[[quoteright:318:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/free_poster_6440.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:318: Let me show you what makes you and I different!]]

''Free!'' is an anime by KyotoAnimation that is a SportsStory surrounding the lives of HighSchool swimmers. It premiered on [[Summer2013Anime July 3, 2013]] and it is based on ''High Speed!'', a novel by Kouji Ouji. The novel was originally entered into the 2nd Kyoto Animation Award contest and received an honorable mention. A commercial released before the series was officially announced gained a sizable fanbase on both Tumblr and Pixiv due to the shirtless {{Bishonen}} featured. The show was quickly dubbed "Swimming Anime" before its actual name was revealed. It is co-produced by Animation DO (a subsidiary of KyoAni), and is directed by Hiroko Utsumi (marking her directorial debut) with script supervision by Masahiro Yokotani and character designs by Futoshi Nishiya.

When he was young, gifted [[TitleDrop freestyle]] swimmer Haruka Nanase competed in an elementary school relay team with his childhood friends Makoto Tachibana, Nagisa Hazuki and Rin Matsuoka. After winning a championship together they parted ways, with Rin leaving the country to follow his dream of reaching the Olympic level.

When Rin returns years later with a [[TheRival nasty new attitude and a major grudge against Haruka]], his reappearance sets in motion a series of events that lead to the founding of the [[JapaneseSchoolClub Iwatobi High School Swimming Club]]. Along with Makoto, Nagisa, rookie Rei Ryugazaki and manager [[TheSmurfettePrinciple Gou Matsuoka]], Haruka reawakens his passion for competitive swimming in the hope of getting through to Rin.

The media distribution service Crunchyroll is streaming the series under the name ''[[http://www.crunchyroll.com/free-iwatobi-swim-club/episode-1-627937 Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club]]''.

Click here to read the chapter summaries, and the (in progress) chapter translation of the light novel prequel, [[http://mangahelpers.com/forum/showthread.php/2992276-High-Speed!-(Free!)-by-K%C5%8Dji-%C5%8Cji High Speed!]]

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!!Tropes present in ''Free!'' include:

* {{Adorkable}}: Rei is book smart and serious, but still [[TheComicallySerious does ridiculous things as if they were normal]], like trying on silly patterned swimsuits with gusto, calling Rin "Rin-chan-san" [[note]]since Nagisa calls him "Rin-chan"[[/note]], and [[spoiler: pretending to be a detective and making sound effects while spying on Rin]].
* ArcWords: "I'll show you a sight you've never seen before."
* ArtEvolution: There has been quite a shift from the original commercial to the actual series, mostly through a change of emphasis from softness to more of a sharp cleanliness. A larger change can be seen between the [[http://0taku.livedoor.biz/archives/4158679.html original concepts]] of the characters' designs; most notably, Rin had shorter, spiky hair and an accompanying {{Shounen}} look to him.
** Apparently the one with the short red hair wasn't actually Rin but another character called Kaede. Rin is the one shown behind the other boys. Kaede was considered for the main group but was ultimately replaced with Rei. This link has some more info about it: * BeachEpisode: Both inverted and deconstructed in episode five. The inversion comes in where it's only the guys dressed in swimsuits - though Gou is seen in one at one point, albeit still relatively covered up - but this is justified in that they're there to train.[[spoiler: The deconstruction comes in at the end, when the weather turns sour...the minute Rei decides to have a sneaky practise swim at night.]]
* BilingualBonus: A rather... Interesting one when the gang goes out shopping. Kou runs into Seijirou, who calls her "Gou-kun." Kou hating it when people mispronounce her name as Gou because it sounds more boyish was already an established RunningGag. Most people ''assumed'' the BilingualBonus to be how Gou-kun sounds especially masculine, because "kun" is an honorific you usually attach to the name of a boy. There's another meaning, though. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gokkun Gokkun is a term used to refer to women drinking semen.]]
* BirdsOfAFeather: Nagisa and Ama-chan-sensei mirror each others behaviour adorably-creepily well.
* BishieSparkle: Just look at the page picture! {{Justified}} since it's mostly pool water.
* {{Bishonen}}: The entire main cast but they are much more muscular (due to their athletic activities) than your regular bishonen.
* CastFullOfPrettyBoys: The explosion of popularity over the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByhP478ZPQI&feature=player_embedded CM debut]] that featured nothing but pretty boys in water being pretty boys in water (and also participating in FemaleGaze-indulging exercises) before the anime was officially announced is frequently cited as the reason for it being greenlit into a full animated series, true or not.[[note]]Considering production time, "not" would be the correct assumption.[[/note]]
* TheCastShowOff: Apart from singing the OP, "Rage On", Makoto's voice actor does his character songs as Makoto.
** Applies to the main cast to some extent: the ED is sung by the boys's voice actors, and they all have their respective character songs too.
* CheerfulChild: Rin, before he went off to Australia.
** Nagisa was the same. [[{{Keet}} It never really changed when he grew up though]].
* CherryBlossoms: Used a lot in this anime, most of the time to symbolize Rin and Haru's relationship. When they were kids, Rin declared to Haru he was going to show Haru a sight he had never seen before while they were standing under a cherry blossom tree. Though it was out of season, when he said that the tree was symbolically in full bloom.
** In the last episode, Haru[[spoiler: finds a cherry blossom tree that looks like the one in their elementary school. Later, when Rin is missing, Haru is the only one to realize that Rin probably went to see the tree also. After their fight, Haru repeats the words Rin told him when they were children, "I'll show you a sight you've never seen before," and once again the tree appears to be in full bloom.]]
** Rin tells Haru when they're children that he wants to swim in a pool full of cherry blossom petals. Unfortunately, he leaves Japan before the tree blossoms. In the current time, Haru is seen looking at some cherry blossom petals floating in the newly renovated Iwatobi pool.
** One of the songs that plays during a Rin and Haru flashback is called Cherry Blossoms on the OST.
* ChildhoodFriends: In elementary school Haruka belonged to the same swim team as Makoto, Nagisa and Rin, but once they won a tournament they'd strove toward improving for, they all went their separate ways (except for Haruka and Makoto)...until Rin came back to challenge Haruka many years later, anyway.
* ColorCodedCharacters: Haruka is blue, Makoto is green, Nagisa is yellow, Rei is purple, and Rin is red. However, in some material, like the promotional poster above, Haruka and Rei's colors are stylistically swapped.
* ComicallySerious: Haruka, Haruka, HARUKA. Rei as well.
* [[spoiler: CPRCleanPrettyReliable: Zigzagged in episode 6. On one hand, the head tilt/chin lift to open Makoto’s airway is animated realistically, and Haruka correctly moves the victim to safety, checks for responsiveness, and attempts to call for help. And it certainly wasn’t a KissOfLife ploy on Makoto’s part. On the other hand, Haruka uses a Walking Assist on an unconscious victim [[note]] which would be difficult if not impossible. Supporting from the side only works if the victim can walk on his own [[/note]], and Makoto’s breathing is just about the last thing he checks. Then Haruka almost gives rescue breaths while Makoto is clearly [[WorstAid still breathing]]. And it ends with no mention of Makoto going to the hospital although he nearly drowned.]]
* CryCute: [[spoiler: Rin, when he opens up to Haru and after they all swam in the relay together.]]
* CurtainsMatchTheWindow: Rin and Gou.
* CuteLittleFangs: Rin, as a child. He outgrows it as a teen because ALL his teeth become sharp and pointy.
** In episode 4 his shark teeth were much less prominent for whatever reason, returning his cute fang status for the time being.
* [[spoiler: DarkerAndEdgier: Episodes 5 and 6. Five ends with Rei being out in the ocean and a storm picks up. Episode 6 has everyone safe and sound but still, nobody saw this coming unless you had read High Speed! or the episode summaries beforehand.]]
* DuckSeasonRabbitSeason: Nagisa successfully pulls this off with Gou in regards to her name.
* EmptySwimmingPoolDive: It almost happens in the first episode.
* {{Engrish}}: Rin and Rei in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkcFrZqpcf4 the preview after Episode 10.]] Good ''lord''. You would think that Rin would have better English after three years in Australia.
** The opening song as described by GratuitousEnglish further down.
* ExcitedShowTitle: ''Free!''
* {{Fanservice}}: Distinct in that it features eye candy for female viewers without it being a yaoi show.
* FanDisservice: Some fans (female and male alike) view the closeups of Rei's tiny yellow penguin speedo as this. Thankfully, he blames [[spoiler: his inability to swim]] on it and goes out of his way to get a more...covered swimsuit later on.
* FemaleGaze: All over the place, this is probably the first non-yaoi anime series to employ this trope to such an extent.
* FestivalEpisode: Episode 9 was this.
* AFriendInNeed: The Iwatobi team [[spoiler: chooses to help Rin instead of taking a shot at nationals. What's more, it's Rei, the new guy who wasn't one of the ChildhoodFriends, who suggested the idea to give up his spot in the relay for Rin.]]
* GenderBlenderName: All of the main five swimmers, plus Rin's sister Gou (who prefers to go by "Kou" for that very reason). Lampshaded in the very first episode...and many more times after that.
** Nagisa specifically tries to recruit Rei because he has a feminine name. Rei is not amused.
* GratuitousEnglish: Look up the lyrics to the opening song "Rage On" by OLDCODEX. A lot of the English isn't grammatically correct and doesn't really make sense. The pronunciation isn't great, either. But the song is still awesome.
** The two B-sides for the opening single are almost completely in English (that's just as poor as Rage On's).
** "SPLASH FREE" also contains its fair share of engrish.
* [[spoiler:HappyEnding]]
* HeldGaze: Good ''god'' yes. Happens [[OnceAnEpisode nearly every time Makoto and Haru]] [[LikeAnOldMarriedCouple have a personal moment together]].
* HighSchool: Two of them!
* ImagineSpot: Makoto has a hilarious one when the question pops up whether or not Haru would be a fit captain for the about-to-be-founded swim club. The answer is a clear "No!"
* InSeriesNickname[=/=]AffectionateNickname: Haruka gets this from his old friends, simply called "Haru" by Makoto and "Haru-chan" by the one-year-younger Nagisa.
** Makoto also goes by the name "Mako-chan", another token of Nagisa's affection. Contrary to Haruka, he doesn't seem to mind.
** Amakata is nicknamed "Ama-chan" by, once again, Nagisa.
** Makoto sometimes calls Haruka "Haru-chan", but Haruka doesn't particularly like it.
-->'''Haruka:''' I told you to leave off the "-chan"!
** Rei once called Haruka, "Haru-chan-san" because Nagisa kept referring the latter as "Haru-chan". Haruka was a little annoyed.
*** Seems to be a habit - in episode ten he calls Rin "Rin-chan-san".
** From the High Speed! novel, Haru and Nagisa came up with the nickname "Rin Rin" for Rin in order to pester him.
*** Nagisa brings the nickname Rin Rin back in the last episode.
** Also in the last episode, Rin finally stops referring to Nitori by his [[LastNameBasis surname]] and starts calling him Ai, short for his full name, Aiichiro.
* JapaneseHonorifics: Nagisa is fond of adding ''-chan'' to the end of all his friends' names. He gets away with it (mostly) because he's The Cute One.
** Nitori always refers to Rin as sempai. Even when Rin starts calling him by his first name without honourifics in the last episode, Nitori just upgrades from 'Matsuoka-sempai' to 'Rin-sempai'.
* TheKnightsWhoSaySquee: Having admired Haruka's swimming since they were kids, Nagisa enters the same high school as him so that he can be on the same team. (Not that Haruka's ''in'' the swim team, since the school doesn't have one to begin with.)
* LogicalExtreme: Takes the HomoeroticSubtext and FemaleGaze common in many sports anime and brings them to the forefront.
* LoveAtFirstSight: It is implied that Mikoshiba, the captain of the swim team in Samezuka, falls in love with Gou at first sight when she came to look for Rin before he joined the swim team.
* MelancholyMoon: After the first day of prefectural, Makoto looked to the moon worrying about Haruka. Haruka was gone swimming in the Iwatobi school pool reminiscing about his resolve for swimming and changed relationship with Rin.
* MessyHair[=/=]UnkemptBeauty: Nagisa, Rei, and Gou have this when they woke up from their individual beds in Episode 8.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: ''Swimming.''
* NoodleIncident: Whatever Amakata's history with swimsuits is. [[spoiler: Later, we find out she used to be a swimsuit model.]]
* OpposingSportsTeam: Samezuka looks intimidating but is one of the more friendly variety.
* PuttingTheBandBackTogether: Nagisa wants [[http://youtu.be/a8EVhUMXms0?t=46s to do this with]] Haruka, along with a whole mess of things Haruka doesn't want to bother with.
* ReactionShot: All over the place so much that you could make a Drinking Game out of it.
* RealityEnsues: When Haruka encounters Rin in their old abandoned school, they immediately start gearing up for an epic swimming match. This is interrupted when they discover why their friends were trying to stop them: the pool that hasn't been used in years has no water in it. They narrowly avert EmptySwimmingPoolDive.
** In episode 5, the group wanted to go to a deserted island to train, but they couldn't go right off the bat because of their lack of money. Even Ama-chan mentioned that clubs automatically having money to go places only happens in anime and manga.
** The Iwatobi members only had a few weeks to train before their first tournament. [[spoiler: None of them make it past their individual prelims.]]
** In Episode 12, [[spoiler: Rei gives his spot in the Butterfly leg of the relay to Rin. The Iwatobi team wins, but they're disqualified for putting another school's swimmer on their team.]]
* RedOniBlueOni: Rin and Haruka. Rin's more fiery personality and red hair contrast Haruka's cool, quiet attitude and blue eyes.
** Nagisa and Rei could also qualify, though Nagisa's more of a happy-go-lucky red oni to Rei's bookish blue oni.
** The uniform colors of both swim teams complement this as well.
* RedStringOfFate: When the group notices that they've been in the same events with Rin even before they met, Ama-sensei mentions this. Gou asks if [[HoYay they call it that when it's between boys]].
* RefusalOfTheCall: Haruka doesn't originally seem too enthusiastic about creating a swim team.
** Same goes for Rei. Justified, since he was already in track and field [[spoiler:and doesn't know how to swim.]]
* RummageSaleReject: The Butterfly Swimsuit. Oh dear. That [[EverythingsBetterWithRainbows Rainbow Thing]] isn't all that...stylish either.
* RunningGag: Haruka willing to swim in any body of water. Including a fish tank.
** Gou correcting anyone (Nagisa is the biggest culprit thus far) to call her "Kou" instead. It doesn't work.
* SchoolFestival: A drama track shows that Samezuka has a maid cafe each year.
* SeriesMascot: Iwatobi-chan. The part-rock, part-bird creature with a ThousandYardStare. It was somehow selected as Iwatobi Town's mascot from over 900 entries, and Nagisa enjoys sticking it on everything.
* SeriousBusiness: ''Swimming.''
* SequelHook: [[http://img1.ak.crunchyroll.com/i/spire3/972bd4c31e4e1354cbffc073b02172ae1380139714_full.jpg See you next summer!]]
** Before the credits of episode 12 rolled, [[spoiler: the Iwatobi team make it clear they're going to be back to compete next year.]]
** Unlike other anime examples of this, [[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2014-01-26/free-iwatobi-swim-club-anime-gets-2nd-season it did sell more than well enough for another season.]]
* ShirtlessScene: All the time. Justified, because they're swimmers.
* ShowerOfAngst: [[spoiler: Haru has one after losing to Rin]].
* ShownTheirWork: The physical builds of the main characters are very accurate to swimmers in real life. As this [[http://nailbats.tumblr.com/post/55246055174/reminder-that-free-is-actually-not-an-unrealistic article]] demonstrates.
** In episode 4 Makoto gives a quick class about the [[http://meganebutterflyrei.tumblr.com/post/56746547622/s-indria-swimming-101-professor-makoto types of strokes]].
** Everyone wears the swimsuit most suited to his style of swimming.
* ShoutOut: [[http://i.imgur.com/PO6uCxz.jpg Rei in his butterfly swimsuit]] made many Manga/BusouRenkin fans wonder if he was the ''Free!'' universe's version of [[http://img1.ak.crunchyroll.com/i/spire3/02082008/e/b/c/6/ebc66bc0ab6810_full.jpg Papillon Mask.]]
** To [[TigerAndBunny Sky High]] in episode 9.
** In the first special, the game Haruka and Makoto were playing is an underwater version of VideoGame/AnimalCrossing.
* SkinnyDipping: Nagisa jumps in naked in the first episode after breaking into Samezuka Academy's pool. [[OnlySaneMan Makoto]] is not amused.
* SliceOfLife
* SourOutsideSadInside: Much of Rin's jerkassery and his obsession with beating Haruka stem from his [[spoiler:self-loathing for not being able to improve his swimming in Australia, thus failing to live his father's dream]]. [[{{CharacterDevelopment}} He gets better]].
* SpearCounterpart: Commonly seen as one to ''Anime/KOn'' (replace the [[MoeMoe cute girls]] with {{Bishounen}}, the light music club with a swimming club, switch some AlwaysFemale tropes with their [[SpearCounterpart male equivalents]] and you've got very similar shows), but it also has parallels to ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha''. Just like Nanoha catered to the PeripheryDemographic of adult men who watch MagicalGirl shows for the {{Moe}} and LesYay, ''Free!'' seems designed for fangirls who watch sports anime for the HoYay and hot guys.
* SugarAndIcePersonality: Based on his appearance in the initial Kyoto Animation promo video, Haruka was assumed to be a [[http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2013/03/06-1/funny-fan-reactions-to-the-new-swimming-anime tsundere]] and was referred to as 'Tsun-kun' before his name was revealed. In the anime, however, his cool demeanor fits the kuudere stereotype more closely, with his dere side most obvious when talking about his romantic encounter...[[spoiler:with a waterfall]].
* TeamSpirit: There's a whole lot of it.
* ThisIsReality: When they plan their beach training, the characters remark that this isn't an anime where [[OrganizationWithUnlimitedFunding clubs have unlimited funds]]. On another occasion, they remark that this isn't television.
* TitleDrop: Episode 1: Rin's BadassBoast is actually one of the original working project titles for the series. Later, Haruka drops the title when referring to his preference for freestyle.
** Episode 3: Haruka tells Rei to use the English word "free" instead of the Japanese "jiyuu" meaning freedom.
* ToplessnessFromTheBack: [[http://swimclubboys.tumblr.com/post/59615360131 Makoto]]
* WhatTheHellHero: Haruka starts to unleash one on Rei in episode 6, but Nagisa heads him off.