Part 1 of the new movie for the TV anime “Free!” series called “Free! -the Final Stroke-“ was released on September 17, 2021. As the commemoration, the stage greeting event was held at Shinjuku Piccadilly in Tokyo on September 18. The voice actors, Shimazaki Nobunaga, Miyano Mamoru, and Uchiyama Koki, and the mascot characters called Iwatobi-chan and Samezuka-chan appeared on stage and discussed their positive feelings toward the first day of the release.

They were first asked their feelings toward the released, and Shimazaki commented on love and passion that he felt in the advanced movie release, by saying, “Because the ending is very controversial and that is currently making you confuse, however, I am currently filled with happiness including sad and misunderstanding scenes. I am happy today and looking forward to share your reviews on the story”.

Miyano then continued to describe his emotion after looking over the characters for more than 8 years, by saying, “Haruka kept saying this memorable line, ‘You are prodigy when you are 10, genius in 15 years old, but becomes normal when you pass 20’, and this is so lucky that I could keep playing the same character until he reaches 20. I never expected this line to be a big hint. It is so emotional and happy that I can play the character in the phase right before becoming a grow-up adult, and I will carefully play him toward the part 2”.

Uchiyama then said, “I enjoyed various scenes in this movie, including difficulty after entering the world competition, sad scenes that made me emotional, and while feeling tension in those scenes, we saw the cultural festival in school in the beginning of the movie and could scene the ordinary slice of life. It was impressive that the movie picked up scenes that is not related to swimming directly” and described charming, heart-warming scenes unique to “Free!”.

When the guests were asked their thoughts toward this movie, Uchiyama first commented, “We made you wait until the movie release and assume that you are already looking forward the next part. We will do our best to deliver the exciting movie again through working hard in the recordings”.

Then Miyano sent his fan the message, “Because part 1 had such a shocking ending, I believe all of you are already looking forward the next episode, and that is the same for us, too. I am excited to see what is coming next, because we, also do not know how the story revolves. We will do our best to play the upcoming parts. We have watched over their youthful story up to this point, but from this point, we will watch over their life, so I hope you will keep supporting them”.

Shimazaki then summarized with commenting on his thanks toward “Free!” series by saying, “I have spent most of my career with Haruka, and we grew up together. I already passed age of Miyano-san, at the moment of TV anime ‘Free!’ start. I sometimes feel that I am older than the beginning of the series. While thinking about things like that, I love this work, which I have spent long time together. It is one answer that the protagonist actor loves this work and this movie itself as well. I feel strong love and passion when looking at the completed movie and we could stand here because passion toward the series is continuing in addition to interesting story of the work”.

He then continued, “Thank you for keep loving ‘Free!’ series, and we responded to your love as much as possible, and we will react to your love and expectation in part 2. We will stay positive, and we are certain that you will see the best scenery at the end, so please keep supporting ‘Free!’ series”.

“Free! -the Final Stroke-“ Part 1 Release Commemoration Stage Greeting Event
■Date: Saturday, September 18, 2021 10:45~11:15 AM
■Location: Shinjuku Piccadilly
■Guest: Shimazaki Nobunaga, Miyano Mamoru, and Uchiyama Koki
■Mascot Character: Iwatobi-chan and Samezuka-chan

© Ooji Koji, Kyoto Animation/Iwatobi Town Backup Committee 2021