Discussion Free!: Overrated?

Discussion in 'Anime & Manga' started by xpstitch, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Hi. I don't know if this is the right place to put this or not, but am I the only one that finds Free! (Iwatobi swim club) to be a bit overhyped? I hope I'm not the only one. And before you go all sjw on me, no I'm not a homophobe. I LOVE yaoi... But I'm not exactly sure Free! Is my cup of tea if you get my groove. There are a few points that I could bring up as to why I'm not its biggest fan. But one of the first being that... It's not actually yaoi is it? In fact, it isn't even BL to be honest right? You might be saying, 'but Stitchy, Haru and Makoto are like TOTALLY gay for eachother'. But here's where you misunderstand me. I will not deny that the show is pretty damn gay.... But the amout of ACTUAL boy's love and male on male romance in it is... Well, surprisingly none. In fact, canon states that makoto has a girl friend. The show never actually depict ANY of the various hot bodied male characters kissing or even flirting. There are no actual gay relationships in it. All they do is simply tease us with those damned antics and leave it all up to the imagination. It is said they almost made it a shonen ai but decided not to.... WHY? It's already the gayest thing in anime! Why not just let it go all the way? It really couldn't get much gayer. What were they so scared of? Anyways. That and some other reasons, I say Free! Is a bit overrated. Please tell me if you agree. I have other reasons and reiterations as to why I'm not as hyped about it as the rest of the anime community.

    This anime, no matter how heartwarming it gets in regards to the boys' friendships and the struggles they have in pursuing the sport, is quite clearly an example of queerbait. I think the only solid argument we can bring up about the presence of queer characters is Nitori, as he had gay porn magazine in that one extra with him and Rin cleaning up their room. Maybe Rei too, as he states at one point to have no interest in a romantic relationship with a girl, I think. Don't get me started on the fact that this show was actually created on the notion of the animators wanting some eye-candy of a couple of kid swimmers from the material this was based on. Okay, maybe not as creepy as that but you get the point.

    Honestly, I think Free! did not bring as much to the genre in contrast to a lot other sports anime up until this point, as there are other examples that do a much better job in the themes they have, like Haikyu or Yuri on Ice.

    So yeah, I'm with you on this, mate. And I don't even like yaoi, I think it fetishizes same-sex relationships.
    xpstitch likes this.
  3. @Razzle Dazzle THANKYOU! FINALLY somebody said it! Somebody FINALLY agreed. I didn't think anybody was going to EVER even put anything on this post. Thanks!
    Razzle Dazzle likes this.
  4. Okay so one thing I find a total turnoff is that Haru is just.... BORING! I mean, his face is always so BLANK that I just don't see what else besides his body would be considered HOT. His voice is bland and expressionless. His character is shit, that is to say he HAS none. There is nothing in the anime that gives any exposition on what character he actually has. The only thing we know about him is his body is hot, and he likes swimming. That's it. There is little more substance to him than "well swimming is the only thing he cares about". Anybody else find that BORING? How is Makoto supposed to supposedly be in love with someone who obviously couldn't care less about him?
    Razzle Dazzle likes this.
  5. I completely agree. Haru is just a combination of tropes and quirks. He does not feel feel real in the slightest. At least all the other characters, well those who had some form of development, are entertaining or have some basis on how real people are.
  6. Yeah. Makoto is a really handsome sweetheart who makes me swoon because he's just so nice... And haru... Well... He's just... Well he likes swimming okay? And he says free a lot.
  7. Haruka Nanase is boring?????? Okay, I thought the same when I first watched so I understand why one might think that. His hang-ups are subtle. The guy tries to escape reality through swimming. He ignores things he doesn't like. He lets Mikoto deal with people so he doesn't have to.

    Rin is the total opposite. Rin aggressively tackles things. When he tries to deal with Haruka this way, Haruka flips the heck out and withdrawals even more. Rin and Haruka are exact opposites. Rin wants Haruka to show that he cares about him out loud, verbally. He needs to know their time together on the swim team mattered. But Haruka doesn't really work that way. Haruka is a very subtle guy. Him being around someone is the indication he likes them. If Haruka didn't care, he wouldn't bother.

    Rin is super, super self-doubting. And Haruka is super, super dismissive of things he can't emotionally handle. This is not a good combination.

    When Rin finally realizes his friends care as much about him as he does about them, and that their swimming club in elementary school mattered, he literally cries on Haruka. But also, the characters respect and care about each other so much, it's really touching.

    Haruka's inability to cope with reality is even addressed in season 2. By Mikoto of all people! It's great.

    The real bread and butter of the show is the friendship element. Also, the following your dreams thing. It definitely knows its audience is largely female. Will the homoerotic fanservice ever pay off with any real gay relationship? Probably not.

    Yeah, the story isn't Shakespeare or anything. It's a guilty pleasure anime. But am I watching season 3? Heck yes. I love the characters.
  8. #8 xpstitch, Nov 14, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
    I get what you're saying but... Haru is still boring. You know what I liked about Rin? He eventually stopped being a d!ckhead to everyone. He changed. You know who DIDNT stop having a pokerface? Haru. I will admit. Perhaps I'm off. I didn't get far into season 2. It just... didn't keep me interested. For various reasons. Rin stopped being awful, Haru... Still boring. Still expressionless. Yes, he has reasons. THAT perhaps lessens it's cringey ness. But it doesn't excuse it entirely. Haru doesn't stop being boring to me. Rin stops being rude, but Haru stays robotic. You know how you do a quiet, expressionless character right? You make them cute. You make them interesting, make them smart. Something. And by cute, I don't mean hot body, I mean kawaii. Like... I don't know... HER:

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  9. It occurs to me, Free! was adapted from a novel. In the book, the character's mindset and emotions were fully on display. When they transferred Haru's personality into the anime, something got lost. The viewer is just seeing his personality from the outside. There's not that added layer of introspection. So he feels shallower.

    But, yeah, I see why he's hard to relate to.
    Razzle Dazzle likes this.
  10. Well. I suppose then it's partially understandable from that point. Things tend to get lost from novel to video media.
  11. Everything I said aside, the writing is pretty bad. It's a hot mess. A beautiful hot mess with interesting characters you have to dig to find.
  12. I hate Free! with all my being.

    only because some girl in my grade is absolutely obssessed with it :/
    xpstitch likes this.
  13. The friendship bit is... nice, in THEORY... But the way they did it was so cheesy. They all were acting like their swimming competitions and swimming related relationships and stuff were a matter of destiny and cheesy stuff like that. They took the whole our swimming is so important, our friendship is so deep because of it route. That's kind of cheesy and overdone isn't it? They did the friendship through swim club thing too cheesy. It was too... i don't even know the word. It was cringey. I think what happened was that in order to not be so heavily accused of being nothing but queerbait and fanservice, they tried to make the excuse of the show being about friendship. But they did the friendship bit too cheesy and badly that nobody's fooled. Well, at least IM not.
  14. Whatever floats your boat, man.
  15. Splash free was a good song though. That song was LIT!
  16. @lazypage

    While I have my own reservations in regards to the characters and what makes them 'interesting', I respect your opinion and give you props for expressing your thoughts on it in an eloquent way as you did. I feel as if I do not have enough knowledge of the show to make a proper counter-argument, as I only watched a few episodes.

    But, much like you said, everyone's opinions will differ. Anime is subjective, like every other piece of art and media. Don't take my word as fact, just because I think Free does not deserve praise all that much, that does not mean it truly does not. I don't get it, while others like you do. That's just how life is.
    lazypage likes this.
  17. I really only watched Free! because I wondered what it was all about. While I love my fantastic animation and shirtless boys as much as the next girl, I found I was actually kinda bored by everything that made up this show. Haruka, who was voiced by my FAVORITE voice actor in the English dub, was...boring. Makoto was okay, but kinda bland. Really, I only liked Nagisa as a character. He didn't make me want to yawn or punch 'im or something like that. Maybe if the characters had been developed more throughout the series instead of, "SWIMMING! YEAH!" maybe I would've enjoyed it more.

    As for the yaoi implications... I saw none. I'm pretty dense, so this is really no surprise, but I can't even make jokes about any of them being gay because I just don't see it. They're a bunch of teenage boys who are psychologically damaged for no reason whatsoever. Okay, Haru raced Rin... what's the point? Why is everything in Rin riding on racing Haru and beating him? I don't understand how that translates to a romance, but maybe I've had my head stuck in young adult romance for too long.

    So, yeah... Really, I was there for the ending theme song.
    xpstitch and Razzle Dazzle like this.
  18. Haru was boring, Makoto was a sweetheart, Rin was a d!ck, Nagisa was cutiepie little angel, Rei was...eh.
  19. Rei was flamboyant and mildly entertaining.
  20. I honestly didn't see why Rei was there. It just seemed like the creators wanted to give Nagisa a guy to pair up with. Or perhaps they wanted a token smart guy thing going on. Filler character.
  21. I think they just wanted a character for J. Michael Tatum to voice
  22. The show also has guys that they purposefully want us to think should be a couple, but they don't make sense. Besides his body, there is nothing that I think Haru has that Makoto should want. We are meant to ship Haru and Makoto but that pairing just doesn't make sense. Makoto is sweet and kind, Haru has no interest in him whatsoever. Or in any human interaction for that matter. Why waste Makoto's sweetness on someone who isn't even THERE most of the time. A sweet character is supposed to paired with someone that would really want and appreciate all that love and attention not somebody who couldn't care less or might even find annoyance with all that care. I think Makoto's sweetness should be paired with Rin, if anybody at all. Rin is a troubled and damaged guy who I think would really benefit from that sweetness.
  23. And then there's RinXHaru. WHY?! It doesn't make any sense! How about RinX...well... Not Haru, that's for sure. RinXNagisa or RinXNitori. But RinxHARU?! WHY?!!!! There is NOTHING about Rin that would draw me to beleive that he would be into a guy like Haru. They are just so damn opposite! Rin wears his emotions on his sleeves, Haru... Well Haru HAS no emotions. HOW in the hell did people think that would make a good couple? I know it's one of the most popular pairings and that we are MEANT to ship them.... But WHY?! It makes no SENSE!

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