Before I begin, I have to go into some backstory with this release. It appears as though some other companies have the licensing rights to the first season of this anime titled Free!: Iwatobi Swim Club. Seeing how popular it was becoming for both guys and gals, Funimation was quick to scoop up the rights for the thirteen episode second season along with a bonus OVA in Free!: Eternal Summer. While it would’ve been nice to see this from the start, this release presented on two DVDs and Blu-ray discs will have fans of bishounen wanting to take a dive into this anime pool.
I would assume this season takes place not long after the events in the first and follows the lives of five young men named Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, Rin, and Rei. They all share a passion for swimming and continue to make their way through high school while also dealing with the drama that comes with it. Of course there’s also the tension that comes in the form of dealing with their swim team, competition between some of them, their race to the nationals, and what lies in the future for all of them once they’ve finished the school year. As I stated earlier, fans of bishounen styled anime will be happy to know there’s plenty of fanservice here, as the guys spend more than enough time showing off their physique in their swimwear than staying dressed.
I still enjoyed watching this despite not seeing the first season. It was nice seeing how each of the guys dealt with the ups and downs of life, while the artwork, animation, and high energy music gets you psyched up. The artwork and animation really is a sight to behold in high definition, as you can tell Kyoto Animation put a lot into making the swim meets look and move as realistic as possible. Unlike the first season, Funimation has given an English dub to this one as well as including the original Japanese audio, both which sound great and do a nice job of giving drama-filled life to the characters.
After viewers have finished taking a swim in this series, they can check out the special features while they dry off, which are presented on both sets of discs. There’s an image gallery consisting of end cards and illustrations from the show, some original Japanese promotional videos along with web previews, and even some voice actor commentary on select episodes featuring the English dub cast.
I would’ve liked to had seen this from the beginning, but Free!: Eternal Summer has enough going on with to swim on its own accord. Fantastic animation, artwork, music, and story make this series really stand out from the rest. All of this with plenty of fanservice for the viewers and some cool extras, make this a collection you won’t mind taking a dip in.