Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club (First impression)

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Hey guys, so as the summer season is beginning to come to an end i have made some effort to watch a new series coming out. For anyone out there that doesn’t know what this is, Kyoto animation decided to make a 32 second video to show off how well they could animate water and that video went viral and they decided to make this anime spawning the show we see today.

The anime revolves around a group of high school boys who inevitably form a swimming team. the first four boys ( Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, and Rin) were together in a swimming club when they were in elementary school and after the participated in a tournament they part ways. years later when they enter high school, they reunite when Rin challenges Haruka to a race which Rin wins. not wanting to be defeated by Rin so easily, Haruka Gather Makoto and Nagisa and then inevitably formed the  Iwatobi high school swimming club.

Okay, with the formal bit out the way i can safely say this anime was obviously made for the female anime fan so as the male observer the series felt very alien to me and i didn’t know what to expect.The only other series that i have seen where the fan service was tailored for the female otaku was “Ouran high school host club.” which was strangely enough not recommended to me by a girl but by my gay friend although i feel the concept still applies. when I did watch OHSHC i actually enjoyed watching it as the concept of the series was foreign to me so i was intrigued to find out what it was about. another thing i liked about it was that the humor was oriented to both genders and what fan service there was relatively toned down so i could enjoy it without hoping somebody walks in the door and thinks i swing the other way. with that aside I did hope “Free!” would also take into account the male audience.

I have so far watch the first three episodes of free as they have aired and have found the series relatively enjoyable despite it mainly tailoring to a female audience. The first merit i have to give this series is actually in its story although at the minute the story does have sort of feel weak i like the effort that has been put in so far to stick to a story line rather than just having some stupid beach scene or other filler and how they have used some character development to build on the main characters.

Another good point of the series is that it has in my opinion a very strong main character and arch rival which is actually one of the main reasons i kept watching as the show has gripped me and i want to know so much more about the characters rivalry and do hope they continue to develop on it.

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The last point of interest for the series it the animation and art for the series kyoto animation did a very good job with the animation for the series as everything looks smooth and the swimming looks so well animated that it shows why Kyoto Ani were hyping up their ability to animate water. the character designs look great although i felt one or two characters felt bland and unoriginal or Kyoto Animation spent more time drawing their abs than their face.

Although this is all well and good we have to take into account what i didn’t like about the series. One of the first problems i had with the series was the fan service. at first in episode one this wasn’t as evident but in the next two episodes it was so painfully blunt as in they would flex their muscles in the screen or they would take of their shirt like a porn star to reveal the good stuff that the fan girls wanted to see! Yes, i do understand this series is for a female audience but they could have not rubbed their male physique in my face so much the smell may still linger because there may be the odd chance another male may actually want to watch it and will be put off by this. If you are a girl on the other hand this may be exactly what you want because it’s not like you get as much fan service as the male audience does so this is you lucky day but i will warn you some of it may be pretty unusual even for a girls standards like seeing Haruka in only an apron and his swim shorts which looked stupid from where i was sitting but this may be for you.

the other problem i had with the series was mainly with the side characters as most of the guys did feel girly and were just there to appeal to the female audience as their personality’s were just tropes that i feel have been used over and over again but the female audience would like them and latch onto them easily. A character that i specifically did not like as she annoyed the hell out of me was Gō Matsuoka. The reason was her character liked to specifically point out that this is a show with male fan service by Fan Girling over a character as he takes of his shirt or rubs his triceps which annoyed me while watching the show but retrospect i found her quite funny as i imagine her as the fan base for this show which may or may not be true. (No offence :D) Also she sparkles more than Alex Louis Armstrong during fan service scenes.

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Other points that i would like to make is that the OST is very good there was one track on episode one that caught my eye (Ear) which was played before Rin and Haruka raced which actually got me pretty pumped sadly I don’t know what it’s called as the OST has not been released yet. The Op “Rage on” was brilliant the song was great and the animation was brilliant. The voice over was good but so far no voice actor has really stood out for me yet.

My final verdict for the series is that so far the series has been quite good in my eyes and Kyoto animation has done a very good job with this series as per usual but i will probably not continue to watch this series until it has finished airing because although it has been fun to watch i don’t feel it is going to get much better in my eyes and i don’t feel i am resolved enough to watch this series on a weekly basis. I would highly recommend this series to the female anime fan as this is probably one of the greatest series that has been made specifically for the female Otaku so i suggest highly they should check it out. For any guys who are still interested i suggest you give it a go because i feel if you don’t test the water you won’t know if it was for you and if you don’t you may need to bleach you brain to get those after images out of your mind.

And this is the end of my first impression if you liked it leave a like or comment on how i can improve my work and come back at a later date for more posts. i hope you enjoy this series if you watch it, goodbye and thanks for stopping by.

~Zero

(I do not own any pictures used in this post all rights go to the respective owners.)