To celebrate the Japanese Blu-ray and DVD release of the High☆Speed! -Free! Starting Days- film, which premiered in cinemas last December, an event was held that announced a “new screen project” for Free!‘s beautiful swimming boys. Medium and format details are yet to be revealed, but on Sunday (August 14th) Kyoto Animation released the video that unveiled the new project, as well as a stage event set for March 19th, 2017.
The upcoming event will be held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, and the stars of the Free! -Starting Days- film will be present, including Nobunaga Shimazaki (voice of Haruka Nanase), Tatsuhisa Suzuki (Makoto Tachibana), Toshiyuki Toyonaga (Asahi Shiina), Kouki Uchiyama (Ikuya Kirishima), Kenji Nojima (Natsuya Kirishima), and Satoshi Hino (Nao Serizawa). Both the Blu-ray and DVD’s first print limited editions of the film, which shipped on July 20th, contain a priority sales ticket for the event.
The film is directly inspired by the High Speed! novel written by Koji Oji, which was first loosely adapted into the original Free! Iwatobi Swim Club anime. While the anime focused on the boys in high school, the High Speed! novel and film both follow them in middle school. The second volume of the novel was published in July 2014, the same month the second anime series Free! Eternal Summer aired, the first Free! anime having premiered in July 2013. Crunchyroll streamed both seasons as new episodes aired in Japan, and they describe the original series as follows:
Nanase Haruka loved to be in the water – loved swimming. In elementary school, Nanase Haruka, Tachibana Makoto, Matsuoka Rin, and Hazuki Nagisa attended the same swimming class together. Time passed, and as Haruka was living an uneventful high school life, he suddenly encountered Rin again. Rin challenged Haruka to a race and showed him how much stronger he had become. Soon enough, Makoto and Nagisa also rejoined the group, and along with a new classmate, Ryugazaki Rei, they established the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club.