Same Old Story, Even More Characters
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Sport, Comedy, Drama, Slice of Life, School
- Airing Date : July 2018 – September 2018
- Studios : Kyoto Animation, Animation Do
Free!: Dive to the Future Introduction
Our favorite swimmers are back at it again, chasing after their dreams and their drama together! As Haruka Nanase begins his collegiate swimming career, he runs into Asahi Shiina, an old friend from his middle school days. Haruka and Makoto Tachibana recall their past from that time, including another old friend named Ikuya Kirishima. But when they unexpectedly run into Ikuya during a swim meet, they realize that there are even more things from their past they have forgotten, not all of them happy… Rin Matsuoka is also chasing his dream in Australia, even as Nagisa Hazuki and Rei Ryuugazaki are bringing in new members to the Iwatobi swim team. Free!: Dive to the Future is a look into the bright future of these friends, even as they yet again struggle with memories from the past.
1. Everything – And Everyone – Is Beautiful
Free! has always been an anime series with the most beautiful animation style, and the third season does not disappoint in that regard! Every moment both in and out of the water is fluid and detailed. And of course, every character in Free! is beautiful as well – not just because of the animation style! Long-time fans of the series will love seeing all of the characters (and we mean all) from the past seasons, as well as a few new good-looking guys to join the group.
2. For Once, We See Beyond High School
Too often, we reach the end of our favorite school anime and the characters just drift off into an ambiguous future, leaving us to wonder what they will be like when they get older. Though Haruka, Makoto, and the gang haven’t grown up too much since we last saw them, Dive to the Future allows us that glimpse into their lives beyond high school! With every character from the series getting at least a few small moments in the season, every fan can be happy knowing that all those loose ends are finally tied. Of course, now we have to wait another two years for the continuation of the series…
1. Nothing Has Changed
Despite the new growth and changes in Haruka’s life, it seems that the incessant drama among his friends will never change. The first half of Dive to the Future sees a familiar story—a friend from Haruka’s past appears out of nowhere to become his rival, angrily driven by the feeling of being abandoned when they were younger. Ikuya is basically a reiteration of Rin and Sousuke Yamazaki from the first and second seasons of the show, respectively. Though the anime’s later half picks up with competitions and tournaments, this consistency in the plot is definitely overplayed and overdone for Free!.
2. Characters Don’t React Like Real People
Most of the drama behind Free! stems from the character’s reactions to their past and their interactions with one another. Yet, at times, the drama feels forced and the characters’ reactions to events seem off as they over-dramatize some simple event or blow things out of proportion. Ikuya and his friend Hiyori Toono are definitely the instigators of this drama in Dive to the Future, with pretty exaggerated responses to the kids’ middle school days. The second half of this season feels more real, with the characters more concerned about actual competition and their next steps rather than the drama among relationships.
3. Slow Start And Fast Ending
Due to the repetitive nature of the plot early on, Dive to the Future starts off rather slow and predictable. Ikuya brings in needless drama that we have already seen before, and that makes the beginning of this season drag on for viewers. When the second half of the season picks up into the big competition phase, the races and in-between scenes are suddenly hurried, making the last few episodes fly by. Overall, the anime’s pacing could have been more even, especially with the plot lined up the way it was.
Free!: Dive to the Future is another look at some of our favorite characters, though its repetitive nature left us feeling a little bored. The pacing was off and the characters reacted in unrealistic ways, but the anime is still gorgeous and detailed as always. If you’re a long-time fan of the series, you will probably enjoy Dive to the Future, but may find yourself burnt out after this season.
Did you agree with our conclusions? What has been your favorite season of Free! so far? Please let us know what you think in the comments below!