The official website for the Free! anime franchise posted the trailer for the first film in the new two-part anime film project Free! The Final Stroke on Thursday.
The trailer was delayed by one week due to the group OLDCODEX‘s hiatus, and the September 15 release of the first film’s theme song was also put on hold. The Free! franchise‘s production committee explained that the decision to halt the song’s release came after multiple discussions between the production committee and OLDCODEX‘s label staff. The anime’s staff originally made the trailer with the theme song, and it would have been difficult to change the music at this stage before last Thursday.
Tatsuhisa Suzuki, the vocalist of OLDCODEX and the voice of the Free! franchise‘s Makoto Tachibana, announced on August 4 that he is going on hiatus from entertainment industry activities due to his poor health. OLDCODEX announced a hiatus on the same day. Five minutes before OLDCODEX‘s announcement, singer LiSA, who is Suzuki’s wife, also announced a hiatus “from some of her activities” due to mental and physical fatigue.
The franchise‘s staff then announced last Thursday that Suzuki would continue voicing Makoto Tachibana.
LiSA and Suzuki announced their marriage in January 2020. The Weekly Bunshun magazine reported on July 30 on an alleged extramarital affair between Suzuki and a female work associate.
The first film for the new two-part anime film project Free! The Final Stroke will open in Japan on September 17, and the second part willopen in Japan on April 22, 2022. The trailer teases that the films are the “final chapter” for the franchise. The project’s tagline is, “Let’s go, to the stage of glory.”
Eisaku Kawanami is returning from previous installations in the franchise to direct the film at Kyoto Animation.
The Free! franchise about the Iwatobi High School Swim Club includes three television anime seasons that aired in 2013, 2014, and 2018. The High Speed! -Free! Starting Days- prequel film opened in 2015. The Free! The Movie -Timeless Medley- the Bond and Free! The Movie -Timeless Medley- the Promise compilation films opened in April 2017 and July 2017, respectively. The Free! -Take Your Marks- omnibus film of short stories then opened in October 2017.
The franchise‘s most recent entry was Free! ~Road to the World~ Yume (Dream), which opened on July 5, 2019, and was a “reconstruction” of the Free! Dive to the Future television anime series, as well as a “bridge” to the new films.
Source: Free! The Final Stroke films’ website, Anime! Anime!