After being announced to be released around the time of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, the next Free! anime film will be delayed until an unspecified time, according to a post to the series website. The film was to be released in the “Road to 2020” campaign that included the Free! Road to the World – the Dream compilation film released into Japanese cinemas on July 5.
An event for the 2020 film was supposed to occur on July 19 to preview a trailer for the film, but was canceled in wake of the Kyoto Animation arson attack on July 18, which killed 36 of the studio’s employees, including the character designer and chief animation director for the Free! Franchise, Futoshi Nishiya, and High Speed! Free! Starting Days director Yasuhiro Takemoto.
The post on the website explains that the film has to be delayed for “various reasons” but “the entire staff – including the director – is working hard to meet your expectations.” Kyoto Animation also says that they are “looking forward to everyone seeing the film” and that “when the film is released, [they] invite everyone to enjoy the work.”
On November 9, Kyoto Animation announced the new release date for the also delayed Violet Evergarden The Movie, which had to be moved from its January release date due to the arson attack.