If I’m perfectly honest about the last week of the season, most of the final episodes I saw this week ranged from poor to mediocre. There were maybe two that I enjoyed, but I think that seems to be a theme lately. Put the climax of the story in the penultimate episode then just throw something together showing the cast having fun in the last episode. I get that it’s really just to sell the discs to the hardcore fans. I only finished 10 shows this season which was a bit lower than normal. I now present what I made of those 10 series that made up my summer.
This past week I did try something different with posts elsewhere. It quickly reminded me that single-digit view counts are pretty much expected when starting fresh. Even when you write on Sword Art Online to start. Then, I did my annual off-site preview of the Premier League season on my personal blog I hadn’t touched in over a year. That was about the same level of interest after blowing 3500 words. Maybe I should have just posted a bunch of screencaps from Attack on Titan and bitched about the episode not meeting my standards. You’re actually here for the few screenshots of shows that I do watch and bitching about those shows, right?
It’s time to bring this feature back for the 599th post on this blog. I suppose I should do something special for that one. I’ll get around to coming up with something this week. This is the first time I’ve done a roundup collectively of the summer. I hope that’s been enough to separate the bad from the good. Unfortunately, I’m almost certain that’s eliminated any other series that my readers are still watching. I have a tendency to do that almost every single time.
But first a little digression on what’s happened this week tied to the man I’ve pictured above. That would be Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. The undoubted superstar of the club in Major League Baseball’s smallest market, 2011 National League MVP, 5-time All-Star and as of this week admitted drugs cheat. In the midst of that season, I had the unusual luck of catching the same cross-country flight as him, but as it was 2am I really made no note of it other than the coincidence of being on the same plane. This is more about fandom though. While the figures involved in creating something may go on to be a future disgrace, the thing they created will still exist. Urobuchi may now live on overhyped projects that chop women to bits and have characters say funny things just for laughs, but Madoka will still always exist. And while the season may be lost for Milwaukee now, come March 31st next season there will still be baseball played, and Braun will probably be starting in left field.
This has been a rather interesting season so far from my perspective, even if I haven’t found any single series to be particularly outstanding. Recently I’ve been coming across a theme in a number of things. That would be the simple concept of quitting. Let me just clarify that as of the writing of this sentence I don’t have any intention of doing that as far as writing this blog is concerned. That doesn’t mean I’m above using it as a topic in this little installment of my not often run Pointless Debate series.
A group of childhood friends linked by their time in a swimming club remember old times as they go through their lives in high school. The main protagonist Haruka lives just to swim. He now goes to a school where there is no pool and he can only experience the water in his bath at home and in the open sea. Interminced with flashbacks to another former club member, Rin. When Hazuki convinces the others to return to the swimming club building that is about to be torn down, Rin happens to be there as well. An old flame is re-lit under Haruka.
The dynamic between Haruka and Rin will be the dominant component of this series. On the one hand is Haruka, who swims because he loves the water. He only does freestyle, hence the title Free! because he doesn’t care about competition. Most of all, he wishes to just be seen as normal instead of a genius swimmer.Rin, on the other hand, is fiercely competitive. He was slower than Haruka, so in order to improve to be the best he went to a swimming school in Australia to perdue an Olympic dream. He returned to Japan to a high school that is a titan of swimming. When the pair meet again, you could sense Rin’s disappointment at Haruka’s lack of ambition.
The other thing I want to talk about is Kyoto Animation going in a different direction with this series. It goes beyond the cast of male swimmers. Though, the cast of boys with traditionally female names and vice versa is a nod to that. I’d actually go so far as to make this an attempt to appeal without resorting to unexplained fanservice elements. All of the shirts being pulled off are in character. Also, gone is the typical easy to listen to BGM of a KyoAni series. Dubstep is the immediate present.
Reasons to Keep Watching
- KyoAni in a new direction
- The same great production quality
- The foundation of a solid character drama
Reasons to Drop
- The character name switch can be considered dumb.
- The mixture of shirt vs. shirtless action may not appeal to the average fan
- The OST doesn’t match what is happening on screen
My Verdict: It’s a change that the studio needed to make. On the basis of this first episode, it appears to be successful.
This is probably the first post where I’ve actually tried to get assistance from other people in it’s creation. For the most part this is just a fairly standard preview with my opinions in it plus some other information. I wish I could have been a bit more creative with that, but I can only work with what I’ve got.