We turn things over to the high schoolers in this week’s episode of Free! Dive to the Future! I’m not gonna lie, this episode gave me some serious feels with quite a few flashback montages and amazing character moments from all the Free! boys. With their last high school race on the horizon who will be victorious? Let’s dive into Episode 11, ‘Streamline of Unity’ and find out!
The Iwatobi High and Samezuka Academy swim clubs are in Tokyo for the Nationals with Rei, Nagisa, and Ai all gearing up for their last high school race. You can practically cut the tension with a knife as both teams prepare to cheer on their teammates. Of course, a few of the alumni make a last-minute appearance to cheer on their former teammates.
Frenemies(?): There has been a lot of backstory about the relationship between Rei’s coach, Mikhail and Haru’s coach, Azuma. The two were great swimmers in their day and rivals, however, we haven’t seen much interaction between the pair since Mikhail has been in Sydney for most of the series. But, this week we see that the two are at least on speaking terms with one another as Azuma has Mikhail saved in his phone as “Muscle Freak”. Granted, when they do talk, Azuma isn’t exactly the most pleasant, but, he isn’t openly hostile either.
Iwatobi/Samezuka Meetup: I love seeing how close the two teams have gotten over the course of the series. In the span of a season, the two teams have gone from bitter rivals to friends and it’s fun to see the individual members interacting with one another.
They Know each other: Turns out Rei and Asahi met each other when they were kids. There was a really cute scene between the two of them this episode.
Best Friends For Life Montage: Before the Nationals start Nagisa and Rei are seen walking with one another and we are treated to a cute flashback montage of all their intimate moments. It’s really sweet, seeing as this is their last swim before graduation.
Themes & Trivia
Hachiko Statue: While in Tokyo, the Iwatobi swim club stops to see the Hachiko statue near the Shibuya Station. The statue was erected in honor of the loyal Akita dog that would regularly journey to Shibuya Station to meet his owner, Hidesaburō Ueno, on his way home from work. In 1925 Ueno died suddenly. However, Hachiko continued to return to their meeting spot to wait for his owner for the next 9 years following his death. The bronze statue was erected in 1934, just one year before Hachiko died at the age of 11 in 1935. To this day the statue remains a popular meeting spot for visitors to Shibuya and Hachiko has become a symbol of loyalty and fidelity.
Moyai Statue: While giving the rest of the team a walking tour of Shibuya, Romio also mentions another Shibuya landmark, the Moyia Statue. While it is not as popular as the Hachiko statue, the Moyia statue is still a rather impressive sight. The statue bears a striking resemblance to the Easter Island Moai Heads and was donated to Shibuya by the island of Nii-jima in 1980.
This episode was just so damn sweet! In sports anime everyone knows that eventually you’ll have to say goodbye to the third years and it hurts every single time! Last season, we saw Haru and Makoto saying goodbye to Iwatobi and moving on to college and now it’s Nagisa and Rei’s turn. Nationals marks their last official race as high schoolers and you can just feel the weight of that throughout the episode. There were several flashback montages to past seasons, and each one dredged up so many feels! These boys have been through so much over the years, hell, we’ve practically watched them grow up on screen and to get to this point… I couldn’t be more proud of them! ESPECIALLY REI!!! He went from being a Townsperson B side character to an actual bona fide swimming baka (I know, my love for Haikyuu is showing). I couldn’t help but cheer for my boy when he lined up for his race. I wanted him to win; he earned this win!
Thanks for the Memories
This was yet another great episode full of plenty of feel-good moments. Fans of Free! will enjoy seeing all the boys back together in one place and for once I didn’t mind the non-swimming moments because they highlighted all the bonds the boys have made over the course of the series. Next week marks the end of Season 3 and I am excited to see how Rin and Haru do in the All Japan Invitational!
I’ll be back next week with another Free! Dive to the Future review, but in the meantime, be sure to check out MANGA.TOKYO’s other amazing Summer 2018 reviews!!
NEXT TIME: Dive to the Future
Free! – Dive to the Future-
Summer 2018 | Anime Info | Season 1 Review