The fandom’s inside joke about the English line in one of the next episode previews spoken by both Matsuoka Rin and Ryuugazaki Rei is neverending: All out perfect body. Being one of the most popular sports anime currently, Free!’s characters have an interesting range of swimmers’ muscled bodies, as well as the presence of Matsuoka Gou who never misses the opportunity to represent the female audience in fawning over them. After all, who wouldn’t appreciate the scenes that exist solely to be dedicated to stretched muscles and topless swimming?
In tribute to Matsuoka Gou and the All-Out Perfect Body joke, we’d taken on the heavy chore of ranking the Free! boys for you. The result might be a close call, but all these boys are, after all, beautiful and hot in their own ways.
10. Nitori Aiichirou
Nitori Aiichirou is our shortest Samezuka Team member yet, but that doesn’t mean a thing when you’re appointed as a Captain by the end of the series. Nitori does have less muscle volume compared to his teammates; Nitori’s body is notably lankier and shorter, but it is also the best for the Samezuka Maid Café uniform! Nitori could rock that maid uniform better than anyone else in the second season’s extra episode—a title uncontested so long as Matsuoka Rin’s maid uniform appearance hasn’t made it to the public eye yet.
Nitori might be the shortest one in the team, but when it comes to determination, patience, and perseverance, Nitori has an endless reserve of them. He relentlessly was there for Rin in the first season despite being rejected over and over by Rin’s anger. Nitori’s determination and hardwork in swimming breaststroke in season two granted him a place in what would later be Rin’s dream team. Nitori cares for Momotarou as a senpai. Nitori’s proven that he’s a huge guy in his own way. Who cares about muscle volume when you’ve got heart as big as Nitori’s?
9. Hazuki Nagisa
Nagisa is no longer the tiny elementary school kid trying to keep up with Haru, Makoto, and Rin—do take a look of his soleus muscle, prominently highlighted in the scenes where he’s swimming breast stroke underwater, legs kicking as he pushes through. Nagisa is by no means tiny, though compared to his teammates, he is certainly the shortest, and he might lean more to your definition of cute instead of hot, but once he takes off his clothes and jumps into the water, Nagisa’s body does appear to be very desirable. Especially when he gets serious.
Literally the brightest in the Iwatobi team—with his general yellow color scheme and cheerful, energetic personality that lets him get by with almost everything he does—Nagisa is extremely easy to like. Nagisa loves sweets and head-nuzzling people. Nagisa even pulls out the moe-sleeve look, tacks in “-chan” with everyone’s name, and gets away with everything. What Nagisa wants bad enough, Nagisa gets—not just because no one could refuse him, but also because when Nagisa gets determined, nothing will deter him. Adorable but straight-forward and steadfast; these qualities were what made Iwatobi Swimming Club a possibility in the first place.
8. Mikoshiba Momotarou
The Sea of Japan’s Sea Otter! The bright source of sunshine amidst the painful drama that was the second season, Momotarou is Mikoshiba Seijuurou’s younger brother, specializing in backstroke. Despite being a first-year in the beginning of second season, Momo is taller than Nitori and has slightly bigger bulk compared to his senpai. Especially considering how big Momotarou’s older brother is, he might develop more bulk than some characters in the series by the time he gets to the third year!
If there is anyone who could be Nagisa’s best partner-in-crime in wreaking havoc, as episode 14 of season two had shown, it would definitely be Momo. What Nagisa gets with cuteness, Momo rivals in adorable boyishness, even if Gou seems to be immune . Momo seems to be your usual playful teenage boy at first appearance, especially with his eagerness in picking up girls, but as the season goes on, Momo and his persistence turns him into a valuable member of the Samezuka Team—his backstroke even keeping up with Makoto’s on the race between Samezuka and Iwatobi.
7. Ryuugazaki Rei
The only one with a different kind of muscle than everyone else—Rei has a very well-developed body, notably his deltoids and biceps, that we can all fully appreciate in the stretching scenes when he first joined Iwatobi Swimming Club in the first season. As a former track and field athlete, Rei has a very high muscle density—which had been the cause for his difficulty in learning to swim at first.
Rei’s first appearance showed him as the cool, confident, bespectacled guy—the glasses is always a plus. As the series goes on, Rei steals everyone’s heart by being the exact opposite. Rei’s the dork who chides Nagisa for his outrageous ideas, but also humors Nagisa time and again. Rei’s appreciation for beauty and perfection also goes to a rather silly level that actually makes him endearing,, especially when Rei goes off on tangents about strategies and logic. Rei is also the angel of the first season, the one that helped Rin and the rest of Iwatobi Team mend their relationship, and for that, Rei deserves literally everything in the world.
6. Mikoshiba Seijurou
The former captain of Samezuka Swimming Club who defies logic; boisterous and strict, but also incredibly silly at times, Mikoshiba is one of the most well-built in Free!. Gou does seem to be immune to his muscles, though. The fact that Mikoshiba’s the oldest, tall, and looms over almost everyone lends him the charisma of a leader, other than his incredible swimming capabilities; Mikoshiba is said to be able to swim 100 meters a hundred times, and not losing any of it. Mikoshiba is also arguably one of the manliest characters in the series, and Mikoshiba wears black swim briefs, which is very nice.
The thing about Mikoshiba is that he has a big heart. His presence as a leader is a majestic one—Mikoshiba is both the strict captain that yells at his teammates for slacking off as well as the captain who scolds Rin and forgives him after the fiasco in the first season’s last episode. Mikoshiba’s also the enthusiastic, silly big brother who proudly cheers for Momo on races. It’s a bit of a shame that we were never shown Mikoshiba racing for real, but they did hint on his abilities as a swimmer: he set a new record at the prefecture’s tournament. Mikoshiba is the comic relief character, yes, but he’s also the one getting a straight butt shot scene in the first episode of season two. That has got to count for something about his body.
5. Shigino Kisumi
The only non-swimmer that made it to this list. Kisumi—fondly nicknamed by some in the fandom as Prince Kiss Me—is the only High Speed! novel supporting character that made it to the TV series, much to many people’s confusion as well as excitement. Kisumi plays basketball, which explains the tall, well-built figure that he has. Who can help but be fixated on Kisumi’s broad shoulders, an interesting contrast with his fluffy, cotton-candy hair?
Kisumi might have only appeared for a bit in the second season of TV series, but he features pretty heavily in the High Speed! Starting Days movie released recently at the end of last year. Kisumi’s cheerful and very friendly, easily approachable and adorable, though Kisumi does have his share of saying too much. His younger brother Hayato is one of the kids Makoto taught swimming in Iwatobi SC Returns, and Kisumi’s adorable big brother side was shown when he worries over Hayato’s fear of water, and later being proud at Hayato’s progress, cheering him on excitedly when Hayato managed to do backstroke.
4. Haruka Nanase
Here comes our main protagonist of the series. Haru’s best feature, that makes even Gou swoon, is his triceps and abdominal muscles. Particularly triceps. Haru is much less bulky compared to Makoto, Rin, or Sousuke, but it contributes to how beautiful Haru looks in the water. Haruka possesses a likeness to his dolphin spirit animal. There’s elegance in Haru’s build, which should be appreciated best when in the arch of his body when he dives into the water and streamlines. Haru’s perfect form awed even Rei.
Haru’s fixation with water is a hilarious running gag in the series, but Haru himself doesn’t show much expression—he’s quiet and reserved most of the time, which only makes it even more precious when he laughs. Haru is expressive in his own way, though; notably through Haru’s body gestures, attentiveness to his friends’ troubles, and most importantly, through his eyes, which was the one thing the animators had paid special attention to. Haru’s bit of eccentricity also adds to his charm, especially his interest in odd mascots and his fixation in water and mackerel. But the best part about Haru is seeing him mature in the series, how he opens up to his friends and, in the later part of second season, how he struggles with finding the path to his future.
3. Matsuoka Rin
Rin is the character whose most recently announced figure has caused major uproar and perhaps nosebleeds among the female population of the fandom. Rin’s bulk is perhaps less impressive compared to Makoto’s or Sousuke’s, but he’s powerfully built. Rin is the one who cares the most about his built and how it affects him in the water. Gou actually awarded Rin with the most points in the muscle contest mentioned in an episode preview in season two. Let’s be real, Rin’s shark teeth only adds to his sex appeal at this point.
A driving force amongst his friends, Rin is the brave soul who dreams big: the Olympic. Rin’s a romantic who wanted to swim in a sakura pool and cried a bit when his friends finally managed to show him said sakura pool. Rin’s determination and the efforts he puts into swimming is almost unmatched in the series—going abroad to a country with a completely different language and culture to learn swimming when you’re barely out of elementary school requires a considerable amount of courage. Though in the first season Rin appears angry and frustrated more often than not, in the second season we’re graced with Rin’s laughter and optimism, for himself and everyone else, and that is also a point that made him even more special. Rin’s also a rather protective big brother towards Gou.
2. Tachibana Makoto
Perhaps one of the most popular characters in Free!, Makoto’s appearance from the very beginning gives the impression of “the big one”. The tallest one in Iwatobi Swimming Club, Makoto also puts up muscles quite easily, resulting in his bulk being the biggest out of everyone in his team (and considerably even amongst Samezuka, too, not counting Mikoshiba) in season one. His best feature is his trapezius muscle, which the audience was given a lot of chances to appreciate with scenes of Makoto flexing his back muscles before a race. The drama CD even mentioned once that Makoto popped off a button of his uniform while he worked part-time deliveries with Rei.
Contrary to his big bulk, though, Makoto is extremely gentle and soft-hearted, and also a scaredy-cat, especially when it comes to ghosts. He’s quite a mother hen, especially towards Haru, and is pretty much the one who tiredly deals with whatever shenanigans his teammates cook up, a role Makoto later shares with Rin in season two, especially when Nagisa and Momo team up or Haru and Sousuke argue. Makoto’s a great big brother to the twins—it’s really adorable to see Ran and Ren clinging to Makoto’s back or arms—and while he’s very easily scared, Makoto is actually very brave when he needs to be, like the one time he unthinkingly jumps into the raging ocean to help Rei.
1. Yamazaki Sousuke
Few of the audience knew about Sousuke back when the first season aired, but when it was announced that Sousuke would appear in the second season, there was an uproar, not just because he’s one of the first novel supporting characters who made it into the TV series as one of the main characters in season two, but also because Sousuke’s design reveal showed broad shoulders, chest and muscles that rival Makoto’s for once! Sousuke is the tallest out of all Samezuka members, and he has bigger muscles than Makoto. It’s obvious that Sousuke’s upper body strength isn’t a joke. His grumpy look actually adds to the sexy aspect.
Sousuke is Rin’s childhood best friend; the one Rin said was able to understand him the most. Despite looking grumpy and a bit intimidating, Sousuke is quite soft-hearted towards determined people, as he coaches Nitori on his night training session and indulges Momo time and again. Sousuke is a very driven guy; before Samezuka, he trains himself rather harshly, which then resulted in an injury that nearly made Sousuke give up swimming, until he saw the Rin swimming in the relay with Haru, Makoto and Nagisa. Sousuke’s also one of the pain aspects in the second season—quite literally with his injury and how Sousuke hides it from everyone. Sousuke’s figure, determinedly and stubbornly pushing forward even when he’s in pain, gives a strong impression to the audience, and really, who isn’t weak to that?
All of the boys in Free! has their own attractive points, be it body or personality. In a way, they all have their own all-out perfect bodies. It is a swimming anime where the boys are topless most of the time, which means ample time to ogle and appreciate the differences in body structures. It’s still fun to try and figure out who has the so-called all-out perfect body, though! Let us know who your favorite is in the comments, and which all-out perfect body suits your taste the best!