Here it is, the penultimate episode of Free! Dive to the Future. “Streamline of Unity!” was a beautiful, charming, happy episode, which is a breath of fresh air after the drama-heavy first half of the season.
“Streamline of Unity!” was everything I want out of an episode of Free!. The best thing about this show is the relationships between the characters, and the bonds of friendship. That everyone came to support everyone – that Haru and Rin literally ran to make it on time – made me smile so much. It was great to see the new Iwatobi kouhai meeting their illustrious senpai, and it makes me wish (not for the first time) we’d spent more time with them during the season. Not to mention the fated meeting between Asahi and Rei so many years later – Free! is great with continuity like that.
I legitimately teared up during Rei and Nagisa’s races. By the time I got into Free!, it had already aired, but I still had the feeling of growing up with these boys, and it was genuinely heartwarming to see how much they’ve grown and how hard they’ve worked to get where they are. To think that Rei didn’t even know how to swim when he started, and now he’s placing first in his heat at Nationals. And though I was sad to see that Nagisa lost his race, it was kind of nice to see Ai finally beat him after three years of races.
Considering that there is only one episode left in the season, I have to believe that there is another season – or perhaps another movie – in the works. There is just too much that is being set up for this to be the end of Free! – Natsuya and Nao need to swim together again, and so do Rin and Sousuke. Plus, Albert and that kid from the newspaper have barely been in the season, despite being featured in the OP. There’s no way they can just end things with the All-Japan Invitational, especially since at least one of these boys has to do well enough to make the national team. With Tokyo hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics, it just seems like the perfect thing to have a season 4 where Haru and Rin are in the Games.
- For some reason, sports anime make me super nostalgic for high school in a way that few other things do. I’m not sure what it is.
- I tend to have one ship per show, and MakoHaru is mine, so I’ve never really been very interested in Rei/Nagisa…but damn if that montage didn’t look like a boy realizing he has feelings for his best friend.
- Isuzu and Gou bonding over their muscle obsession was adorable. (Also, Ai casually holding Momo back as he tried to run to Gou was just great.)
Have you all seen “Streamline of Unity!”? What did you think?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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