Otaku USA Magazine
Swimming anime Free! enrages Male Fans

Kyoto Animation, the studio responsible for Haruhi, Lucky Star, Full Metal Panic!,  K-On!, and other cartoons with exclamation marks in the title, announced a new show called Free! last Friday, leading to a downright apocalyptic degree of internet outrage.

What the heck’s this show, and why is everyone so upset? I had no idea when I saw my twitter feed blowing up, so here’s the breakdown, near as I can tell:

Back in April 2012, Animation DO (a studio owned by Kyoto Animation) revealed a handful of teaser images for a then-untitled show about a high school boys’ swim team. A number of Chinese anime blogs picked up on the news, but it slipped past the western anime intelligentsia almost completely.

That is, until last month, when a 30-second promotional video for the show was uploaded to YouTube and immediately exploded in popularity, leading many English-speaking anime fans to wonder if this was going to be a real show. That question was answered last Friday when Kyoto Animation revealed full details, including this preview video:

Based on the incredibly polarized, angry reaction the show’s announcement has garnered in the English-speaking community’s message boards and twitter (an incredibly scientific instrument for gauging opinion if there ever was one), it seems the male fans of Kyoto Animation feel a little bit disenfranchised by the sudden shift from pandering to boys to pandering to girls. Another contingent is disappointed Kyoto Animation didn’t announce a new Full Metal Panic!.

Female fans, on the other hand, seem to be very happy about the news. What do you think?

This story originally ran in the 4/30/13 issue of the Otaku USA e-News
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