The official website for the Free! anime franchise confirmed on Thursday that cast member Tatsuhisa Suzuki will continue voicing the character Makoto Tachibana. Suzuki is also the vocalist for the unit OLDCODEX, which has contributed several theme songs to the franchise.
The franchise‘s production committee noted that Suzuki’s agency announced on August 4 that he is going on hiatus from entertainment industry activities due to his poor health. The production committee, production staff, and Suzuki’s agency held multiple deliberations on the best options for all the fans and the franchise itself.
The production committee added that Makoto Tachibana has been a crucial character to the franchise since its planning stages nine years ago. The committee made its decision after taking into consideration Suzuki’s “nuanced portrayal of this role” and the relationships developed with the other cast and staff members. The committee concluded by asking fans for their continued support.
Suzuki and singer LiSA 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 is slated to open in Japan on September 17, and the second part is slated to open in Japan on April 22, 2022. A teaser trailer’s description teases that the films are the “final chapter” for the franchise. The project’s tagline is, “Let’s go, to the stage of glory.”
The franchise‘s production committee announced on Tuesday that due to the group OLDCODEX‘s hiatus, the September 15 release of the first film’s theme song has been put on hold. As a result, the planned release of the film’s new full trailer on Thursday at 11:00 p.m. (10:00 a.m. EDT) was also canceled.
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.