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Anime Spotlight - Free! -Dive to the Future-

by ANN Staff,
Premieres in July 2018

Key Staff

Director: Eisaku Kawanami
Series Composition: Masahiro Yokotani
Character Design: Futoshi Nishiya


Dive to the future!!

The Free! anime made its debut as a TV anime in July 2013. It followed Haruka Nanase, a young man with a special attachment to the water and swimming. His friend--Makoto Tachibana--introduced him to the world of swimming, while Rin Matsuoka brought him into the world of competitive racing. By swimming, Rin was able to meet new friends, and get the chance to see a brand new world after overcoming conflicts and misunderstandings.

The second season of the anime--Free! Eternal Summer--began airing the next year in July. In his last year of high school, Haruka struggles with his vision of his future, but also forms unbreakable bonds with his friends. Each of the swimmers decides on their "new beginning" that they want to start aiming for.

After this, the film High Speed! -Free! Starting Days- premiered in Japanese theaters in December 2015. A prologue to Free!, it shows Haruka in middle school. The film takes place during a fleeting season of youth for Haruka and his friends, when the boys grow into young men. Haruka meets new friends, including Asahi Shiina and Ikuya Kirishima and learns how great it is to be a team.

The October 2017 film Free! -Take Your Marks- shows Haruka and the others living carefree lives after graduation.

And in July 2018, Free! will begin its newest chapter.

Haruka and his friends graduate school and begin walking toward the future, never forgetting the friendships they made. In Tokyo, Haruka reunites with Ikuya, a young man who swam alongside him in relays in middle school. Reuniting with Ikuya, Haruka's memories of middle school begin to resurface. Haruka remembers Ikuya from "that moment" extremely clearly...

Makoto also moves to Tokyo and has begun working toward his new dream, while Rin has a strange encounter after moving to Australia.

Does a new battle await them in the future? Or possibly a confrontation with the past they left behind?

From elementary school to middle school to high school to college...
The tale woven together by Haruka and his friends within the water finally becomes one in Free! -Dive to the Future-!

Character Names & Descriptions

Haruka Nanase

Voice: Nobunaga Shimazaki

Specialty: Freestyle
Age: 18
Birthdate: June 30

A young man who has had a special interest in swimming since his childhood. He decided to aim for the world of competitive swimming thanks to the support and sentiments of Makoto, Rin, and his other friends during their high school days. Haruka has been practicing alongside other swimmers from around the country ever since he started college in April. His social circle begins to grow in his new environment through his love of swimming, and he ends up reuniting with someone he never thought he would...

Makoto Tachibana

Voice: Tatsuhisa Suzuki

Specialty: Backstroke
Age: 18
Birthdate: November 17

Haruka's best friend since childhood. When they were children, Makoto was able to see through Haruka's cool exterior, and invited him to join the swim club. They're such good friends that they can understand each other even without exchanging words. Up until the end of college, Makoto had a tendency to put others before himself, but he currently is working to achieve his own goal by studying at college. He's currently expressing his passion for swimming from a different position from Haruka and the others.

Rin Matsuoka

Voice: Mamoru Miyano

Specialty: Freestyle & Butterfly
Age: 18
Birthdate: February 2

Rin had some setbacks during his experience studying swimming abroad in Australia during middle school, but gets his passion back for swimming when he swims together with Haruka in a high school relay. Haruka and Rin have recognized each other as trusted rivals. After graduating high school, he returned to Australia to continue pursuing his dream of swimming on a global level. He ends up having a shocking encounter with someone on his swimming team filled with swimmmers from around the world.

Ikuya Kirishima

Voice: Kouki Uchiyama

Specialty: Breast Stroke
Age: 18
Birthdate: March 3

Ikuya was a member of the Iwatobi Middle School Swimming Club relay team alongside Haruka, Makoto, and Asahi. He's not very good at showing his emotions, causing things not to go well between himself and others. However, he learns the importance of friends after swimming a relay with Haruka and the others. He left Japan to study swimming abroad in his second year of middle school alongside his elder brother. Since returning to Japan, he has participated in solo medley relay tournaments. His freestyle resembles Haruka's.

Asahi Shiina

Voice: Toshiyuki Toyonaga

Specialty: Butterfly
Age: 18
Birthdate: April 18

Asahi ended up meeting Haruka and the others in his first year of middle school, and swam a relay with them. He is constantly moving all around the country due to his family's circumstances. A competitive boy, he is always declaring that he will beat Haruka using freestyle someday. He has been able to form a strong team with his positive personality no matter where he goes in the country, and he treasures each and every one of those friends he's made. He decides to continue swimming after graduating high school, and ends up reuniting with his former swim team mates.


Haruka Nanase
Nobunaga Shimazaki
Makoto Tachibana
Tatsuhisa Suzuki
Rin Matsuoka
Mamoru Miyano
Ikuya Kirishima
Kouki Uchiyama
Asahi Shiina
Toshiyuki Toyonaga
Hiyori Tono
Ryouhei Kimura
Yosuke Yamazaki
Yoshimasa Hosoya
Natsuya Kirishima
Kenji Nojima
Nao Serizawa
Satoshi Hino
Nagisa Hazuki
Tsubasa Yonaga
Rei Ryugazaki
Daisuke Hirakawa
Aiichiro Nitori
Kouki Miyata
Momotaro Mikoshiba
Kenichi Suzumura
Kisumi Shigino
Chihiro Suzuki
Gou Matsuoka
Akeno Watanabe
Romio Hayafune
Atsushi Abe
Shizuru Isurugi
Yoshitsugu Matsuoka
Ayumu Kunikida
Ryo Hirohashi
Seijuro Mikoshiba
Kenjiro Tsuda


Original Concept
"High☆Speed!" by Kouji Ohji
(Kyoto Animation's KA Esuma Bunko)
Eisaku Kawanami
Series Composition
Masahiro Yokotani
Character Design / Chief Animation Director
Futoshi Nishiya
Art Director
Shingo Kasai
3D Art Design
Joji Unoguchi
Color Design
Yūka Yoneda
Prop Design
Seiichi Akitake
Director of Photography
Kazuya Takao
3D Director
Yuji Shibata
Sound Director
Yota Tsuruoka
Tatsuya Katō
Music Production
Animation Production
Kyoto Animation, Animation DO
OP Theme Song
OLDCODEX "Heading to Over"
ED Theme Song
Iwatobi Fan Club

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