If anyone who watches Free! has some sort affection for Makoto (and his unreciprocated attention towards Haru), this episode might settle or even break you furthermore (like it did for me). But what’s Free! without breaking the watchers? Here goes Free! Eternal Summer 6.
I’m also gonna stop apologizing for every late post I make because I’d have to apologize for every week. I had nasty flu and I made bad life decision by watching this. Yeah I just. Sobbed. Nobody understands my affection for Makoto, don’t touch me. Another reason this post was late because it was hard to write. Anyway, from previous episodes we’ve seen how we’re given hints about Makoto’s inner debate and it’s finally it.
Tomorrow (not tomorrow 10th Aug but tomorrow in anime) is the prefecturals preliminaries and Iwatobi team is running over the schedule to make sure everybody’s ready. For individuals, Nagisa is in 100m breaststroke; Rei in butterfly; Haru in 100m and 200m freestyle; and Makoto in 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle. Huh? Did we all hear (or read if you watch it with subtitle) it wrong? Makoto swims freestyle? Ama-sensei asks why Makoto chooses 200m freestyle instead of 100m and Makoto replies because he won’t stand a chance against Haru in 100m. Haru steals two glances. And then they walk home together…
A flashback! Something that we all get used to when it comes to sports series. Little Makoto (squeeeee) asks little Haru (squeeeee) to join swimming club together. Little Haru, forever dejected, refuses and tells little Makoto to just join himself. Makoto says it’s no use if there’s no Haru. Also may I point out how Haru was once at some point the same height with (if not taller than) Makoto. Haru has always been a decent swimmer and Makoto’s eyes gleam with pride whenever other people compliment him. When they pick a gift for new members, both of them go for the dolphin strap. There’s only one left and if it’s Rin and Sousuke they’d settle for rock-paper-scissors but no, Makoto doesn’t even bother to, he just lets Haru have everything.
Apparently Haru still keeps the dolphin strap years later. Then we shift to Matsuoka siblings going to their father’s grave. Rin gives Gou a picture of their younger father with his swimming club. At the venue of prefecturals preliminaries, Iwatobi team saw Samezuka team and apparently (omg omg omg) their former captain who has graduated Mikoshiba Seijuuro (who’s also the brother of my sunshine in this series Momotarou) is present! Seriously my favorite siblings. Momoshiba pouts and quietly mumbles that his Nii-chan (cute form of “older brother” in Japanese) doesn’t have to come. And they also apparently share same interest for Gou. Rin facepalms.
Gou tries her best to not get worked up over muscles and the rest of the team tells her it’s no good to hold back. Gou tells them she pledged that before Iwatobi makes it to nationals she wouldn’t squee over muscles. In the locker room, you may enjoy a little scene of Nitori putting on his swimwear. He also tries to imitate Rin stretching the strap of his googles but fails miserable lol. First race is 100m breaststroke and it’s Nagisa against Nitori. Apparently Nagisa’s parents come to watch (if you watched episode 5 you’d know). Nagisa wins the race. Also I have to point out there’s two upperclassmen of Samezuka that kind of steal the attention of the fandom lol.
Next up is 100m backstroke, of Makoto against Samezuka’s Uozumi and Momoshiba (universe is testing me by putting my two fave characters in one race). Momoshiba waves enthusiastically at Gou and Seijuuro yells that he has to capture Gou’s heart with his swimming, putting Uozumi in embarrassment for their hilarious exchange. I’ll let you enjoy the awesome animation of the swimming and yay Makoto wins the first place, Momoshiba in second and they both made it past preliminaries. Rei is already looking forward to race against Samezuka only to find out Rin’s in the next heat. Sousuke also doesn’t participate. Rei wins unchallenged.
Everyone’s qualified for regionals in individuals. But wait we’re getting to the main act because freestyle races are after lunchtime. In the locker room, Makoto reminds Haru of his request earlier and the start of my heart shattering begins. Makoto starts faster than Haru and while everyone thinks Makoto’s always faster than Haru, he actually goes all out in the beginning without thinking to pace himself in the longer race.
We get to find out that Makoto’s request was for Haru to race him for real. Makoto reasoned because it’s the last time the third years get to race and will have to retire from the club. Makoto’s reason of swimming is so he could swim with Haru… and friends. Haru catches up with Makoto whilst Makoto’s gradually losing speed. It’s also almost as if Makoto’s trying hard to catch up with Haru but unable to. Haru finishes first and Makoto second. After rewatching the episode for the second time I just noticed uh… Makoto cries. But the he says cheerfully “I lost!”
Makoto tells Haru that he’s really the best in water. I also assume that Makoto’s finally resolved his feeling but I couldn’t help to feel heartbroken by the metaphor of Makoto unable to catch up with Haru and he’s already content by watching Haru from afar. The next race confirms this because it’s 100m freestyle of Haru against Rin. During the race they’re always ahead of everyone and no other people can come close to their speed. Haru actually wins the race only by 0.02 sec difference. Nagisa asks why Makoto wants a serious race against Haru and of course he finally says it. It’s all crystal clear.
After the race, Rin tells Sousuke that Haru’s always faster than him no matter what (can this anime get more complicated). Tomorrow is the relay and the actual important race whohohhh. It’s going to be a more difficult episode.
A little personal note from me and you may stop reading but I’ve always felt frustrated towards Makoto’s unreciprocated attention towards Haru and while I adore their friendship so much I’d very much for Makoto to do things for himself too. I know he feels content just by watching Haru from afar but if the jealousy is actually there and clear, wouldn’t it be ripping him apart little by little? And after reading a bit of the light novel itself, I know where his captivation from Haru comes from but I do think it’s okay for him to get selfish and start thinking for himself too. /ENDS OF MAKOTO RAMBLINGS
See you in next review!