Notes of Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club Episode 4

  • Episode 3 Recap: Haruka caught a cold due to being a dummy and jumping into a freezing pool in the middle of April; Kou proved to us that she does nothing outside of school except obsess over the swim team.  Nagisa spent most of the episode begging Rei to join so they would have enough members to take part in a joint swim team practice with Samezuka Academy – the same team that Rin happens to be on; Rei asks to join the swim club and everyone celebrates.
  • Summary of Episode 4: Alright, we are finally in the water!  Things are looking good.  Kou (or Gou) has a pretty rocking workout for the first official day of practice and everything is going along swimmingly until Rei….poor Rei.  He thinks he’s figured it out and then he sinks. He blames his swim briefs, goes to the trouble of going out to the store to buy some new ones – along with a swim cap and prescription goggles – and he still sinks like a rock.  The team brainstorms on the reasons why someone so intelligent can’t figure out how the mechanics of swimming work and even try to get the advice of their old coach, who declines to help for some reason.  During Rei’s swimwear buying spree, the boys have fun modeling some swimwear for Kou (why else would they try so many on?) and Haruka has a surprise run-in with Rin at the store!  Rin requests they have a meeting outside where he then proceeds to demand that Haruka “swim for him” so they can “settle things once in for all.”  Haruka tells Rin not to whine or cry if he loses. The team heads back to the swimming pool and after a few hours of staring at butterflies with Haruka, Rei realizes that he should swim butterfly stroke and he nails it.  Everyone jumps for joy and we move one step closer to the show down between Rin and Haruka.
  • My Take: So when this show was announced, I figured there would have to be an “ULTIMATE FAN SERVICE” episode.  I mean they have done it with so many anime featuring mostly women, it only makes sense they would do it for a show featuring mostly men.  If anything, it’s only fair.  The old prude in me couldn’t or wouldn’t believe that they would devote so much time to blatant gratuitous crotch shots but then the seasoned otaku part of my brain asked if I was on drugs because OF COURSE THEY WOULD.   So I’m not surprised, just amused that it actually happened.
  • The hardest stroke to learn? I am a little annoyed at how they displayed the mechanics of swimming (I swam in junior high and high school competitively) and it’s starting to really bug me.  Did anyone else throw things at the TV when Rei became a genius at swimming the butterfly stroke?  I know that a lot of the technical artistic decisions that were made for this series were probably based on how pretty they looked or how easy it would be to illustrate.  And I get that this is anime, it’s not a documentary and things don’t have to be 100% realistic but it seemed a little strange that Rei, a guy who couldn’t understand the idea of propelling yourself physically through the water and then moving your body in a way so you can intake oxygen, would be the one who would become a genius at the butterfly stroke.  It’s just a huge stretch for me and it kinda left a bad taste in my mouth at the end of the episode.  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m jealous?  I could be over thinking it, like Rei, and should just look at the pretty pictures.  Right?  I’m going to go swimming now.  Stupid Rei and his stupid abilities to learn a stroke I still suck at.  **grumble grumble**

Note: According to the fine people at Crunchyroll, episode five won’t  air until August 7th due to a broadcast delay in Japan. I know, I’m sad too.  So this means that we will have to wait a week for more fun.  I hope to have a supplemental article to keep you entertained for next week.   Until then, stay cool!  

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Basically a get together of geniuses. Or something like that.