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REVIEW: Free! The Final Stroke 1st Part

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ANN Reviewer

Joined: 06 Jul 2015
Posts: 390
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:21 pm Reply with quote
This doesn't remotely surprise me. The tone of Free changed significantly for the worse after Hiroko Utsumi left and Eisaku Kawanami took over. He sucked all the playfulness and joy out of the franchise, when you can have a story about a group of adolescents growing up and figuring out what they want out of their lives without it being grim and glum.

Honestly, I like the concept! Most high school athletes don't go on to be professional. It got off to a strong start in Eternal Summer too, with Haru and Makoto both having crises about their identities and their relationship with swimming and to each other. But it never stopped being fun. Then Utsumi left and Kawanami took over and Dive to the Future was a melodramatic slog with almost none of the humor and cheeky fan service that made the first two seasons notable.

Eternal Summer should have ended with Haru deciding to keep swimming as a hobby and going to art college. Just saying.
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Joined: 26 Nov 2020
Posts: 503
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:44 pm Reply with quote
I'm honestly not particularly looking forward to this movie with how much I disliked Dive to the Future. I pretty much agree completely with all-tsun-and-no-dere that it was a complete slog. It actually made me appreciate the original seasons even more compared to what the series could end up being lol. But yeah I always found Free's strength in it being slice of life with drama and sports on the side, so DttF breaking up the main 5 and focusing solely on drama and competition completely ruined that. It seems like The Final Stroke is also focusing on those which disappoints me, but you can't really do season 1/2 Free in a movie format (though I liked the High Speed movie).

Also I'm just salty as a Nagisa fan that he only got minuscule amounts of screen time lol. It doesn't seem like The Final Stroke will be any better than that since I think Road to the World was meant to be the Nagisa/Rei sendoff (I'm basing this on them being front and center on the poster, I haven't watched it yet)

I'll still be watching The Final Stroke movies anyway just because I love the series, but I don't have high hopes after being burned by DttF.
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