The official website for Kyoto Animation‘s Free! franchise announced the cast and staff for Free! -Timeless Medley- Kizuna (Bonds) and Free! -Timeless Medley- Yakusoku (Promise), this year’s two compilation films with new footage. It also revealed more on the story premise for Free! -Take Your Marks-, the new sequel film opening this fall.
The Timeless Medley compilation films feature returning cast members from the first television anime series, the Free! Eternal Summer sequel television anime series, and the High Speed! -Free! Starting Days- prequel anime film. In particular, the High Speed! film’s Asahi Shiina and Ikuya Kirishima are now third-year students in the Kazami and Shionezaki High School Swim Clubs, respectively.
Eisaku Kawanami (episode director on both television anime, unit director on the High Speed! film) of the studio Animation DO is directing the films at Kyoto Animation and Animation DO. Scriptwriter Masahiro Yokotani (both television anime and High Speed! film) is credited with composition, and Futoshi Nishiya is also returning from the previous Free! projects as the character designer.
Other returning staff members include art director Joji Unoguchi, color key artist Yūka Yoneda, prop designer Seiichi Akitake, director of photography Kazuya Takao, sound director Yota Tsuruoka, and musical composer Tatsuya Katou. Yuji Shibata is serving as 3D director on the films, after working on the 3D CG on the television anime and also serving as 3D director on the High Speed! film. Shochiku is distributing the new films, as it did for the High Speed! film.
Style Five, the group formed by the five main characters (as voiced by their cast members), is performing the compilation films’ new theme song “Rising Free.” The films’ original soundtrack, with the full version of the theme song and background music, will go on sale on July 19.
Free! -Timeless Medley- Kizuna will open on April 22, and Free! -Timeless Medley- Yakusoku will open on July 1. A limited number of tickets with bonus extras will go on sale next Saturday at participating theaters. Individual tickets for either film will come with one of eight randomly distributed “stretch clear file” folders (shown above), illustrated by Nishiya. A pair of tickets for both films will come with a special double-pocket clear file folder (shown below), also illustrated by Nishiya.
The Kizuna film will focus on the members of the Iwatobi Swim Club, and the Yakusoku film will focus on Rin and Sousuke.
The brand-new Free! -Take Your Marks- theatrical anime project is a sequel to Free! -Timeless Medley-, and it will screen in theaters in Japan this fall. The story takes place in March, with Haruka dealing with graduation from high school. It depicts four stories set in the days of early spring, before the characters advance to the next starting blocks of their futures, and what lies ahead.
Kyoto Animation‘s first Free! anime about the Iwatobi High School Swim Club premiered in July 2013, and Crunchyroll streamed the anime as it aired in Japan. Discotek released the first season on DVD with English subtitles in North America in May 2015. Crunchyroll streamed an English dub of the first season in December 2015, and the company plans to release the season with Funimation on both Blu-ray Disc and DVD in May.
Free! Eternal Summer, the second television anime season, premiered in July 2014. Funimation streamed the second season as it aired, and released the series on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in North America with an English dub in February 2016.
The High Speed! -Free! Starting Days- film is directly inspired by the High Speed! novel that was loosely adapted into the original Free! television anime. Whereas the Free! anime centers on Haruka and the other swimmers during high school, High Speed! followed the characters during middle school. The second volume of the novel series shipped in July 2014. The film opened in Japan in December 2015.
A new novel version of the anime’s first season will ship in June. Masahiro Yokotani, the script writer and supervisor for all the anime in the Free! franchise, is writing the novel. Futoshi Nishiya, the franchise‘s character designer, is drawing the illustrations. The novels will include new side-stories and illustrations.