Free! Episode 4 – Float Like a Butterfly

This reminds me of that scene in Kaze no Stigma where the lead female had to choose between four different school uniforms for a date.

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Most sports shows have one, so of course Free was going to jump on the bandwagon and do a shonen training episode. It may be a little different from most in that the one being trained isn’t the main character, but given that Rei has the most personality of the group of males (and yet Kou is still the best character with the most well-rounded personality), that’s kind of a moot point. Anyways the whole thing was basically an idea you could have done in five to eight minutes stretched out to the 22-minute episode length through the usage of comedic gags. Were they funny enough to keep my interest? Well, sort of. Only about half the jokes worked and the others I just felt indifferent towards, so basically the same reaction I had with the latest episode of Watamote. With that said, none of the jokes were offensively bad that they turned me off completely, so that’s nice.

Some of the jokes I think did work, I feel a little guilty about because I know that if the characters were gender-reversed, I wouldn’t have enjoyed them (like the changing scene, although I think the butterfly joke would have made me laugh if anyone wore it regardless of sex). Also, I’m aware that it’s mostly because of KyoAni that I’m sticking with this particular bishonen show. If this had been Shaft, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much because something about those cuts kills some of the humor for me. Or maybe that’s just my bias towards them due to the latest Monogatari series talking. Then again, aside from the first half of Chuunibyou, I haven’t found KyoAni’s comedic timing in their previous works all that great either (and indeed it’s still flawed in this series) so maybe once I check out some other well-regarded fujoshi series like Uta-Pri and Hetalia rather than the crap ones like Arcana Famglia, I’ll retract that statement.

There is of course some plot progression underneath the comedy besides the fact that Rei learned how to do the butterfly (and became one too as displayed below). Once again, the relationship between Haruka and Rin is explored as the two patch things up somewhat whilst confirming that they look forward to facing each other in the next tournament. I have to be honest, it’s hard to care too much because Haruka is bland as can be and Rin hasn’t exactly had much focusas of yet. It’s the story I’m interested in rather than the characters, which is basically the same thing Madoka suffered from. Still, at least it isn’t trying too hard, so I can dig it fine.

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One more thing before I close this post. I’ve been informed that some of the teaching methods in regards to swimming were way off in this episode, but whilst it’s true that I’m not informed enough about swimming despite doing the sport for a majority of my life to recognize what was wrong (at least in regards to the non-humorous parts of teaching Rei), I still felt the passion of the topic behind the creators rather than the hatred that Jormungand’s creators had. So if it was wrong, I’m going to assume it wasn’t because the topic was under-researched, but because changes had to be made in order to get the plot moving whilst being funny. Thus, I give this episode an “alright” score and close this post off.

P.S. By the way, Free! is going on a break next week due to a real-life swimming event occurring around that time, so I won’t be blogging it around that time.

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