All 3 ‘Free!’ Anime Seasons in Order (Including Movies, OVAs & Shorts)

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‘Free!’ is a Japanese anime sports series that deals with an uncommon sport in the genre: competitive swimming. The full title of the anime is ‘Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club.’ It was produced by Kyoto Animation and Animation Do and directed by Hiroko Utsumi. The series premiered in 2013 and has gained popularity for its engaging characters, sports theme, and high-quality animation.

Today, the ‘Free!’ anime franchise consists of 3 seasons, five movies, and several shorts and OVAs, and today, we’re going to tell you how to watch them in order!

Editor’s Note: This watch order was updated in December 2023.

All 3 ‘Free!’ Seasons in release date order – including movies, shorts and OVAs

When ‘Free!’ was first released, the anime received generally positive reviews due to its characters, animation, and exploring a somewhat less popular sports genre in such a context. The series gained popularity not only for its well-animated swimming sequences but also for its exploration of themes such as friendship, teamwork, and personal growth.

Fans appreciated the diverse cast of characters and their individual stories, contributing to the overall appeal of the anime. The character dynamics, along with the strong emotional moments. Today, the ‘Free!’ franchise is massive and consists of numerous installments, here’s the release date order:

  1. ‘Free!: Iwatobi Swim Club’ (2013) – 12 Episodes
  2. ‘FrFr!’ (2013) -Shorts
  3. ‘Free!: Eternal Summer’ (2014) – 12 Episodes
  4. ‘Forbidden All-Hard’ – OVA (2015)
  5. ‘High Speed! Free! Starting Days’ – Movie (2015)
  6. ‘Free! Timeless Medley: The Bond’ Movie (2017)
  7. ‘Free! Timeless Medley: The Promise’ – Movie (2017)
  8. ‘Free! Take Your Marks’ – Movie (2017)
  9. ‘Free!: Dive to the Future’ (2018) 12 Episodes
  10. ‘Free! Road to the World – the Dream – Movie (2019)
  11. ‘Free! The Final Stroke’ – Part 1 – Movie (2021)
  12. ‘Free! The Final Stroke’ – Part 2 – Movie (2022)

Are all ‘Free!’ seasons & movies connected? What’s the best order to watch them in?

The various seasons and movies of ‘Free!’ are connected and form a continuous storyline. The series starts with ‘Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club’ and is followed by ‘Free! Eternal Summer,’ which continues the narrative of the characters as they progress through high school and face new challenges in competitive swimming.

If you’re new to the franchise, it’s better to watch the series in release date order; however, if you’re already somewhat familiar with the overall plot and timeline, you should follow the chronological order, as some installments were released as prequels.

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‘Free!’ anime franchise in chronological order

The chronology of ‘Free!’ is more or less uncomplicated, what makes things difficult is the sheer amount of recap movies and the prequels. When everything is taken into account here’s the franchise in chronological order:

  1. ‘High Speed! Free! Starting Days’ (2015) Prequel
  2. ‘Iwatobi Swim Club’ (2013)
  3. ‘FrFr!’ (2013)
  4. ‘Eternal Summer’ (2014)
  5. ‘Forbidden All-Hard!’ (2015)
  6. ‘Free! Timeless Medley: The Bond’ (2017) second season compilation
  7. ‘Free! Timeless Medley: The Promise’ (2017) second season compilation
  8. ‘Free! Take Your Marks’ (2017)
  9. ‘Dive to the Future’ (2018)
  10. ‘Free! Road to the World – the Dream’ (2019) – third season compilation
  11. ‘Free! The Final Stroke’ (2021 – 2022)

Ideally, your watch order should start with ‘High Speed! Free! Starting Days’ was released in 2015 because it serves as a prequel to the franchise, followed by the first season. The shorts are exactly that; shorts don’t really bring much to the table when it comes to story and can easily be skipped.

The shorts, if you decide to watch them, should be followed by a second season and an OVA episode. The next thing on your watch order should be ‘Free! Timeless Medley’ trilogy of movies, but there’s a catch. ‘The Bond’ and ‘The Promise’ are basically recaps of the second season with a few added extra scenes, so if you are not really interested in rewatching the season, you can skip them. The last movie in the trilogy, ‘Free! Take Your Marks’ is a brand new story that serves as a sequel to both the recap movies and the show’s second season.

From then, you should watch the third season which is followed by yet another recap movie – ‘Free! Road to the World- the Dream’ was released in 2019. ‘Free! The Final Stroke’ is a brand new story but was released in two parts and should be watched last.

Where to watch the above-mentioned seasons & movies?

All three seasons of ‘Free!’ anime can be watched on Crunchyroll; however, the movies and shorts are something else. ‘High Speed! Free! Starting Days! can be streamed on Funimation.

A series of shorts ‘FrFr!’ can be found on YouTube for free. ‘Free! Timeless Medley’ trilogy can be streamed on Funimation, with the first installments also being available on HBO Go in selected countries.

‘Free! Road to the World’ can be streamed on Funimation with ‘Free! The Final Stroke’ is unavailable on major Western streaming services.

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Will there be more ‘Free!’ anime?

With the release of the final part of the movie in 2022, there have been no news regarding the potential fourth season or more movie, so it can be assumed that the story has been wrapped. In any case, we will update this as soon as we have more info!

Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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