Free! Episode 12: For the Team [FINAL]
*SNIFFLES* EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL AND NOTHING HURTS!
Oh man, I don’t know about you, but I loved the ending. I loved and have uttermost respect to Rei for his selfless actions of stepping down to let Rin swim in his place AND having cleared up the Haru’s misunderstanding from the past. In the end, winning wasn’t important to them, it was about being Free, and Rin who was the only one of the group who was still chained down just SNAPPED this episode was having an emotional breakdown. If Rei hadn’t sacrificed his position, god knows what would have happened to Rin. The poor guy was at his lowest point and was absolutely shattered by the fact he couldn’t swim with or against his beloved COUGHARUCOUGH team. It was emotional; not emotional enough to make me physically cry, but I did mentally. It touched my heart, and seeing Rin in tears, I just wanted to hug him. Thankfully there was a hug (I think I would have screamed in agony if there wasn’t), Rin hugged Haru right after they won the race before shortly turning to a group hug. It was special to see the boys once again, reunited despite being unofficial team, knowing that regardless of the results they were likely to be disqualified but that didn’t matter to them. By swimming altogether, each of them, Makoto, Nagisa, Rin, Haru all of them were able to break to the surface and be completely free.
I felt bad for Rei though. Despite being incredibly proud of him, watching him wound up as the third wheel during the finale was a bit hard to watch. He did this for the greater good, and it paid off. And this brings me to the subject of why it is in fact Rei, who I believe is the best character of this show. His character development, holy shit- where do I start? This is the guy started out being obsessed with logic and calculations believing that alone is what will make him succeed and being beautiful a priority not to mention sunk like a rock every time he was in the water, and ends up being the catalyst of setting the boys free. Rei has a big heart, he really does. He cares for the team and most importantly, he cared about the orignal team, the one he wasn’t a part of. His selfless actions, his determination, and not mention GUTS, this guy never gave up and that’s what makes him such a beautiful character.
Good gracious I swear to god, Nitori annoyed the HELL out of me this episode and in the end, his irritating efforts paid off and senpai finally noticed him (I sincerely hopes that will make him shut up). He’s the only character I hate in this show, just simply because he drives me insane with his “SENPAI NOTICE ME!”.
In the end, Free! was hands down my favourite show of the summer. The solid story, loveable main cast and their solid developments, KyotoAnimation really did a fantastic job with this original production, even more so as the (correct me if I’m wrong) first anime to revolve around competitive swimming. Although admittedly the ‘Sport’ aspect of this show was more like a subplot, regardless I enjoyed every little bit of it. Around the fandom I’ve seen swimmers praise the show for their accuracy on the details and information of the sport. Some scenes that may seem humorous to some of us who are not familiar with competitive swimming, but for others who do know their stuff will (at least from what I’ve seen around the fandom) nod in approval.
I am absolutely psyched to see that a second season is somewhat confirmed, or at least implied with ‘See You Next Summer!’. With most of the character development done, I expect to see the focus shift to the tournament aspect of the story rather than the boys’ relationship/friendship.
Stay tuned for the Overall Review