Okay, so bear in mind that this review has been written with only 1 episode 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.