Free! Episode 9


To the surprise of hopefully no one the Iwatobi boys finish the relay with flying colous with Haru in first place, securing their position in the finals. Everyone is overjoyed, and Haru is for the most part able to get his mind off Rin being a git to him. Gou believes that the team should aim even higher still – for not just the prefectural tournament, but the nationals – but, for the mean time, everyone is keen to take a much needed break from all the practising. Luckily, there’s a town festival (which celebrates squid) where they can do just that.
However, Rin turns up at the festival too, as the Samezaka team wish to pray at the temple for luck. Worrying that the sight of him might upset Haru, Nagisa and Rei do their best to ensure the two don’t see each other.

…is it me or is Makoto’s hair getting progressively shorter?
I would be a little more iffed about Rin doing almost nothing except moping if he didn’t look so cute here.
Gou and her friend are just too cute.

It was pretty damn obvious that the boys would win the relay, but it was still rather uplifting to see it happen, and to see them so overjoyed about it. (As well as Gou and Ama-sensei too.) Rin’s smugness evaporated pretty quickly, which, although satisfying in a way, is kind of disappointing. He’s spent nearly the entire series so far moping about Haru, and now he’s doing it even harder than ever, although with an added twinge. He seems to actually be regretting losing the carefree friendship they used to share, and for a moment there I felt really sad for him. But seriously, could he be any more melodramatic about this? I’m gonna be so mad if this never goes anywhere. And we still seem to be no closer to finding out exactly what lodged the pole up his arse about it in the first place. (I mean, it can’t have all stemmed from losing to Haru as a kid back then, right…?)
Yet, this episode managed to be one of my favourites so far because Rei and Nagisa’s antics are absolutely precious. Once again, Rei steals the whole damn episode with his ridiculous tailing of Rin, in what was one of the funniest scenes of the show up until now. The bond between Nagisa and Rei is possibly my favourite of all the characters, even if they lack the history of Haru and Makoto, or Haru and Rin. They’re just two idiots being idiots, and that’s great. (They’re also, for some reason, the only two boys to wear yukata in this episode, and they look damn good in them too. ) And kudos to Rei for being the first person in the show to note that Rin has pointy teeth, which means that everyone either just hasn’t noticed or is too polite to question it.
I tend to like festival episodes in general because they have this really warm, colourful and fun atmosphere that KyoAni are particularly good at conveying, and this one was no different. But we seriously, seriously need to resolve all this ridiculous moping between Haru and Rin because the tension is at breaking point and its been continuing a bit too long.

This would be the greatest spinoff of all time.
I think I can just about declare Rei one of the greatest KyoAni characters period.
Woah! Haru smiled!

Out of 5,

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