Free – Eternal Summer! – 9 – 11

Tension continues to mount as Haru much choose where he’s going to take his life after high school and the threat of Nationals arises. While Iwatobi performs admirably at Japan’s equivalent to “States”, only their relay proceeds to Nationals, a first in Iwatobi High for about 12 years. This, of course, is a glowing accomplishment in itself, but the battle is far from over!

This tension, unfortunately, leaves Haru dead in the water. He does the only thing that someone needs to do in order to be disqualified from a freestyle event – touch the bottom with your feet (Pulling on the lane lines will, of course, do this as well). Rin confronts Haru and only escalates the issue. The question reamins – what does Haru want to do? Not even I have any clue.

Sousuke’s injury is also brought into the open as he tackles the last relay race he will ever do, putting an untimely end to his otherwise promising career. He knows that with his shoulder injury, he can never “Stand on the same stage” as Rin. He knows this is it for him. There’s something so solemn, sad, but real about this plight that it makes me upset even typing about it. Sousuke, you did good. Rest easy.

He doesn’t leave the stage without imparting words to Haru, who he claims he “still won’t recognize.” Still can’t get rid of that chip on his shoulder, it seems.

While everyone prepares for Nationals, Makoto and company can’t stand to see Haru acting so unlike himself. They confront him but only push Haru to act even more out of character – he even raises his voice. Like holy shit. Makoto drops the bomb on Haru that he’s planning on attending a university in Tokyo, which would mean moving away from him. Almost every anime set in a high school setting deals with this theme to some extent, and it’s very true to reality. College usually involves moving away from those that you know and love in order to pursue your dreams.

Haru, of course, doesn’t take this well. The 11th episode essentially ends in a huge shitshow. Looks as though Haru and Rin have some bro time in Australia next episode…uh, wtf? You realize you only have two episodes left right? What about Nationals?!

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