The popularity of Swimming Anime means that nobody ever gets to complain about how women are depicted in anime compared to men ever again (x)
This Tumblr post is the post that finally made me watch Free!, previously known as Swimming Anime. If you recall, I did an article previously on the Swimming Anime phenomenon, stating that I’d remain skeptical on an actual release, but here I am months later with my foot firmly planted within my mouth. And as much as I was hoping that an anime would spring from the hype, with my dashboard being flooded with gifs of the well-toned boys ripping off their shirts and lingering camera shots on their torsos, I couldn’t really form an informed opinion about whether or not the aforementioned Tumblr post had any credibility.
After watching the first episode, I can safely say that that specific commenter suffers from a terrible bout of mantears and they need to sit the fuck down. Consider this my summary of not only the first episode, but also on why that person is wrong.
Free! Features a group of four friends—Haruka Nanase, Makoto Tachibana, Nagisa Hazuki, and Rin Matsuoka—who are all brought together by their love of swimming. In a flashback, we see that they won their junior high swimming championships by all swimming in a relay; however, most of them drifted away from each other afterwards. While Haruka and Makoto stayed together, no word was heard from Nagisa, and Rin traveled to Australia to become an Olympic swimmer.
After their first day back at high school together—suffering from ‘cool anime guy’ syndrome, Makoto skipped the first day—Makoto and Haruka discover that Nagisa is also a classmate. Nagisa brings with him some sad news: the old pool where the group won their championship is getting torn down. Along with losing something with such sentimental value, that pool is also where they buried their championship trophy (since they decided because it was a team effort, no one person should hold onto it).
In an effort to get that back, the three boys sneak into the abandoned (and potentially haunted) building to retrieve the trophy. It’s there that they meet back up with Rin, who seems to have turned into a grade-A asshole who only wants to compete with Haruka. As to be expected though, the old pool doesn’t have any water in it since it’s being torn down, so their showdown must wait.