I’m back today with another one of these cool award posts. The blogger who was kind enough to nominate me was Megan (A Geeky Gal), who is known for writing all sorts of fun and nerdy posts. She’s a prolific blogger, and someone who I always have a ball talking to. If you aren’t following her blog, you’re missing out on a great time and a wonderful person!
Now, of all the award and tag posts that have been floating around these past five years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve yet to receive the Mystery Blogger Award—until now, of course! According to its creator, Okoto, this award denotes a blog that “not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get.” High words to live by, so I’m grateful to Megan for noticing what I do here. 🙂
Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Display the award logo on your blog.
Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
List the rules.
Tell your readers three things about yourself.
Answer five questions from the nominator.
Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, including one weird or funny question.
Nominate from 10 to 20 bloggers.
Notify the bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog.
Share the link to your best post.
I won’t be nominating anyone in specific because I know this award just went through the community. However, I’d love to see how you would answer Megan’s questions down in the comments!!
Three things about me:
I started learning the viola da gamba this semester just to shake things up
I bleached and dyed my hair for the first time a little over a week ago and it’s been fun having light-colored hair
I’m currently in the middle of switching my educational focus from psychology to English (wish me luck!)
If you could meet any anime/book/TV character, who would it be?
Oof. This is always a question I never give much thought to because, you know, characters are fictional. BUT, I wouldn’t be opposed to sitting down with Shinji Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame just so I could give the poor kid a hug. He doesn’t deserve half the shit people give him—and *tea* the people who dislike him for being a depressed whiny kid kinda miss the entire point of the series.
Name your top 3 favorite websites.
Excluding app services, I often find myself looming around the sites I use the most: RightStuf Anime, MyAnimeList, and this place, Takuto’s Anime Cafe. Is that too conceited? Well, even if it is, I love this place; it’s my home away from home.
Which anime/book/TV character would you marry?
Hmmm, again, I don’t have much to comment. BUT, some of my waifus are Mami Tomoe (Madoka Magica) and Haruka Tenoh (Sailor Moon), my husbandos being Makoto Tachibana (Free!) and Todoroki Shouto (My Hero Academia).
What anime changed your life?
SO many. Evangelion, Steins;Gate, Free!, Yuri!!! On ICE, Ghost in the Shell, and Sailor Moon are some of the ones that immediately jump to mind.
What’s the background on your phone/computer right now?
Well this will be revealing. No surprise to see this lovely Eva fan art for the lock screen. The home screen, however, is the boys of Tomorrow X Together, a junior K-pop boy band that I happen to be very fond of. No, it’s not a phase. >.<
Again, I won’t be nominating anyone in specific just because I know many of you already recently participated in this award; however, I do want to thank Megan again for the nomination—I enjoyed answering your questions! Till next time, everyone!
Welcome to Part II of my 400 followers celebration! We’re here today because of how awesome all of you are, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be doing what I am still if it weren’t for all your support. Today, I’ll be giving all the long-awaited A’s to your tantalizing Q’s that I asked for over in the previous post and on social media.
Thank you to all those who asked me questions!! I went ahead and divided up your questions based on subject manner. So, without further ado, let’s see what my friends had to ask of me!
Matt’s starting us off with a classic. Personally, I see coffee as a dessert drink, so cold!
Moyatori (The Moyatorium): Since you own a cafe, I gotta ask: what’s your favourite coffee (and dessert pairing)?
Lately, I’ve really enjoyed sippin’ on a green tea frappuccino with a chocolate muffin ordered to-go. 🙂
Aria (The Animanga Spellbook): Since people are asking about coffee, what sort of cafe beverage do you most like (not necessarily coffee)? [Also] why is your online alias Takuto? When I think of that name, I think Star Driver, but I’m not sure if I’m right…
You can never go wrong with mocha anything, so I’ll pick that! As for where the name’s origin, believe it or not, it was actually from an anime name generator. How original, right? After plugging in my own name, hittin’ GENERATE, and swapping out a couple characters, “Takuto” was born, and I think the name actually fits me quite well, don’t you? (As a side note, LitaKino has persuaded me to watch Star Driver on numerous occasions—maybe I’ll make that happen this summer!
Karandi (100 Word Anime): Which anime characters would you most want to invite to your cafe (assuming they were all in the one universe and your anime cafe was a real location)?
Ooh, such a good question. Off the top of my head, I’d love to sit down with Kiki (Kiki’s Delivery Service), Chitanda Eru (Hyouka), Makise Kurisu (Steins;Gate), and Mikoto Misaka (A Certain Scientific Railgun). Why? Kiki for her fun-loving nature; Chitanda for her aloofness and ability to keep the conversation going through constant probing; Kurisu so we can at least talk a little science while we’re at the table; and Misaka because she’s just such a fun, supportive friend that I know would laugh at our jokes (even if they weren’t funny).
7mononoke (Anime Rants): Hmm… *instantly thinks of half a dozen questions that you’d never answer probably like how old are you* *reconsiders* … How about this question. Was there a blog you once loved that, more than any other, inspired you to be a blogger?
What a powerful question. One that immediately comes to mind is Shiroyuni over at The Limitless Imagination. Shiroyuni was a great online friend and one of the few bloggers who supported me the most back in 2015 when I started all this. She was respectful and kind, and always included me in on various tag and award posts that were so frequent back in the day. As a result, I went on to meet so many new bloggers, many of which are still close with me today, thankfully. I think Shiroyuni got busy due to school (and life in general) and had to leave, but Crimson would know more. I owe a lot to Shiroyuni, and wherever you are, we miss you! And we hope you’re doing ok!
Irina (I drink and watch anime): Ok tell me the truth, is there a little part of you that’s weirdly miffed about not having received a hate comment? [Also] are you open for collabs? *cough cough* (Animated Andy asked the same question)
I can be quite the “peacekeeper” both here and IRL, and cause of this I wondered: What if I’m not taking as strong a stance as I should in my posts? What if I come across as being so “on-the-fence” all the time that nobody finds my opinions interesting?? AM I NOT BEING MEAN ENOUGH??? (In other words Irina, a bit, but it’s somewhat a good problem to have.) As for collabs, YES, hit me up! I’m an introvert, so reaching out isn’t a strong suit of mine, but I’d be thankful for the thought!
What’s my Favorite ______ ?
Mel (Mel in Anime Land): Top 5 favorite male and female characters from Seraph of the End?
Oh Mel, you always ask the good ones. In order from 5 to 1, THE GORLS: Mahiru Hiragi, Mitsuba Sangu, Horn Skuld, Krul Tepes, and Shinoa Hiragi. THE BOIS: Crowley Eusford, Ferid Bathory, Shinya Hiragi, Yuichiro Hyakuya, and Mikaela Hyakuya. (Picking best boi was so hard omg)
Naja (Blerdy Otome): Let’s see burning questions… What is your favorite non-anime show?
Such a good question, but thankfully an easy one, too. Without a doubt, I’d go with Avatar: The Last Airbender. So many good memories with this show.
THIS question. Alrighty peeps, take notes! Seraph of the End, No.6, Negima!?, Haganai, Yamada’s First Time, DIVE!!, and DAKAICHI. For an extended list, hit up my DMs. 😉
Gigi (Animepalooza): What is an anime you like that no one else seems to? One you hate? What would you recommend for me to watch above all else (not necessarily me specifically, but that would also work)?
Interestingly, most of the shows that fall under this category come from my earlier days, including: Negima!?, Chaos;Head, Fractale, and Danganronpa: The Animation. These were gateway pieces for me, and although I do view them more critically now, I still love them even if they get the hate. One anime that I DID not care for (that everyone seems to enjoy) was Bungou Stray Dogs (although I am giving this a second shot). As for straight-up hate, look no further than Corpse Party.
For EVERYONE, I always recommend three: Attack on Titan, Code Geass, and anything Studio Ghibli. To all my veteran friends, however: Steins;Gate, Evangelion, and From the New World. (Gigi, I’m recommending Eva again to you cause you need to finish it, hahaha)
For story-telling mediums, I like manga—light novels even more. But on a more artistic side I also love anime and film soundtracks, a passion which is reflected in many of the reviews I write.
Krystallina (Daiyamanga): If you could be on any game show (currently airing or not, doesn’t matter), what would it be?
Oh god, none of them honestly, ahaha. What’s the one where I pick either curtain number one, two, or three?
Jamie (Jamie Talks Anime): How old are you, and what was an anime you thought you wouldn’t care for but tried anyway and was majorly surprised?
I’m currently 20! (Need to update my bio!) Hmm, I really didn’t think I’d like Fairy Tail, BUT . . . I’m just over 30 eps in and enjoying it much more than I thought I would.
Last but certainly not least, I’ve got a SLEW of questions from Crimson (Read at Night)!
1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Flight! I mean, how nifty would it be to not worry about height as a disadvantage, or have the ability to soar in the clouds?
2. Would you be the main character, the villain, sidekick, other? Why? And what kind of series would it be?
I’d want to be that reliable badass who graces everyone with their appearance and saves the day without raising a finger. Whether it’s the heroic All Might, the impenetrable Lady Satsuki Kiryuin, the inspiring Kuranosuke Koibuchi, the fierce Captain Levi, or the ever-graceful Mami Tomoe, there are some characters whose mere presence on screen is enough to calm the viewer and make them feel that everything is going to be ok, and I respect that. I wish I could have that kind of effect on people, to make them breath easier knowing that I am there, just as these characters have done for me. Given the need for high stakes scenarios, I’d go with sci-fi, fantasy, or supernatural. (Regardless, it needs LOTS of action lol.)
3. What would your (blank – the answer to q2) theme song be?
I always liked how powerful and imposing Kill la Kill‘s Satsuki Kiryuin’s presence was with this theme, so I’ll go with that. Go give it a listen!
4. You walk into a public restroom and there are 10 stalls to your left and 10 stalls to your right, which do you choose? (if you choose urinal…they’re in the stalls)
Hmmm, we’re asking the real questions now. Assuming the restroom is empty, the furthest stall from the door.
5. What does your perfect sandwich consist of?
Turkey, lettuce, spinach, provolone cheese, cucumbers, green peppers, and a dash of ranch or honey mustard depending on the day.
6. You find out you’re going to die tomorrow! How did you find out?
Oh shit! Well then, I’d say it was a warning from the aliens—after all, they told us ALL that we were going to die, remember!?
7. What is your greatest food weakness?
Olives. They’re gross.
8. You have been invited to a wedding and the dress code requires guests to cosplay. What will you wear?
Suzaku Kururugi’s white knight suit and tux. Classy AND ready for battle.
9. How is school going? You’re kicking its butt, right?
Is this the part where I tell her it’s kicking mine? No? Ok. Uhh, it’s fine—now that it’s SUMMER.
10. You have been chosen to represent the anime community as their singer in a singing competition, what song do you choose to perform?
ZAAAaaannKOOOKKUUUU NAA TENNSHHII—
11. Same question but for dancing! Oh, and you gotta pick a partner. Who?
I’d love to share a dance with Mako Akagi from Welcome to the Ballroom. It can be anything she’d like, too, as the soundtrack for this anime is FANTASTIC. Mako’s a sweetheart, plus she wouldn’t tell me if I were stepping on her feet the entire time!
12. You come home to find all your furniture has been moved, what happened?
I get bored easily, and I love a change of pace. Oh yeah, and amnesia’s a b*tch.
13. It’s been days and you’ve been digging into the Earth nonstop. What have you found?
OMG it’s a core drill from Gurren Lagann! BRO, LET’S COMBINE!!
And there we go, I hope you learned a bit more about who I am and what I do! Thank you all for celebrating this milestone with me. It’s not 500 followers, but since I missed out on 300 I figured I’d have some fun with this one. With uni out for the summer, regular content should be back on schedule, if you’ll allow me just a bit of time to settle into a routine. Until the next post, thank you so much for 400 followers! ‘Till next time!
As the title indicates, to wrap up this month of love and affection I’ll be responding to the “One Lovely Blog Award” that Keiko (Keiko’s Anime Blog) nominated me for back in, what, November of 2018? Yikes, little behind, but better late than never, right?
I always enjoy chatting with Keiko, and I particularly like seeing what she’s been up to reading-wise in her “Weekly Reads” segment. She’s also currently at the end of the 28-Day Shoujo Challenge for February 2019, so now’s a great time to catch up on what she’s been up too. Thanks for nominating me Keiko!
1. Display Award.
2. Thank the person who gave you this award (and include a link to her/his blog).
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 bloggers (I won’t be doing this part just because it’s been way too long lol).
7 Things About Me:
1. I recently wrote some poems about memory for a cognitive psych class and the professor(s) approached me with an offer to print them in the updated version of the course textbook! I’ll keep you posted if they decide to move forward with that.
2. Even though it’s winter, I don’t actually own much of a winter coat. Instead, I prefer to wear layers of light jackets.
3. My most recent hobby collecting obsession is acrylic stands of anime characters. I never thought I’d buy one, and here I am sitting with three with a fourth on the way. It’s an obsession that came fast and without warning. Perhaps I’ll save the rest of the story for a Cafe Talk . . .
4. I love buying anime for my collection, but I like buying anime for siblings and friends even more.
5. Believe it or not, all of my blogging work is done on a tiny hand-me-down ASUS tablet/laptop thing. I’ve never owned a desktop set-up, and while I never plan to, I do wish to upgrade to a nicer laptop sometime this summer. ^ . ^
6. Recently, I’ve seriously picked up healthy eating and daily exercising to lose weight for cosplaying. The scale may not be giving me lower digits, but I certainly do feel better about myself.
7. Spring is my favorite season. Like New Year’s, it’s a time for cleansing, revival, and of course, spring cleaning. With the warmer weather coming soon, I plan to strip down my old wall fabric patterns and put up a new bracketed shelf system for all my anime, manga, light novels, and other related items. It’ll be a lighter colored wood, which will be a nice change from the dark browns and blacks of my current furniture. Excited for spring!
And that’ll be all for this one. I hope you all enjoyed your February festivities. Thanks again Keiko! ‘Till next time!
Hey everyone, it’s Thursday! The 12 Days of Anime AKA Takuto’s 2017 Blogmas officially begins now! For the first day’s festivities, we’ll kick off by getting to know a bit more about me, the host here at the cafe. Instead of immediately responding to AniYouTuber Gigi of Animepalooza’s 50 Otaku Facts Tag a couple months back, I decided to save it for something like this, the 12 Days of Anime, when it might pack a little more interest.
So strap yourself in for a long list of 50 more things you may or may not have known about Takuto! Also, I decided to frame the order and type of “facts” by answering along with Gigi’s video (I copied, whoops), so thanks gurl for the indirect tag and the outline to follow, haha!
50 Otaku Facts Tag
The first anime I ever watched (knowing that it was indeed an anime) was Negima!?. That is, the Shaft one with Motsu the frog.
The first order I made when I consciously decided to start collecting anime was from RightStuf in 2014 and I believe it was parts one and two of A Certain Scientific Railgun S, DVD only.
My favorite anime genres are sci-fi, psychological (thriller or not), and mystery. I also enjoy comedy, sports, and, though not a genre, survival games.
My favorite anime of all time is (oh god I can’t pick), hmm, Evangelion.
My favorite psychological anime is Neon Genesis Evangelion (that’s why).
My favorite sports anime is Free! (because it actually encouraged me to do sports in the first place).
My favorite sci-fi anime, besides the aforementioned Eva, the 1995 Ghost in the Shell. For series, I love Psycho-Pass AND Psycho-Pass 2.
I started my blog because I wanted to have a cozy place on the internet where I could freely express my anime happenings with other fellow fans. I also love archiving shit. No literally, it can be anything, just let me organize it and file it away so it looks pretty and neat.
My favorite Pokemon are Bulbasaur, Chansey, and of course, Pikachu
I also love 80s and 90s retro anime, my favorites being Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Sailor Moon.
When I was growing up, I “played” Sailor Moon just like half of us all did. Rather than choosing a single scout, however, I took on a blend of Jupiter’s powers with Uranus’s appearance. In other words, I wanted to be the hot one.
Two genres that I cannot stand, for the most part, are (also) ecchi fanservice and straight up “moe” (the cute-girls-doing-cute-things skit, yeah, not a fan, sorry!).
I also am enthralled by Clamp’s art style, but seeing as how I’ve only watched one anime with that style (Code Geass, which I LOVE), I cannot completely judge the rest.
My English voice actor husbando is Micah Solusod (and J. Michael Tatum, it goes back and forth).
My English voice actress waifu is (OH NO THERE ARE TOO MANY TO PICK), uhh, I’ll go with Jamie Marchi, the baddest bitch of them all.
I also agree that the Sword Art Online proposal scene was pretty sweet and romantic. Just don’t expect me to make you sandwiches all the time once we’ve wed.
I believe the most underrated anime is Robotics;Notes. GO WATCH IT.
My favorite type of anime characters are strong, bold, fierce-and-they-know-it *QUEEN* females and teen males who don’t know what they’re doing with their lives (because I can relate).
My anime waifu for laifu is Saber (shh, don’t tell Junko Enoshima or Mami Tomoe), my anime husbando being *EROS* Yuri.
While I haven’t seen any boy idol anime yet, I did enjoy Love Live! and even parts of Cheer Boys!!.
My favorite reverse harem anime is, by far, Ouran High School Host Club.
My least favorite horror anime of all time is Corpse Party. That crap is just dumb.
It took me three tries to watch Blast of Tempest and you know what? It’s actually pretty good.
I had watched Sailor Moon as a kid a long time ago on VHS. That’s right, I basically watched the same 6-10 tapes (like 20 episodes) over and over and over again and never got sick of them. Same goes for Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon. Now, thanks to Viz’s re-releases of the beloved series, I am watching the ENTIRETY of Sailor Moon (with the Viz dub cause it’s amazing) from episode one to, eventually, 200. All I know about the Stars‘s ending is that they’re all floating in the clouds naked. Same.
I AM NOT A COMPLETIONIST BY CHOICE. It’s actually a curse, and thanks to my hyper-focus abilities, I can barely start watching a second anime without completing the first, no matter how much it sucks. At least this means I’m loyal.
I ALSO love the Yuri!!! On ICE fandom more than the anime!!! Don’t get me wrong, I totally give the series a hot 10/10, but without the wonderful fandom theories and fan-artists, YOI just wouldn’t feel as magical as it is. Bless you all.
I, too, tend to have a horrible habit of shipping seemingly unrelated couples. It doesn’t help when the official companies release artwork EXCLUSIVELY exhibiting two such individuals that have no relation to another whatsoever (looking at you, Free! and Fate).
Eros Yuri and Minami is my YOI crack ship. Phichit is always invited, though.
When I marathon anime (Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell, etc.), I marathon HARD. I’ll even set aside time on break just to thoroughly explore a franchise. That said, I usually can’t review anything on my blog afterwards because I’d exhausted all of my cares by that point (plus, the series is over–HOW DO I FIND ANOTHER ONE AFTER IT??).
The first Nendoroid I ever purchased was of Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate, and she still stand there beautifully in the spotlight on my shelf.
The first figure I ever purchased (besides the Kurisu Nendoroid) was a two-for-one of Eren Yeager and Saber Alter.
Free! is a sports anime. Gigi . . . GIGI . . . they swim, practice, go to meets, set goals, and make new friends through it all. Sports anime. LOL.
GIGI FREE! ETERNAL SUMMER IS BOTH SLICE-OF-LIFE AND SPORTS, YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT IT AS BOTH, just as how SouRin and SouMako are BOTH a thing. Ok, maybe a bad analogy, but still. As for slice-of-life anime, I only like them if that nature of it is underneath a larger genre. Ex: Steins;Gate (slice of life and sci-fi), School Live! (slice of life and horror), Free! (slice of life AND sports).
My favorite English dub is surprisingly Ouran High School Host Club‘s! Something about the cast selection just really meshes well together for me. I also do adore the dubs for Code Geass, Steins;Gate, Evangelion, and KILL la KILL.
I prefer English dubs to English subs. Why? Sure, the sub may be a more “accurate” interpretation of the director’s vision, but things heard in my own language tend to resonate with me more than when I have to read it. I do love both, though.
Like Gigi said, if a show is in a regular release (no SAVE classics edition) PLUS it has a decent rating, there’s a good chance I’ll buy it cause SAVINGS.
And also like Gigi, I hardly ever by anime or manga unless it’s on sale. It’s expensive enough as is.
I honestly have not read a lot of manga, but some of my favorites include Orange, Seraph of the End, and (for the little I’ve read of it), Pandora Hearts.
I’m a strong believer in the philosophy that true horror (as a genre) is inherently terrifying, as in it shouldn’t rely on cheap gore fests just to render itself as scary. This often times results in me just looking for mystery anime more than horror titles. A couple of my favorites are Another and Higurashi.
One #relationshipgoals scene for me would be the moment, in Code Geass, when Lelouch is captured and his Zero persona is nearly revealed–until C2 suddenly appears donning the Zero attire, shocking not only the characters (and Lelouch himself), but the viewer, too. She’s gotcha back, Jack. What a woman.
Not to sound weird, but I get incredible chills whenever a character reaches their pinnacle moment of despair–that rare, dark realization that “This is the lowest I can get,” and “There is no turning back.” Instances would include Fate/Zero‘s finale with Kiritsugu, Homura’s transcendence in Madoka Magica: Rebellion, and the entirety of Danganronpa. Despair, dEsPaIR. DESPAIR.
“The anime that made me get my Crunchyroll subscription” was, I believe, Kiznaiver, because I FINALLY wanted to be a part of the simulcast-watching community.
Yuri, yaoi, or loving heterosexual relationships of any kind do not bother me. To quote Gigi, “Any love in anime is some good love.”
I don’t watch a lot of hentai. Like, basically none.
“Best Girl” in anime is the one who knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. Junko Enoshima, Satsuki Kiryuin, Asuka Langley Soryu, Mami Tomoe, you get me.
If I could get a relationship where the other side accepted me for whatever I liked (all this anime nonsense), then I’d be set for life. Bonus points if they have the same hobbies as I do, and “you’re a winner” if you stay up all night and day teaching me how to play all the anime-like video games. I NEED A TUTOR AND A FRIEND.
Five anime characters that are most like myself are Oreki Houtarou (Hyouka), Junko Enoshima (Danganronpa), Asuka Langley Soryu (Evangelion), Shu Ouma (Guilty Crown), and Mikaela Hyakuya (Seraph of the End).
Asuka Langley Soryu–IF YOU ALREADY COULDN’T TELL–is best girl.
The one property that I want turned into an anime is (besides adaptations of Fate‘s first 3 Holy Grail Wars) The Legend of Zelda. For books, I think seeing Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World as an anime would be pretty wicked.
Regarding anime, my life’s goal is to get around to watching EVERYTHING that has ever piqued my curiosity. Whether it was a title that just aired, will air, or was lost sometime 30 years in the past, I want STILL want to see it. And hopefully I will.
There you have it! Fifty more things to know about my anime-watching career! I’ll leave a link to Gigi’s channel (Animepalooza) right here in case you want to see fifty neat things about her. Also, for fun, I’ll go ahead and tag anyone who is interested in sharing more about themselves–yes YOU, go for it! Just share 50 Otaku/anime-related facts about yourself and tag me back so I can read it! That’s it, super easy.
This wraps up Blogmas Day One of the 12 Days of Anime! Thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you all tomorrow!
Chances are that if you were linked here from another blogger pal, then you might be new. To those first-timers, “Hi, I’m Takuto, welcome to my anime cafe!” As part of the OWLS blog tour’s sixth monthly topic, “Team,” I decided to incorporate what would have been a “Cafe Talk” about my high school swimming experience, along with my thoughts on the anime Free! into one big post over sticking with a team to the end.
While the prompt was more intended as dedication to “Pride Month” and all of those who support the LGBT & Queer communities both in real life and in anime, the generosity and flexibility, as well as the promoted creativity that OWLS is known for, allows me to bend this topic back to its home nature: companionship found in teamwork. Thanks Lyn for the prompt!
A brief discussion on the 12-episode summer 2013 anime “Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club,” and its 13-episode summer 2014 sequel “Free! – Eternal Summer,” both produced by Kyoto Animation, directed by Hiroko Utsumi, based on the original story by Kouji Ooji.
“After High School, You’re Ordinary”
This was what Haruka Nanase was told long ago and, nearing the end of his own high school experience, Haru is still unsure of what to make of his future. Swimming as early as elementary school and winning races and a tournament with his childhood relay mates—all boys with very much girlish names—Makoto, Nagisa, and Rin, Haru has always loved the water. When they all went their separate ways for middle school, Haru dropped swimming entirely. Now he’s about to enter the real world, all dried up for a life of normalcy.
That is—until the boys reunite in high school. Only desiring to race Haru after all these years, however, Rin could care less about the old team being together—he only wants to find out that HE is indeed the better, faster, stronger swimmer.
Without Rin, the three boys form a new Iwatobi High School Swim Team, and it turns out that their first challenge is not training and practicing hard, but actually recruiting a fourth member so that their relay can face off against Rin’s team later in the season! Eventually, these boys, bound by friendship, the spirit of competition, and the love of the sport, will discover what swimming in a relay means to each of them!
And Just Like That, We’re Off the Blocks!
Free!, like a well-trained athlete, balances episodes of training and technique with bits of fun, slice-of-life ventures and some emotional turmoil inbound. By using races and competitions as peaks of interest (and a way to execute the boys’ hard work), everything flows smoothly and as such makes time fly by. By the end of the two seasons, all relationships and story developments feel comfortably resolved—and that’s all I can ask of most adapted works these days!
If it’s not apparent to you yet, the boys of Free! are very beloved by its fans in the community, and for good reasons, too. They all have such great . . . chemistry, and truly, they’re more than just friends—they’re family, the kind that look out for each other before themselves, as well as value each others’ strengths and weaknesses alike. Each so unique and diverse, they all have their own personal demons, but rather than facing them alone, they fight each battle as a team, causing their bonds to develop even further. I’d dare say that Free!’s characters form one of the most heartwarming squads out there; if not the best, they’re at least favorites of mine!
Name a Better-Looking Sports Anime. I Dare You.
Looking back, Free! was the first Kyoto Animation show to leave its signature mark on my viewing experience, and boy is it delicious. Not the muscles, well, maybe the muscles. I’m talking about the water—to quote Haru, it’s as if it’s ~alive~. Their attention to how water actually flows in real life is incredible. You could almost call it “liquid smooth.” KyoAni has a splendid color palette, which is bright, airy, and cheerful, not to mention that their eye for the cool, modern aesthetic is top-notch. Color and tone values help to distinguish between scenes of comedy and rivalry. I almost feel as if I’m cleansed when I watch this show, if that makes any sense at all.
But the boys, oh yes, they are youthful, breathtaking creatures with beautiful physiques. I said it. No regrets.
The seaside OST also provides a flowing atmosphere from scene to scene, specifically those “go out and do something wonderful” tracks like “Rhythm of Port Town” and “Revelry of Student.” What the show’s probably known for music-wise is its energetic openings “Rage On” and “Dried Up Youthful Fame” by the wild OLDCODEX. And then there’s that ending “SPLASH FREE” by STYLE FIVE, a group composed of the five lead seiyuus (loudly sings 50% OFF ver).
For the Team: My High School Swim Club Story
My 8th grade summer ushered in a whole new set of problems: high school was right around the corner, and I was a) waaaay out of shape and b) wanted to fit in. So I was just like anyone else, right?
That’s when I told myself to do a sport—my first one ever—that no matter what happened or how bad I looked, I’d do it just for the sake of doing it. I was considering track for pole-vaulting since a close guy friend of mine did it. Then I looked at tennis.
Tennis couldn’t be that bad, right?
Then summer got real hot. Like, sure, it was 90+ degrees each day, but, early on during my anime experience when I was unfamiliar with simulcasts, I ran into a 30 sec trailer for something hot.
It was other peoples’ phrasing, not mine!
But there was NO WAY I’d “wear a speedo.” Heck, I didn’t even know if my high school had a boys swim team. So I rummaged the yearbooks and did a little online looking and sure enough, there it was.
As the summer drummed on, Free! kept calling me back to YouTube each week where someone would upload the episodes. Not the best streaming service, but I didn’t mind. Anyway, the way their club started off so small and so closely knit, and then the fact that they were STUNNING to look at—I had to do swimming, I just had to.
Season one ended leaving me in high spirits and hopeful that whatever came that coming winter (cause that’s when swim season was here), I’d be more than ready.
Flash forward, the school announcements read off an early interest meeting for the sport. I was overly nervous, of course, but I showed up, and just like a lost freshman EVERYONE knew each other already. Like 20 guys that all were buds with each other. I was already lost, and ready to give up.
Then the first practice came, oh god, the first practice. I received swimming lessons from a countryside town growing up, and so I thought I was a champ at it. But in fact I sucked. Really bad, hahaha!
The next practice came and five or so of the team didn’t show up.
They quit. Each with their own excuses.
There were so few members on the team that we were all considered “varsity” swimmers, so at least that was neat. Little ol’ me was varsity as a freshman!
I somehow finished that year improving times meet after meet with the other first years. But my eyes never stopped wandering off to our lane four relay. Coincidentally, or perhaps by fate, there were four of them: one for each of the strokes, one for each of the boys in Free!
I wanted to be like them. So I worked my ass off at morning practices and afternoon practices day after day after day.
I was even awarded the “Most-Improved” on the team! Still got the medal displayed in my room.
Then they all graduated. Except for one, since he was a junior, but yeah, they all had left me. They left the team, leaderless.
My sophomore and junior years ushered in new issues. New coaches, new members joining then quickly dropping for all the same things, but the core members of the team never left, and now they’re some of my greatest “upperclassmen” friends. Facing the facts, the others just couldn’t take the heat of practice.
But I could, and I did.
Senior year came. Three other seniors joined me, but then those same three quit the very next day. By the end we were eight strong, but became eight of the closest guys you could ever imagine. We were all swimming Free!.
But there was this one freshman in particular. He was good. Very good. Like crazy good enough to make State qualification times in our first meet.
Then there was me, who had actually peaked his junior year and suffered all season with a young hot-headed coach who didn’t even know what “mercy” meant.
I suddenly felt unqualified. Alone, if you will. Days grew longer, my body grew more tired, and yet my times never improved.
I even remember crying myself to sleep one night, swearing to myself that I’d quit at practice the next day. “Who even needed to say they swam for four years during high school?? It’s not like I’d remember any of it a decade later!!”
But then I thought about me—myself, that scared little guy who, during his freshman year, witnessed several of his upperclassmen leave the lanes for good. If it weren’t for those four boys, our A-Team relay, I probably would have—
I WOULD HAVE QUIT A LONG TIME AGO.
That’s when it hit me: I wasn’t staying there for me anymore. Heck, I didn’t need swimming, or an in-shape body anymore—it’s senior year.
But what kind of message would that have sent to them, their families, this community, that a team of only freshmen and sophomores were left senior-less after they all quit??
Nope. I was there for them. For the team that never left me when I was a first year.
For the team.
So I whipped myself back into shape, my psyche ready for any challenges that came my way, because I wasn’t swimming for my own times anymore—it was for the relay, for the team!
This past spring, we finished seven strong with one of our guys leaving us due to his parents moving away. But we never forgot him, and we never forgot about us.
And it was that fleeting member who got us to compete at State. Relay times are generally left permanently for the team, which is why, when he left, we met consideration time. It was just a few aching days after that we found out that our qualifying time got us in.
We stayed overnight in a fancy hotel, exploring the town together with our coaches, shopping, laughing, making those kinds of memories.
The kinds you’ll never forget.
And then we swam at state. That one really good freshman OF COURSE placed in the top ten. Our relay . . .
We didn’t make it to the second day, hahaha! But we were lucky enough to even be there in the first place, right?
When our splits (individual times) were captured by our coaches and the timing mats, my own time came in:
I swam a 24-some-second 50-yard freestyle in our relay. That is, to date, the fastest I had ever swam, and I nearly cried. We were all yelling and screaming and cheering so loud that we nearly lost our voices, but we didn’t care at that point, cause we all for the most part had swam our best when it mattered most, and ya know,
That means the world to a Team Captain.
Like Free! tries to tell us, you can be the best swimmer or the worst swimmer, but if you don’t work together as a team, you’ll never win what truly matters: friendship, companionship, brotherhood—they’re all synonymous at this point.
We go about our lives thinking and acting like we have to carry our own weight, and to an extent, that’s true. But like a relay, everything we do is ultimately for the team, for some group, tangible or not, that is bonded together through incredible triumphs, pitfalls, or just good memories.
And if you find yourself losing passion with something, or are stuck with a team that frankly isn’t filled with the most wonderful of people, then BE that wonderful person for the team. Do what I did and work your butt off, sweat your tears away, and devote everything you’ve got just to say that YOU never left them when it mattered most.
Cause ultimately, you, too, are part of a team, their team, and you should do things just like that:
This was a very long post (laughs) and I apologize, but there’s a lot to be said about Takuto here. A lot indeed. And if you read it all, from beginning until now, I can’t honestly thank you enough! Free! may be male fanservice to everyone’s eye, but to me, it’s a beautiful and inspirational coming-of-age story filled with compassion and teamwork that inspired me to take on a seemingly impossible journey—impossible alone, that is. It’s about growing up and finding out who you really want to be, about dedication, self-motivation, and life after graduation. Through Free! I made friends and fell in love with a sport. But more than that I made memories to last a lifetime, and those are irreplaceable.
As such, both seasons of Free! are awarded solid “Caffe Mochas” ratings, and should be watched on Crunchyroll or Funimation’s sites for FREE (hah) at one’s earliest convenience. That is, only if you’re craving something really hot.
To all the guys I swam with throughout my four years, from the team that inspired me to the one that I, myself, hopefully inspired, thank you for all of the laughs and the memories—this one’s for you. Stay silly my guys.
And to you, my favorite readers, an even greater thanks! Until next time, this has been
– Takuto, once a team captain, now just another blogger