I have never loved swimming.

What I remember most vividly from my time taking swimming lessons at the YMCA are not the different techniques I learned, but rather the music from Bust-A-Move (Puzzle Bobble)  piped from the arcade machines next to the locker room. To this day, that infectious tune is indelibly coupled in my mind with the strong smell of chlorine and the taste of Andy Capp’s Hot Fries.

While I never took to swimming as much as perhaps my mother had hoped, I have always loved being in the water since then.

Which brings us to Haruka.

Haruka Nanase has an affinity for the water; that much is clear from the grandiose monologue we’re treated to at the beginning of the episode. The water is alive. But don’t fear the water. Don’t resist. Accept it, and it will accept you back. It soon becomes clear, however, that these are just the pretentious thoughts of a precocious younger Haruka.

Childhood delusions aside, the love is still there, of course. How could it not be? After all, Haruka’s eyes are pools of water themselves: a brilliant blue, shimmering with transparent desire at the mention of a swimming pool.

Water is Haruka’s life. Of course this is true in a very literal sense, and the ending sequence plays on that, with Haruka wandering the desert without a drop to drink. Rin, on the other hand, has enough to flaunt, even throw away.

In other words, water is precious, and to control it is power. But precisely because it’s so important, it has the power… to set us Free!

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