Mar 18, 2015
iChanelCoco (All reviews)
Minor Spoilers Ahead:

Free! Is a special anime because it was the show that introduced me to the Sports Anime genre and because of it I am now a huge fan. I don’t like to write reviews but after watching this, I felt a little inspired. Free! At its core is a wonderful anime about friendship and the importance of forming and preserving bonds with those people you care about. Through seasons one and two we witnessed the emotional rollercoasters characters went through because they felt like they did not belong or they were jealous that they couldn’t be part of a group. Friendship helps everyone in the show become stronger and put their petty feelings towards one another aside. At times the series has been melodramatic but it was never boring, it’s just incredibly enjoyable to watch and this OVA had me laughing out loud most of the time.

If you’ve been following the series, this episode ties in with the previous season of Free! Eternal Summer. You see the cast (with some loveable additions) join in the 24 minutes of fun. I was extremely happy to see Kisumi, who briefly appeared in an episode last season and left me (as well as many other fans) wanting more. Momotarou Mikoshiba, Ai and Sousuke Yamazaki, the loveable brooder returns as well.

The art in this anime is quite beautiful and this OVA continues to give us the same animation style. Swimming really does bring out the beauty in Free! Those moments where the characters become one with the water were missing in this episode; however, the writers gave us soo much more that I am content with the lack of majestic pool sequences. The beginning of the episode opens at the Samezuka Academy Cultural Festival. The level of detail that the creators and developers took to make this really shows. Everything from the bright colors that pop to the beautiful architecture of the school, just made me extremely happy to watch the loveliness that is this show.

The music in Free! Is really comical because it’s eclectic; you can have a few episodes with harmonious musical moments and then have a gritty dubstep track pop up during an angsty competition scene. The OVA had music that blended well with the scenes. The overdramatic moments during the water gun fight had the cheesy D list action movie feel while the ending had that beautiful melody that just warms your heart when you know that there is peace between your fave characters (Sousuke and Haru!). The opening theme was "Dried Up Youthful Fame" by OLDCODEX and closing song was "FUTURE FISH" by STYLE FIVE, which were the same tunes from Eternal Summer.

My favorite character in this series is Sousuke. I started as a Rin fan, but moved on to better and more interesting people like Sousuke Yamazaki. Imagine the glee I felt when I saw him cooperating and exchanging pleasantries with Haru? This is what makes Free! Wonderful. In those 24 minutes, Haru and Sousuke put their differences aside and worked together and managed to not kill one another. Nagisa continued to be his usual self, but a bit more hentai this time around (poor Momo). Makoto continued to be mother hen to the groip. Gou still loves her muscular men. Rei has finally opened up more to everyone and continues to be more adorable. Haru spoke to Sousuke (this was HUGE) and Rin seemed relaxed, carefree and most importantly he wasn’t depressed. I’m glad that everyone has finally managed to grow compared to S1 and S2.

The creators of this series know what the fandom wants and likes and they sure as hell delivered. This episode was incredibly fanservice-y, but we got the best of both worlds. There was a plot, there was much needed character development and we got to laugh a lot. I really hope that there will be a third season (maybe throw in some Kisumi) because this show is just that great. Of course, I’m well aware that this is not a show for everyone, but if you’re into sports anime and have enjoyed seasons one and two of Free!, you should definitely watch the OVA. If this is the last we will see of the boys (I hope not) this OVA helps bring us some closure, but I am keeping my fingers crossed for a much needed season three.