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After a week delay in airing due to the FINA World Championships, the Iwatobi Swim Club is back to training!

If anyone was missing Free! last week, the anime was apparently booted from its time slot for a live stream of the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, which was a swimming competition.  All in all, it was an incredibly appropriate delay and didn’t bother me much.

This episode of Free! focuses on a new training regimen in which the boys go to a set of deserted islands (as Nagisa so loves pointing out) to swim in the ocean.  One of these islands so happens to be where the Samezuka team is also training, although they’re training at a training facility at an indoor pool.  Of course, that would have to happen; this anime hasn’t gone an episode yet without Rin, and how could there be any focus on him while the Iwatobi boys are training in the ocean otherwise?

Over the past couple weeks, I was lamenting to myself the slowness at which Free! is moving (admittedly, because I want to see an actual swim meet during this anime at some point).  However, upon further contemplation, I realized that the pacing actually fits a tournament-style anime fairly well.  There’s always a ton of training for the main character(s) to do before the “tournament” comes up, so it makes sense that the Iwatobi Swim Club would still be training at this point.  It’s the only way Haruka can hope to get in shape to beat Rin in the prefectural meet.

On top of that, the pacing allows for further character development.  In this episode, we get hints at something in Makoto’s backstory (that will presumably be explained more in the next episode, given the preview).  So far, we really only know things about Haruka and Rin’s past, so it makes sense to give some background to Makoto and Nagisa as well.

My only objection to this episode is that it ends on a cliffhanger!  What will happen to Rei?!  I mean, it was pretty obvious that Rei going off training on his own at night in the ocean was a big mistake, but will Makoto be able to save him, given his apparent problems with the ocean?  It’s going to be a long week, waiting for the next episode!

Free! Episode 6 Preview

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