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 ^^’