>-Please tell us your thoughts during the live recording sessions.
I thought everyone in the cast brought out the appeal of each of the characters. They shared a tight bond with their character; I was moved by how strong it was. Shimazaki-san came with good questions about how to appreciate the succinct Haruka, Suzuki-san proposed several suggestions for Makoto, and there were a lot of great ideas and ad-libs to change scenes as well. My chest grew hot as I heard Miyano-san speak Rin’s role from the delicate scenes to the violent rage scenes. Yonaga-san gave us several ad-libs for Nagisa during recording. The way that Hirakawa-san’s Rei spoke so fondly about Haruka was so cute it melted my heart! I have a lot of gratitude to everyone for how they played their characters.
Wanting to create Free! to be a realistic drama
>-Free! obviously was a swimming anime, but other than that, were there any points you fixated on or were difficult to work on?
At the beginning of the production, the decision to make it occur in either fantasy or reality was a big selection. I wanted to depict it as a realistic drama, so I chose to base it in reality. I dislike it when people think the swimming races were a bit fake when they watch it. I personally have a lot of experience swimming, so my utmost desire was to never give off a false feeling when people watched it. On the other hand, there are many different frames that were hard to draw and maintain a sense of reality. For example, when you’re swimming front crawl, you need breathing spells where you breathe out through your nose and in through your mouth. I think people who may watch would have a different impression, so while I think you do have to include a few fibs, I did my best to apply the rules of reality in this series.