KyoAni Outlines 'Free!' Swim Team Anime's Story, Characters
posted on by Sarah Nelkin
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 also brings a new member named Rei Ryugazaki to create the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club. Haruka, Makoto Nagisa, Rei, and Rin come together for a story of swimming, youth, and friendship.
Nobunaga Shimazaki plays Haruka Nanase, an 11th grader who loves to swim. His strong and quiet swimming style fascinates many, and he holds a strong fixation on freestyle swimming.
Tatsuhisa Suzuki plays Makoto Tachibana, Haruka's inseparable best friend in 11th grade. He understands Haruka's good points, and is often forced to speak as his spokesman. He is very kind and considerate, but is also very easily scared and weak-hearted.
Mamoru Miyano plays Rin Matsuoka, Haruka's rival who is also in 11th grade. He had gone abroad to study swimming, but his personality changed immensely by the time he had returned to Japan. He often perplexes his former teammates.
Tsubasa Yonaga plays Nagisa Hazuki, a 10th grader who has a very strong heart, and never has any wavering in his words or actions. An admirer of Haruka's swimming and wanting to swim with him once again, he entered the same school as Haruka was attending.
Daisuke Hirakawa plays Rei Ryugasaki, a classmate of Nagisa's in 10th grade. He was originally a member of the track team, but decided to join the swimming club instead. A handsome, intelligent young man who often gets manipulated by Rin for some reason.
The television anime is based on Kōji Ōji's High Speed!, an honorable mention recipient in the 2nd Kyoto Animation Award in 2011. Hiroko Utsumi of Animation DO is directing the anime, and Masahiro Yokotani is supervising the scripts. Futoshi Nishiya is designing the characters, and Tatsuya Katou is composing the music.
Much of the same production staff created the "Suiei-hen" (Swimming) anime commercial that was unveiled last month. Animation DO had teased "a project in the works" with an image of Haruka swimming last April.
Images © Kōji Ōji, Kyoto Animation/Iwasobi High School Swimming Club