Here I was, thinking this show would be the anime that would shake the market. Instead Free! was an anime just like any other KyoAni show, only with the genders reversed.
I saw Free! as two things and I’ve said it earlier, Free! was a show that would attract new audiences to the world of anime, mostly women considering the material. Also Free! would show us how daring KyoAni was, taking the lead from other major studios in letting us know they are in it to win it. All to generate as much money as possible of course.
While Free! was moving along, I noticed that it actually wasn’t as revolutionary as I thought it would be. The ‘manservice’ was present for the lady viewers, but it also was somewhat familiar. It featured those familiar Kyoto Animation visuals and the story was sugarcoated with friendship forever symbolism.
Free! also roamed within the slice of life genre, and a bit sports of course. While writing I start to suspect they used the water theme to accommodate the earlier mentioned ‘manservice’. The show was set in a genre where there was no need for fast paced action or warfare like material. It was slow paced, it featured humorous moments and it all ended as you might expect from a KyoAni show.
Free! became a K-ON! with the genders reversed. It became a show that followed a familiar route. It wasn’t a problem, only the show could have shook the market. It could’ve attracted new audiences to broaden the reach of anime. Now it felt like it was an anime that reached the existing market and not beyond, the thing I thought it would do. Kyoto Animation decided to take the save route after all.