Free! Dive to the Future Episode 1 [First Impression]
Eva’s First Impression
Free! Dive to the Future kicks off with the ultimate reunion of bringing back old friends and establishing new rivalries. Haruka and Makoto have graduated and are both studying in Tokyo, but at different universities. It is a bit sad to see Makoto is at another school, and it doesn’t look like he is on the swim team either, which is a bit bittersweet since it will be the first time he won’t be on Haruka’s team, let alone be in the competition. However the level of such is much higher than high school, and it’s the ultimate platform for those who aspire to perform at more important competitions, will need to excel. But at least he is majoring Sports Education. He wishes to be able to teach kids how to swim, which is right up his alley.
If you did not watch High☆Speed!: Free! Starting Days movie, you are going to be missing a huge chunk of the background that took place during Makoto’s and Haruka’s middle school days. They formed a relay team with Asahi and Ikuya, but ultimately didn’t win the first year they ran. However it seems their new “dream team” didn’t last for very long, as Asahi moved yet again (without even telling Ikuya), and Ikuya ended up following Natsuya to America from 8th grade, and so the team fell a part, and didn’t compete or be part of the club for the rest of their middle school days.
Ikuya was always inspired by Haruka’s “free” style, and was already a gifted swimmer just waiting to be refined. It looks like he will be Haruka’s new major rival for the season. There was a weird dude (who I almost mistaken as Ikuya’s brother), claiming Haruka and Asahi are ‘inferior copies’ of Ikuya— EXCUSE ME? Man I already don’t like this guy. There’s always going to be at least one annoying one….
But if there’s one charm about Free! is seeing how the boys have all grown up. There isn’t a lot of shows we actually get to walkthrough their lives, starting as early as elementary. It adds a sentimental value, but also just goes to show how much each one of them have changed over time. Most noticeably, instead of the season kicking off with Haruka in the tub, we see him swimming in the pool with Makoto, or the fact he is past his “I swim only Free” phase, and has opened up to practicing various other strokes. But the first thing we do learn this season, is how there is a part of Haruka who desires to be an ‘ordinary’ person. Prodigy at ten, genius at fifteen, after he hits twenty, what is he then? It’s pretty deep, and it is unfortunately something Haruka feels is out of rich, which is pretty sad when you think about it.
I came into this season with a lot of reservations. I wasn’t particularly excited for it, and I even put off watching the movie until the very last second (today). However after watching the movie, while it didn’t particularly amaze me, but it was something, and was enough to reignite the the flame that has long gone out. I was able to watch it without losing interest. But as it turns out, it was a good thing after-all, because it gave a fresh memory of important new content that wasn’t a part of the previous two seasons.
And after watching the premiere, I realized enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. This was a solid, yet slow episode that focused on laying out the foundations for the new stage, but it was able to keep my attention from start to finish. The thing that stood out to me the most was how much Haruka has grown as a character, and it makes me want to continue this journey with him to see where he goes.
That being said, I am still a bit uncertain whether or not the newly reignited spark is enough to want to cover this show again. I think I need to give this at least three episodes to get a feel of whether or not I have enough interest in it to write about each week, but I am in a bit of a pinch in terms of how much I got on my hands right now. But I truly think it would be a shame if I pass up on this just after one episode, so despite my overwhelming schedule, I’m going to give this a shot for at least three episodes. By then, I should be able to figure out which shows I want to cover the most, as Free! S3 will be the seventh show I will be picking up– which is admittedly a bit too much, but I am confident I can test the waters for another two weeks. If I end up liking it, then obviously I will have to drop a couple of shows, which is a shame because they all have their own charms that deserves some attention.
Possibility of Blogging: Moderate – Giving it 3 episodes to see how I feel about it
Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed