After losing to Rin, Haru is depressed. Not because he lost, but because Rin told him that he has no reason to ever swim with him again. But Rin is too thick to realize why his words had such a profound effect on him, and that Haru’s ‘friendship’ with him was more important to him than winning or losing. Haru is so confused and upset that the others are unable to contact him. Although they all fared well in the tournament, they weren’t able to qualify for the next rounds, and their only hope is in tomorrow’s relay – which Gou entered them all in without their knowledge. But can they really hope to win a relay they havent practised for at all? And can Haru stop moping long enough to give his all?
Wow did the animators go all out on the water in this episode. The swimming animation was absolutely amazing – not just in the accurate movements and anatomy of the boys, but the water itself. (It is regularly said that one can judge the budget of a studio by how they animate water.) The scene in which Rin watches the Iwatobi boys at the start of their relay, with mental explanations on their swim-stroke style, is sure to be regarded as one of the major scenes in this entire show. I was so impressed by it that I rewound it to watch it again. This is the kind of dynamic swimming I was waiting for all along.
I’m glad that Haru didn’t take long to get out of his funk, because boy did Rin drag his on. Haru also had some nicely animated brooding too as he swims around the pool like a mermaid. Brooding lengths aside though, these two have more in common than they think. I’d like to see them patch things up, although I still don’t understand exactly what caused such a rift between them to begin with. (and, for that matter, between Rin and Gou, to begin with – although they’re back on speaking terms now.) Anyway, it was maybe a bit cliche that Haru realizing his friends all cared for him was what drove him out of the funk, but I can forgive this as this scene was really quite sweet. Although I had to laugh that Rei was the only one that voiced the concern of entering Haru’s house without asking (which everyone has been doing since episode 1).
I would be surprised if the boys don’t win the relay and earn Haru a second change at facing off against Rin, though. But from the looks of the preview, the tournament wraps up pretty quickly and everyone goes to a festival. Time to wipe that smug look off your face, sharky.
Out of 5,