High Speed gives a closer look into the lifes of Haru and Makoto before they go to Iwatobi High (Anime Series), so it's not necessary to see the anime before, but can be also seen as an addition to it. At the start of the movie the story goes on rather slowly, but with a lot of funny scenes, that made me laugh more than once. The watcher gets to know the new characters Ikuya and Asahi and also can recognize the ones, already shown in the anime like Kisumi or of course the main characters Makoto and Haru. After this the stoy goes on
with a faster pace, but for me it didn't feel rushed at any time and the time went by like nothing. The fanservice strongly focused on the relationship between Haru and Makoto in this movie, which is amazing for a fangirl like me but could be rather annoying for someone, who is not into it that much. But it's Free so I guess we gotta live with it .(It's not like I would complain about it anyway) Towards the end of the movie the story gets a lot more emotional and really moved me to tears sometimes. Sadly the ending was a bit disappointing since it felt abrupt for me and for a moment I wasn't even sure if it was over already. I kept wondering why Asahi and Ikuya didn't appeared a single time in the anime (f. e. in a flashback) even though they built a strong friendship with Makoto and Haru in the movie.
All in all I will give the Story a solid 8!
The Art will forever be one of the things I love most about Free! The Art is just incredibly outstanding! The backgrounds f. e. the cherry blossoms are really detailed. Also in scenes, where the watcher sees with Harus eyes, when he swims, or when a pool is shown, the water is also drawn with a lot of effort and looks truly beautiful. The beautiful art style also applies to the characters. The character design is amazing and also matches with their personalities a lot. Every single character looks stunning in his own way and had his own unique appearance. There were no characters (excluding supernumerarys) that looked much like each other, except the ones where it was logical because they're related (-> Ikuya and Natsuya (brothers) have the same eyes).
I think this text shows clearly that I can't give the Art anyhing less than 10 points, it's just absolutely amazing!
Okay, first about the seiyuus (japanese voice actors): I’m really glad that they decided to keep the seiyuus for Haru, Makoto, Rin, Sousuke and Kisumi, with the reason that their voices start to deepen at that age. I’m really in love with the Free! Cast and even though the voices sometimes seemed a bit too dark for such small boys, their voices brought something well-known in the movie and connected it to the anime series, which I really liked. Also the voices for the new characters fitted their personality. Sadly the „their-voices-start-to-change-at-that-age“ – theory didn’t work on Nagisa, so they casted a woman to synchronize him. In my opinion his voice was a bit too high and annoying at some time… Another thing I have to highlight about the seiyuus is the amazing work of Tatsuhisa Suzuki as the voice of Makoto. I always think that Makoto is one of his best roles ever, because he managed to adapt his voice without sounding odd, even though Makotos voice distinguishes a lot from Tatsuhisas „normal“ voice.
Talking about Suzuki-san , this leads to the second topic: the music. Some of you maybe know that the Theme Song „Aching Horns“ was performed by Tatsuhisas band „Oldcodex“ with him as a singer. Of course it’s a matter of taste and if you like J-Rock, but in my opinion the song is really amazing and will always remember me of the movie!
The soundtrack playing during the movie was good and really beautiful sometimes but sadly I don’t remember most of the tracks and had to look them up again before writing this review…what I noticed however was that they took some soundtracks from the anime and revised them. (For example the well-known track „Words that changed my Life“ got a new version called „Precious Words“ in High Speed)
After all I will give 9 out of 10 points for the sound!
At the beginning some of the characters may not seem understandable to the watcher since their reactions to some situations don’t really make sense to them. However later most characters get at least one scene of the movie focusing on them and revealing their backstory, which makes them more understandable for the watcher and feel sorry for them. Some of their storys really made me cry. But it was not only for the new characters like Ikuya and his brother but also with characters, some of you already know from the anime! High Speed showed especially Makotos flaws more exactly than the anime did and made me feel really sad for him. Also I can understand Sousukes character even more now after watching the movie. Concerning the side characters I’m really happy they included some already known characters like Nagisa and even Rei, even though they were not important for the plot at that time. I also like the new side characters, like Nao and Natsuya!
All in all 9 points for the characters~
For me as a huuuge Free! Fan the movie was just the best movie ever! (I did my best to be objective though~) I think people, that are interested in anime about sport but also about friendship will love this movie, especially if they enjoyed the anime series too! The movie has funny as well as emotional scenes in it and for someone who likes this combinaton, it’s definitely a good recommendation!
I would totally watch it again and again so 10 points for me!
Thanks for reading I hope I stayed more or less objective ^^’
Oh my god, you have no idea how long I've been waiting for this. Honestly, I was actually very worried about this movie. I didn't think that Free! really needed a prequel since there are so many flashbacks from elementary school in the anime show (which is taking place during high school), so we already knew a good amount backstory for Free!, but it was actually very interesting to see what was going on between elementary and high school.
Man, the story. I did keep my expectations low. Or, I didn't really expect anything at all (neither positive nor negative stuff) and I ended up being
It starts off by introducing all of the characters very well, one by one. About the first half of the movie, we're getting to know them and the setting. And then the emotional drama starts happening. Haruka, Makoto, Ikuya and Asahi go through mental challenges, Makoto is questioning his choices, Haruka isn't too sure about himself or his friends either. They're all facing struggles thats effects them as a team.
It's easy to keep up with this movie, the main aspects aren't too complicated and we only focus on one big thing at a time.
Kyoto Animation did an amazing job with the art, style, animation, background details and usage of colors. Everything goes so well with each other and this movie is just stunning to watch.
Same applies to the music. Free! wouldn't have been Free! without this music.
I was worried about the new characters, mainly Ikuya and Asahi. I'm sure that I wasn't the only one that got reminded of Haruka and Momotarou when I took my first glance at them. But High Speed suprised me! Yes, Ikuya's facial expressions are similar to Haru's, but he's still very different as a character. Asahi is energetic like Momo, but he's still different from him. What I'm trying to say is that all of the characters ended up being different and likable.
Haruka and Makoto are.. Well, pretty much just like how you would expect. Their strong bond is very known, and you can clearly see it in this movie. Haru knows when something is off about Makoto and same goes for Makoto. In the flashbacks from the actual show, their bond didn't seem that strong, so I'm glad that we got to see how close they actually were as kids/pre-teens. Makoto also shows a deeper side of himself.
I would say that Ikuya had the hardest time. He was a quiet boy, but he would still talk whenever he could and add a bunch of comments. I respect Ikuya as a character because he had so much more pressure on him than the others. As his bonds with the boys got stronger, he would open up more, and share more about his life. He's also a very cute character, almost being shy in the beginning.
Asahi would be more of a stereotypical character in anime, but there's still something special about him. The way that he interacts with the others makes him seem like an idiot, but being his confident self, it doesn't bother him. However, he's still facing other types of struggles.
All of the characters end up being very strong, and they have great developments.
I loved how Nagisa, Rei, Sousuke and Rin would pop up once in a while, I mean, they were still involved with the main characters' lives. Plus, it was so nice to see what /they/ were doing in the meanwhile. Don't get me wrong, they only showed up at occasions where it fit, when they were useful to the plot.
(During the dramatic, moments near the end, I WAS SO SCARED AND WORRIED FOR ALL OF THEM, I GOT EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED TO THEM SUPER QUICKLY. They went through so much ohh lord)
I truly enjoyed this movie to the fullest. I'm already very interested in swimming, and the messages that Free! is trying to bring about friendship, the future and freedom, are also important to me. Starting Days does bring up a lot of the same stuff from the actual show, but I would say that first and foremost; this movie is about acceptance, of oneself and of others (the key to happiness). It's all about these boys being willing to work together as a team. And It's so beautiful.
I recommend this movie to people that value these aspects in life, or just want to have a good time.
High☆Speed!: Free! Starting Days is a solid movie that will likely be enjoyable to fans of the TV anime, and potentially even those unfamiliar to the franchise as a standalone coming-of-age film.
The story, while nothing exceptional, is solid. There is a degree of repetitiveness among the two seasons of the anime and this movie in terms of main themes and sources of conflict, and if this movie's other elements weren't so well-done I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did. Fortunately, that's not the case. The movie had uncertainty about the future, family drama, and, as this is Free!, friendship being its main
drivers, and while it did get a bit too melodramatic sometimes, overall I feel that the story was handled well and made for a movie that had some substance instead of having it be an hour of fanservice, which was a route they could have easily gone down.
There are some moments in the film that feel a bit awkward or shoehorned in (for example, Sousuke had more interaction with the gang than I'd previously thought from the way they act towards each other in the future, and I did question Haruka's future attitude towards competing.) but I don't think they detracted from my enjoyment of the film in a major way.
Where I feel this movie did an exceptional job is its characters. I was worried, at first, with such a large number of the main cast (especially since there is already an established universe) being original characters (not counting the novels). I was pleasantly surprised that all of them received some amount of development and had good, believable dynamics with each other. Overall, both new and familiar characters were likeable in their own ways, and I found myself emotionally invested in them.
One other thing that the movie did excellently is developing the relationship between Makoto and Haruka. For characters whose relationship in the future is already so well-known, their interaction in the movie never felt unimportant and are, in fact, what I believe are some of the strongest points of the movie, whether or not the larger franchise is considered. I left the theatre with a greater appreciation of their friendship, and I believe a better understanding of the relationship between the characters' older selves.
This being a KyoAni production, it was definitely a visual treat. While
I do think their style can be rather bland, the movie is undeniably very pretty, with fluid animation, great backgrounds, and good use of colour when it counts. There is one particular scene between Makoto and Haruka that was animated beautifully (more so than the rest if the film,) which I feel really emphasised it as a pivotal moment.
The sound and music were also fine, and served their purpose well. The music will sound familiar to those who have seen the series. It's not a soundtrack that will merit multiple replays on its own, but it was definitely effective in the context of the movie.
Overall, this is a movie I can recommend without reservations to a fan of the series. While I can see how it might be less interesting to someone not already interested in Free!, I think it still merits a watch for anyone who wants to see a beautifully animated but sometimes slow-moving coming-of-age film.
Note: I saw this movie in Japanese with no English subtitles. I am currently a Japanese language student, and while I'm confident that I understood almost everything in the movie, there may have been some things I missed. I will update this review if my opinions change after I see it again once the DVD comes out.
This is a 10/10 for each category.
The story was a prequel to my favorite anime:Free!.I loved how we got to explore their past selves and how they got to bound to be a team.The story was solid overall and the pacing was good.My feelings died completely after I passed 57 minutes when the so called feeling trains begun.It had a clear start,their middle was full of drama and struggle and it was taken out of our everyday life with the ending having the message that,a friend can get you through thick and thin.
The art was beautiful,something I appreciated always about the Free anime.
The music was very well executed and it was one of the few animes in which I actually paid attention to it,knowing from the previous two it is going to be great,OLD CODEX is really amazing at what they are doing.
The characters are really drawn from real life.My favorite is Makoto,a kind soul and a kid who struggled with finding his own identity and my heart broke when he and Haru became distant and I was melted at their pool scene and when Makoto panicked so bad when Haru fainted.He is the heart of the group and he keeps them all in check.Haru is the mysterious genius who feels cold at first,but once you know him you understand just how much he cares,in his own way,he showed Makoto who he was with a simple phrase which killed me yet again,he is the team's leader and their secret weapon.Asahi is one of the new characters introduced and he is the type that is up there on a stage and is very enthusiastic only to be brought to reality and be made to work harder for his goals,he was the motivation of the team.Ikuya was the silent one,the timid one,the one who tried to copy his role model to be as good or better than him and in doing so he tried to be noticed by a brother who pushed him away,he was I believe,the team's brain,always saying things how they were and his breaking scene broke me and shook me from inside.
If you want a beautifully shaped story,a great art and to cry from inside out until you dry yourself of tears then watch this.I really missed Free! and this brought back the wonderful anime that I remembered.
Welcome to "High☆Speed!: Free! Starting Days" where this adaption of the light novel doesn't really cover the content in the light novel at all.
In this anime adaption, the story covers our lovely boys, Makoto and Haruka as they have graduated from elementary and are now entering high school. They meet friends mentioned in the original anime, like Kisumi Shigino, and those not mentioned in the original, Asahi Shiina, and Ikuya Kirishima (though I swear I've seen Ikuya's green hair in the original anime somewhere). From there, these four boys play out their story as they join their middle school's swim club.
The story didn't
captivate too much. Honestly, it would have been more satisfying to watch the elementary boys, as us fangirls don't really know what it was like for Rin and Haruka to be friends before rivals. In any case, the anime adaption explores the flaws and mental problems of each character and how they overcome them. It was a nice sight to see how human they could become. Especially our aloof boy, Haruka. However, the story followed the same predictable path of New beginning>Faced with choice>Hardship>Sad moment that makes everyone cry>Resolution>Triumph! And of course, while that may be a satisfying watch at points, it got terribly boring at times. We've seen that formula for two seasons now. So while it was great to explore the troubles of the insecure middle schoolers, the story turned out mediocre at best.
As always, the art style has remained constantly beautiful. Nice proportions, insanely inaccurate muscles, and drop dead great-to-drool-over hot character designs. No art is without its flaws though, as it was sometimes hard to believe some characters were middle schoolers, and not high schoolers. Especially the third years. They looked like 2nd year high schoolers. While our boys tended to look like first year high schoolers at points.
First, I'd like to mention, I had a real problem with their voices. No 1st year middle schooler has gone through puberty so much that they already have a bass-like tone. It was completely unrealistic to me and made them feel older than they should've. The only one to have an accurate voice, I felt, was Nagisa. He actually sounded his age, albeit he did sound a bit girly (but everyone knows Nagisa is best girl anyway). So yeah, there's that. The soundtrack is as beautiful as ever, though. Took me back to the days where we fangirls were just cooing over the beautiful scenes in the original. Also Tatsuhisa Suzuki's (Makoto) singing is always heavenly with band OLDCODEX. You can hear that at the end of the movie.
Character development is pretty good. Not as good as it could have been, but the anime still introduces some pretty heavy topics in the minds of these middle schoolers, such as isolation, unconfidence, and insecurity. Obviously, Haruka and Makoto go through the most development as they learn what it is to be the best of themselves. But side characters like Ikuya and Asahi go through that same development. It's a bit disappointing that they're not in the original series anywhere, even though it seems as though our main boys have formed a really good relationship with them. There's no explanation for that as there is with Kisumi, and that is a bit bothersome. It is also very nice to have scenes with Haruka's and Makoto's mothers, as they are practically nonexistent in the original anime (I'm looking right at you, Haru-chan). So, good characters. You've got the aloof, uncaring type, the mom af type, the rambunctious one, and the proud distant one.
Bored. I was so bored. Some points were interesting, and I really like the movie, and all, but it was in no way satisfying. I didn't at all get to see what I've longed to see. My elementary school boys. Instead, I'm stuck with middleschool problem children--half of which aren't even present in the original series. Of course, all those fanservice moments, I died for. So much delicious shonen ai.
If I'm being honest, the show deserves a fair rating of ****** (see what I did there? I'm sooo good at puns), however, as you might see in my profile, I gave it a personal rating of 5, simply because it was predictable and boring. They way it was told and all the jazz were its redeeming qualities, but I just felt like I had seen the same thing for the third time. I am, admittedly, a fan of this series, but even I can tell you it is severely flawed. It's more of a slice of life than a sports anime. But it works, and it does what it does. And it's pretty okay for a casual watch.
Favorite Song: "First Conversation" by Tasuya Katou which can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUW41m_TG3Y
Normally, I don't watch prequels or extra material that belongs to any given anime, but I just love Free! so much that I had to give this a go. And it was amazing.
The place where Free! shines is in it's character work. I'm usually hesitant of prequels because I can't find much value in them. After all, how can there be interesting development if you already know the outcome? This movie changed my views on that. Makoto and Haru's relationship is probably the perfect example. In this movie, there is a good amount of tension and stress between them, which is very interesting to watch
play out. On top of that, towards the middle of the film, you'll see most of the main characters enter into sort of a depression, and the way they handle it is written perfectly. None of the character development seems worthless at all.
The next thing I enjoy is that you get to see people crossing paths in this movie that will surprise you. For example, Rei is in this movie. How he's integrated into it is awesome.
Do you need to watch this movie to understand Free! and the subsequent seasons? No. But I do think that this will help you enjoy it to the fullest. Watching this movie will allow you to see certain events first hand rather than seeing them in flashbacks. It really is nice to experience it that way.
Besides that, this movie is just a joy to watch if you love the franchise. It definitely left me feeling warm and happy. Especially since, as I'm writing this, the third season is airing, it'd be a good movie to check out. Learning more about Ikuya, Asahi, Nao, and Natsuya is really cool. Anyway, I'll leave it here with a very strong recommendation to watch this. It's worth it, as always.
If you've watched Free! Iwatobi Swim Club and Free! Eternal Summer, you've watched Free! Starting Days.
(I also rated this movie 6 for Fair, but then changed it to 7 for Good after seeing that others' reviews were largely positive. There were good things about this movie and it would be ridiculous not to point that out.)
Story: 3 for Poor
And this is why I'll say Free! Starting Days was a reconstitution of the anime series. The plotlines were the same.
An injury - Sousuke's shoulder
Damaged relationship with a sibling - Rin and Gou
Makoto's damaged relationship with swimming - Haru's damaged relationship with swimming
A scene with Asahi
and Ikuya - A scene with Rin and Ai
I could come up with more but I'm trying to avoid spoilers. And the four instances I chose above were not instances of characterization. For example, I didn't write something like "Rin wanting to swim like Haru" because that's not a repetitive plotline, it's just characterization.
I know people will disagree with me, but it was just really repetitive. The only thing remotely new about it all was the new characters brought in.
Art: 9 for Great
Free! still manages to captivate us with beautiful water and making their characters look attractive as possible.
Sound: 8 for Very Good
The sound was good, each effect was great. I have no complaints about that. The only thing that was a little weird was the voice acting. Rin sounded like a child, but Haru? Definitely not. He sounds exactly the same, and if you watched the "Scene" with Makoto, you'd know. (Also, I want people to stop referring to the fireworks scene as Haru and Makoto's first fight.)
Character: 7 for Good
Nothing new was achieved with the characterization of the original ISC team & a few special characters from the series. This is because of the repetitive plotlines. However, each retained an unique identity, so that's something. And the new characters were likable.
Enjoyment: 6 for Fair
I like Haru but I didn't enjoy the repetition. I skipped like two minutes of the movie and didn't miss a thing.
Overall: 7 for Good
Free! Starting Days largely has the same quality as the anime series when it comes to sound and art and characterization. However, the plotlines lack originality which is distracting to the quality of the movie.
That's my opinion on High Speed: Free! Starting Days...
To be honest, I watched this movie without watching the Free! series... I ended up watching this movie because it is said to be the prequel of the Free! series...so I thought it does not matter whether I watch or not the Free! series...
Overall, I think this movie is a slow-paced one... If I'm not mistaken, the story only got interesting halfway towards the end... Generally, it focuses on teamwork... but every member of the team have their own problem which consequently affect the teamwork.
What I like about this movie is the animation. For me, the
swimming movements are smooth... but I don't deny that sometimes I believe that the movements should be faster than it appears since the characters are in the relay competition... but maybe it is made as such in order to add dramatic elements to the scenes... I don't really know...
Other than that, I like it when all the characters try their best towards achieving the team's goal... It is quite inspiring...
So basically, if you like movie with friendship and teamwork themes, High Speed: Free Starting Days is for you.. Don't worry, there is no BL element...