Time for the first Rei episode of this season! If you expected something different than the Rei episode last season, you might be disappointed… But at least, we got to see more of Rei!
In an attempt to get new members, the Iwatobi Swim Club participates in the school’s culture festival in the track relay. They win the relay, but unfortunately don’t get any new members out of it. Rei however gets scouted once more by the captain of the Track Club and then suddenly begins to disappear every day after school, obviously trying to hide something. After the swim club investigates, they find out that he was having secret lessons from Rin in order to be able to swim all 4 strokes and surprise them.
I was never a big fan of Rei in the first season, except at the end when he became a really cool mofo and pushed Rin and Haru into finally making up. Hence, this episode pleased me a little bit less than it might have others; none the less, I still quite enjoyed it.
The show is a lot funnier now that all the characters have been introduced. In the first season, without a strong attachment to the character, the show could only do so much, but now that all of our swimmers have had time to be introduced, the jokes have become less generic and more specific to each character. Rei, for example, isn’t just making stupid jokes about trying to be graceful, but we also notice the more subtle jokes about his shy and logical nature, such as when he told Gou about having no reason to do something so illogical as fall in love (and then proceed to run away in a very suspicious manner).
Another thing I thought was truly hilarious in this episode was Nagisa’s reaction to Rei being so secretive. Now, I know this whole situation will be portrayed in doujins as Nagisa being overly jealous that Rei might be in love with someone else, but… Okay, I can’t even deny that. It’s exactly what it looked like in the episode, too. Nagisa looked like a little girl in love every time he opened his mouth, saying things super dramatically such that “don’t leave the swim club!” literally sounded like “don’t leave me, I love you!” Anyway, it really cracked me up.
Meanwhile, the story is progressing at a turtle’s pace. The only development we had this episode was that Rei is finally able to swim something other than the Butterfly stroke, after 12 episodes (still, congrats!). Otherwise, the Iwatobi Swim Club still has no new members, Sousuke did basically nothing this episode and we may be a little bit closer to witnessing another relay, but overall this episode was completely dedicated to Rei in order to give him some air time and make his fans happy. The episode was quite entertaining, but the story development was… okay. Nothing more.