Free! (TV series)

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Free!
Free! promotional image 1.jpg
Promotional poster of the Free! anime series.
Genre Sports (swimming)[1]
Anime television series
Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club
Directed by Hiroko Utsumi
Produced by Shinichiro Hatta
Shinichi Nakamura
Shigeru Saito
Masayuki Nishide
Written by Masahiro Yokotani
Music by Tatsuya Kato
Studio
Licensed by
Original network Tokyo MX, TVA, ABC, BS11, AT-X
Original run July 4, 2013 September 26, 2013
Episodes 12 (List of episodes)
Light novel
High Speed!
Written by Kōji Ōji
Illustrated by Futoshi Nishiya
Published by Kyoto Animation
Original run July 8, 2013July 2, 2014
Volumes 2
Anime television series
Free! - Eternal Summer
Directed by Hiroko Utsumi
Produced by Shinichiro Hatta
Shinichi Nakamura
Shigeru Saito
Masayuki Nishide
Written by Masahiro Yokotani
Music by Tatsuya Kato
Studio
  • Kyoto Animation
  • Animation Do
Licensed by
Original network Tokyo MX, TVA, ABC, BS11, AT-X, NHK G Tottori
Original run July 2, 2014 September 24, 2014
Episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Free! - Eternal Summer
Directed by Hiroko Utsumi
Studio
  • Kyoto Animation
  • Animation Do
Licensed by
Madman Entertainment
Funimation
Released March 18, 2015
Anime film
High Speed! - Free! Starting Days
Directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto
Written by Masahiro Yokotani
Music by Tatsuya Kato
Studio
  • Kyoto Animation
  • Animation Do
Licensed by
Funimation
Released December 5, 2015
Anime film
Free! - Timeless Medley
Directed by Eisaku Kawanami
Written by Masahiro Yokotani
Music by Tatsuya Kato
Studio
  • Kyoto Animation
  • Animation Do
Licensed by
Funimation
Released April 22, 2017 (part 1)
July 1, 2017 (part 2)
Anime film
Free! - Take Your Marks
Directed by Eisaku Kawanami
Written by Masahiro Yokotani
Music by Tatsuya Kato
Studio Kyoto Animation
Animation Do
Licensed by
Funimation
Released October 28, 2017
Anime television series
Free! - Dive to the Future
Directed by Eisaku Kawanami
Written by Masahiro Yokotani
Music by Tatsuya Kato
Studio
Original network ABC, Tokyo MX1, TVA, BS11, AT-X
Original run July 11, 2018 – present
Episodes 12
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Free! is a Japanese anime television series directed by Hiroko Utsumi and produced by Kyoto Animation and Animation Do. The anime is a sequel to the light novel, High Speed! (Japanese: ハイ☆スピード!, Hepburn: Hai Supīdo!), written by Kōji Ōji, which received an honorable mention in the second Kyoto Animation Award contest in 2011 and was published in July 2013. The first season, titled Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club for international distribution, aired in Japan in 2013; and the second season, titled Free! - Eternal Summer, aired in 2014. An animated film adapting the second volume of the original novel, High Speed! - Free! Starting Days, was released in December 2015. A film trilogy was released in 2017 with the first two films being compilations of both seasons of the anime series titled Free! Timeless Medley - Kizuna (Bonds) and Free! Timeless Medley - Yakusoku (Promise). The third film in the trilogy titled Free! Take Your Marks! featured a new story. A third season of the anime series titled Free! - Dive to the Future premiered on July 11, 2018.

Plot[edit]

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club is set in the town of Iwatobi, Japan, which is based on the real town of Iwami, Tottori. Iwami has since used Free! to promote tourism to the town.[2][3] This first season tells a tale about four members of a local swim club — Haruka Nanase, Makoto Tachibana, Nagisa Hazuki and Rin Matsuoka — who participate in a swimming tournament relay race while still in elementary school and win, thereafter parting ways. Haruka and Makoto reunite with Nagisa when he enrolls at their high school. Not long after, Rin, who attends Samezuka Academy, turns up and challenges Haruka to a race. He loses, but regains his desire to swim competitively, as does Haruka. At that point, Nagisa suggests creating a swim club using the school's run-down outdoor pool. Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, and later on Rei Ryugazaki, re-create the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club, working together to make it a success. Rin's younger sister, Gou, serves as their manager and teacher Miho Amakata, their advisor. Rin joins Samezuka Academy's swim team and finally wins an official race against Haruka, but finds it means nothing to him when he learns Haruka isn't in top, competitive shape. He claims he cannot move forward in his personal quest for Olympic glory until Haruka competes against him as an equal. Outside of school, the newly formed team trains at the refurbished Iwatobi Swim Club Returns run by their former and now current coach, Goro Sasabe. Events unfold until Rei confronts Rin about his bad attitude towards the Iwatobi team and learns that the swimmer is bitter about his poor performance record in Australia as well as not being able to swim with his former friends. Rei gives up his spot on the team for a single relay competition in order for Rin to reunite with his former teammates, a move that restores Rin's confidence and their friendships. They win the relay, but are disqualified. Nonetheless, all is well.

Free! Eternal Summer continues the journey of both the Iwatobi and Samezuka swim teams with the Iwatobi team gaining in strength, endurance and speed. The Samezuka team welcomes new members, particularly Rin's childhood best friend, Sosuke Yamazaki. Throughout the second season, personal stories surrounding both major and minor characters' growth are showcased, as well as further tournaments with both teams advancing to National status and Iwatobi taking sixth place overall in the relay. Haruka and Makoto are accepted into Tokyo universities with dreams oriented around swimming in different capacities, Haruka as a competitor and Makoto as a coach, though not without prior drama and a shift towards independence on both their parts. Nagisa and Rei continue to lead the next generation of Iwatobi swimmers with Gou and Miss Amakata. On the Samezuka side, Rin plans to leave for Australia once more in order to train for the Olympics under his old swimming coach. And while Sosuke's future remains uncertain, Rin leaves the door open for his return to the swim world. Aiichiro Nitori becomes Samezuka's new captain and their team continues forward. The season ends with a future vision of international competition that includes Rin and Haruka on the world stage and the words, "For the Future."

The 2015 film High Speed! Free! Starting Days shines light on Haruka's first year in middle school, focusing on the friendships developed between the relay team members of the Iwatobi Middle School Swim Club consisting of Haruka and Makoto, Asahi Shina and Ikuya Kirishima. Kisumi Shigino debuts as one of Haruka's classmates and there are brief scenes featuring Sosuke, Nagisa and Rei. At swim club, third-year Natsuya Kirishima, Ikuya's older brother, is team captain while third-year Nao Serizawa, is the boys' mentor and coach. Nao is perceptive about the first-years' swimming abilities and personal struggles, challenging each one to grow in both areas. Ikuya's stroke improves, along with his relationship with Natsuya. Asahi's swimming slump is overcome with the help of a then unknown Rei, mental training and sheer will. Meanwhile, Haruka and Makoto's relationship transitions through a rough patch to a deeper understanding of themselves and one another. In the end, the team wins a tournament relay with the past set aside and the future awaiting them. Following the race, Sosuke delivers a letter from Rin to Haruka citing his admiration for his rival's talent, a motivation Haruka reciprocates. There is no final screen message.

A film trilogy was released in 2017. The first film titled Free! Timeless Medley - Kizuna (Bonds) debuted in April 2017 and featured the bond between Makoto and Haruka through a compilation of scenes taken from existing footage with some newly added animation. The second film titled Free! Timeless Medley - Yakusoku (Promise) debuted in July 2017 and featured the friendship between Rin and Sosuke in a similar style as Kizuna. The third film in the trilogy titled Free! Take Your Marks! debuted in October 2017, featuring four fresh vignettes: the first focusing on Haruka's search for a Tokyo apartment with the help of Makoto and Kisumi; the second showcasing Rin, Sosuke, Aiichiro and Momotaro Mikoshiba (a teammate and friend) visiting an onsen; the third revealing Rei, Nagisa and Gou's efforts to keep the Iwatobi Swim Club alive; and the fourth a comedic sketch ending with a surprise farewell party for Rin who is heading back to Australia with serious Olympic dreams. The trilogy ends with the message, "See You Next Stage."

Free! Dive to the Future continues the story of Haruka Nanase, now attending college in Tokyo. There, he reconnects with Asahi Shina who reawakens his memories from middle school. Makoto, also in Tokyo with Haruka, is chasing a new dream and Rin, who left for Australia, joins up in a truly unexpected place. Nagisa and Rei move into their third year at Iwatobi High School with new swim club members while Sosuke re-enters the swim world. Other characters reappearing from Haruka's middle school days include Kisumi Shigino, Ikuya Kirishima, Natsuya Kirishima and Nao Serizawa, as well as Hiyori Tono, Ikuya's friend.[4]

Characters[edit]

Iwatobi High School[edit]

Haruka Nanase (七瀬 遙, Nanase Haruka)
Voiced by: Nobunaga Shimazaki[5] (Japanese); Todd Haberkorn[6] (English)
Haruka is a second-year (third-year in Eternal Summer) high school student who loves swimming and idolizes water. He is a strong, quiet person who displays limited facial expressions and has a hard time communicating his feelings. His swimming style captivates many and he has a fixation towards freestyle swimming.[5] Due to his girlish name, he is often mistaken for a girl at the start of each school year and asks to be called Haru. His love for water is so strong that he often strips down to his swimsuit at the sight of water and even considers encountering a waterfall to be a romantic experience. Haruka lives with his grandmother until she passes away, then alone, while his parents live and work in Tokyo, further isolating him. Given his ever-serious demeanor, many think of him as cold except those close to him, who recognize his compassion for others. This is evident when he quits competitive swimming because he falsely believes his friend Rin quits swimming after losing a race to him, but regains his passion for the sport after Rin's return. Haru eventually realizes that his motivation to swim competitively is friendship and teamwork. In Eternal Summer, he endures a crisis of confidence as he avoids making plans for his future, but with the support of his friends and a trip to Australia to see the International Aquatic Centre with Rin, he realizes he wants to swim on the global stage.
Makoto Tachibana (橘 真琴, Tachibana Makoto)
Voiced by: Tatsuhisa Suzuki[5] (Japanese); Johnny Yong Bosch[7] (English)
Makoto is Haruka's best friend since childhood, also a second-year (third-year in Eternal Summer) high school student and in the same class as Haruka. Unlike Haruka, he is talkative and often speaks up for Haruka, understanding his behaviors and knowing him extremely well. He is kind and considerate, putting others before himself; he is also sensitive and scares easily (Nagisa often enjoys teasing Makoto by scaring him).[5] He develops Thalassophobia due to a traumatic incident in which an old fisherman, whom Makoto idolized, drowns in a typhoon alongside many others. He is captain of the Iwatobi swim club. His specialty is the backstroke. In Eternal Summer, he discovers the joy of teaching children to swim while working part-time for Coach Sasabe at Iwatobi SC Returns and decides that coaching is in his future. After a major fallout with Haruka over Haru not having plans and Makoto not sharing his own, the best friends make amends and wind up continuing their educations and their friendship at nearby Tokyo universities.
Nagisa Hazuki (葉月 渚, Hazuki Nagisa)
Voiced by: Tsubasa Yonaga[5] (Japanese); Greg Ayres[8] (English)
Nagisa is a first-year (second-year in Eternal Summer) student who also attends Iwatobi High School. He is cheerful, spirited and outspoken. He has admired Haruka's swimming since elementary school and enrolls at his high school hoping to swim with him again.[5] He's the one who initiates the idea to start the swim club at Iwatobi High School and is treasurer for the club. He has a strange fascination towards the school's mascot, Iwatobi-chan. His specialty is the breaststroke. In Eternal Summer, it's revealed that his parents are strict about his studies. Worried that they will force him to drop swim club when his grades falter, Nagisa runs away from home and turns to his friends for help. With the assistance of Miss Amakata and the rest of the Iwatobi team, Nagisa summons the courage to talk to his parents realistically and buckles down on his schoolwork. He remains a vital member of the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club after Haruka and Makoto graduate.
Rei Ryugazaki (竜ヶ崎 怜, Ryūgazaki Rei)
Voiced by: Daisuke Hirakawa[5] (Japanese); J. Michael Tatum[9] (English)
Rei is Nagisa's classmate and also a first-year (second-year in Eternal Summer) student at Iwatobi High School. He is logical and intelligent,[5] but easily manipulated by Nagisa.[10] He is attracted to all things beautiful, both tangible and intangible, and will do everything in his power to avoid things he claims "unattractive." He used to be on the track team as a pole vaulter, but could not perform well because he constantly over-analyzed his jumps. He refuses several times to join the swim club because he doesn't think swimming beautiful enough to learn how to do so. He eventually joins after seeing Haruka's elegant freestyle swimming. At first, he is unable to swim any stroke but with help from Haruka, manages to learn the butterfly stroke. In Eternal Summer, Rin teaches Rei to swim the other three styles. Rei is also the one who continues to remind Haruka that he can remain "free" by being true to himself, no matter what his choices may be. He is captain of the Iwatobi team after Makoto graduates.
Gou Matsuoka (松岡 江, Matsuoka Gō)
Voiced by: Akeno Watanabe (Japanese); Jamie Marchi[11] (English)
Gou is Rin's younger sister. She is a first-year (second-year in Eternal Summer) student at Iwatobi High School. She prefers to be known by the more typical reading of her name, Kou, due to Gou being a boyish name, though she eventually gives up, mostly due to Nagisa insistently calling her Gou. She joins the swim club as their manager in hopes that they can restore Rin's old personality. She is organized and determined, going as far as using calligraphy to create a 60+ page training regimen to hone the team's abilities. Gou has a muscle fetish and tends to blush around muscled men when with them. In Eternal Summer, she promises not to gush over muscles until the Iwatobi team makes Nationals, which they do.
Miho Amakata (天方 美帆, Amakata Miho)
Voiced by: Satsuki Yukino (Japanese); Caitlin Glass[11] (English)
Miho is Haruka and Makoto's homeroom teacher, and teaches classical literature. The students nickname her Ama-chan or Miss A. Rumors among Iwatobi students suggest she went to Tokyo to pursue her dream of modeling for a swimsuit company, but failed and became a teacher instead. She has a quirky and upbeat personality, sometimes using old, confusing literature phrases to make a point. She becomes the faculty advisor for the swim club after Nagisa mentions the rumors to her and the boys beg her to help them. She agrees, whether to keep the rumors at bay or genuinely help being unclear. Miho appears to be embarrassed by her modeling days and takes extreme measures to hide her previous career. When in conversation, she emits an evil aura if the topic arises. In Eternal Summer, her evil aura turns into flames when Coach Sasabe brings up the subject.

Samezuka Academy[edit]

Rin Matsuoka (松岡 凛, Matsuoka Rin)
Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano[5] (Japanese); Vic Mignogna[12] (English)
Rin is a complicated young man and a powerful swimmer whose specialty is the butterfly stroke. After transferring to Iwatobi Elementary School, he ends up in the same swim club as Haruka, Makoto and Nagisa, eventually leading them to victory in a medley relay. Rin shares that the relay is his way of bonding with his deceased father who dreamed of becoming an Olympic swimmer as a young man. Rin shares that dream, going to Australia to study and train with a strong swim team. His difficulties there are demoralizing and after suffering a tough loss in a personal race against Haruka during his first winter vacation back home, he quits swimming altogether, a bitter young man, estranged from his former friends. Upon his return to Japan,[5] he enrolls at Samezuka Academy, but only joins their swim team after a reunion race against Haruka, who he views as his athletic rival. At a crucial meet, Rin's conflicted feelings cause him to fail his individual events and get kicked off Samezuka's relay team. He again declares he's quitting swimming, a fact overheard by the Iwatobi boys. To keep this from happening, Rei gives up his spot on the Iwatobi team in order to allow Rin to swim in his place, thus reuniting the original relay team and mending the rift between the boys. By the beginning of the second season, Rin has become Samezuka's swim team captain and is friendly with all the members of the Iwatobi Swim Club, including Rei. In Eternal Summer, he reunites with his childhood best friend, Sosuke Yamazaki, and some of their history is seen. When Haruka seems to lose motivation for swimming, Rin confronts him with anger. Haruka's frustration causes him to lash out, first at Rin and later, at Makoto when he reveals he'll be attending university in Tokyo. Thus, at Makoto's request for intervention, Rin takes Haru to Australia where the experience of travel and visiting the International Aquatic Centre (an Olympic site) dissolves Haruka's fears and convinces him that going "pro" is in his future. Rin returns to Australia after graduating high school to continue training for the Olympics.
Sosuke Yamazaki (山崎 宗介, Yamazaki Sōsuke)
Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya[13] (Japanese); Ian Sinclair[11] (English)
Sosuke is Rin's childhood best friend from Sano Elementary School. In Eternal Summer, he transfers to Samezuka Academy so he can spend his last year of high school in his hometown, swimming with Rin. He is also good friends with Gou, having spent his holidays with Rin and her in their elementary days. Having a strong personality, little irritates him. He takes a dry and harsh position on swimming towards himself and others around him. He is a skilled butterfly swimmer and is ranked in the top 10 in Japan. After Rin leaves for Australia as an elementary student, Sosuke sets a goal for himself to become a professional swimmer alongside him. Due to over-training in his first year of high school, however, he severely injures his right shoulder, ruining his chances of entering the professional world. Sosuke dislikes Haruka because of his potential to overshadow Rin, but tolerates his ability to motivate his best friend, making their relationship tense. At the end of the series, Rin leaves Sosuke with a challenge to heal his shoulder and swim with him once more. [13] And it is Sosuke who first raises concerns about Ikuya Kirishima being a swimmer "to watch" as Rin moves forward in his quest for Olympic glory.
Aiichiro Nitori (似鳥 愛一郎, Nitori Aiichirō)
Voiced by: Kōki Miyata[14] (Japanese); Josh Grelle[15] (English)
Aiichiro is a first-year (second-year in Eternal Summer) student and member of the Samezuka Academy swimming team who idolizes Rin. He shares a dorm room with Rin in the first season, then Momotaro in the second season. He swims long distance freestyle, but begins to focus more on breaststroke in the second season. With coaching from Sosuke, Aiichiro's swimming improves to the point that Rin allows him to compete in a crucial relay. At the end of the series, Rin appoints him to be Samezuka's new captain.
Seijuro Mikoshiba (御子柴 清十郎, Mikoshiba Seijūrō)
Voiced by: Kenjiro Tsuda (Japanese); Robert McCollum[11] (English)
Seijuro is the captain of the Samezuka Academy swimming team and a third-year student (first-year college student in Eternal Summer). He is an enthusiastic person and a skilled swimmer. He shows strong interest in Gou Matsuoka. In Dive to the Future he attends Haruka's university and is a third-year swim team member.
Momotaro Mikoshiba (御子柴 百太郎, Mikoshiba Momotarō)
Voiced by: Kenichi Suzumura[14] (Japanese); Jerry Jewell[15] (English)
Momotaro is Seijuro's younger brother and a first-year (in Eternal Summer) student at Samezuka Academy. Initially he doesn't join the swim team, but does so later on at Rin's insistence. Like his brother, he has a crush on Gou and is an enthusiastic person. He is a skilled backstroke swimmer with the given nickname, "The Sea of Japan's Sea Otter."

Others[edit]

Goro Sasabe (笹部 吾朗, Sasabe Gorō)
Voiced by: Hiroshi Yanaka (Japanese); Christopher R. Sabat[11] (English)
Goro was the swimming coach at the abandoned Iwatobi Swimming Club, having coached Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa and Rin while they were in elementary school. He works part-time as a pizza delivery man in Iwatobi because he loves the town, but begins re-coaching Haruka, Makoto and Nagisa, with the addition of Rei, upon seeing their enthusisam. He is normally laid-back, but can be incredibly strict with the Iwatobi boys when coaching. In Eternal Summer, he rebuilds the Iwatobi Swimming Club, renaming it "Iwatobi SC Returns", developing the space into a community recreation center and swim school.
Ran Tachibana (橘 蘭, Tachibana Ran)
Voiced by: Miyuki Kobori (Japanese); Sarah Wiedenheft (English)
Ran is Makoto's younger sister. She and her twin brother, Ren, adore Makoto.
Ren Tachibana (橘 蓮, Tachibana Ren)
Voiced by: Yuka Maruyama (Japanese); Megan Vander Pluym (English)
Ren is Makoto's younger brother. He and his twin sister, Ran, adore Makoto.

Iwatobi Middle School/Tokyo[edit]

Kisumi Shigino (鴫野 貴澄, Shigino Kisumi)
Voiced by: Chihiro Suzuki (Japanese); Eric Vale (English)
Kisumi is a supporting character in Eternal Summer, Starting Days, Dive to the Future and the second volume of the light novel High☆Speed! He is a lively young man and classmate with the members of the Iwatobi Middle School Swimming Club. Although they ultimately attend different high schools, Kisumi's path again crosses with Makoto's when Makoto acts as a part-time coach at Iwatobi SC Returns and works with Hayato, Kisumi's younger brother. While Makoto is happy to see Kisumi, Haruka is less than enthusiastic about Kisumi's boisterous nature. When Makoto and Haruka arrive in Tokyo to begin their university studies, Kisumi is there again, working part-time as a real estate agent for his uncle, showing a reluctant Haruka several potential apartments. He attends the same college as Haruka and Asahi in Dive to the Future.
Asahi Shiina (椎名 旭, Shīna Asahi)
Voiced by: Toshiyuki Toyonaga (Japanese); Christopher Llewyn Ramirez (English)
Asahi is a member of the Iwatobi Middle School Swim team along with Haruka, Makoto and Ikuya Kirishima during their first year of middle school, after which he moves to Kyushu with his family. He comes to Tokyo as a freshman at Hidaka University where he reunites with Haruka as a fellow college swim team member. Asahi is a confident young man and a fierce competitor.
Ikuya Kirishima (桐嶋 郁弥, Kirishima Ikuya)
Voiced by: Kouki Uchiyama (Japanese); Lee George (English)
Ikuya is a member of the Iwatobi Middle School Swim team along with Haruka, Makoto and Asahi Shina. While an excellent swimmer of the breaststroke, he also possesses an elegant crawl, similar in speed and style to Haruka's. He is a swimmer at the college level and moody in temperament.
Natsuya Kirishima (桐嶋 夏也, Kirishima Natsuya)
Voiced by: Kenji Nojima (Japanese); Ricco Fajardo (English)
Natusuya is a third-year, captain of the Iwatobi Middle School Swim team in Starting Days, and older brother to Ikuya. He is a strong leader who believes he must push Ikuya, who idolizes him, into standing on his own by ignoring him. This leads to a strained relationship between the brothers until they express their feelings openly and come to terms. Natsuya and Nao are close friends.
Nao Serizawa (芹沢 尚, Serizawa Nao)
Voiced by: Satoshi Hino (Japanese); Oscar Seung (English)
Nao is a third-year and member of the Iwatobi Middle School Swim team in Starting Days, temporarily sidelined by an eye injury. He is a calm and rational individual with great insight into others. In Dive to the Future he is seen as the former occupant of Haruka's Tokyo apartment. Nao and Natsuya are close friends.
Hiyori Toono (遠野 日和, Tōno Hiyori)
Voiced by: Ryōhei Kimura (Japanese); Jason Liebrecht (English)
Hiyori is Ikuya's best friend and top supporter.

Media[edit]

Radio show and drama CDs[edit]

An Internet radio show to promote the anime called Iwatobi Channel (イワトビちゃんねる, Iwatobi Channeru) began broadcasting on June 17, 2013.[16] The show is streamed online every Monday, and is produced by the Japanese Internet radio stations Lantis Web Radio and Onsen. The show is hosted by Nobunaga Shimazaki and Tatsuhisa Suzuki, who voice Haruka Nanase and Makoto Tachibana from the anime, respectively.[17] Two CD compilation volumes were released between August 21 and September 25, 2013.[18][19]

Two volumes in a drama CDs series, titled Iwatobi High School Swimming Club Activity Journal (岩鳶高校水泳部活動日誌, Iwatobi Kōkō Suiei-bu Katsudō Nisshi), were released between August 21 and September 25, 2013.[20][21]

Anime[edit]

Animation Do released a splash image for a new project in April 2012, which was followed by a television commercial for the project in March 2013.[22] The commercial quickly went viral among fans—especially users of the blogging site Tumblr, who quickly developed a sequel around what they dubbed as the "swimming anime".[23] Despite only being a 30-second commercial, a wide variety of fan works expanding upon the nameless characters from the ad were created, including hypothetical biographies, art, and fan fiction, along with online petitions calling on the studio to turn it into a real series.[24]

The 12-episode anime television series, produced by Kyoto Animation and Animation Do, is directed by Hiroko Utsumi, written by Masahiro Yokotani, features character designs by Futoshi Nishiya and music by Tatsuya Katō. The series aired in Japan between July 4 and September 26, 2013 on Tokyo MX,[1] and was also streamed on the Japanese video-sharing website Niconico[25] and simulcast by Crunchyroll, who also possesses the home video rights to the series.[1][26][27] The series was released on six BD and DVD compilation volumes between September 11, 2013 and February 5, 2014, with certain volumes containing short bonus episodes. A 13-episode second season, titled Free! Eternal Summer, aired between July 2[28] and September 24, 2014. Funimation has licensed the second season for streaming and home video in North America,[29] and they attempted to negotiate with Crunchyroll about releasing the first season on home video.[8] However, Discotek Media released the first season on behalf of Crunchyroll on DVD with English subtitles, but noted a dubbed release might come eventually.[30] The English dub of the first season is available on Crunchyroll, with the English voice cast reprising their roles.[31] Crunchyroll and Funimation released the first season on Blu-ray and DVD on May 9, 2017 with an English dub.[32][33]

An animated film based on the second volume of the original light novel, titled High Speed! -Free! Starting Days, was released in Japan on December 5, 2015. The film was directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto and the screenplay was written by Maiko Nishioka. Yokotani worked on the story composition, and Nishiya served as character designer and chief animation director.[34]

An animated film trilogy was announced by Kyoto Animation.[35] The first two, titled Free! -Timeless Medley- Kizuna (Bonds) and Free! -Timeless Medley- Yakusoku (Promise) are compilations of both seasons of the anime series, with new scenes added. Kizuna focuses on the five main members of the Iwatobi Swim Club, while Yakusoku focuses on Rin and Sousuke from the Samezuka Swim Club. Both films opened on April 22 and July 1, 2017, respectively. A third film, titled Free! -Take Your Marks, is a new story taking place in the spring as Haruka deals with high school graduation and everyone's futures as they move forward in their lives and was released on October 28, 2017.[36] All three films were directed by Eisaku Kawanami, and much of the staff from the anime series and High Speed! film returned for the compilation films, including series composer Masahiro Yokotani, character designer Futoshi Nishiya and composer Tatsuya Katō.[37] Funimation acquired the film trilogy and the High Speed prequel film for home video release as well as screening the Take Your Marks film in US theaters on March 14, 2018, presented in Japanese with English subtitles.[38]

A 12-episode third season titled Free! Dive to the Future premiered on July 11, 2018.[39] Eisaku Kawanami returned to direct the third season, while all the staff and cast reprised their roles.[40]

Music[edit]

The opening theme is "Rage On" by Oldcodex and the ending theme is "Splash Free" by Style Five (Nobunaga Shimazaki, Tatsuhisa Suzuki, Mamoru Miyano, Tsubasa Yonaga and Daisuke Hirakawa). The ending theme for episode 12 is "Ever Blue" by Style Five.[41] The single for "Rage On" was released on July 17, 2013 and sold over 24,281 copies.[42][43] The single for "Splash Free" was released on August 7, 2013 and sold over 47,646 copies.[44][45] For the second season, the opening theme is "Dried Up Youthful Fame" by Oldcodex,[46][47] and the ending theme is "Future Fish" by Style Five. The ending theme for episode 13 is "Clear Blue Departure" by Nobunaga Shimazaki, Tatsuhisa Suzuki, Tsubasa Yonaga, Daisuke Hirakawa, Mamoru Miyano, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Kōki Miyata and Kenichi Suzumura.

Five character song singles were released sung by the voice actors of the main characters. The singles for Haruka Nanase (sung by Shimazaki) and Makoto Tachibana (sung by Suzuki) were released on August 7, 2013.[48][49] Makoto's single sold over 23,487 copies, while Haruka's single sold about 20,371 copies.[50] The singles for Rin Matsuoka (sung by Miyano), Nagisa Hazuki (sung by Yonaga) and Rei Ryūgazaki (sung by Hirakawa) were released on September 4, 2013.[51][52][53] Rin's single sold over 18,698 copies, while Rei's and Nagisa's sold over 15,021 and 14,283 copies, respectively.[54]

Four duet character song singles were released sung by the voice actors of the main characters.[55] The single with Haruka (sung by Shimazaki) and Makoto (sung by Suzuki) was released on December 18, 2013 and sold over 16,361 album copies.[56] The single with Nagisa (sung by Tsubasa Yonaga) and Rei (sung by Daisuke Hirakawa) was released on January 15, 2014 and sold over 11,980 copies.[57] The single with Rei (sung by Daisuke Hirakawa) and Rin (sung by Mamoru Miyano) was released on February 12, 2014 and sold over 13,389 copies.[58] The last single with Haruka (sung by Shimazaki) and Rin (sung by Mamoru Miyano) was released on March 19, 2014 and sold over 15,866 album copies.[59]

Light novels[edit]

The original light novel High Speed! (ハイ☆スピード, Hai Supīdo) is written by Kōji Ōji, with illustrations by Futoshi Nishiya. Ōji entered it into the second Kyoto Animation Award contest in 2011, and it won an honorable mention in the novel category.[60] It was published by Kyoto Animation on July 8, 2013.[61] A second volume was published on July 2, 2014, and the story takes place when Haruka and Makoto are in middle school.[62]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]