Free! Episode 6 Review

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This week at The Geekiary, two of our core members were spending every spare second of their lives doing bizarre tasks for GISHWHES, Misha Collin’s annual online scavenger hunt. We’d like to apologize for our lack of new content this week. You can be sure that the participating members have accumulated some interesting stories to tell you in the near future.

Anywho, this week’s Free! continued where last week’s left off, with Rei drowning in the churning ocean while Makoto faces his fear of the ocean to save him. While I was right in my assumption that neither of them were in any danger of being sacrificed for the narrative, the resulting drama did further their respective character arcs. We learned a lot about Makoto especially, though I admittedly still can’t really warm up to him. While I generally feel that he’s kind of bland, I do think the things we learned about him this week gave him a bit more depth.

The episode began with Haru and Nagisa realizing that Rei and Makoto were caught in the storm and going out to rescue them. Makoto had of course gone to save Rei, but seeing Rei struggling to stay above water triggered his fear and he completely froze up. Naturally Haru and Nagisa managed to get to them in time and dragged them to one of the nearby islands to recover. There was a scene where Haru almost gave CPR to Makoto and maybe it was supposed to be fanservice, but CPR is not particularly sexy so it was more awkward than anything. Luckily, Makoto recovered on his own and lamented to Haru that he had not overcome his fear of the ocean as he had suspected. There was a nice friendship/shippy moment where Makoto admitted that he had suggested the camp despite his fears because he wanted to continue to swim on the team with Haru.

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CPR. You know it’s that thing you do when someone is dying and you’re trying to prevent that from happening.

Meanwhile, Nagisa and Rei wash up nearby and meet up with the other two. Nagisa and Makoto are just glad that Rei’s okay, but Haru thinks what Rei did is definitely stupid. I agree, despite the fact that I can certainly understand Rei’s desire to be good at swimming. But if he’s going to be on the team, he’s going to need to grow a thicker skin. I feel that the consequences of swimming alone (especially at night) were kind of downplayed, but I suppose this show is too lighthearted to really dwell on it.

The storm is still going, so the boys find refuge for the night in an abandoned rest house/lighthouse. There’s a pretty hilarious scene where the guys look through the kitchen for food and Nagisa makes Rei be the one to open the janky looking fridge. Poor Rei gets pushed around so easily. The guys decide to tell stories over their found dinner of pineapple and mackerel (Haru approves). Haru tells a tale about his first love – a waterfall – and reminds us all that Haru/Water is the only canon ship on this show. But things take a turn for the dramatic when the gang asks Makoto why he’s afraid of the ocean. His explanation, that he knew an old fisherman who went down with his ship during a storm, is poignant. It’s certainly enough to make anyone afraid of the unpredictability of the ocean and I give the writers props for creating a character who has a phobia that’s not played for laughs.

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This was a genuinely lovely bonding moment. Also animation porn

Feeling that they understand each other more now, the guys wait out the storm until morning and swim happily back to the main island. We didn’t see much from Gou or Miss Amakata, besides a shot of them sleeping blissfully unawares and showing up the next morning perplexed about why the guys are sleeping half-naked on the beach. We also only see a little bit of Rin, once as he wakes up in the middle of the night (does he sense something?) and once as he runs by the gang as they swim back to the beach, wondering bemusedly what they’re doing. It looks like next week is going to be a Rin and Haru-centric episode, and I’m looking forward to it, since their relationship is one of the most intriguing things about this show for me. Will they have a huge race? Will Haru take it seriously? We’ll see next week!

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Why, though.

All photos and properties copyright Kyoto Animation.

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