It’s back guys and gals, the second season of your favorite swimming anime: Free! – Eternal Summer. I won’t go into detail regarding season one of Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, but if you need a recap, check out my series of reviews from last summer. Instead, let’s just dive right in!
I even promise I won’t make any more stupid swimming jokes.
The first episode of this second season draws a nice parallel to the one from the first go-around. We have Haru in the bathtub musing about water in a way that probably isn’t healthy; and we have his best friend Makoto racing off to fetch Haru from the bath so they can make it to school on time.
Of course, things are different this time around. They have a team for one, and this team is on their way to Samezuka Academy to meet up with Rin for the school’s traditional send-off for third-year students. It was a great way to open the episode: we get plot, we get the swimming fanservice the show is infamous for, and we get a reminder of when we all came into this series for the first time. It’s a win/win/win.
There’s also a subtle comparison being drawn between the two academies throughout the entire episode that starts right from the beginning. The Iwatobi team hasn’t been able to train all winter due to their outdoor pool, while the Samezuka folks have their own indoor swimming complex. The Iwatobi club struggles (hilariously, I might add, and with a lot of partial nudity) to recruit new members- and fails. Meanwhile, there’s a crowd of new swimmers vying for a spot on the Samezuka team. Rin and the Iwatobi team are all on good terms now, but there’s no denying that there’s still a healthy rivalry between the two teams.
In the midst of all this we find out that the swim club captain for Samezuka Academy- a third-year student set to graduate- has named Rin as the new club captain and his successor. This leaves Rin confused and feeling more than a little conflicted due to the events of the season finale from last year. It also seems to get him thinking about not just his own future, but those of his friends as well. He seems troubled when he asks Haru and Makoto about their plans for the future and neither of them can give him an answer.
But it’s looking more like the past is going to be just as much of a driving force in this season as the future is. Most fans are probably already aware of the new character(s) that have been confirmed for season two, and we see one of them make his premiere in this episode. It’s unclear who he is, but he’s spending time hanging around the old swim club building and transfers into Rin’s class, so it’s only a matter of time before we know more. Rin knows him somehow, and if the OP and the episode two preview are to be believed, he’s the closest thing to a direct rival Haru will have this season. Should be interesting.
Let’s see, what else? This episode went by in a flash. While nothing mind-blowing happened, it was a fun and nostalgic return to the world of Free!. And let’s not forget about the new OP and ED, which are both phenomenal. I’ll leave you guys with a gallery screencaps from the ED below to ogle at until next week.
Crunchyroll members can watch this week’s episode right now!