Anime Review: “Free! Iwatobi Swim Club”


“The only thing we need now is some sparkle effects.”

Rumor has it that this anime was made simply because there was some part of the anime fandom that really wanted an anime of swimming. I’m not 100% sure on the story, but it would make sense, seeing as this anime is the first fan service made for women that I’ve ever seen. No, there’s no panty shots, but there’s Lycra- and Neoprene-clad high schoolers with very well-toned abs swimming like dolphins in various chlorine-filled venues. Don’t forget the massive amounts of gay subtext (though this is up for debate within the fandom).

Despite the all of this, the story is actually very heartwarming. It tells the story of four boys (Rin, Makoto, Nagisa, and Haruka) that used to swim in middle school until Rin decided to go to a profressional swim school in Australia. Haruka and Makoto start high school together and are reunited when Nagisa shows up proclaiming he just transferred. On a whim, Nagisa convinces them to go and visit the abdoned swim club they used to race at, and meet their old friend Rin. But Rin seems different this time. He demands that Haruka race him, so they set up a match at Rin’s school and Haruka loses. Much to his frustration, Rin is unsatisfied.

Nagisa later suggests they start a new swim club. The high school doesn’t have one, so they appeal to their home room teacher, who explains they can start one with at least four members. Rin’s sister agrees to join as their manager to at least get the club going, but in order to participate in meets, they are required to have one more swimmer. Much to a track star’s, named Rei, dismay, Nagisa follows him around until he agrees to join the swim club. At first Rei is reluctant, actually unable to swim, but the muscles he’s gained from years of track and field help him to learn quickly.

As the team heads to prefecturals, Rin grows more frustrated and trains even harder. He manages to beat Haruka again in the 100m Freestyle, but again is frustrated. Though Haruka takes it a bit harder this time, everyone else does well in their events, but none of them move on. They all agree to trains for the relays and for some reason Rin cannot give up the need to continue to beat Haruka. Finally, Rei has a discussion with him, and the two boys discover what is really making Rin so angry, and to solve it, he must revisit the very reason he started swimming in the first place.

This is honestly the first sports anime I’ve ever watched, and not being a huge sports fan, I have to say I’m actually rather surprised. If this is how most sports anime are, I might actually be interested in viewing a few more. The story is engaging and I felt myself rooting for the team, as if I were really there, cheering them on. I give this anime a 7.75 out of 10.

Picture Credit:

To learn more about my rating system, click here.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club Anime Gets 2nd Season! | Otakusphera
  2. Trackback: [Anime Review] Free! (Iwatobi Swim Club 2013- ) - The Grand Shuckett

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