The first 11 minutes of Free! The Final Stroke have been released online for fans of Kyoto Animation's swimming anime to preview.
The extended clip was released directly from Kyoto Animation's official YouTube account. The movie begins with the other members of the Iwatobi Swim Club, as well as their former rival Rin, sending messages to the series' main protagonist Haruka, who is in Australia to prepare for an upcoming global swimming competition. The film opened in Japan on Sept. 17, where it has earned 281 million yen (roughly $2.5 million USD) in its first two weeks. The movie is first chapter of a two-part series, which will serve as the overall finale for the Free! franchise. The second movie will be released in Japan in April 2022.
Both movies are directed by Eisaku Kawanami, who previously directed the third season of the Free! anime, and has also worked on many of Kyoto Animation's past shows, including Hyouka and and Sound! Euphonium. The film was originally planned to be released to coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, but it was delayed due to various circumstances, including the tragic arson attack on Kyoto Animation's main studio, and the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
The cast from the Free! anime series will all reprise their roles for the anime's finale, including Tatsuhisa Suzuki, who provides the voice of Makoto Tachibana and is also the lead singer of the band OLDCODEX, which has provided many of the show's opening and closing themes. Suzuki was recently involved in a high profile scandal when a Japanese tabloid revealed evidence that he was involved in an extra-marital affair. Suzuki is married to the popstar LiSA, who is best known for performing the theme song to Demon Slayer, "Gurenge." In the wake of the scandal, Suzuki exited from his roles in the second season of Netflix's Ultraman series, as well as the Pokemon anime, where he played the recurring role of the gym leader Raihan. The producers of Free! announced over the summer that Suzuki would retain his role for the Free! finale, citing his long history of involvement with the series, and his rapport with the rest of the voice cast, as the reasons why they decided to keep him.
Free! Iwatobi Swim Club tells the story of a group of boys who come together to revive their high school's neglected swimming team. The series is loosely based on a light novel by Koji Oji and was first adapted into an anime by Kyoto Animation in 2013. The series is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Netflix.