Free! Eternal Summer: Episode 13 – Final

始まりのエターナルスマー – The Eternal of Beginnings!

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To quote Mako, 見たことのない景色、また見えるかな – I wonder if we’ll see a sight we have never seen before”… with dolphins, whales, penguins and butterflies, surely they did.

With Haru having found what he was looking for, he returns from Australia with his mind set on swimming the best he can. The Iwatobi swim team reunite in the sweetest fashion, with lots of tears and hugs and confessions, and they boys give it their all in nationals, clinching sixth place in the relay competition. Fast forward to the third years graduating (as in episode one), and the focus is on Samezuka and their traditional farewell party. The captain baton is passed on from Rin to Ai, and we get another round of tears and hugs. In the scene that follows immediately, Rin and Sousuke have a moment, during which Rin tells him that he will wait for Sousuke’s shoulder to heal. Of course, this was Rin encouraging Sousuke, telling him not to give up on his dream to swim on the international arena. That was in essence what went on plot wise for this final episode, with lots of conversation and emotions filling the gaps in between.

On the whole, this final episode really brought out the theme that is ever present in Free! – friendship and camaraderie. Whether it’s Iwatobi’s touching reunion, the long-awaited relay, or Mako’s and Haru’s plans for the future, everything falls back on the camaraderie between the characters. Free! is all about friendship, and swimming was just the catalyst to bring these four characters together. As Haru said, swimming the relay together connected them. And they even saw a sight that they had never seen before while swimming the best relay they could possibly swim, together. So even if they end up walking separate paths, they will always remain connected. There will not be an ‘end’ for the four of them; in other words, theirs is a friendship that will last.

In the parallel story, Free! Eternal Summer – A Summer Romance, all’s well that ends well. After Rin and Haru return from Australia, Mako and Haru make up. And not only that, but it seems they went to Tokyo together. Yay ^^ Rei and Nagisa are of course still very happy together, and Rin and Sousuke decide to give their relationship another go. The ride up to this ending was a very rocky and uncertain one, but we have reached a fulfilling ending, with all our characters properly paired up. Don’t let that bit at the end fool you, because I choose to think that it’s merely friendly competition between Rin and Haru. There aren’t any underlying romantic feelings between the two. No, none of that Rin & Haru pish posh. All six of them end up with whom they rightfully belong *sigh of relief*

So anyway *clears throat* while I was not too hot about this second season, one thing that definitely made this an all the more enjoyable watching experience was, of course, the cast. Shimazaki Nobunaga, Suzuki Tatsuhisa, Yonaga Tsubasa, and Hirakawa Daisuke round up our four main Iwatobi members. Each of them delivered in their respective roles, but nobody more so than Tattsun, who showed exactly how gentle is to be done. Then we have Miyano Mamoru, Hosoya Yoshimasa, Miyata Kouki and Suzumura Kenichi playing the characters that make up Samezuka’s regulars. Mamoru really had his captain voice going on, playing it cool and calm – a far cry form Rin’s petulant hot-headedness in season one. The other who really stood out was Suzuken, because his Momo was just so hyper and adorable, that the energy he exuded was infectious.

After the 13-episode long roller coaster ride that was Free!, the second season finally comes to an end. Possibly one of my favourite scenes was at the very end, when the swimmers jump off the platform. I appreciate that the producers decided to echo the initial PV, ending the series with reference to the very first Free! teaser that fans got a view of. It kind of brings us full circle in a sense, and I am very fond of such endings. And so, just remember that this series really isn’t about the story or anything too serious. It is about our characters; about how they spur one another to reach greater heights; how they are always there for one another. Not forgetting that the enthusiastic and passionate fans were what turned Free! from a 30 second teaser PV into an actual series, this was definitely a series made for the fans. Honestly, with all that fanservice going on, what’s not to appreciate?

And so, for the last time, kiseki presents Muscle-scope. First sign of muscles: 40 seconds (but just barely). First sign of stripping: 21 minutes 41 seconds (it is the final episode after all, they can’t possibly leave out the stripping!). Summer 2014 might be over, but them Free! muscles will always have a place in the hearts of every fangirl and fanboy ^^

Before ending this review, here’s another round of kiseki presents. Since it looks like Free! has really come to an end, me thinks that there really is no harm is amassing a collection of screencaps. For the future, should anyone suffer any Free! withdrawal~

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*KyoAni challenge, complete~

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