Dive to the Future
SPROUTING DIVE START!
Hiyori and Ikuya are on a bus when Ikuya accidently voices out loud that he’ll never be ordinary. Hiyori tells him that being ordinary isn’t something he should have to worry about, since he’s Ikuya. Ikuya asks if that’s meant to be a compliment. Hiyori says yes, but then asks if he made the other boy mad. Ikuya says no, and stares out the window.
A PROMISE ON A SHOOTING STAR!
After the race, Ikuya is in the shower, when Hiyori startles him. Hiyori wants to take off, but Ikuya really doesn’t understand why, since there are still other races. Hiyori says that there's are finished, so they can leave. He asks if he wants something to eat, and he’ll let everyone else know that they’re leaving. They then go to a restraunt, where Ikuya asks if Hiyori’s backstroke time improved. Hiyori says it has, but it’s not as good as his, and then tells him to let his brother know about his race today. Ikuya says that he’s not in a rush since the he’s in another time zone. He then observes how weird Hiyori is acting, but Hiyori responds that he’s always weird.
As they head to the train station, Ikuya realizes he left his phone back at the restaurant. He says that he’ll see Hiyori tomorrow, which seems to disappoint Hiyori. Hiyori eventually follows him and find him talking to Haru. Ikuya asks why Hiyori didn’t head home already, and Hiyori says he got curious. He quickly acknowledges Haru before telling him that Ikuya is tired from his race and he should take him home. He then leads Ikuya away.
FIRST SWIM IN ANOTHER COUNTRY!
Ikuya wakes from a dream to the sound of his phone ringing. It’s Hiyori. He tells Ikuya he called to make sure he wouldn’t be late for practice, but Ikuya ensures him that he won’t. Hiyori starts to bring up his teammates from middle school but Ikuya says to drop it and that he’ll see him later, and hangs up.
During practice, Ikuya is talking to his teammate, Hoshikawa, about his IM. Hoshikawa asks why Ikuya doesn’t do the freestyle relay just as Hiyori shows up. He says that Ikuya focuses on his individual swimming more, and Ikuya confirms this, since he’s not at his best during team events. The two then leave.
The next day Ikuya is swimming again as Hiyori watches, when Ikuya gets out, Hiyori meets him at the end of the pool and compliments him on his swimming. He notices how hard Ikuya is breathing and asks if he’s okay, but Ikuya believes that Hiyori worries too much and walks away from him.
INTERFERENCE OF LOSS!
Hiyori and Ikuya are about to go practice when Hiyori see’s Makoto, Haru and Asahi. Ikuya asks if something is wrong, but Hiyori just says that there’s something he needs to do and Ikuya should go to the pool ahead of him. Ikuya understands and says he’ll be swimming when he gets there and heads away. Hiyori responds that he’ll join him soon, and goes to confront the three.
Hiyori shows up behind them and asks what they’re doing there. Asahi responds that they’re here to see Ikuya. Hiyori becomes mad, saying that Ikuya doesn’t have time to look back on the past. Hiyori tells Haru, that he already told him how busy Ikuya was. There’s no practice today, but they're training on their own, and he doesn’t want them to bother Ikuya. Makoto says that they won’t do anything to interfere with his training. Hiyori sighs and gives in, asking that they at least wait till after training is over.
Ikuya swims as Hiyori watches, when he starts to go unconscious. Hiyori dives in after him. He luckily recovers before Hiyori gets to him. Hiyori is still worried, but Ikuya says he’s fine and brushes off Hiyori’s concern.
When the three come back later, Hiyori tells them that Ikuya left his practice early since he wasn’t feeling well. Makoto suggests that they could go check on him, but Hiyori wants them to mind their own business. Asahi wants to know what Hiyori even is to Ikuya. Hiyori explains that he’s his best friend and that two met when Ikuya was studying abroad in America, he was entrusted by Natsuya to look after Ikuya. Haru wants to apologize to Ikuya about middle school but Hiyori doesn't think it will do any good for Ikuya to dwell on the past, especially since it seems they don't really seem like Ikuya's friends to begin with. Hiyori believes that Ikuya needs such weak people in his life, and Haru challenges him to a race. He agrees but Makoto steps in and challenges Hiyori in backstroke. Hiyori agrees to race Makoto, to see how serious they are about being Ikuya’s friends again.
Ikuya is in his apartment when Hiyori walks in, announcing that he brought snacks. Ikuya wonders why there’s so much, as Hiyori explains that he wasn’t sure if Ikuya had eaten so he was going to make dinner. Ikuya says that he already ate, and that Hiyori worries too much. Ikuya starts to make coffee for the two as Hiyori waits in the other room. He tells Ikuya that everyone was worried about Ikuya, but Hiyori assured them that he’s fine. Ikuya knows that Hiyori talked to Haru and the other’s today, which confuses Hiyori as to how he knew. Ikuya saw them when he was leaving. Hiyori says that he told them the same thing that he did last time. This was an important time for Ikuya and the three shouldn’t be disturbing him. He asks if Ikuya was okay with that and Ikuya says that it’s fine.
Hiyori takes the train to the pool. Ikuya texts him to see if they can go out for dinner. Hiyori responds that he can’t since he has to take care of something. He gets to the pool and, Haru says that they thought he wasn’t coming. Hiyori says that he always keeps his promises, unlike Haru. They start the race.
Hiyori wins the race, and is impressed at how good Makoto is. Hiyori tells them all that he still doesn’t believe they deserve to see Ikuya. He decides that since they took the time for the race that he’ll at least tell them something that happened to Ikuya. He tells them that after Ikuya went to America he almost drowned just like he did back in Japan. Hiyori says that it was extremely serious, and he was in the hospital for awhile. The four are shocked. Hiyori knows that Ikuya came out stronger afterwards but he’s still delicate, and leaves the others.
THE MERMAID OF THE ABYSS!
The episode opens with Hiyori recalling his childhood, which he spent mostly alone and putting up a happy facade such that he wouldn't upset the adults around him, even though he resented being alone. He indulged himself in swimming because it allowed him to understand his true self, and it was at a swimming pool that he encountered Ikuya for the first time. After a smiling Ikuya invites Hiyori to swim together with him, Hiyori learns how to smile from the heart, touched that someone actually wanted to spend time with him and that he wouldn't have to be alone anymore.
In the present, Ikuya declines his teammates' invitation to go karaokeing after practice and leaves promptly, frustrated with his worsening time. Hiyori intends to follow him, but was stopped by Hoshikawa. His worry for Ikuya's well-being getting the better of him, Hiyori responds to the captain's suggestion of joining the freestyle relay in the next tournament with "I need some time to think about it" and hurries outside to catch up with his best friend. Hiyori is shown to be exasperated with his inability to help Ikuya with his dilemma after the latter talks about how his past is catching up to him.
A flashback of the time he spent with Ikuya in the States then ensues from Hiyori's contemplation of what he could do to help his best friend -- there they met each other again and Hiyori realized that Ikuya was the boy at the pool all those years ago (Ikuya doesn't appear to remember, however). They tell each other their names and quickly became friends. It is then revealed that Hiyori was the one who dove in and saved Ikuya from drowning when the latter pushed himself too hard in practice. When Natsuya dropped in to visit Ikuya, Hiyori left in a rush before Natsuya could finish thanking him for rescuing his little brother, which is why Ikuya still doesn't know that Hiyori was the one who saved him in America.
Back in the present, Hiyori sees a girl pleading her mother to continue reading a story to her, and the story happens to be Ikuya's favorite -- "The Little Mermaid". Hiyori compares it with the story of him, Ikuya and Haru as the mother reads the fairy tale aloud, seeing himself as the Little Mermaid, Ikuya as the prince who has no idea the Little Mermaid was the one who saved him from drowning and Haru as the young girl whom the prince mistakes for his savior (even though Haru did rescue Ikuya back when they were on the same team).
Much to Ikuya's confusion, Hiyori suddenly brings up the topic of "The Little Mermaid" as they hang out together. Hiyori expresses his dislike for the story, stating that he thinks the Little Mermaid's tragic end is unfair since she was the one who has been by the prince's side all along. Ikuya, being Hiyori's best friend, immediately senses that something's up, and proceeds to ask if anything is wrong. Hiyori smiles and reassures him that nothing is wrong.
At night, Hiyori finds Ikuya at a playground, where Ikuya states that he's still much too weak and is pushing himself to get stronger because he can't rely on anyone to help him. Hiyori, who has always had unwavering belief in his best friend's abilities, disagrees and becomes upset that Ikuya doesn't understand just how strong he is and instead starts undermining the tremendous effort he's put into swimming. Ikuya then continues lamenting how he couldn't become strong like Haru even after giving up his heart, comparing his story with the Little Mermaid's. Hiyori can't stand watching his friend negate his strength anymore, and grabbing Ikuya's wrist, he pulls Ikuya down the slide and leans over him. While in such close proximity, Hiyori finally pours out his true emotions to Ikuya, asking him to forget about Haru since he can't bear to see Ikuya suffer because of Haru anymore. Ikuya thinks that Hiyori's overstepped his boundaries this time and that he shouldn't talk about this when he doesn't even understand anything. Hiyori insists that forgetting about Haru is how Ikuya can get stronger, but Ikuya silences him by exclaiming "it's not your concern, Hiyori". Ikuya mumbles an apology and leaves a shocked and hurt Hiyori after their fight.
Sprouting Dive Start!
- While watching Asahi and Haru swim, Hiyori calls them inferior versions of Ikuya
A Promise on a Shooting Star!
- Hiyori wishes Ikuya luck before he swims in his race
- When Ikuya’s friends from middle school show up, he tells them that he isn’t here
- When he watches Ikuya swim he comments that it could become a tournament record
Interference of Loss!
- Hiyori comments on how much Ikuya likes The Little Mermaid
- Hiyori feels that Ikuya is stronger without relays
Mermaid of the Abyss!
- A brief shot of a child's drawing depicting a prince with Ikuya's teal hair and a mermaid with brown hair like Hiyori's is shown at the end of Hiyori's opening monologue, which Hiyori concludes with how he has learned to smile again after meeting Ikuya
- While chatting with Ikuya in the flashback, Hiyori tilted his head with a smile and stared at Ikuya with a faint blush on his cheeks -- a typical lovestruck teenage girl look
- While referencing "The Little Mermaid" to explain the relationships between him, Ikuya and Haru, Hiyori sees himself in the role of the Little Mermaid and Ikuya as the prince, a hint that he might bear romantic feelings for Ikuya since in the fairy tale, the Little Mermaid is in love with the prince
- Referring to how Hiyori sees "The Little Mermaid", when he laments the unjust end the Little Mermaid met in the fairy tale, it could be that he empathizes with the Little Mermaid and believes it's not fair that Haru, whom Ikuya had only spent one year with, gets all the attention from Ikuya when Hiyori's been his best friend since middle school, implying that Hiyori is envious of Haru
- Hiyori is a big supporter of Ikuya, shown when he insists that Ikuya is strong enough to reach the global level
- Hiyori leaning over Ikuya in the playground can very well be described as sexually suggestive under normal circumstances (i.e. if they weren't arguing at that moment)
Shipping between the two started after the release of Timeless Medley, but took off more after the release of Dive to the Future. Many shippers liken Hiyori to a jealous or overprotective boyfriend, given his manipulations to stop Ikuya's friends from middle from seeing him, and his reminders to Ikuya to take care of himself and call his brother. Shippers are also drawn to the seeming pride Hiyori has over Ikuya, given the former's need to compliment Ikuya all the time.
On AO3, HiyoIku is the most written ship for both characters. It is also the thirty second most written ship in the Free! tag.
|slash||HiyoIku • IkuHaru • MakoHaru • NatsuRin • Reigisa|
Ringisa • RinHaru • RinRei • RinTori • SouMako • SouRin