'Free!' Season 3 Release Date Confirmed For 2018: Anime 'Free! Iwatobi Swim Club' Announced As Movie Sequel

The Free! Season 3 release date has officially been confirmed by Kyoto Animation to be coming out in 2018. Called Free! Dive To The Future, the anime TV series will be the sequel to the movie Free! Take Your Marks! that was recently released in Japan. In addition, a special "Episode 0" will be screened and this episode will not be included in the third season of Free! Iwatobi Swim Club.

The Free! Take Your Marks! movie was based on four anime original stories set in early spring and it is a sequel to the anime episode compilation film Free! Timeless Medley. It first premiered at the Third KyoAni & Do Thanks Event on October 21, 2017.

What caught everyone's attention with the new film is that it ended with the message "See You Next Stage." When character designer Futoshi Nishiya was asked what this message meant, he simply repeated, "See you next stage." This was the first hint that the Free! Season 3 announcement was coming soon since the first anime used a similar message ("See You Next Summer") to tease the second season, Free! Eternal Summer.

Today, the official website announced that the Free! Season 3 release date will be in the summer of 2018. That means July, which also happens to be the same time frame as Attack On Titan Season 3.

Free! Season 3 will also have a special episode that will not air as a normal anime TV show episode. This so-called Episode 0 will be viewed at two special screening events held in Japan called Kizuna (Bond) and Yakusoku (Promise). People who buy the Blu-Ray and DVD box sets for Free! Timeless Medley will receive an application form that gives them priority sale tickets for the screening events.

So far, nothing has been announced about the story for Free! Season 3. The anime series was based on a two-volume light novel series written by author Koji Oji that was published in July of 2013. The current story, including the recently released Free! movie, are anime original stories.

According to reviews, Free! Take Your Marks told the story of Haruka and Makoto's high school graduation while everyone else tried to figure out what to do with their future. Rin traveled to Australia to continue his training. It was more of a "slice of life" anime in comparison to the full seasons.Maybe college-level swimming is coming up for the Iwatobi boys? Maybe Olympic swimming? Fans will just have to wait until the Free! Season 3 release date to find out!

[Featured Image by Kyoto Animation/Free! Anime TV Promo]