Free! Dive to the Future Episode 3
Okay I plead guilty for being too hostile towards Hiyori when he obviously has good intentions… especially now we learned he has legitimate reasons to be fiercely overprotective of Ikuya. The primary fear is that if he lets him interact with his former team-mates, it will cause his prime condition to deteriorate. And he isn’t completely wrong about that. Just meeting Haruka was enough to make him waver, and we are already seeing how he isn’t performing up to par as he should be.
But it doesn’t stop there, it actually gets worse. Ikuya has a serious problem where he neglects to properly pace himself, which causes him to have multiple incidents of almost drowning due to the lack of oxygen like that time in middle school. With Natsuya now traveling the world to swim in competitions for prize money, Hiyori has more or less become Ikuya’s guardian and has taken the responsibility of keeping tabs on him. Seeing how the two of them are constantly keeping in touch, just goes to show this is something that has become a pattern they need to keep close eye on.
Hiyori is a friend Ikuya made when he followed his brother to America, where there he continued to swim. So the two of them have known each other for some time now… even longer than Haruka and the others as well. In fact the boys came to realize, even though Ikuya was their friend and former teammate, he is almost a stranger to them. They don’t know anything about him at all. It is a sad revelation, especially since Ikuya wasn’t angry about the their promised team falling apart, but felt unbearably lonely. Losing the team left a big hole in his heart, and that’s why he can’t bring himself to participate in the relay medley.
But as much as Hiyori wants to protect Ikuya from his former teammates, all of them really do need to reunite and have a proper talk about the past. Without doing so, there will be no closure for any of them. And thanks to Kisumi, Haruka and the boys were able to get ahold of Ikuya’s schedule, they are hoping to have a chance to talk with him, but I suspect Hiyori be doing everything in his power to prevent that meeting from happening.
Meanwhile in Sydney Australia, Rin meets Natsuya, who was hoping to be coached by Mikhail (an eccentric fellow who loves muscles, just like Gou). I found the whole thing to be extremely entertaining, especially with the way Natsuya and Rin interact with one another. The two of them eventually raced, but were cut off because of the rain, so we weren’t able to see who would win, but Rin acknowledges that Natsuya is certainly a force to be reckoned with. And he should be, since he has been winning swimming competitions all around the world.
Overall I am also really liking how they are weaving each of the various groups together. In fact, with pretty much everyone gathered together this season, there’s a ton of characters, so it’s incredibly important to make the most of the limited team each of them have. Although this week was another slow episode, but it was still a good one. Actually now that I think of it, until we actually get to the serious competitions, the story is probably going to be fairly sluggish for a few more episodes.