May 3, 2022
I am truly happy that this actually looks like an end. Hopefully ultimate one. It feels like it was dragged forever. I’m sincerely happy that u managed managed to finish it, now u will have some more time to think about future after shutting down that store to expand the studio itself. Some new material would be nice in that full of sequels library of yours.
But going back to the reviewed piece. I hate Free! franchise, always did. It was lazy, boring and pretty much low effort(except for audio-visuals) production from our beloved studio. Never understood it’s popularity, not even cuz I am
not in the demographic group, it just insults my intelligence.
Yeah, continuing last movie’s main con it’s writing is even more dreadful. And it picked up exactly where previous movie left us on. I had have some hopes towards a bit more dramatic/realistic conclusion, or at least tad bit more used that fine set up that last movie managed to deliver, but naw. Writing is all over the place, horribly paced and, for me, left half of the plot lines just… there. Why bother. Too much of everything, no time to breath, as it was forced upon creators to shut it all down within these mere 100 something minutes. Pathetic attempt to cover it up with huge amount of sugar and fluffy ending did not help at all. Never expected to be any good, but that was below even my own expectations. Wondering if cut half of the dialogues it would be any worse? I think not, sadly, it underwhelmed even guy like me, that hates that franchise. Also, what with them fucking gags all over the movie, what was the point? Cringe audiences or what? I’m lost. Definitely weakest in the franchise when it comes to comedy.
But it’s KyoAni, visuals were truly astonishing. Smooth animations with some glorious backgrounds were really pleasing, also framerate and designs did not disappoint. U could see where the budget went(obviously not to the writer). As usual, swimming looked beautiful, with really lovely colour palette, liked as well the way animators uses cgi combining it with digital brushing on top of the animation. Smooth af. I can’t hate in KyoAni technical stuff, cuz there’s rarely any reason to do so. It’s a visual thing, for that reason alone it is worth to finish that thing.
Well, obviously, it’s as lively as the animation. OST itself is a bit more unrecognisable throughout animation than usual, feels like it wasn’t there at all here and there, but when it’s needed it can pop up, especially during final scenes. They even put some smile on my face. The anime theme “This Fading Blue” by OLDCODEX is a banger. Only bigger issues I had was the sound mix, some dialogues were hardly heard, also va weren’t as memorable as usual, I believe it wasn’t purposely done though. With that, unfortunately, any good sides of that anime are concluded.
Free! franchise always had one of the most flat and bland casts I’ve seen, forgettable characters, poorly written and with bare minimum of any psychological depth. Yeah, it is quite often in sports anime that these things are taken over by sports enjoyment and team work. Not here. Never, not even once, I felt connected in any way to the characters. You could change any of our 4 main characters for someone else and you wouldn’t probably even notice. With this movie it was, however, taken up to whole another level. Not only there were TOO MANY CHARACTERS, but our MCs quite often felt like side characters, just to show up in the last 20-30 mins of the movie to deliver than sweet ending. Kind of justified, but on another hand while I did not like that movie it was WAY TOO SHORT for amount of characters, plot lines and closures it wanted to achieve. Ultimately no one shines, no one has anything important to do, maybe except Kirishima, but even that looses its impact cuz of that horribly fast pacing. Big no no, shame, but as well it’s impressive to make that cast even less impressive. Well done.
It’s quite simple, the movie looks and sounds great, if u are audiovisual freak, you will be at least partly happy. Biggest issue, however, is that while being horribly fast paced and intensive movie it’s ultimately… boring. Except last 20 minutes that were genuinely enjoyable. I’m pretty sure some fans will shed a tear or two. Storywise it’s a dog shit, visuals were beautiful, also sounds lit, so it was enjoyable to some extent, at least for me.
But sad truth is that nothing could save it from being just bland and disappointing. I’m pretty sure that most of the fans will be satisfied tho, get ready for some tears and feels, it was a long ride. Pointless, often literally unnecessary, definitely underwhelming. Not because I don’t like swimming anime, cuz I do, not like we have many of em, well, at least diving ones are quality works. Could it be better? Sure, stupid gags and lazy writing cursed that production. Also not using the build up from the 4th movie was pretty shocking for me.
To you, fam of the franchise, no worries, you’ll probably love it as much as usually. It’s still fluffy, has beautiful boiz, looks gorgeous and ultimately it’s a feel good climax to long ass anime. Be happy.
I am, even if that movie was just shit.
What did you think of this review?