Free! – Eternal Summer
- by Hiroko Utsumi
- Season 2, 13 episodes (+ OVA)
1 year has passed since the creation of the Iwatobi Swim Club. Just becoming senior students, Haruka Nanase and Makoto Tachibana are helping Nagisa Hazuki and Rei Ryūgazaki to find a way to attract new members. Otherwise the club will be closed because of the lack of memberships. Before graduating, the senior students have to make any plans for their future. Rin Matsuoka who is now the new captain of the Samezuka Academy Swim Club has already decided on his future: follow his dream as professional swimmer. However, Haru and Makoto are still unsure. More problems arrive as Sousuke Yamazaki (an old friend of Rin) suddenly appears at the Samezuka High school and creates a tension between him, Rin and Haru.
The second season takes place a year after the first one meaning that all characters visit higher school years. It is fulfilled with many funny stories, interestings facts and background information. The focus is still on swimming competitions which are very thrilling. One can say that the main topic is to find and follow your dream. This season kinda follows a more or less different storyline (apart from swimming): it focuses especially on personal stories and reveals more details about the supporting characters. A further main difference is that Rin and Haru are friends even though they are rivals. The story follows both teams, Iwatobi and Samezuka swim teams, and how they try to get stronger. But it also shows how an old school friend, Sousuke, can bring many troubles. Talking about friends, the topic of friendship still plays an important role in the series. It shows the feeling of being a team member not only in the Iwatobi Club but this time also in the Samezuka team. Being in a team means holding together and helping each other.
A further important element are the emotional aspects. An intense scene shows that too much and too hard exercise can damage your body more than making it better. SPOILER ALERT: This scene refers to Sousuke who has damaged his shoulder in a dreadful way that he might not be able to swim ever again. Further emotional scenes are the fights and the hiding of the real feelings just to avoid hurting or making other worry. This hiding can especially be seen between Rin and Sousuke and between Haru and Makoto.
Just as in season 1, ‘Eternal Summer’ is filled with many funny conversations and actions. Especially the new character Momo is a comic relief due to his awkward acting in front of his crush Gou (Rin’s sister). Also after the credits of the first few episodes, funny dialogues are included. We really like the English dialogue between Rin and Rei. Moreover, the OVA (released:2015) is also very funny. It is about a culture festival at the Samezuka school and it is totally worth watching it.
Furthermore, the second season of ‘Free’ introduced many new characters who are really entertaining. As the new characters are all students of the Samezuka High School, the Samezuka Swim Club is also introduced. Sousuke Yamazaki used to be Rin’s best friend at the elementary school, however both seem to have some unresolved issues. He seems to be very harsh towards Haru whereas he is very protective regarding his good friend Rin. The other character is Momotarou Mikoshiba who is very energetic and is fond of stag beetles.
The main characters in ‘Free’ have done an enormous character development. Indeed, Rin and Haru are still our favorite characters in the anime. Firstly Rin Matsuoka changes his personality drastically. He is much more brightful and has a more positive attitude in comparison to season 1. He is also cheerful and less selfish after being friends again with Haru and the others. Another distinctive feature in his personality is the softer side of Rin. One can say that he is tough on the outside but soft on the side. The next character who has made a character development is Haru. He firstly never wanted to swim in a relay but changes his attitude later. However, he starts to get depressed as he got noticed by many scouts instead of being happy. The fact that Rin and Haru are friends again, they make a drastic development. In other words, friendship changes people in good ways. However, important to mention is that Rei is the reason that both become best friends again (referring to the last episode of Season 1).
SPOILER ALERT: At the beginning, Sousuke ignores the young swimmers and newcomers such as Momo and Nitori. Nonetheless, during the anime he starts to change as he wanted to swim in a team (relay) again. He also offers Nitori his help as coach and opens more and more up towards his fellow team members. Also the special OVA shows a big development of Sousuke. He talks more and participates in the watergun survival game with the Iwatobi Swim Club even with Haru who he used to disacknowledge.
An interesting metaphor is also seen in the anime series. An emotional scene shows as Haru got caught and drown by water in an important competition. This shows that he is not free anymore which is caused by all the scouts who are observing him. Haru doesn’t know how to handle all this pressure he receives from scouts and everybody. He doesn’t want to swim for others but for himself.
A further amusing aspect is the music. The opening (Dried Up Youthful Fame by Oldcodex) and the ending (Future Fish by Style Five) are very entertaining. Both songs are a perfect choice and impossible to skip. We really like the ending theme because it brings many laugher as you can see them disguised. It is a very amusing song especially due to the fact that it is sung by the main characters.
All in all, we love the second season of ‘Free’. It is definitely worth watching not only because of the great storyline but also because of the astonishing character development. The sport anime contains not only many funny elements but is also filled with suspenses. Moreover, the second season is followed by 4 movies: High Speed! -Free! Starting Days-, the two medleys Free! Timeless Medley – Kizuna (Bonds) and Free! Timeless Medley – Yakusoku (Promise) and the last movie Free! Take Your Marks!. And now season 3 has started.