Iwatobi-chan (イワトビちゃん) is a minor character in the anime series Free! beginning with Free! He is bird-like figure that serves as the mascot of Iwatobi High School. Iwatobi-chan is a mute, but comical, figure featured throughout the franchise in various incarnations.
The figure is that of a yellow bird with pink-tipped wings, two black-irised eyes with yellow sclera and an orange beak set into a large, round taupe-colored stone head. While often depicted without clothing, Iwatobi-chan is also seen wearing a variety of swimsuits in the OVA, Makoto's Problem, and is a topic of discussion in the OVA, Recruiting New Members!. In the OVA, Buildup of Early Spring!, he is the basis of a life-sized costume complete with purple sumo mawashi and oversized head.
Other versions of Iwatobi-chan include sweet-filled sandwiches and icon-stamped pink mochi beloved by Nagisa Hazuki. He also appears as a logo on the Iwatobi High School Swim Club t-shirts. In Buildup of Early Spring!, the costume is worn by Makoto Tachibana, who is manipulated into being Iwatobi High School's mascot in the Tournament of Mascots being held in Tokyo. The beak of the costume, having been lost earlier, is returned to the tournament team by Haruka Nanase who unwittingly finds it while walking around the city. Haruka remains for the tournament and wears an Iwatobi-chan cap while cheering on Iwatobi-chan/Makoto.
Iwatobi-chan debuts as a four-inch carved wooden figure to be given to those joining the Swim Club being resurrected by Nagisa, Makoto and Haruka in Free! Although no one actually joins the team, the carved figures are taken by those attending the pre-season meeting. The original members then search for the required fourth swimmer that results in track athlete Rei Ryugazaki leaving the track team to become a swim club member, despite not knowing how to swim. With Gou Matsuoka joining as manager and Miho Amakata becoming their advisor, the team is established.
- It may be speculated that the mascot is modeled after the winged shape that appears on the Iwatobi High School logo.
- The name Iwatobi is derived from not only the in-universe town of Iwatobi but also the Japanese name for the Rockhopper penguin (イワトビペンギン Iwatobi pengin).
- Iwatobi-chan has a round stone head based on his being a "Rock"hopper penguin.
- The Iwatobi swim team considers Iwatobi-chan to be male most often, though not always, as seen in their plan in the OVA, Recruiting New Members!
- He appears as a special guest at the Free! Series ORCHESTRA CONCERT 2020 and Free! Series ORCHESTRA CONCERT 2021.