As if there wasn’t already enough hype surrounding the steamy summer swimming anime Free!, the book division of Kyoto Animation has decided that a prequel is in order. After all, sexy men were once incredibly adorable boys.
The novel, titled High☆Speed!, will be available for purchase starting July 8. For only six-hundred and fifty yen, you can have over two-hundred pages of swimsuit-clad lads all to yourself. Keep an eye out for selected bookstores across Japan, or buy the prequel online at KyoAni Shop. Don’t forget to also check out the official site, which was recently updated with STORY!, CHARACTER!, GALLERY!, and SHOP! sections for more information.
Besides for the chance to drool even more over these men, this news is exciting because it is the first time High☆Speed! has ever been published. The novel, written by Ooji Koji, received honorable mention at the Second Annual Kyoto Animation Award Novel Division in 2010. While High☆Speed! could have easily been tossed aside then, KyoAni’s short commercial spot of it ignited such a fervent fan base that we haven’t been able to let go of it since.
Now, we already knew that High☆Speed! was coming: we previously covered the release date here. Call me silly, but I couldn’t help but feel that this update was worth it if only for the pictures. Seriously, check out the one below. The fan girl within me squeals every time I look at it!
If you’ve been watching this anime though, you’ll notice that there’s a character missing. Rei isn’t in any of the pictures! This is because High☆Speed! takes place while Haruka and Makoto are still in sixth grade, while Nagisa is still in fifth. It is during this time that Rin transfers from another school, and, seeing that everyone shares a passion for swimming, suggests starting a swim team together. With High☆Speed!, you get to see the boys’ relationship develop before Rei came along, and perhaps will learn more about why Haruka and Rin eventually become rivals.
The countdown to Free! has begun!