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  • #16
    Episode 8

    Together in the water.

    All it took was a side-by-side swim with his idol in competition to make Ikuya realize the importance and opportunity of friendship, and just like that he's back to doing relays after taking a hard stance on only doing individual events. That was quite an excellent piece of character development for Ikuya as it not only got him to open up with the others, but it also made Hiyori much less of a douchebag as being overprotective was being counterintuitive. It happened to Rin in the first season and to Haru in the second season, and now this season it's Ikuya's turn to experience this kind of turnabout. Now, Haru and friends are ready to take on the world after all that.
    MyAnimeList | Avatar: Nanako Yukishiro, Senryu Girl
    Watching: Stellvia, Baki, Toonami Stuff
    Simulcasts: FTL, TOA-I, TSL, SAO, KTF, CQK, KMF, DAL, TSH, PNL, More TBD
    The only thing better than anime is sports. Get hit hard and you got JACKED UP! Or else it's a C'mon Man!

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    • #17
      Re: Episode 8

      Oh hey, everyone makes up two thirds of the way through this time. Guess they're serious about doing something with this "world stage" business in the remaining time. Definitely missing Rin, so it will be good to get him back. Hopefully it can be a little more engaging, because I'm losing my interest in the story they've been telling a little bit.
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      • #18
        Episode 9

        Swimming out of this world.

        It's mostly a chill episode here as everybody gets ready for the big swim meet ahead now that Ikuya's problems have been resolved and everybody is on friendly terms with each other. And then comes Albert, who is one of the gold medal favorites, and while he's from Sweden, he's speaking like an American. Albert is a fun guy to be around, but when it comes to his swimming, he's out of this world as Mikhail said and Haru found out there at the end. Only the best make it this far, and Haru and company will have to step up their game in a big way.
        MyAnimeList | Avatar: Nanako Yukishiro, Senryu Girl
        Watching: Stellvia, Baki, Toonami Stuff
        Simulcasts: FTL, TOA-I, TSL, SAO, KTF, CQK, KMF, DAL, TSH, PNL, More TBD
        The only thing better than anime is sports. Get hit hard and you got JACKED UP! Or else it's a C'mon Man!

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        • #19
          Re: Episode 9

          This season really feels like it was meant to spend its full run on the plot resolved last episode, and then maybe this one would be covered in yet another movie or something? I don't know; this just feels like too sudden of a shift from everything it's been focused on up to now. Of course, they've been talking about nationals all along, but in a way that would've made more sense to get into in a movie.
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          • #20
            Episode 10

            Every race has a winner and a loser.

            This episode pretty much is about the coaching aspect here as the focus was on Makoto, who is a coach for youth swimmers, all while Ryuuji reveals his motivation for coaching Haru as he wants to coach somebody who will one day surpass him. None of the swimmers he has coached so far had it in them, but Haru is on a different level. While he's talented, his technique needs a lot of fixing as he just doesn't realize how problematic his narrow mindset is. And Rin has come back to Japan to compete against Haru, and with him being coached under Mikhail that Ryuuji sees this as an extension of his rivalry with Mikhail. It's good to see things from the perspective of others, especially from a coach's standpoint. Now, it's onto the competition after it was sized up nicely.
            MyAnimeList | Avatar: Nanako Yukishiro, Senryu Girl
            Watching: Stellvia, Baki, Toonami Stuff
            Simulcasts: FTL, TOA-I, TSL, SAO, KTF, CQK, KMF, DAL, TSH, PNL, More TBD
            The only thing better than anime is sports. Get hit hard and you got JACKED UP! Or else it's a C'mon Man!

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            • #21
              Re: Episode 10

              I'll take some Makoto material. The best parts were Rin, but Makoto is fine as well. I've had enough of Haru this season, and the brief reminders that Nagisa and Rei are still in the show only confirm their positions as incredibly annoying characters, perhaps more now than ever. It could just be because they don't have the other boys in the same scenes as them anymore.

              I like Makoto's focus on education to be a nice way of continuing his passion for swimming while giving him a unique path separate from the rest. Otherwise he'd probably just be Haru's sidekick this season, which is a fate that nobody deserves. I do find it funny to see him basically explaining the formula of Free! plots: "You see, all pretty swimming boys have intense, homoerotic rivalries that are taken way too seriously and ultimately result in the bad one turning into a sweet little baby once they actually swim together and make their magical Newtype connection." You're right in line to be a major character in a future Free! generation, kid. Look forward to it.

              Are they actually giving any time to this competition? At this point, I could totally see them just building it up to have it in yet another movie after all.
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              • #22
                Episode 11

                Saving the best for last.

                Before Haruka and Rin have their big match, first it's back to the Iwatobi High School swim club where Rei and Nagisa have become much better swimmers since they took over leadership of the club. They made it to the regionals again where they swam their hearts out. Rei put on a heck of a show, while Nagisa and Ai show what they are made of, but sadly it wasn't enough to make it to the nationals. It's over for those two, but they gave it their all, and more importantly went out with no regrets. Now, it's onto the big showdown between best friends coached by rivals.
                MyAnimeList | Avatar: Nanako Yukishiro, Senryu Girl
                Watching: Stellvia, Baki, Toonami Stuff
                Simulcasts: FTL, TOA-I, TSL, SAO, KTF, CQK, KMF, DAL, TSH, PNL, More TBD
                The only thing better than anime is sports. Get hit hard and you got JACKED UP! Or else it's a C'mon Man!

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                • #23
                  Re: Episode 11

                  Okay, so Makoto got the last episode, Rei and Nagisa get this one, and Haruka and Rin will get the finale. That makes sense, although this season has definitely shifted focus more than most. I feel like Rei's relationship with Asahi was yet another aspect you wouldn't know about without watching any of the movies, so that's a little unfortunate. Or I forgot, which is possible but seems slightly less likely.
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                  • #24
                    Episode 12 (Season 3 Finale)

                    Into the future.

                    So it ends with the All-Japan tournament where it introduces another heavyweight in Kaede, and somebody who Haru needs to surpass if he is going to swim in the worlds as he puts on quite a show there. Ikuya bests his brother in the individual medley, while Asahi didn't qualify, and Haru finished third in the 200m free after a slow start. That sets the stage for the big showdown in the 100m free where Haru, Rin, Ikuya, and the other heavyweights are competing, which we didn't get to see, and will probably have to wait two years for it as a new production has been greenlit for 2020. With the Summer Olympics coming to Tokyo in two years, that would be perfect timing to have its fourth season. It's great to see these boys having their turn in the spotlight to end things for now as everybody is friends after a long, grueling adventure.

                    Overall, this show continues to do all the great things that makes Free such a wonderful show with great characters, awesome development, amazing swimming action, and top-grade animation by KyoAni. Just about the only major fault I find with this series is that character development didn't leave as big an impact as it did in Eternal Summer as things just didn't go deep enough in comparison largely because of tall the character shuffling going on. But that's understandable because of the number of new characters, and this show did a nice job at that.

                    MAL Rating:
                    MyAnimeList | Avatar: Nanako Yukishiro, Senryu Girl
                    Watching: Stellvia, Baki, Toonami Stuff
                    Simulcasts: FTL, TOA-I, TSL, SAO, KTF, CQK, KMF, DAL, TSH, PNL, More TBD
                    The only thing better than anime is sports. Get hit hard and you got JACKED UP! Or else it's a C'mon Man!

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Episode 12 (Season 3 Finale)

                      Summer is always the season that makes sense to have more Free!, but nothing will be more appropriate than the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, so it's not surprising at all that it seems we'll be getting the next season, or at least the next major project, presumably right around that time. Free! looks like it will become KyoAni's biggest franchise. People love their sexy boys.

                      As for the episode itself, goddamn that opening sequence was gorgeous. Kudos to the animators who put their all into making that water look so incredible. The rest was meh.
                      My Top Anime | Manga
                      My Collection 1 | 2 | 3
                      My FP Reviews | Twitter
                      FPR Episodes | iTunes

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