Free! Road to the World the Dream is an anime film that was released in 2019 that recapped Free! -Dive to the Future, the third season of the Free! anime franchise.

Free! Road to the World the Dream
English Publisher: Crunchyroll
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: October 11, 2022

While Free! Road to the World the Dream is technically a recap film, it also includes new scenes that flesh out some parts of the story from the season. These new scenes focus on either the characters at Iwatobi High School or on Sosuke, since their stories were glossed over a bit in the television anime season in order to focus on the college characters in Tokyo. It should also be noted that while this film is meant to recap the events of Free! -Dive to the Future, the main focus is on what happens during the second half of the season.

Unfortunately, this recap film has a choppy start. While time needed to be used to establish the various characters and showing how they got to this point, there was a lot of jumping around between characters. This format meant that it could be hard to follow what was going on at times. This is then followed by a montage of important scenes from the first half of Free! -Dive to the Future while the opening theme for the film plays. It seems that the director wanted to start the story of the film around the time that Ikuya mended fences with Haru and the others, which forced this “warp speed” recap of the first half to occur. When this followed the already choppy opening, it just emphasized the choppiness of the opening of the film.

Once the film gets past its choppy beginning and settles into its storytelling groove, it becomes an overall decent viewing experience. To me, the strongest part of this film is the addition of the new scenes that helped flesh out what was happening with some of the other characters. Romio, Shizuru, and Ayumu, the new members of Iwatobi’s swim club, gained the most from these new scenes because they were hardly seen during the actual season of the series. And since they weren’t seen terribly much, it was hard for the viewer to understand these characters are find reasons to care about them. Most recap films I’ve seen for anime that include new scenes included what I felt were “throw away” and “fluff” scenes that didn’t truly add anything to the story. However, the new scenes included in Free! Road to the World the Dream were much more significant and help to flesh out the story that was told during the season.

Even though the film has a rough and choppy start, I would still recommend Free! Road to the World the Dream to fans of the Free! franchise. This film is a good companion for Free! -Dive to the Future, and the new scenes that are included are worth watching in order to get a fuller picture of what was happening to the entire cast during this portion of the story.

When it comes to this Blu-ray release, it has 1080p High Definition 16:9 (HD Native) video. For audio, it includes Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD: Japanese 5.1. I had no complaints with either the audio or the video quality of this release.

Unfortunately, there were no bonus features included on this release. Not only that, there aren’t trailers of any kind included, either for other Free! home video releases or for other releases from Crunchyroll. This was a very bare-bones home video release.

Even with the lack of bonus features, this is the best way for North American fans of the Free! franchise to obtain the Free! Road to the World the Dream anime film for their anime home video library.

Additional posts about Free!