Free! Dive to the Future Episode 1 Review

At last, The 3rd season of Free! is out and I’m ecstatic. Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for some time, know that this anime is one of my absolute faves. To be honest, I wasn’t even expecting a third season, from the way season 2 wrapped up, I was completely satisfied, but the studio decided to spoil us some more, and I’m here for it with front row tickets and backstage passes.

Alright so the season debuts with all-new content, what I mean is that we thankfully don’t get a recap of the previous 2 seasons, and the episode takes off immediately where season 2 left off and continues. Haru smiles a lot more, and the feel of the show has remained the same, a light comedy, slice of life, with a serious touch of competition. It seems the sports aspect will receive more importance in this season, but I still think it won’t outshine the friendship theme.

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I must point out that if you haven’t watched Free! Starting Days, this episode and most likely the entire season, might be a little confusing to you, so I would suggest you go and watch Starting Days before you start season 3. It would also help you get a feel of how much the characters have grown and how much familiarity and love still exists between them after so many years, it will induce the watery eyes. 

For the sake of coherence, I’ll summarize Free Starting Days for you if you haven’t seen it, so you know what’s happening and you don’t freak out, if you have seen it, feel free to skip this paragraph. In middle school, after the departure of Rin to Australia and the Iwatobi swim club relay adventures, middle schoolers Haru and Makoto meet energetic powerhouse Asahi Shiina who encourages them to join the school swim team, the latter also ends up convincing a shy but stubborn little boy, Ikuya Kirishima to join the club. The 4 end up becoming a powerful team and grow a strong friendship. However, the 4 end up going their separate ways to attend high school, but don’t keep in touch. Years later, as Haru attends his new university in Tokyo, he reunites with Asahi, still the energetic powerhouse he used to be and both end up joining the swim club.

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The first episode of the season covered a lot, it managed to include a lot of information and details about the characters and their lives, and already set up the plot for development. What I love about this new season already is the inevitable rivalry that is clearly sparking between the characters. In season 1 and 2, Haru and Rin’s rivalry was the ultimate competition, now with Ikuya, Sousuke, and the many new faces in the game, the stage is heating up like a skillet on a stove. 

In the end of the episode, Haru notices Ikuya, the latter doesn’t see him, but he seems to be down for some reason, he reminds me of Rin in season 1, even though he seems to have become a carbon copy of Haru. I have to add that in the movie Starting Days, Ikuya secretly admired Haru, he even secretly copied Haru in order to swim just like him. During the race at the end of the episode, some guy had the audacity, to call my Haru’s swimming, an inferior copy of Ikuya. This statement however, proves how much Ikuya’s swimming has matured and perhaps even surpassed Haru’s. Rin also met with a new trainer, and it feels like Haru is going to be seriously challenged from all sides as even Asahi has his eye on him, not to mention the potential challenges from the many faces we’ve seen and from those we have yet to see.

Rivalry looks like a major plot thread in this season and I’m loving the thrill of it so far. I’ll see you on the next post, thank you for reading.

Okay wait, Haru and Rin are something else aren’t they. It seems as though they felt each other’s presence even as they are miles away, to the point where they delivered their best swimming as if the two were actually competing, and even looking to the side after reaching the goal to check if the other was here. I could not overlook this guys. Okay that will be it now, that was a really long review, thank you for reading.

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