I am already planning next year's party!
I'm having problems believing that this is actually over! Part of me is still expecting an episode next week so that I can bother you all with my feelings and silly theories on this blog... But! Unless KyoAni wants this to become the next Full Metal Panic/Haruhi Season Three, I'm going to take the endcard at face value and expect something next year. For now, I'm savoring this final episode. The last time we get to see the gorgeous swimming animation, the last time we get to see the main group act like dorks...and the last time I wished I could reach through the screen and slap Rin in the face.
I mean, as I've explained at length in other posts, I see where he's coming from. Not being able to swim in the relay was a hard blow. I expected him to be upset, but I didn't think that he'd throw the emo fit to end all emo fits, come in dead last in the race because he had too much angst to bother trying, and then finally fail at getting out of the pool, making it look like he was injured. But nope, it's just his sore loser side coming out again, and Rin's willing to drag down all the people who care about him so that he can have his fit.
|YOU MADE HARU UPSET. GO SIT IN THE CORNER.|
I just... urgh. This is a real pet peeve of mine, in real life and in fiction. Yes, he has issues. Yes, he has a legitimately sad past. That does not excuse any of this behavior. In the last couple episodes, but especially in this one, it feels like his background has been used as an excuse to justify how Rin is acting when the reality is that he's a brat whose current situation is of his own creation. If it was out of his control, then sure, I'd have more sympathy for him. But screaming and throwing things (not to mention that horrible split-second where I thought he hit Nitori) demotes him to a two-year-old in my view. The guy has a lot of maturing to do.
|That is the sound of my heart breaking|
Can you feel~ the gay~ tonight~
My mixed feelings on this episode aside, I enjoyed the heck out of this series. That probably goes without saying at this point, and I always expected that I would like it, yet I didn't expect that I would like it this much. I went from mostly just marveling at the animation and not shipping anything to being emotionally invested in how this would all play out (not to mention my new obsession with Nagisa/Rei). Yes, it got pretty silly at points with the fanservice bent, and at times it got a little too heavy-handed with the drama, but I have to hand it to KyoAni for adding a bit more weight to the plotline when they could've just made it a piece of disposable fluff and called it a day. For that reason, I also don't think that the K-ON comparisons are completely accurate, since unless I really wasn't paying attention, I don't remember this level of drama in that show.
There's also a lot to be said about the characterization in this show as well. If I hadn't grown to like the characters as much as I did, then it's likely that the more dramatic parts would've put me off the show entirely. Even with my love/hate relationship towards Rin's character, I wouldn't rant if I didn't care. Apathy towards a piece of entertainment is worse than disliking something about it, since that usually means that the work has failed to draw you in at all. That definitely wasn't the case here, since as you can see in my rant above, I'm holding Rin to the same standards as I would a real person. These kids are real to me. Or maybe that just means I'm crazy.
Anyway, while my favorite KyoAni show is still Hyouka, Free! will now occupy a special place in my fangirl heart. Haters gonna hate, since going by the projected sales, I doubt that the rest of the industry will ignore this section of the fandom as much as it has in the past from now on. It was exciting to watch something directed at my gender that was well put together for once. That said, I'm not expecting a ton of copycat shows either, since this was another installment of what KyoAni is good at: genuinely interesting club stories with good characters. Hopefully this will remind the people who greenlight "a club about nothing" shows that they're much more engaging when the club acts like...well, a club!
|And since I don't know how to end this post, have some dorks in the shower.|
Images from Crunchyroll.com.