Just like the episodes before it, episode eight of Free! continues to show us just how hard it is to knock our swimmers down. After losing to Rin in the preliminaries, it’s only natural for Haru to be a little hurt; Rin’s douche-mode after his victory probably didn’t help matters. While Haru’s cleaning himself off and sulking, the rest of his team does their best – despite the fact that none of them qualify for finals. That’s okay though, they’ve still got the relay they didn’t know they were participating in.
Episode eight’s approach to not giving up is more of the “moving on” sort; rather than dwell on the pains of the past and linger on the idea of bringing back ghosts, our characters realize that it is finally time to let go.
For Rei, it’s a bit of an awkward affair. He wasn’t part of the original group and so he’s like a fifth wheel of sorts. It’s clear by the way he acts that he knows he can’t replace Rin, once he discovers that Rin was a part of their team. In a way, it’s a bit heart-wrenching for me, as a viewer, to watch him trying so hard.
Free! Kyoto Animation. 2013.
Once we found out about the relay, I can honestly say that I didn’t expect Haru to actually agree to it. I figured that he’d say no and, just before the relay started, give in – if at all. Seeing Haru finally move past the pain Rin inflicted upon him is a huge step on the road to recovery. The look on Rin’s face when he watches Haru step up to take his turn in the relay, though? Priceless. I can’t wait to see how Rin develops from here. It’s clear he’s jealous of Rei, after all.
(On a side note: Tony, one of our bloggers, introduced me to a certain tumblr about texts from gay swimmers. It’s amusing, and if you’re anything like me, you may find a bit too much of your time snatched out from under your nose.)