May 29, 2020

That is probably the best thing to come out of this film, if I'm honest, but only because we were deprived of it in the main story. So, like... I wouldn't call this a summary? I mean, it totally is a summary because there's probably about 45 minutes of recap or so (maybe less, I didn't check), but there are SO many new scenes-- way more than the first two recap films. Before I get into the new stuff, though, just know that they replaced some of the music that plays over certain scenes with different OSTs and some of those scenes got better because of it.

Anyway, so this film did recap Dive to the Future, but it also rewrote some of it. I'm not too terribly crazy about that, but then again, the main story would just take a quick edit to make everything sound as far as continuity goes. It isn't that anything too serious is rewritten, it's just that certain scenes got revamped so they could show less of them rather than playing the whole scene over again. For example, Haru and Rin saw each other again after Haru talked to his coach about his swimming. Since, I assume, the filmmakers wanted to cut the time it would take to show the coach and Haru having their conversation to give context to Rin and Haru's meeting, they just opted for Haru and Rin to meet in a different setting. It isn't like it's upsetting the very story itself, it's just different for the most part.

That's the recap stuff done. The new stuff-- boi, you better bet that there's moments in this film that have become some of my favorite moments in the whole franchise. I won't go into detail so the people that want to watch it can watch it fresh, but there were characters meeting up and extra conversations shown that were freaking awesome. I'll talk about that more in a bit, but first I want to mention that this film kind of formatted itself to be a montage of the main story with deleted scenes shown in full in between. Of course, the plot did show us full scenes when it came to the big stuff that happened in the main story, but for the most part, the bulk of the scenes we got in full were scenes that filled in the spaces of time we didn't see in the main story. Like, for example, what Sousuke was doing in Tokyo before Rin met up with him or how Haru asked his coach to train him for the IM.

Oh, that's the other thing. These extra scenes don't really involve Haru all that much. I got the feeling that the purpose of this film was to fill in time for the other characters; plus, Haru didn't really need more added to his story since... well, he's the main character. We got it all in Dive to the Future. Also, the recap starts right before the IM. Well, I mean, it does montage through what happened before then, but the first big recap scene that's shown is the IM. There were also flashback scenes of the characters talking about their dreams when they were in elementary school, which was a nice setup for the point of the film.

I feel like I'm not really reviewing this but rather just explaining that it is in fact worth watching. Okay, so, let me explain WHY it's worth watching. The extra scenes (I said I'd come back to this, yeah?). There were a good chunk that either filled in story we didn't get to see but knew about or were just conversations between characters. However, there were scenes that seriously-- and I mean seriously-- progressed the story that you're not gonna get literally anywhere else. That was what was so cool about watching this film. There was real development both in the story and for the characters. Not only that, but this film made connections between characters that will have a serious impact on the story going forward that you wouldn't be aware of unless you watched this.

Basically, I just wanna say that this film is worth watching just for the new stuff. Do what I did and skim through the stuff you already know about and watch the new stuff. Oh, important point: don't watch this as a substitute for Dive to the Future. You'll miss out on a bunch. Though, you'll miss out on quite a bit if you don't watch this too. So, watch Dive to the Future first so you have context for what's happening in this film, but definitely watch this because, holy hell, it took me on a ride. I don't know what the future holds for Free! what with the complications with the studio, but I really, really hope that plans for the sequel movie pick back up despite the news that it was delayed because this film just set up so much more for me to be excited about going forward. Here's to the future!
Reviewer’s Rating: 10
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