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Free! Celebrates 5 Years With Birthday Art, Key Animation Exhibit

posted on by Kim Morrissy

The Free! anime franchise has come a long way in just five years, with four movies and three TV seasons under its belt. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the series, anime goods retailer Animega is holding a key animation exhibit from the first two anime seasons in four of its branches: the Ikebukuro Marui department store, the Fukuoka Parco store, the Umeda Loft store, and the Sendai Loft store.

Some of the drawings and setting materials from the Ikebukuro branch can be seen below:

The High Speed! -Free! Starting Days- film is also represented, affirming its place as an integral part of the franchise.

There's even key animation from the TV anime's iconic ending sequences. Notably, the still shots from the second season's ED featured a lot more corrections than usual from the character and animation director, Futoshi Nishiya. It seems that he really wanted to get the placement of the characters and objects in the scene just right.

Finally, some shots from the OP of the third season were shown. These are different from the ones that were already revealed at Kyoto Animation's booth at Comiket 94.

On top of key animation, Animega is also displaying birthday art for four characters: Haru (June 30), Nagisa (August 1) Natsuya (August 20), and Nao (August 27).

The Ikebukuro and Fukuoka branches will hold the key animation exhibit until September 9. The exhibits will then move to Umeda in the Osaka prefecture and Sendai in the Miyage prefecture from September 14-30.

The Free! series first began with Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club, which aired in Summer 2013. Free! Dive to the Future, the third season of the TV anime, is currently airing in Japan and streaming on Crunchyroll.

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