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Matsuoka Rin’s story in FREE! is a really painful one since he kept fighting a tough personal battle. While he didn’t have many chances to show his cheerful side, now that season one has ended with Rin-chan’s real smile restored– it doesn’t mean that his relationships are the same as they were before, and season one ended showing their individualism, each of them walking their own paths and destinations, but in the season two that is to come– I think it would lead to a story bursting with passion, so for season two, I’m also looking forward to hopefully seeing a bigger variety of facial expressions from Rin-chan. So please wait for that, everyone. Thank you!
—  Miyano Mamoru’s message to everyone at the end of Iwatobi Channel S radio episode 5
They were honest tears. If they weren’t honest, Rin wouldn’t have cried and he wouldn’t have joined that relay with them– he does have sportsmanship, after all. Even though he knew the trouble it would cause to those around him… to him, it was a really important issue. How do I say this… For instance, from the sportsman point of view, you’d think he was too naive. You’d wonder why he would do that when it’s obvious that it would cause the team to be disqualified and cause trouble for the schools. But the problems of the individual can only be understood by that individual! Rin’s problems were causing such a huge swirl of conflict within him that whatever happened next could change the direction of his life. And by simply swimming that relay, he was saved by Haruka and the others… So, to exaggerate a bit, I think that was the reason why he’s able to continue living with himself now. I’m sure that all of us have those sort of painful, dark feelings that can’t be understood by others. For Rin, his feelings for swimming kept growing more and more sour, until it became this unbelievably huge issue within him. That’s why he’d lash out criticism at others, or take it out on objects because he couldn’t release those feelings anywhere else. That’s how his feelings of hopelessness were expressed in the anime, but beyond that, he was also thinking a lot, worrying a lot, and feeling a lot of distress, so– that moment when he got to swim without any cares was what saved him and gave meaning back to his life. So I think that scene gave a wonderful depiction of the theme “For the team” that this series has. Despite the consequences after that (lol).
—  Miyano Mamoru, asked about what he thought about the last episode (Iwatobi Channel S radio episode 5)
  • Miyano Mamoru: After the afternoon FREE! event was over and we were on break, Aoni-san arrived with bandages for Nobunaga-kun. Pasties, in fact.
  • Shimazaki Nobunaga: I have no idea where they managed to find them but, when they handed them over to me, they were wearing this superior grin on their face and said "It took a lot of effort to find them!" and what they held out to me were these rainbow-colored butterfly-shaped pasties! Like, what-- where do they even sell those?!
  • Miyano Mamoru: Oh man, I wish you'd worn them. I really wanted you to wear them. Then we could've said Nobunaga-kun had Rei-chan on his nipples. Two Rei-chans on his nipples!
It wasn’t difficult but… well, I don’t know how to say it… It’s a little different from “acting the role.” In my involvement for a series, I always venture into it by “living” the life of the character I voice, so… Naturally Rin’s feelings are my feelings, and my feelings are probably Rin’s feelings too. So, as an actor, the only thing I can do is exhaust those feelings within me and express them as Rin. So, as a result, while they were my feelings, they were also Rin’s feelings. In order for that to happen, I had to really understand him; how he lives his life, what he went through, what feelings he carried within him. I had to come to terms with that within me and then voice it. So it wasn’t really that it was difficult, I was just living his life with him.
—  Miyano Mamoru, when asked if he found it difficult to act as Rin during his angst/etc (Iwatobi Channel S, episode 5)