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When my friends and I first heard of "that swimming anime" called Free!, this is pretty much what we expected:

Not that there's anything wrong with that hahah, but all we were expecting was to be able to laugh at how exploitable and full of fanservice this show could be because swimming would require everyone to be half-naked. Although it started out that way, the more episodes we watched, the more we realized...

We were wrong. So wrong.

What we got was a heartwarming coming-of-age story with endearing characters and interesting dynamics. It spoke of friendship and learning your self-worth and figuring out what drives you forward.

I'd write more about how I feel about it but it would take up too much time and space over here, so here are a couple of posts that have already done the job well:
1. A detailed literary analysis and trope driven deconstruction of Haruka's progress throughout the story - A long read, but well worth it. Full of spoilers if you haven't seen the anime!
2. Lessons learned in Free! - Short and sweet, and also full of spoilers. Watch first!

As some of you might know, when my friends and I love a series, we feel a great need to cosplay it. So this happened:

Free! - Slice of Life by behindinfinity Free! - Can't Stop Won't Stop My H2OTP by behindinfinity
Free! - Sunny Soda Breeze by behindinfinity Free! - After School Treats by behindinfinity
Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club Yearbook Photo by behindinfinity

:iconbehindinfinity: Jin - Haruka "They Made Me Do It" Nanase
:iconmerkymerx: Miguel - Makoto "Guess Where My Other Hand Is" Tachibana
:iconcatherinejannelle: Cat - Nagisa "Totally The Pimp Of This Club" Hazuki
:iconweakman: Dom - Rei "Uncomfortable" Ryugazaki

Photos by:
:iconneko-panigiri: Kat
:iconyaoiangel14: Charmie
:iconhuzafan: Erving
and some were taken by me on my phone

Iwatobi summer uniform shirts from our friends at DenDen Style!

Another thing about my friends is that our shoots are 90% outtakes. And that's what this journal post is for. Hahah!

Some of the crack related to this shoot started days before we had it.

A day before the shoot, I was walking around the mall on the way to a meeting and a guy picks me out of a crowd of people to give me this. He said, "You look like the kind of person who suits this." and I'm just like WHAT HARU STOP CONSUMING MY SOUL

On the morning of the shoot, my life turned into…

This was a funny photo session before the real shoot, which started with Miguel asking me for permission to change clothes in another room. I was like "Yeah, I'll lead you there." Our fujoshi friends (who happened to be two of the photogs for the day) perked up and were like, "Change? Room? Can we go with you guys? With our cameras?" Hilarity ensued.

Best friends know just what to say
to make things really awkward

Miguel was my headcanon for Makoto since I started watching the anime, so it made me happy when he said that Mako was his favorite. Also that a lot of you have also been commenting on how much he looks like a real-life Makoto. (That's how he acts towards me so I can't help my perception being a little biased, hahah)

It's funny how we weren't even fully dressed yet but when I started working on his wig, we could hear our friends snapping away with their cameras already. Miguel was like, "What a nostalgic feeling, eh?"

Angles are important. Our friends are true fujoshi photographers. Fujographers, even.

When I saw this top shot I was like "WHEN DID WE-" Then after I saw the pictures that followed, I realized it was from the time I was fixing Miguel's wig.

This is what actually happened.
Kat neko-panigiri you have trolled me well done.

Kat and Charmie got "inspired" when we were doing the wig-styling and composed this shot.

I started posting some pictures on my Facebook page (Feel free to follow if you want more instant and frequent updates!) and this thread happened on one of the photos
My friends and their unintentional(?) innuendos o h m y g o d

But see it's really quite innocent
(Also featuring Haru's rare small smile)

I kept breaking out of character and laughing because Miguel's hand was pushing against mine too hard and turning the heart into a lopsided tomato

Makoto tries to teach Haru to use his cellphone more often
(My phone isn't a SoftBank Pantone Slider like Haru's, but the case I use for mine happened to be a similar color to Haru's phone)

"Hear that? I downloaded ocean sounds for you"

"See, it has a camera you can use to take pictures of things you want to remember"

"Haru..! You want a picture of us?"

"You should try smiling for pictures every now and then, but at least you're looking at the camera ^^; Send it to me, okay?"

Haru discovers game apps

This is a real game. I posted about playing it here :pointr:…

"Haru... You stayed up all night playing that dolphin game, didn't you?"

"Sorry to wake you, but we need to get to school"

"Ma... Ma-Makoto...!"

"If you don't get up for school RIGHT NOW I'm going to make you smile!"
Makoto is bad at making threats, you guys

This is Charmie's concept of a "see you next water time..." end card

We were trying to do a joke dakimakura photo but I was like HELP, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO LOOK SEDUCTIVE

Rei-chan metamorphosing into a beautiful butterfly while surrounded by dorks

Erving was trying to teach me to do dynamic selfies and this is what happened
Can we take a moment to notice that Rei's glasses are doing the anime glare
(We had to get a sub for Nagisa as he was still dressing up. Thug life pimp kawaii shota penguin is pretty accurate IMHO)

"Let's try doing something different", they said
Haru rode the bike into a pool

Iwatobi Swim Club joint meeting with the Fujography Club

"Trust me, Rei-chan!! I've only gotten arrested on a bike like, three times!"

Rei took 5 minutes to read up on how to ride a bike and thankfully the police didn't need to get involved
Thug Seme Nagisa lives for another water time

Iwatobi Swim Club commemorative photo after breaking into a water storage facility for Haru's birthday. Haru's friends have to put up with a lot.

Captain Dolphin drink for Vice-Captain Dolphin

Putting the gay in Gatorade jk

Don't think we forgot about Rin because we didn't

At our local konbini, where the cashier guys have become immune to our shenanigans

Dinner time!
Mackerel for Haru. This is not brand new information. 
It's easy to tell when Rei is enjoying his food. The sparkles give it away.

Nagisa teaches Haru about Instagram.
(It's full of pictures of mackerel. If you are surprised then you are doing it wrong.)

Went to a bubble tea place for some sweets after dinner.
Rei with his green apple soda, which was the same color as his quadruple strapped neon green backpack. Also photobombed by Rei's biggest fangirl.

The real reason we went here was so that we could be...

And now for some previews of future shoots

I attended a convention last month in which I was tremendously spoiled by shops with Free! merchandise

Hatah Hatah gave me this awesome Iwatobi Swim Club shirt (Iwatobi-chan Secret Version!) and also this Iwatobi-chan hat!

That is Haru's game face don't laugh

And then Cotton Candy Shirts gave me and my friends the shirts they were wearing in the Splash Free ED! We'll definitely be doing those versions now!

Free! may have ended and we'll have to make our own "water time" for now, but I'm really thankful for that anime and the people who watched it and drowned in the tsunami of Free!lings and emoceans with me. I know the series hit me hard because I have bonds that made me identify so much with the characters. What swimming is for them, cosplay is to us. It's something that brought us together and we continue to share because it's something we enjoy with each other. Even though cosplay is by nature something fun and silly, it's able to inspire and cause a lot of emotions, it leads to us meeting friends we will come to treasure, it gives us chances to learn things about ourselves, and sometimes our bonds are tested but with the right people it ultimately brings you closer together no matter what. :cheese: :cheese: :cheese: :cheese: :cheese:

To end this on a funnier note, I was laughing so much at people on Facebook shipping me and Miguel as Haru and Makoto and calling it their cosplay OTP. It got me imagining us saying Makoto and Haru's lines like

"Cosplay is meaningless without you!"

"That was how I remembered how it felt to cosplay the same series together... It made me... just as happy!!"

HAHAHA I am so done 。゚(TヮT)゚。

Okay no I'm not

Here I am trying to get over the Free! finale, and I look outside and see that the sky is perfectly...
Ever Blue

Now I'm done

Jinjin-chan-san OUT
Add a Comment:
KianaTheDumbGirl Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015  Hobbyist
KirasLaugh Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
XD wow!great job!
lilredbleed Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You have such awesome friends! Oh and I actually find your stoic face attractive. xD 
davidjseibuhr Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2013  Hobbyist Artist

I wouldn't mind having tall gay japanese boyfriend, if he's mormon or adventist, or a scottish, welsh church, I will be interested, I'm on twitter and use that inbox


dollstars Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I do not ship MakoHaru but like I said JINGUEL FTW :love:

yes Jin you are srsly turning into Haru even greenpeace man thinks so bwahahahahahaha.
Loved this shoot hnngghhh :heart: Everyone suits their character so well and you know the Gaytorade killed me and I love that you saved one for Rin and HE GOT HIS TOO, EVENTUALLY YAYYYYY. I'm excited to see your shoot with Rin in it because you know I love me some Rinrin. 8D

Thank you for sharing freelings and emoceans with me. :hug:

.........gaaad Jinjin-chan-san gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad I can't :rofl:
Rhetta Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I just cracked up laughing in a public Library. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?

(because I am xD) ...Why.. Why is everyone staring at me? /aaaah
J-ko Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013
I've always enjoyed your photoshoots because you and your friends always seem to have so much fun doing them even when the costumes are simple. Thank you for sharing! <3
viospace Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013
omg all of you are soooooo adorable!!!
MakoHaru FTW pls! :heart:
KuroiTaiyou Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Ffffff I always look forward to your journals. Full of awesome happy shenanigans and amazing cosplays and adorable people. :heart: Made my day!!
Nami15 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:rofl: Another amazing blog! I love being able to see into your lives... you guys are so interesting and cool. Every time I see a new anime come out, I'm like: "JIN MIGHT COSPLAY!!" And I get all excited. I have to say, I'm kinda sad there is not Rin cosplayer, he is my favorite. Don't get me wrong, I love the others too! They're all so sweet and diverse. *poke's Haru's cheek* But Rin is definitely my favorite. :heart:

Also... you said you don't know how to look seductive? Well, just keep posing in front of the camera. You're quite seductive without needing to be. XD Trust me. >///< And now that I've thoroughly embarrassed myself! I shall FREE!!! I mean flee.. >_>;
Nami15 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
there is no* Rin cosplayer. *facepalm*
endless18 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013
I can't help but feel warm while reading this hahahahahaha XD
and I laughed at some too XD

Free! is one anime everyone can relate too, well, not the swimming and water-addiction per se, but on what they are passionate about XD
Technicadadina Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013
Your journals are some of the few my short attention span can read all the way to the end. Thank you for being so interesting and for all of the amazing pictures!
happyjoeismyfriend Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thug life pimp kawaii shota penguin!  Hahahahahahhaha!  I laughed for entire minutes over that and could not stop! 
AmiMeito-chan Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Free is basically a male K-ON about swimming. At first, I was in it for the boys, but it turned out I actually started to appreciate sports teamwork and friendship. ^u^

The anime is just as fluffy as a band of girls.
Gamaki-cosplayer Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013
awwwwww can i just say you look adorable blushing?? haha loved the entire post and the whole group cosplaying Free! <3
manwella Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013
Thank you for this amazing moment, because It is truly a special moment that I spent reading this journal entry *v*
xpomverte Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Looking at this makes me really happy. You look like you're having a lot of fun and that's awesome, not to mention your cosplays are really well-done !
Also, I fucking lost it at "Putting the gay in Gatorade" I'm still laughing XDDD

Anyway, kudos to you, this was really great <3
lady-warrior Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2013
RainbowzRcool Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hnnnggg~<3 So amazing! :happybounce: 
kmizuno Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
LOL> We have the same impression...

First episode: "Kyahahaha. This is soooo going to make my fujoshi spirit so hyped up!"
Last episode: "Uhuhuhu, friendship is soooo beautiful. taught me lots of things! I will never forget you!"

Great cosplay! I love your team! Where's Rin though?
shadowariel Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Student
Oh man but you guys are missing a Rin!! THE BOY BAND ISNT COMPLETE WITHOUT A RIN!! D:! Awww this was just an explosion of Freels for the end of the show......13 episodes isn't enough! Thank the Gods for you guys giving us peasants these beautiful shots.
KENZICHII Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013
AWW~! You guys just made me relive Free! all over again!:heart: I miss the swimming babies ;-; 

I really enjoy your posts. You're so funny! I hope you know that I really enjoy your journals and I have a huge smile on my face whenever you post something. ANYTHING! Thank you for sharing! 
SaberNiphon Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013  Professional Photographer
I'm so glad you cosplayed Haruka!He's my fav character and you suit him so well!>_< good job!!
Vampire-Panda-Lov3z Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013
I cried so freaking hard at the finale. and I thought the same exact thing in the biggining.

Me at First Episode: This is so hilariously homo....

Last Episode: RIN-SAN! REI-SAN! *TEARS*
llouis013 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thank you for sharing your awesome Photoshoot Jin-chan-san! <3
Lehst Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013
I can't even figure out how to write my first sentence. I want to use words like 'hilarity' and 'ridiculousness' and how the levels are off the charts, so much so I can't even respond coherently! Although I guess I just did, but it took a few tries!! Seriously, thanks for sharing the outtakes and the impetus for all your group's jokes. This is just a snapshot of what you guys have done and my head is just exploding in laughter!

and as always, you guys have such an accurate perspective of this show, lol. and dear god, the puns...
pohcbSonic Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
your crew members are awesome. as always.
marimariakutsu Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
oH MY GOSH~ I love this!

Who would've thought my Free! love would still be as shiny as pool water based from this journal :love: 
You guys are great ;3
strawberry4750 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Ah! I was feeling a bit Free! deprived, and this definitely cheered me up. Really enjoyable journal, you even captured why I loved this anime so much. <3

Oh! and [Makoto "Guess Where My Other Hand Is" Tachibana] - *cough*Haru'sbutt*cough*
I regret nothing.
Sungirl800 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Behind Infini- TEA? Really? XDDD Laughed so hard over here, hahaha. Now excuse me, I have a meeting with a certain swim- club on my PC. ;) You're my everlasting source of good anime, Jin. ;) Thank You!
CiiMoore Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013  Student General Artist
I haven't gotten to finish Free! But I really liked it so far. It's real cute and very fun to watch. You guys look like you had so much fun! Great cosplays!
madmax21st Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013
I am deeply disturbed and disgusted :iconwthplz:. There's not nearly enough water in these so-called Free! cosplay shoot.
behindinfinity Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013   General Artist
Oh, how sweet. I thought it would be more because of the BL. Hahahah

Pool day is a whole other day!
skye07 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013  Student General Artist
ohmygahhd. that was too much, i was hyperventilating by the time i finished reading your haru x makoto shoots~ oh my fujoshi feels and fujoshi heart, calm down please (not really!)
pandagirl7084 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013
GDI JIN ALL MY FREELS QAQ YES YES YES YOU.MIGUEL.BEST.COSPARTNER.EVER!!! OH GOD ;w; how lucky~seeing this lovely post just made my day so bluetiful(SLAP ME PLEASE I AM SO DONE WITH THIS THING) AJHBFKSABFKUG I WANT TO DO RIN WITH YOU GUYS BUT I'M IN MALAYSIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA/ROLLS ON FLOOR but anyways I do hope I can meet you guys one day ^^ keep up the free! posts~I WILL BE WAITING.......
nekomiKasai Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
THIS POST!! :)) i dunno how many times i cracked up while smiling the whole time :))

also "it made me happy when he said that Mako was his favorite." <-- aiyeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! :love: :love: :love:
yacchin Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013
oh my god you guys are perfect i can't handle it

Thank you for doing these cosplays~ C:
behindinfinity Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013   General Artist
Thank YOU for appreciating us! We love these swimming dweebs!
leopardpencilbox Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013

behindinfinity Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013   General Artist
Whichever you like! I will also answer to Mackerel-kun and Vice Captain Dolphin.
simplybroken14 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2013
I ship HaruMako so much but all the more as you and Miguel!! Kyaaa~Heart :happybounce: 
kacbwords Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2013
I wish I lived in a hole-in-wall area...
DemonicAngel011 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2013  Student General Artist
Oh my gawd xD this IS AMAZING!! I found this by chance and I'm in love :iconinloveplz:
Lol, Nagisa looks so tiny :3 tis adorable xD
Makoto is perfect. So is Haruka. Nagisa. Rei and Rin Cx
Friederike Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Omg Miguel`s smile is a straight arrow to the KOKORO :heart: ______ :heart:
SpellboundFox Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Anniina85 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2013   Traditional Artist
all glory to the fujographers! /squee/ brilliant shots. <3
and BEHIND INFINITEA!! omg I can't handle this ahahaha
once again I got this happy smile on my face while reading your cosplay adventures, friendship man, it's beautiful~ /Rei kira kira
behindinfinity Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013   General Artist
Reading that makes me happy! Thank you! :thanks: /kira kira right back
demdoodles Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
It sounds like you and your friends had a lovely time with this cosplay shoot! c: That makes me glad. You guys had a lot of really cute and fun pictures with the shoot, too! Good job, jin-chan-san xD 
SweetIris Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I absolutely love reading your adventure blogs! :D They're very entertaining and this feels like I'm reading a continuation of Free! I hope you and the rest of the cosplayers will have more shoots (please include Rin and Gou next time lol)
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