little buddy blush.

After all that, Rin announces that he's going to see his father. "But I thought your dad was dead?" says his little buddy. Wow. What a master of words you are. Real tactful. And so very good at reading into the things people say.

Oh for the love of...

If you couldn't tell, I was being incredibly sarcastic just now. Because this guy obviously can't understand that someone would want to visit their father's grave or something. Wow. Can he just drown at the race? That would be fab.

Then he goes out and gets a drink with his little buddy. A drink called "Pocket Sweat".


This is the part where Rin begins to talk about his dad, who was the best swimmer in Iwatobi back in the day. He was all winning races and bringing in trophies and hot bitches and prepping for the Olympics. Until he got married and had a baby and became a fisherman. Remember that old dude with the fishing boat? Welp, guess you know where this is going now. Huge typhoon, nobody survived, everybody cried.

So Rin wants to accomplish what his father couldn't. Of course, before he can do that, there is someone he must absolutely beat first. But if that is the case, why did you seem to give up on swimming in the meanwhile? Isn't that sort of the thing that is counter-productive? And uh, technically, you already beat the dude because he gave up swimming competitively?

Of course, all that frustration stems from the fact that Haru doesn't take anything seriously, and yet still managed to whip his ass back in the day. So there's still that old bit of resentment about that, which really isn't surprising at all, considering you've been telling us this shit for the last six episodes.

So he has to beat Haru, or he'll never be able to move on with his life.

Aw shit, we're just barely past the halfway mark too.

Now it's the day of the tournament, so it's time to deal with all of this crap. Everyone from Iwatobi gets together, and they head off for the big event while a seagull flies off into the sky. People visit graves before the big tourney, and everything is just a big whatever. Rin is gonna win. Woo. Glad that was established.

Rei wound up staying up all night because he was all nervous about the competition, and everyone else is all "yeah let's do this thing". Then comes the epic check-in scene where the guys get mistaken for girls. Gee, like that joke hasn't been played out enough.

Nagi, your shoes are pink, shut up.

Then the guys walk into a room which is best described as a buffet of manliness. It evokes feelings of nostalgia for them. Except for Rei, for whom it invokes a much different reaction.

Somebody's shy about showing skin it seems.

Then the boys all look at the pool they'll be using, as well as the stadium, and now we cut to when everyone will be swimming. There's only one event anyone cares about of course: Haru's. Guess who is in the lane next to him? Rin. Guess what that means? They are evenly matched, competitively.

Let's face facts guys: Nobody is here for you. Haru is the only reason any of you are here. Which is sad, because that's exactly the thing you pointed out when you started this stupid club. The world revolves around this kid, and he hates it. It's almost as though he is self-aware, that he realizes that he's really stuck in a TV show and that the plot revolves around him...

No wonder he feels so down all the time. Yeesh.

Anyway, the top 8 swimmers here will qualify for the regionals, which is cool I guess. You know what we need now? A QUOTE FROM NAPOLEON THAT'S WHAT WE NEED NOW.

How that is applicable to swimming, I have no idea.

So Mako tells everyone to do their bests, and now we get to see a bunch of guys from other schools stretching and jumping around and shit. Ugh. Then Nagi is sad because he doesn't have a nickname, they get a look at Gou's secret notebook (complete with illustrations of their competitor's muscles), and then she starts having another panty-creaming attack.

That's. What. She. Said.

Finally, the rival team shows up, and they notice Rin isn't with the rest of his team. Wonder where he's at? Haru goes off to go find out.

Oh, there he is, sitting in a hallway just waiting to see his old buddy.

"Sorry I wasn't enough of a asshole already, so I decided

to up my Assetry, so I can be an Olympic-level Asshole."

Haru is all like "hey, we'd meet in the Final anyway so what's it matter" but Rin is all "Pfft, whatevs whore, I can't wait that long and besides there's no guarantee you'd make it there" and Haru is all like GRRRR.

He looks exactly like the Protagonist from Persona 4 now...

But one thing is clear: Nobody else matters. This entire show revolves around them. And their swimming. It's about them swimming. Did you catch that? It's pretty subtle. Oh, by the way, in case you weren't getting enough of a charge from this riveting scene, THEY'VE GOT AWESOME DUBSTEP YEAAAH. WUB WUB MOTHERF***ERS WUB WUB DROP.

Then there's Haru staring in a mirror declaring his Free-dom, and everyone lines up for the swim, and everyone is watching Haru's match with intensity. Wub wub wub they stand and then OFF TO THE RACES! They're all going through the water and Rin is all beating the crap out of Haru. But in th esecond leg he starts catching up, because they need to ramp up the tension somehow, and looks like Rin is running out of steam. But in teh end? Rin comes in first, and Haru is second best. Shocker. Who'd have thought that years of training would pay off.

Then everyone is sad because this isn't the anime ending they were all expecting. Except for Rin, he's pretty excited about beating the crap out of that guy he's been harboring a secret hate for the last decade.

So you swam with him... why exactly?

Then Haru is all sadface and the episode ends.

Welp, guess there's nothing left to tell in this show. It's over, right?

What do you mean there's another episode?

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