Remember that video from a while back that was produced by Animation Do and Kyoto Animation? The one that was supposedly a commercial for the company that featured young boys swimming? Well Kyoto Animation has just officially announced that the concept will be produced into a full season of anime at their live stream in late April. The swimming anime will be called Free! and stars 4 boys who are part of the Iwatobi High School Swim team, with the fifth being part of the rival school’s swim team.
Free! is based on Kouji ouji’s novel High Speed!, which won the honourable mention at the 2nd Kyoto Animation Awards in 2011. The anime will be produced by Animation Do with some help of Kyoto Animation. Additionally some of the anime’s production team has been revealed:
- Director – Hiroko Utsumi (Key Animator of a few episodes of K-ON!, Lucky Star and Hyouka)
- Script Supervisor – Masahiro Yokotani (K-ON!, Steins;Gate and Beelzebub)
- Character Designer – Futoshi Nishiya (Hyouka, Clannad and Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!)
- Composer – Tatsuya Katou (Medaka Box, Mirai Nikki and Kampfer)
The anime’s opening will be the song Rage On by OLDCODEX, which is Tatsuhisa Suzuki’s (the voice actors of one of the main characters) own band. The ending song, SPLASH FREE, will be sung by all five main characters
Here is a synopsis of the anime from MAL:
The story revolves around Haruka Nanase, a boy who has always loved to be immersed in water, and to swim in it. Before graduating from elementary school, he participated in a swimming tournament along with his fellow swimming club members, Makoto Tachibana, Nagisa Hazuki, and Rin Matsuoka. After achieving victory, each of the boys went their separate ways.
Time passed, and in the middle of their uneventful high school lives Rin appears and challenges Haruka to a match, showing Haruka his overwhelming power. Not wanting it to end like this, Haruka, gathers together Makoto and Nagisa once again and brings a new member named Rei Ryugazaki to create the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club in order to defeat Rin.
Haruka Nanase, the freestyle swimmer.
Voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki (Tari Tari, Date A Live, Battle Spirits: Heroes)
Makoto Tachibana, the backstroke swimmer.
Voiced by Tatsuhisa Suzuki (Blood-C, Kuroko’s Basketball, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun)
Hazuki Nagisa, the breaststroke swimmer.
Voiced by Tsubasa Yonaga (Chihayafuru, Cardfight!! Vanguard, Inazuma Eleven GO Galaxy)
Rei Ryugazaki, the freshman.
Voiced by Daisuke Hirakawa (School Days, Beelzebub, Zero no Tsukaima F)
Rin Matsuoka, rival from Sametsuka Academy.
Voiced by Mamoru Miyano (Death Note, Soul Eater, Steins;Gate)
Here is a relationship chart of the five boys. Haruka, Makoto, Hazuki and Rin are all childhood friends and part of the same swimming club before high school.
The short commercial has already made waves in the anime community and the overall reaction being mixed to the full anime announcement. Many have wanted to see the animation studio shift from their current genres and series while others just don’t like to see overly sexualised boys in their anime. Of course the majority of female viewers seem to be quite pleased and many more fans have started to open up to the anime as more videos were released. Regardless, this anime will be the one to watch since it could set the standard for future popular anime genres, like Kyoto Animation did with Lucky Star and K-ON!
Free! is set to air in July in time for the summer season of anime. There has been no comment on the duration of the anime.
You can check out the official sites for Free! here and here.
Source Article #2 – Anime News Network
Source Article #3 – Anime News Network
“Free!”, “High Speed!”, videos, images and all associated tiles © 2013 Kyoto Animation, Animation Do and Kouji Ouji