Yeah I watch sports
Sorry but there is just no way I can not make fun of this
it is utterly and completely a Fanservice for girls
The plot is pretty lame
Why girls would watch
I saw a pic that actaully describes this anime( couldn't find it tho :*-( )
Rin- Gay for Haru
Makota-Maybe staight but mostly likely gay for haru
Nagaisa- mostly likely Gay for Rei
Rei- Book sexual
Why guy would watch
This anime is great for various reasons, although by a lot of people it is referred to as 'fanservice' I actually think it has a good plot and even better characters. The story told is of a young boy name Haru, who has an exquisite passion for swimming and water. His friends and hisself begin a swim club, and enter in various contests. Along the way they meet an old teammate, and this opens a whole can of worms which is explored within the 12 episodes of this anime.
The story, although very good at times, isn't perfect and it isn't the greatest. I enjoyed it a lot, however I feel like it was missing something. It is paced over 12 episodes and it does seem a bit rushed but it is still told very well.
The animation scored ten simply because it is beautiful. As it is a water-based anime, the animation needed to be perfect for it to be pulled off well. And believe me they managed it. Every single drop of water is so flawlessly made, it just makes you more attached to the series. Also, for the ladies there is a LOT of eye candy, with perfectly sculpted muscles in every episode you won't be able to resist.
The sound was good but nothing amazing or memorable. The opening theme at first is quite dull and not exciting, but after two or three episodes it grows on you and can become quite catchy. The voices are so greatly chosen for each character.
Characters are immense. They are gorgeous to look at and so great to listen to, however especially in Makoto's case their past is pushed to the side and it would be very enjoyable to learn more about each character.
All in all, I loved this anime. I would recommend it to anyone who likes sports, comedy or just some slice of life.
So I finally watched "Free! Iwatobi Swim Club" to see what all the fuss was about...
I'm sad to say it was for nothing, and the experience was exactly as I had anticipated when the series was first released last Summer: god awful. Why? Let's find out shall we?
"Free!" is a 12 episode series loosely based off the Light Novel "High Speed" by Koji Oiji, and by "loosely" I mean the series has pretty much nothing from the novels other than character names and a bit of backstory, or so I've heard. After watching this garbage, I don't intend to ever read the source material, as it too, is probably garbage. The story follows four high school boys: Haruka, Nagisa, Makoto and Rei, as they attend high school and start up a swimming club. And... That's the story. That's it. Four guys. Start a swimming club. And swim. Sure, there's a big bad swimmer who shows up in the form of a rival named Rin, but we all saw that coming a mile away.
What's that? This sounds familiar? That's because this type of shit has been done over and over and over again in the anime medium for years. The only difference between this show and other shows like it is that it's about swimming. In fact, no. There is no difference. It's a show about random character tropes doing random crap with a tiny bit of swimming on the side. This is the same as every other Kyoto Animation anime I've ever seen. Random characters with bland personality traits and uninteresting development doing random tedious every day nonsense with the promise of something be it swimming, making music, or whatever crap they want to do. It just doesn't interest me. Speaking of the characters they suck but I'll get to that later.
But is it just the story itself that makes this anime so unbearable? Well... No. Not on it's own. What helps to make the story unbearable however is detailed below:
Ridiculous amounts of fan-service:
Unfortunately, due to the plot being garbage, "Free!" and it's writers decided that the only way to get people to remotely care about this show was to fill it with over the top and ridiculous amounts of fan-service. This show constantly relies on the pecs, abs and pretty much every detail of the "fit" male human body in order cash in on the drooling fangirls who would rather watch an anime for it's softcore hentai art, than for the actual fucking plot. This is a poor attempt to cover up the fact that this show is nothing more than a simple rehash of the same crap KyoAni does every time they produce a series. The only difference is that instead of it being about cutsie little girls, it's about muscley fan-servicey teenage guys, but the general story elements and structure remain the same as ever: boring, crap and poorly executed.
But hey, maybe I don't like the fan-service because I'm a straight guy who doesn't find hours of topless animated guys hot. Then again, maybe not, seeing as I find the majority of fan-service annoying as hell, regardless of whether it's guys or girls, because I watch anime for the plot and not for fan-service. But hey, I guess KyoAni realised that sex sells.
But let's pretend the fan-service doesn't exist for a moment, and let's go back to the actual story or lack thereof. One of my biggest issues of this anime is the pacing. Once I reached around 4 episodes in, nothing unexpected or shocking had happened. It certainly took it's time getting to the twists and important plot points, not that either of those things exist in the first place.
The problem is, nothing happens for ages, and when stuff does happen, it's boring. There's this constant promise of a swimming tournament, and this constant promise that all this shit is going to go down. The pacing is so awful, that by episode 6, they are a day away from the swimming tournament. It takes half a series for them to get to the major conflict, which is ridiculous. It's almost as though the anime is desperately trying to avoid conflict for ages, and pad the series with ridiculous school-life humour and overnight training sessions (which took two whole episodes in itself). Sure, there's a few moments, including one moment where *gasp* someone is in danger and might die! But the outcome of all these moments are predictable and unsurprising. Of course nobody is going to die. This isn't one of those animes that actually kills characters. Hell, if that happened, maybe I'd actually have felt sad. That would have been interesting.
And don't even get me started on the ridiculously cheesy, cliche and predictable as hell ending. I saw this ending coming a mile away before the series even finished airing. God.
There is nothing unique in the story that is told here. I guess that's what I'm trying to say. I spent too long on this. Moving on...
Now, here's where else this show fails: it's characters. The problem with the characters is that they are simply bland and uninteresting tropes that we've all seen before.
There's just nothing that great about them, and they are typical for a slice of life series, which I just find... boring... And even the unique personality traits of each character were stupid, unfunny and idiotic. When I watch a show, I want the characters to inspire me. I want characters who I can look up to and respect. But more than anything, I want characters who develop and who I can care about. I got none of that with this show. Let's detail some:
Haruka Nanase: This guy is of the stoic, and silent cliche that these animes love to churn out. He doesn't speak much because he's fucking mysterious and dreamy. No wait... It's because he's a trope and a cliche. Fuck. Anyway, Haruka has a secret love for water, and by love, I mean love. He's so obsessed with the mere concept of water that he practically gets a boner every time it's mentioned or brought up or within his sights. He wears his swimming gear under his regular clothes. He cooks in his swimming gear. But you know what? It's just not fucking funny. I didn't laugh. It's a stupid and uninteresting personality trait. Gaaaaaaaah. He's not a very good main character...
Makoto Tachibana: A fan favourite for some reason, Makoto is just there to heal everyones ill feelings and is solely there for girls who find the gentle and nice guy type of guy dreamy. He's pretty much a big girl. Even his name is girly. You could make him a female, and there would be no difference, other than he wouldn't have his big sexy muscles. He's a boring character, and another stereotype. His name is also very similar to another character who is exactly the same as he is. Go work it out.
Nagisa Hazuki: Nagisa fills the spot for the super crazy hyperactive little guy in the group who is younger than the rest of the cast. There's got to be one of them right? This is a slice of life show, where everything is copied and pasted from everything else. He even wears the typical clothing of this stereotype. He's typical, like the rest.
Rei Ryugazaki: Hey look, this guy wears glasses. Guess what that means? It means he's the intelligent one. Didn't see that one coming did you? He's also anti-social. I tell you, those glasses really are something in the slice of life world. He's basically another cut and paste. *yawn*
Rin Matsuoka: Finally we have Rin, the typical rival character who serves as the antagonist of the series. We all knew this was coming right? He used to be a member of the same swim club, but then something really bad happened and now he is Haruka's rival. Oh no, this is typical and boring and unsurprising.
The main problem I have with the cast is simply that they are an uncreative copy and paste of characters we've seen time and time again. To make matters worse, the show spends most of it's time shoving their pretty faces and topless bodies down your throat and into your eyes sockets that the characters themselves cease to develop, and never become interesting. Also, the characters could easily be gender swapped and nothing would be any different about them and their story at all. Seriously. Imagine it and tell me otherwise. That is how bland these characters are.
Art and Animation:
This show was animated by Kyoto Animation, who have high production values and are renowned for being good at what they do. What do I think? Well, it's certainly the shows strongest point, but it's not as god-like or perfect as everyone keeps bringing it out to be.
KyoAni's art style, while colourful and vibrant, lacks the detail of other studios I've seen. For example, CLAMP's art is endlessly superior to this show. Go watch the Tsubasa OVA's and tell me otherwise. A-1 Pictures did a better job on Sword Art Online's art, which came out a year before Free! did. Hell, the Tsubasa OVA's came out in 2007. That's over half a decade ago. Sure, they got the bodies of the swimming cast great, but that's because fan-service was the primary focus of this entire show. I am by no means calling the art "bad" but it's certainly overrated. But hey, it is nice to look at, and it's the shows highest point.
In terms of animation and movement, everything moves as it should move, frames are captured relatively well, and swimming scenes especially are done really well, I can't fault them much. Scenes outside of swimming are mediocre at best, and contain sub-par and static animation that isn't too revolutionary or interesting. And again, I will use the Tsubsa OVA's as an example, check the animation for the battle scenes in Tokyo Revelations. The animation and fluidity of the characters movements, attacks, effects, and everything is perfection and superior to this show. And again, this was in 2007. It's embarassing for a show from that long ago having better animation than something in 2013 where animation techniques and technology has improved significantly and substantially over the timespan of those 6 years. And yes, I know the Tsubasa OVA's are OVA's, but every TV anime, especially one by Kyoto Animation who are apparently the "God's of animation" *cough* Production I.G are better *cough* Attack on Titan came out at the same time and was done by them and was endlessly superior *cough* should be better than something almost a decade old.
Again, that's not to say the art and animation is bad. It's actually good, and does it's job, but it's not great and I've seen better in countless anime series. It's overhyped eyecandy, yet still nice to look at.
However, it doesn't help that most of the shows finest moments when it comes to art, are wasted on the main characters soaked and sweat covered bodies (ie- fan-service) rather than where it actually matters (ie - everything that isn't fan-service).
Also Rin stole Soul from Soul Eater's teeth. They're really taking the shark analogy with this guy to extremes. I never found that cool. It's gay.
And what's that? Bias? I have nothing of the sort in my review.
The music is... Okay? The tracks are somewhat catchy, but there's nothing ground-breaking or truly memorable, but I guess it does it's job (which like everything else in this show is simply being there because fan-service was the only thing they put time and focus into with this show).
The opening theme is alright, but I wasn't really inspired or moved by it, and began to skip the opening after three episodes (which I actually don't do that often with shows).
The ending theme was okay too, and was sang by the Japanese Voice Actors for the main cast, which is gimmicky and stupid and has been done by shows before. The video for the ending is also nothing short of innuendo and is ridiculous. I can't describe it beyond that, go watch that shit. It's stupid as fuck and immature as hell.
The voice acting is pretty decent, and I don't have much of a problem with it, but I watched it subbed because it wasn't available in my language (because they're too busy dubbing good anime to care about it) so I couldn't really tell how the acting really was. But it was fine.
Sound effects were fine. They did their job. Splashing, swimming and shit. Not a lot of variety, but they're there.
"Free! Iwatobi Swim Club" is like going on a date with that really attractive person with no personality. Sure it's nice to look at, but there's nothing interesting beyond that. The story is the same copied and pasted nonsense with seen over and over again, the characters are typical, boring and uninteresting masses of uncreativity, and the music is uninspiring and merely exists as a piece of the overall puzzle.
To sum up, this show is simply a huge amass of fan-service and nothing more, and it's sad to see what could have been a great show destroyed by the over the top fan-service, the poor script writing, and awful, almost non-existent character development. I'm sorry, but I like to watch shows where my characters develop and change entirely from how they were at the beginning of the show. I like to watch shows where I'm surprised by overarching plot twists and where unexpected things happen, where there's mystery and suspense and where I can't actually guess the entire fucking story 2 episodes in.
"Free!" is exactly the show I expected it to be: an overhyped mess that fangirls hyped for over both the build up to it's release and the course of it's run and a title that will no doubt fade away into the depths of nothingness after it's done airing, which funnily enough has already shown signs of happening.
And yes there's a second season coming out. Yes, they're making a second season of this bullshit but not a second season of Attack on Titan.
I have no idea why. I also don't really care why, because like this, it will be shit.
And now, it's scoring time:
Premise 0/3 - Uninteresting, typical and the same crap we've seen a million times
Pacing 1/3 - Slow as hell, not much happens until the half way point. Lots of padding
Conclusion 1/4 - Cheesy, predictable and unoriginal. I seen it coming from the start
Artwork 2/3 - Lot's of colour and vibrancy, but lacks detail in some areas
Character Designs 1/3 - They all look the same only with slight differences
Animation 2/4 - Swimming scenes are done really well, outside of that animation is meh
Personality 1/3 - Characters are bland and uninteresting, but they tried so they get a 1
Development 1/3 - Characters barely develop at all
Uniqueness 0/4 - None whatsoever. Typical stereotypes and tropes copied and pasted from other series of the same genre
Voice Acting 3/4 - I can't really fault it because I speak english but it was good
Music 1/4 - I wasn't inspired or moved emotionally by it. It was just kind of there...
Sound Effects 1/2 - Not a whole lot of variety, but they're there
It's awful, awful, awful. Avoid it.
But hey, I enjoyed Sword Art Online, so my opinion probably doesn't matter to you people.
More famously known as 'The Swimming Anime', Free! Iwatobi swim club is a 2013 show produced by Kyoto animation that has a rather interesting history behind it. I remember being introduced to it via looking through this years summer releases and wasn't aware of the actual origins or so-called 'controversy' surrounding it until I had a little nosy around the internet after watching the first few episodes.
Note: If you don't care that much about the origins of the show and just want to skip to the actual review, just skip to the animation score. This may ramble on a bit.
Originally starting off as a thirty second commercial for Kyoani to show off their animation skills, Free! began just as an animation promo for an anime that wasn't intended to exist in the first place. However, when the promo was released, people online went crazy and for different reasons. Obviously, as one look at the promo will tell you, the promo was more geared towards the hoards of female otakus and fangirls and they, of course, loved it and begged Kyoani to make this a real show. I'm not fully sure but I hear the requests were particularly endorsed through Tumblr.
But that's not the interesting part. The interesting part was the surprisingly nasty reaction of a select number of male Kyoani fans, who immediately belittled the female fanbase this had and insisted that Kyoani would never lower themselves to actually make a fanservice show for women as everyone knows that women don't take anime seriously like they do and how Kyoani's high production of anime wouldn't lower themselves to make 'gay stuff' (I haven't made this up and I don't intend to offend anyone, these are actual quotes).
Well, a few months later, Kyoani revealed that an anime was in the works. And these certain male fans went insane. They posted continuously about how Kyoani had betrayed them and how could they do this to them and cursed the female fanbase repeatedly, etc. Despite this, however, the Tumblr fanbase was thriving and the result was this twelve episode anime.
I have to say, when I went into this show not knowing about any of this, I wasn't fully sure what to expect. I mean, it just sounded like a normal sports anime. But after learning this and finishing the show, I honestly have to say... I thoroughly enjoyed this anime. And my enjoyment does not play into this fairly stupid misogyny battle at all, but rather the actual show itself, and I'll talk more about this in the story and characters section. But, for now, let's get the animation and sound out of the way.
The boys are pretty. The boys are incredibly pretty. I suppose, in hindsight, that makes a lot of sense considering the audience this anime is going for. The character designs are distinct and very attractive, the actual animation is fluid and energetic and the colours look wonderful and vibrant. The backgrounds are also well-detailed and everything about it feels alive and bouncy. No one is static in the background, everything is moving and each little hand-gesture or hair movement is fully animated and well-executed.
Also, special mention goes to the animation of the water scenes. Obviously, considering this shows premise, the characters are seen underwater fairly often (after tearing their shirts off dramatically, of course) and I don't know what they did here but more anime need to do it. The way the water is animated and the characters movements while swimming or floating just look stunning. You literally feel like you're under the water yourself while watching. I remember seeing someone stating that some of these scenes were achieved by rotoscoping and if that is the case, it's the best I've ever seen. If nothing else, the show is a joy to watch on visual appeal alone.
The opening is a good, catchy rock ballad that's fun to listen to, even more so when you know that the singer is the seiyuu of one of the characters, Makoto. And speaking of catchy, the ending theme forces its way into your head and roots itself there. By the time I'd got onto the third episode, it was one of the most played songs on my iPod. It's ridiculously addictive. Aside from that, the soundtrack is fitting and compliments the show well, with a few standout piano tracks among the mix as well as a surprisingly haunting music box melody.
In terms of the voice acting, all the seiyuu give solid performances and bring the cartoony nature of their characters to life, particularly during the comedy sections. Special mention goes to the great Marmoru Miyano for his performance as Rin in the last few episodes. He does a wonderful job with the character in general but he really brings it home in those last few episodes. All the other seiyuu also act their parts wonderfully.
While there is a plot to this story and it isn't episodic, most of the show focuses on the characters and their relationships, specifically our five main boys. The actual plot itself is fairly small. It's mostly just about watching how the characters interact and only near the end of the show does it actually build to something.
The biggest draw for this show, in my books, was the tone it set. Throughout most of the first half, the show maintains this tongue-in-cheek, fun and insanely campy feel to it, in the same vein of Ouran High School Host Club. While the story is fairly small, it never becomes boring or tedious and I think this is largely due to the likeability of the characters, which I'll write more about in a minute. The comedy is consistently funny and, while it fully takes advantage of its genre and pokes fun at itself, it never becomes cynical or mean-spirited. It knows what kind of show it wants to be and just bathes in the fun of it.
Then the drama comes in around the second half and honestly, you actually do get wrapped up in it. While it never becomes dark, per say, there are some genuinely dramatic moments throughout the second half. And the reason it invests you so is because of the tone set in the previous half. The first half was campy, cheesy fun and the drama itself is also very cheesy. And it's also, surprisingly, incredibly heart-warming, which again reminds me a lot of Ouran. While the dramatic moments should feel overdone, you surprisingly find yourself invested and I think, again, this is down to the characters.
And eventually the drama and comedy build up to a beautifully corny, smiles-all-round, power-of- friendship, happy ending which you can't help but smile like an over-emotional idiot after watching.
As for the manservice aspect of the show, I'd honestly say it's not as bad as people say. Yes, they rip their shirts off all the damn time and seem to not know that swimming trunks exist and always opt for the circulation-killingly tight swim shorts but that's really all we get (with the exception of episode four. While funny, it was also pretty awkward and is the only episode where I'd say the manservice was beginning to push it.). Most of the actual fanservice actually comes from the character interactions and homoerotic subtext, which is undeniably there (scratch that, it's there in spades), but it's played just tongue-in-cheek enough to be considered bromance.
The characters in Free! really make the show memorable. While most of them start as rather cliché, they're by no means unwelcome. However, the big shocker for me was when they actually developed past those archetypes. Take our main character, Haruka. A boy who loves water and swimming to the point of obsession, at first he appears to just be a stoic, one-note character. But when the dramatic elements of the show kick in, he actually develops past that and forms much more of a character mindset, making him almost a totally different and much more enjoyable character by the end of the show.
The same could be said of our other main character, Rin. While he starts off as fairly unlikeable and proceeds to get worse throughout the show, the last few episodes show reality crashing down upon him, forcing him to confront what's actually important, leading to an incredibly satisfying redemption and again, shaping him into a totally different person than he was when the show began.
Our other three mains mostly stay the same throughout the show but that doesn't mean they're bad in any way. Makoto, Haru's best friend, is ridiculously likeable and, whether you see them as close friends or something more, there's no denying that Nagisa and Rei make a great comedic duo.
The other side characters (with the exception of Rin's consistently adorable sister, Gou) are mostly there for flavour and surprisingly enough, the only character I couldn't find myself warming to was Rin's team-mate, Nitori. Yes, I know many people found him cute and that's great but there's only so much 'OMG RIN-SENPAI' and 'Senpai finally noticed me!' I can take before I start groaning. Though I will admit the ending they gave him was fairly sweet.
Free! is unbelievably endearing, camper than a row of tents and just a lot of fun. While I can see how it may not appeal to some people as it's not suited to everyone (and that's totally fine), if you're worried about not liking this because of the manservice, I'd say that if you could find the humour in the manservice comedy of Ouran, you should have no problems here. The story is cheesy yet incredibly heart-warming, the characters, while not terribly complex, are adorable and, while it's probably not the best anime to come out this year in terms of quality, it's honestly been a while since I actually enjoyed an anime this much.
So, if you're in the mood for some good, camp and silly fun with some dramatic moments, Free! will serve you more than well. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to visit my local pool.
Review is solely opinion so please don't hate
Free! Iwatobi Swim Club introduces a new sports anime that involves three friends creating a swim club and then training for a competition. That is basically what the whole story is about. I love the fact that a swimming anime has been introduced but it isn't exactly what sports fans are looking for. The story is very bland and there really isn't much depth or profound thought put into this anime. It is also hard to even consider this a "sports" anime considering the fact that there is a lot of talking and training most of the time. The plot also seemed very choppy. It would take sharp turns into the competitions or training rather than easing its way in. Swimming is obviously a very short sport as well. Swimming usually takes less than five minutes so I would understand how it would be tough to represent this in an anime. This anime also focuses on fan-service most of the time. It's not a bad thing, but it can hinder the anime in many ways. The story seems too engulfed in fan service rather than actual story. There are some cliffhangers and some drama to notice, but you just end up hopping along with the anime regardless. The plot wasn't too disappointing, but you won't see anyone go...Dude Free! Iwatobi Swim Club has the best story. It really isn't anything special. It can be a lot of fun, but it feels like the writers had a hard time finding the right structure for the anime. It's like they tried to complement comedy, drama and sports into one but couldn't succeed as much as they had hoped. The story overall is a bit shaky.
The animation is sweet on the eyes. Girls will have a blast watching this anime, and the extremely toned bodies of all the swimmers. However, guys will not care too much about the animation in that sense, but it will be easy on the eyes. The animation is smooth and crisp due to the advancement of technology nowadays, and you can't expect less from KyoAni. KyoAni has some of the best animations in animes to date. KyoAni animates really well, and their overall dominance in the animation industry is definitely represented in this anime. However, there are some images that seem a bit plain and dull when I look at them, but they don't affect the overall feel and animation too much. Overall, the animation is fantastic and whether or not you enjoy looking at boys' bodies, you will admire the animation in Free.
The sound in Free is interesting but lazy at times. The opening and ending songs are a lot of fun and really set you into the mood and overall feel of the anime. The opening gives off a sense of urgency and excitement which leads you to continue to be intrigued. The ending is a lot of fun, leaving you content after every single episode, and keeping you curious about the episode to come. The OST however is noticed about half the time. I hardly recognize the soundtrack in the background of scenes unless it is the soundtack used for the pool clean up scene. I also noticed that the Tatsuya Katou used basically the same song that was in Mirai Nikki to be present in Free. The song in Free is just slightly altered. Mirai Nikki OST 9 Track 11. The track isn't bad whatsoever but because of the fact that it was slightly altered, I found this to be extremely lazy.
The characters are very interesting, and they are some of the most likable characters in the anime world. The fact that all of the characters have girl names sets the playful mood of the overall anime. The characters are what make this anime so much fun to watch, but there were some issues in the dialogue at times. Some of the narrative came to be a bit cliche or corny. I constantly felt like some of the lines in this anime could have been worded in a better way to be honest. However, this is the only flaw I had with the Characters. All of the characters will keep you fully engaged in this anime, and the characters will constantly make you laugh and smile as you keep strolling through this anime.
6.75 isn't really a bad score. At least I don't consider it to be. I found this anime to be a lot of fun, but there could have been more added to it. The average anime watcher will have a lot of fun with this and girls will always have a blast with this anime. Guys on the other hand, it depends on your tastes and interests. This anime is mostly girl targeted, but many guys may enjoy it as well. I for one enjoyed it. It isn't anything spectacular but at the end of the day it will leave you pleased and content.