In the new series, Haruka, who is attending college in Tokyo, meets Asahi again and reawakens his memories from his middle school years, including those of Ikuya. Makoto is working toward a new dream while he is in Tokyo together with Haruka. Rin has an unexpected meeting in Sydney. As they await their new futures, will they see a new fight ahead? Or will they instead confront the past they left behind?
The highly anticipated third season of Free! is here and better than ever!! With all our old favorites, and new characters, the plot is more dramatic than ever. Now that Haru, Makoto, Rin, and Souske have graduated, we get to see what their future holds and what the future has in store for the swim club without their older members.
Dive to the future is my favorite season so far. With a perfect mix of humor, drama, and swimming it takes everything to a new level. Obviously, if you are new to the series watch the first two seasons, Starting days, and Take your marks first.
(A prequel movie to the first season, and a movie that leads up to season three)
Story 10/10: The story is filled as many twists and turns as always, with new characters being added, and old characters reappearing. A lot of gaps of what happened to characters are filled, and everything slowly comes together. It's excellent.
Art 10/10: From the cherry blossoms, to the water, to the eyes of the characters when anything dramatic happens, the art of Free! Is superb.
Sound 10/10: The Opening and ending themes are fantastic, as well is the general background music during the show, often adding a powerful effect to dramatic scenes (of which there are many)
Character 10/10: Every single character in this show is unique and wonderful with interesting back stories and personalities that add different aspects to the show. From the main characters, to side characters, all are perfectly crafted characters that I guarantee you will fall in love with. Seriously. It's a problem. I have to many swimming children.
Enjoyment 10/10: Free! has always been by far one of my most favorite anime's of all time, and this season is no different. I find myself counting down the days for the newest episodes, and terribly sad when they end and I have to wait another week for the next. This anime is truly a creation lots of people could enjoy. With it's themes of friendship and swimming, and incredible plot twists, it's not just a show for people who like muscles to watch, as some seem to believe. I fully enjoy this show, especially this season, and everything it has to offer. Swimming, friendship, drama, humor, great music, fantastic animation, unique and wonderful characters, Free! has it all.
Overall this season is a solid 10/10. So Free! fans rejoice! It doesn't get any better than Dive to the future! I can't wait to see what the rest of this outstanding season brings us!
Two things I'd like to say before I start this review. First, I don't believe anime should be judged by their fanbase as they have nothing to do with the show itself. It's not like whoever produced the show asked their fans to ship characters etc. Second, I believe in objective reviews, which is why it pisses me off that so many of the top reviews on this site are just memes but doesn't say if the show is actually good or not. If I wanted meme reviews I would just go to gigguk's channel as he does them far better than people here.
believe Free! is a genuinely a good show tho somewhat flawed. If you want intense sports show I wouldn't recommend watching this as Free! is mainly a slice of life and more about its friendships/rivalries rather than intense matches. This season, in contrast with the other ones, has more than one story going on and constantly goes back and forth between scenes, which is why I think its inferior to the other seasons since it always felt like there is too much going on but is still good nonetheless.
Plot (7/10): This season starts with Haru and Makoto going to the same college, Rin going to America, and Nagisa and Rei managing the new team back in Iwatobi high school. Like I said earlier, there are too many things going on, so it sort of leaves a mess rather than focusing development on a single story like what they did in previous seasons. The drama introduced in the story does seem to take an interesting turn with the appearance of Haru's middle school friend, Ikuya, and his new change in attitude in swimming, making the audience want to find out more about what make him cold and distant. There are several other interesting parts to the story but I don't want to spoil them.
Animation (8/10): The animation in Free! looks amazing, clean, and pleasant to look at, as expected of KyoAni. Although its not as good as hyouka, the water scenes are still breathtaking to look at, so no flaws here.
Sound (8/10): The opening sounds lit but the ending...a little eh imo. The soundtracks they played were awesome tho.
Characters (6/10): Biggest problem in this season. There are way too many characters introduced and none of them felt well developed. They all felt like the same person to me. Ikuya is just basically Haru (cold, quiet, a good swimmer) but forced into being his rival. Still tho I'm interested to see how the show will develop them later on in the story and hopefully we'll understand them better later on.
Enjoyment (7/10): So far I'm enjoying this season although its not my favorite one. If you are already a fan of this show you will most likely enjoy this.
Okay, so bear in mind that this review has been written with only 4 episodes out, so maybe by the end of the season I've changed my mind. So far, though, I have to say that everything about this first episode makes me think that Free!: Dive to the Future will be amazing, and exactly what the fans of the anime would expect (this is definitely a compliment) and had been hoping for.
We get to see our main characters back in action but this time all grown up and in a different context (which I think is pretty great, as we rarely get to
see high schoolers actually leave high school in animes) and, at the same time, we finally get to see some old characters and how their lives look like today. This is a testament to Free!'s ability to present new characters and make the audiences get attached to them with only a couple of episodes, which then gives the writers room to explore these characters in future installments of the anime such as Free!: Dive to the Future.
I think most of us would openly admit that Free! is sort of a guilty pleasure. How could you reasonably explain to your friends that an anime about some guys swimming and competing against each other is SO good? It is difficult to explain, yes, because this show is SO MUCH MORE than that tagline. Free! and all its sequels have been consistently entertaining, emotional, intense but never overly dramatic, and simply fantastic. The story about this group of friends, with their problems and hopes, all wrapped up in this context of "sports anime" that keeps it all the more exciting, makes Free! (and all its sequels and prequels) an excellent anime, much better than you would ever imagine when you first read its synopsis.
Free!: Dive to the Future, just like its prequels, is the perfect summer anime, as it is ideal for these summer afternoons where you just feel like laying on the couch and enjoying a good time. However, it would be a mistake to label it only as a "feel good" anime, because even if it definitely qualifies as one, it is way more than that.
With all the above I want to really get the point across that Free!: Dive to the Future is as good, if not better, than all its predecessors. The creators of the show know what we fans want, even when we ourselves don't, and they gave it to us in the perfect package. So if you're a fan of the series, what are you waiting for? Do not even doubt it, every second you're not watching Dive to the Future, is a second you're missing out.
This review will be updated as more episodes come out...
We're back guys! Our dose of the old boys, swimming, and of course, delicious abs. What more can we ask for? I was expecting the novelty of the whole sports element to wear off for me at this point (after all, most of what I can recall from the first two seasons was just really enjoying the beautiful characters and tension between the them) but I found myself pleasantly surprised. Apparently, the makers have not lost their ability to make swimming interesting.
Let's begin by discussing the story-- this is a spoiler free review,
so I won't reveal much other than yes, as the title states, this takes place a little bit after the second season. If you haven't seen both seasons, I would highly recommend that you watch them, but if you have seen them but just forgotten most of what happened (which happened to me, unfortunately), worry not! The story is very clean and current, and so far, not confusing at all. Even with the basic background knowledge of the five main characters from the past two seasons, you should be able to enjoy this thoroughly.
Next is the art--- oh boy, it was breathtaking. So many times I had to rewind because I had literally zoned out staring at the gorgeous art. The water, the cherry blossoms at the beginning of the first episode, the character designs (and abs, dear god) are all gorgeous and it's easy to see how much effort went into this.
As for the sound, the opening theme was pretty fun, but I preferred the closing myself. Perhaps I was a little biased by the beautiful, hot characters dancing their hearts out... regardless, closings for Free! have never disappointed.
The characters have all changed but haven't changed, if that makes any sense whatsoever. They all retain their main elements (so far, anyways) but they also have this new maturity to them that I'm really appreciating. However, I can't say they're really what you might call 'deep' characters, so I'm not sure about that yet. But then again, in my opinion, characters for Free! have never been all that deep.
As I mentioned earlier, this review will be updated as I watch more of this, but as of now, I'm really happy with the direction its going.
Have a great day everyone!
UPDATE: To those who feel like this review comments about the boys' looks a little too much... sorry! It's hard to not mention how beautiful our boys are :)