Mar 2, 2014

Is Free! Iwatobi Swim Club "Gay"?

No doubt, if you're gay and an anime fan, then you've more than likely heard about Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club, a Japanese anime television series directed by Hiroko Utsumi and produced by Kyoto Animation and Animation Do., based on the novel High Speed!, written by Koji Oji.

A acquaintance of mine recommended the anime to me, knowing that I am a sucker for impossibly cute and fit anime guys as well as swimming. Without revealing any of the plot to me, he posted a few pictures from the series (seen in this post) and told me to give it a go. Luckily, for me, Free! is only 12 episodes long ( don't see how you Otakus out there are able to sit through 400+ episode anime), so it was easy for me to marathon in a week.

Early on, one will notice that this series has a lot of... sexual tension. I'm sure that Utsumi and his team knew exactly what they were doing with all of that fan service. We're talking biceps, triceps, abs, legs, and everything in between. The anime is
ridiculously riddled with fan service for anybody who is attracted to hot guys, but in the end, that's all it is.

I'm going to make this as spoiler free as possible: 
Free!, under all of that sexually superficial stuff, is a touching story about a group of guys who once swam together in primary school, winning races and tournaments. When one of the main characters leaves to become an Olympic swimmer, another main character seems as if he has lost a part of himself. When he (potential Olympic swimmer) returns to the neighborhood, there is a sudden fierce rivalry between main characters. As the story unfolds in a series of flashbacks, we come to find out the root of this rivalry.

In addition to the main story, Utsumi and his team weave in the other characters so perfectly, that Free! stands
on it's own as one of the best anime that I have seen in the past year. At first, the characters seems superficial and fake, but eventually, we get to learn about them as individuals as well as how they are as a group. I would have liked to see a little more history in some of the characters (ahem: Nagisa).

Overall, this is a solid anime, and I am looking forward to watching the second season. As for the question at hand "Is Free! Gay?" Well, you'll just have to watch and find out, now won't you? 

It's not. Free!, as tantalizing as it is, is a story of coming of age, friendship, and bromance. 

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