High Speed! 2: Afterword

Supported by everyone’s warm encouragement, alongside offering my deep gratitude for having arrived at the sequel’s publication, I have never been happier that my work truly was loved by many people.

Upon writing the sequel, I experienced a stifling sensation that’s like being on the verge of getting crushed by unease, whether I could live up to everyone’s huge expectations or not. However, right after I began writing, I realized that it was an absurd fear. Indifferent to the writer’s unease, Haruka and the others were passing days filled with liveliness as always. Even while being bewildered about a new life, nurturing the courage to look hard at themselves, they were vigorously moving forward. The writer just had to copy and depict them as they’re advancing with all-out efforts, gazing only forward while running, while stumbling, and sometimes while falling over and drawing attention to themselves.

In the course of writing, I noticed that “the eyes changed”. Both Haruka’s and the writer’s eyes. I thought that the way of looking at things, the way of thinking or the way of feeling things is changing compared to before. That wasn’t the type of thing like growth or evolution, much less something as prominent that can be called a transformation. Perhaps it was something only trivial that ought to be called a “sign”. However, I certainly felt that “the eyes changed”.

Perhaps the meetings with others and the changes in environment had made it so. Or perhaps, facing the fact that they had been averting their eyes, it could be that they had gotten the resolve just a little bit to accept what they have been consistently refusing. In any case, I feel it is certain that at least the attachment towards living has gotten stronger.

Anyways, being a middle schooler means you eat often. Regardless of whether you’re hungry or not, “if there’s something, you eat”. Eating is living. In other words, the attachment towards “eating” is also attachment towards “living”. Then the strong feelings towards living become energy in the end, and intensely burn as the origin of everything. It can’t help but burn.

Before I knew it, I could no longer take my eyes of off them, living vigorously. No matter what kind of talent they have, no matter what kind of potential they’re hiding, it has nothing to do with it. I could only think of portraying the current them to the maximum. Not even the writer knows what they’re swimming for and what awaits them beyond it. While feeling the violent throbbing of their heartbeats and their rough breathing, all I could do was keep writing, driven by emotions. Once I had been touched by the strong energy they release, I didn’t need to hesitate anymore. They were so overflowing with liveliness that I had no time to hesitate.

It would make me happier than anything else if the many people who have read this work have sympathized with Haruka and the others even a little bit.

In closing, I would like to kindly express my gratitude to everyone who had given their efforts and to the companions who are connected by eternal friendship.

2014. Summer breeze weather, Ooji Kouji


10 thoughts on “High Speed! 2: Afterword

  1. Vic says:

    Dear Bianca from janeypeixes,

    He-hello! I’m Vic from Indonesia, a stalker — uh, I mean, an eager fan of translated Light Novel, currently in love with your work of translating High☆Speed! Vol. 1 & 2~ (Especially, Vol. 2~~)

    So, THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARDWORK! And thanks for sharing these fascinating translation on this site~

    Actually, I wanted to properly give my gratitude on your tumblr, but there’s this short limit character-count in Ask section which I find irritating . . . a bit . . . for someone like me who don’t have tumblr account. So! I’m totally glad you finally share your work on this site! Thank you!

    What I really like is the way your wording Haru & co’s story seems to stay honest and true to the original novel — without adding favoritsm nor bias pairing (even though you DO have your favorite pairings). I’m grateful for that!

    You see, I did read the translated ranobe first before watching the subbed anime and I proudly declare that I am one of those fans who love Ooji-sensei’s original novel more!

    We-well! It’s not like I doubt KyoAni’s work or anything! Their animation is still brilliant, I find the new characters’ design & style adorable (especially Rei and Momo!), and all those BGMs are enchanting (I found my self almost in tears whIle listening “Cherry Blossom” in S1 & “Realized Feeling” in S2)!

    But, but! I’m still disappointed that Free! was just “loosely” based of High☆Speed! (I mean, like, where was Zaki-chan’s important flashbacks? Where were Kirishima brothers & Nao? WHERE the heck was Asahi disappering to when Kisumi was happily trying to feed Haru his bento in flashback S2E8?! Why was there no mention of Makkou and Dick but we got Winnie instead? And more importantly, why didn’t Haruka continue swimming biaxial — or DID he?!)

    But then, I finally came to conclusion that “Free!” is what KyoAni wanted to view about Nanase Haruka — which is quite different with what Ooji-sensei’s intention regarding Haru’s Free, life and friends.

    So that’s why I wish for Ooji-sensei to continue Haru & co’s story in Vol. 3!

    (Maybe we will get more stories & friends for Rinrin because I refuse to acknowledge if he’s giving up and breaking down without challenging back nor getting recognized by some swimming boys in Australlia! It’s Rinrin’s nature to challenge back & get more decent rivals, dammit!!!)

    (And more Sousuke-sama burning up with rivalry and high spirits while swimming against Haru biaxially!)

    (And more Haru’s dismissal yet witty book review for “News for Library Room”! Because his “If you want to fantasize, do it at home” make me think that it’s like Haru’s running gag, hehe.)

    (And MORE HaruAsaKisu bonding on Lunch Break moments because they really shared the most precious bond — second to HaruMako’s osananajimi bonding over a telephatic conversation! Eh, will HaruAsaKisu be classmates again in Year 2?!)

    Once again, thank you very much for your humble effort of translating Ooji-sensei’s work and I hope you will continue translating when the 3rd Volume may (or may not) be published soon next year!

    A Fangirl of HaruAsaKisu Fluffy Eternal Friendship~

    Is it just me or Asahi did share some similar traits with Rinrin’s but in MORE category? Maybe that’s why Haru found him endearingly annoying and Kisumi loved to rile him up every chances he got~


    • Thank you for leaving such a long and kind comment! I really appreciate it.

      I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed my translation of the novel. The original Japanese is written in such a lovely style and I hoped I could do it justice while also trying to make it enjoyable to read in English.

      I agree, Free! is great on its own with the lovely animation and wonderful music, but the flashbacks in both seasons didn’t do justice to the novels at all… Indeed, Utsumi Hiroko’s view of the characters is a bit different from Ooji Kouji’s. It would be a dream come true if KyoAni would make OVAs out of the novels.

      Even getting a volume 2 was more than I could ever hope for, a volume 3 definitely seems unlikely. But if by some miracle there will be one, I definitely intend to translate it! I’ve grown very attached to these characters and would love to read more about them.

      (And oh yes, Asahi definitely shared similarities with Rin. It was a nice surprise that their fathers were friends and they actually met as kids.)


      • Vic says:

        Dear Bianca,

        After I re-read the Afterword above, I got this feeling that Ooji-sensei was just grateful but nervous to have his sequel published. And that “eyes have changed” thing . . . wait, wait — was it because of Free! and its popularity?! But, of course, if there was this anime “loosely” based off his novel that suddenly got more popular, Ooji-sensei would surely be nervous if his sequel “could live up to” those fans’ huge expectation. Uwaa! It made me concerned whether Ooji-sensei could write the 3rd volume after “Eternal Summer” or not!

        But, but! If there’s no more stories after Vol. 2 (because Ooji-sensei might think “aah, the anime itself was enough” or the like), what about HaruAsaKisu’s fate?! Their bond was not included in the anime! And those unforgetful team bonding of Iwatobi Chuukou Suiei-bu’s first year? Would it be meaningless? And to think that they were becoming the true companion after Ikuya shared his moments inside the box . . .

        (Should I wish upon a falling star for Ooji-sensei continuing his work in Series . . . ?)

        Haha, that desperate wish aside, yes, I was a bit surprised when the part about Souhei and O-Kyou-san sharing fond memories of Toraichi and the fact that Asahi & Rin were like childhood rival . . . It make me wanna see what would happen when those two reunited. Maybe Asahi would challenge Rin in Batta because Asahi looked so natural with that style. :) (And it made me curious what was the purpose to include Souhei and O-Kyou-san within Ooji-sensei’s mind in this “sequel”.)

        HaruAsaKisu fan


      • Yes, I got the feeling that they weren’t expecting for there to be a continuation, and Free!’s popularity definitely raised the expectations for them. Their ‘freedom’ was also kind of limited in writing, so that the High Speed! backstory would still (at least partially) fit with the anime canon. We don’t have too much information, but volume 2 was probably written before the anime staff got to work on season 2. I read in an interview that both Utsumi and Yokotani took a liking to Kisumi and so they decided to include him in the anime. There were other small callbacks, like Makoto grabbing Haru’s arm before he could launch himself into the pool in one of the earlier episodes.

        That’s why a volume 3 would be even trickier, since the next big happening in Haru’s life is his race with Rin in the winter, then he quits the swim club… and after that it’s only years of stagnation for him. I’d love to know what happens in those years and read more of Ooji Kouji’s writing, but I bet it would be painful to read about how all the character development Haru went through just turned to nothing.

        Oooh yes, it’d be interesting to see how Rin and Asahi would get along! I think it was included to give a sense of ‘connectedness’ to everyone, much like how Haru and Makoto saw Rin and Kou in the funeral procession when they were younger. And even if Rin barely appeared in this volume, at least we still got to learn more about him and his family circumstances. (And we got to see Kou thanks to it, too.)


  2. Aurora says:

    Even if you were to ignore the light novels, there are still SO MANY questions left unanswered even after season 2. Like, does Sousuke finally get his shoulder healed and join an international-level swim team? Rin said he’d be waiting for him, but Sousuke only replied that he’ll think about it. And how’re Nagisa and Rei doing in managing Iwatobi HSC? How’s NITORI doing? DO Haru, Makoto, Rei and Nagisa get to meet up at some point and dig up the time capsule that they had buried after the competition? Besides, the light novels show that their is a greater depth between Haruka and Sousuke’s relationship, like a friendly rivalry, and the anime showed no signs of this, which I find quiet depressing. I JUST started this anime (and just finished it) and finished both volumes of the light novels, and I already feel like I’ve sold my soul to all these fictional characters.
    Anyways, the amount of hard work and dedication you put into these is pretty clear, and I truly can’t thank you enough for going through the trouble of translating these volumes.


    • Thank you for leaving a comment!
      The end of season 2 definitely left things pretty open-ended about their futures. There’s so much left to work with, they could easily make worthwhile sequels and/or spinoffs.
      Yeah, it’s a shame they couldn’t work Haru and Sousuke’s middle school relationship into the anime. They had come to get along relatively well by the end of the novel, but the anime completely ignores all that. They could’ve at least made a mention that they actually met while Rin was in Australia.
      Both the anime and the light novel are fantastic on their own, but I can’t help but feel a little dissatisfied by the way the anime adapted parts from the light novel. I’m still hoping for a fully animated High Speed! OVA one day.


  3. lunapyon says:

    I do love the anime, but upon reading these light novels, I honestly thought that the anime lacked the important parts. I hope there’d be a sequel to fill in the gaps. Because it’s really sad to think that the existence of such important characters to Haru’s and Makoto’s life just…ceased to exist. Like, what happened to everyone? It’s like KyoAni concentrated more on Rin than Haru and it just leaves something unpleasant inside when I think about it.

    I really love everyone from Iwatobi Middle School. So I’m a bit sad they didn’t take it into consideration of at least putting them into flashbacks. Because they mean so much.


  4. Rosings says:

    Thanks a lot for translating this!

    I did not originally intend on reading the novels, but I was kind of sad for not being able to watch the movie so I started reading. I really appreciate the effort and love you put into this. I have had a great time reading both volumes (and I am even reading Lemon :p), so a lot thanks again!


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