Fans of the swimming-themed anime have been clamoring for additional content ever since Season 3’s cryptic ending — “see you in 2020…” — left them wanting more. No one could have predicted what the year 2020 would turn out to be, and with manufacturing delays throwing the calendar into turmoil, we’ve all been left to float around in a state of uncertainty.
The tale of Iwatobi Swim Club is loosely based on the light book “High Speed!” by Koji, and the film “Free!” is loosely based on that novel. The club’s brilliant team of swimmers, led by the film’s protagonist Haruka Nanase, has demonstrated their promise in the pool since their early years. Because of their sporting achievements and failures, the lads’ friendships fluctuate — and, of course, their fierce rivalries cross over onto the dry ground as a result.
When it premiered in 2013, the series created a big sensation in the sports anime subgenre and beyond, and season two was released the following year. Although it took four long years before Season 3 of “Free!” premiered in 2018, fans weren’t left completely in the dark throughout that period. A film series was released by the show’s co-creators, Kyoto Studios, and Animation Do, starting in 2015.
It recapped familiar storylines from the previous two seasons, as well as some additional precursor content that teased the events of Season 3. In a similar vein, the 2019 film “Free! Road to the World – the Dream” recapped Season 3 while leaving the waters of the future seems a little foggy in the process.
What’s the Release Date for Free! Season 4?
Fans have been anticipating a fourth season of “Free!” since the show’s third season ended with the promise of more in 2020, according to The Cinemaholic, and fans have been building their expectations ever since. According to Keeperfacts, the series’ creators had intended for the release of fresh content to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – a good occasion for the anime’s swimming heroes to compete in their respective sports. However, as was the case with virtually everything else last year, the Olympics were postponed until July 2021 — and the publication date of “Free!” was also postponed until then.
Tokyo-based Kyoto Studios has stated that the first installment of a new two-part film series titled “Free: The Final Stroke” will be released on September 17, 2021, with the second installment set to be released on April 22, 2022. Although there is still some suspicion that the Olympics could be postponed or canceled, it is impossible to say whether or not this is a certainty.
Here’s when things get a little confusing: However, despite the verified movie news, we have yet to receive any official confirmation regarding Season 4. In keeping with the other films in the “Free!” franchise, “The Final Stroke” will serve as a prequel to the upcoming season four of the show — but perhaps the title suggests that it will deviate from its predecessors to provide the final piece of the swimmers’ tale? Even though it is too soon to predict how things will unfold, let us take a look at the people whose stories are still to be told.
Who Will Be a Part of the Free! Season 4 Cast?
With the original protagonist Haruka remaining very much at the center of the tale, Nobunaga Shimazaki appears to be a lock to repeat his part in the upcoming film. Likewise, teammate Rei Ryugazaki is still in the running, so it’s likely that Daisuke Hirakawa will make a comeback as well.
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Makoto Tachibana’s desires to teach professional swimmers, such as his best friend Haruka at the close of the previous season, indicate that he will play a significant role in whatever is to come, and we can expect to see voice actor Tatsuhisa Suzuki return in some capacity. After taking over for Hiroko Utsumi in Season 3 and remaining with “Free!” throughout the series’ subsequent film episodes, it appears likely that Eisaku Kawanami will return to direct the series’ next film chapter.
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Although neither the cast of “The Final Stroke” nor the fourth season has been formally announced, there has been conjecture — such as that expressed by Herald Journalism — that some new faces may be on the way. Check out this list of possible storylines for new and returning characters…
What Exactly Is the Storyline of Free! Season 4?
Given the show’s connection to the Tokyo Olympics, you don’t need to be a gold medalist in smart predicting to forecast where the plot of Season 4 or the film series will take you. As Season 3 finished with Haruka vowing to continue his swimming career and compete at a worldwide level, we believe that the show’s fourth season could bring Haruka closer to realizing his international goals and competing for a spot on the Olympic podium. However, we are not the only ones who are concerned about whether his ambition will float or sink in the wake of the financial crisis.
Previously, our characters had been divided into two groups: one narrative followed those who remained with the Iwatobi high school swim team, while another followed those who had graduated to compete in collegiate competition.
While both of those threads have plenty of room to develop further, as anime review channel KANJIC points out, delving deeper into character relationships is likely to be a popular option given the fact that some of the show’s most beloved characters such as breast-stroke champion Nagisa are now in charge of the high school club.
If all goes according to plan, the release of “The Final Stroke” in September should make the future of “Free!” as clear as the bottom of an Olympic swimming pool.