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"High☆Speed! -Free! Starting Days-" Interview with producer Shinichiro Hatta

映画 ハイ☆スピード!-Free! Starting Days-
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What are the main attractions of the film? Hear it straight from the producer... What you should be keeping an eye out for!

In our interview with Kyoto Animation producer Shinichiro Hatta we find out what brought about this film adaptation and what we should be keeping an eye out for in the movie!

I think the idea of junior high school students' having a sense of "immaturity" in a good way is the main point.

asianbeat(ab):We've all been waiting a long time for the film version of the TV anime "Free!," which won a huge following for its portrayal of the bonds of friendship and immense passion that exist in a boys high school swimming team. What was the trigger for making a big screen version?
"Free!" and "Free! -Eternal Summer-" were based on the light novel "High☆Speed!," which received a "Shoureishou (Honorable mention)" at the "2nd Kyoto Animation Award Contest." Turning this light novel (which is the base for Free! and Free!-Eternal Summer-) into a film with a detailed story, we thought that it would add depth to the entire project, and that is why we decided to bring this idea to the big screen.

ab:In "Free!" and "Free!-Eternal Summer-," high school is depicted as an emotional, impressionable time, and the characters are shown to have deep relationships, as well as subtle feelings of distance between them. What should we paying attention to and looking out for in this film?

Junior high school is a pure, bright time. I think the idea of junior high school students' having a sense of "immaturity" in a good way is the main point.
「映画 ハイ☆スピード!-Free! Starting Days-」ポスター
ab:This being the first movie of the series, did you try anything new, or employ any new technology for the first time?

Since the TV series, we have created these stories with a strong passion and desire to depict the characteristics of water, but when it came to working on the film adaptation, we were really committed to using even better technology and more advanced techniques to achieving this aim.

I've been looking forward to the release for some time now, so my heart is pounding (lol)

ab:Depictions of water appears throughout, what was the most challenging aspect of the creative process?

Our staff said that "the depiction of 'living water', and getting this across on screen will be incredibly difficult, but worth it in the end."

ab:With regards to creating this film version, what has left the biggest impression on you?

Until the recording I was a bit anxious about the new characters "Asahi" and "Ikuya." But as soon as the voices were added they totally blended into the world that exists in the "Free!" series and they became really interesting, attractive characters.
Asahi Shiina
Asahi Shiina (voiced by Toshiyuki Toyonaga)
Ikuya Kirishima
Ikuya Kirishima (voiced by Kouki Uchiyama)
ab:The film will be released very soon in Japan, on 5th December (Saturday), what's been going through your mind?
I've been looking forward to the release for some time now, so my heart is pounding (lol) All of the staff involved put everything they had into this production. This movie is really filled with this kind of feeling and emotion. So if you get the chance, please go along to a cinema and check-it-out!

ab:From a producer's perspective, what aspects of the film would you recommend us to keep an eye out for?

For me, it is how "Haruka", "Makoto", "Asahi" and "Ikuya" are supported by seniors and friends, whilst in the process of cultivating deep bonds of friendship.

ab:Do you have a message for the fans who are going to see "High☆Speed! -Free Starting Days-," who have been watching the "Free" series from the very beginning?

The subtitle of the film is "-Free! Starting Days-" and as the name suggests, this is a story that is connected to the world of "Free!" This film is about the high school students' (the protagonists in "Free!") younger years, capturing one experience from their time as junior high school students. So please try and feel this "connection" (to the world of "Free!") as being the character's "starting point for the future," when you see the film.

ab:Who's your favorite character in the series and why?

I really like all the characters, so I can't choose one in particular, but if I had to pick one, I think it would be awesome if there was a really big-hearted "senpai (senior at school)" like "Seijuro Mikoshiba" from the "Free!" series around you (lol)!

ab:And finally, do you have any messages for our readers from all over the world?
For creating a film version of Koji Oji's original novel "High☆Speed!," we first of all published 2 illustrated prototypes of the work on the website of "Animation Do," which is an affiliated company of Kyoto Animation's.

Some time has passed since then, and now we are at the starting blocks with this cinematic version about to be released. Backed by the support of all the fans, we've finally made it here! We're so grateful to everybody. In this film you can experience an event from the character's adolescence and catch a glimpse into their younger years. We're really looking forward to seeing everyone's response, as well as their opinions and impressions about the film. Please enjoy seeing the characters embark on the path to their future!
(C)2015 おおじこうじ・京都アニメーション/ハイスピード製作委員会


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