If there was ever an award for underrated fluffy character, Kisumi would win it. Kisumi Shigino is a minor character in the “sports” (read: slice of life) animes: Free! ~Iwatobi Swim Club and Free! Eternal Summer. His character first debuted in the light novel High Speed and is also featured in the prequel movie: High Speed Starting Days.
Kisumi’s character is very bright and bubbly much like his hair color: bubblegum pink. Although, there isn’t much for us to go on, but from what we know, he’s a charming prince-type boy who has 3 notable characteristics.
Fluffy and Sweet
Much like the moniker I’ve given him: “fluffy cotton candy haired prince” Kisumi was a very sweet character. He’s always smiling and the incredibly bubbly overwhelmingly positive type. Despite the “accidental” harshness he receives from Haru he takes it all in stride in a joking manner. The fact that he’s also an adoring big brother (see below) adds to his prince like qualities. Just from the way he’s depicted on screen he seems to be more of a free-spirit that accepts whatever comes his way and doesn’t let it get him down.
Adoring Big Brother
The first time we see him in the anime series, he’s picking up his baby brother Hayato from swimming classes (that Makoto just happen to be teaching). It’s because of Hayato that Makoto realizes his calling in becoming a swimming coach. But I digress, Kisumi blames himself for his baby brother being scared of the ocean and of swimming, although Makoto assuaged his grief over it saying it wasn’t his fault, Kisumi can’t help but feel responsible, hence he enrolls him to learn to swim and stays throughout the lessons watching on the sidelines cheering on his little brother. It’s clear that he loves his baby bro and will do absolutely anything and everything he can to ensure he’s happy.
The Black Sheep
I find Kisumi to be a bit of a sad character. I know, I just said he was bright and bubbly, but part of me sometimes sees him as the kid that puts a brave smile on his face like a mask to hide his feelings. I’m probably reading into it a little bit but, look at it this way; Kisumi is the outlier in the series. He’s not a student of Iwatobi High or Samezuka Academy. He knows everyone through mutual friends, but could he call them his close friends?
Kisumi is the black sheep of all the pretty boys of Free! simply because, he’s the only character that is not a swimmer. In the prequel High Speed we see how Kisumi meets Makoto and Haruka. He was Haruka’s classmate alongside Ikuya and Asahi, the latter two want to join the swim club and are looking for like minded individuals. Whereas, Kisumi knows of Haru because of Rin. Asahi constantly badgers Haru into swimming, and Kisumi is constantly bothering all of them to join the basketball club with him. Yet, they all ignore him. You can sense there’s a bit of loneliness there since he doesn’t have much in common with the rest of the boys. But that doesn’t deter him from trying to be their friend. It’s admirable that Kisumi sticks to basketball and doesn’t cave in to peer pressure and swims to become their friends. In the light novel’s Makoto does join Kisumi in playing for the basketball club as Makoto is trying to find his self-identity by trying out another sport that is not related to Haru.
I found the link to the full movie, but I’ve had it marked to play when Kisumi tries to get the others to play basketball.
However, it can be inferred in the latest movies (Timeless Medley: Bonds & Promises and Take Your Marks) that Asahi and Kisumi are actually pretty close friends post middle school. It’s clear how he and Makoto would definitely get along, as they’re both family oriented, and Makoto’s mellow personality complements Kisumi’s bubbly one. Whereas, Haru is often shown as annoyed by Kisumi’s bold personality. He doesn’t interact with Ikuya much, but he and Asahi get along as they’re personalities are much more alike.
Kisumi is easily an overlooked character due to his lack of screentime, but the fandom still loves him because of his fluffy personality, and I couldn’t agree more. I really enjoy what we see and know of Kisumi and his role in the show. He’s just one of those characters I wish they would explore more on. Hopefully we see more of him in Season 3!
Author’s Note: As you all know, I’ve finished the prompt for MCM, so instead of picking random characters to feature, I decided to go with another way of picking characters. From time to time I’ll be looking at dictionary.com’s word of the day for inspiration. Today’s word of the day was: flocculent. I at first didn’t know what to think, but I thought of characters with “fluffy” personalities, and Kisumi stood out amongst them all.
What did you guys think of Kisumi? Let me know in the comments below! 😀