Will the fact that they’re perpetually soft boost or hinder sales?

Anime targeting female fans has plenty of boys with pretty faces, but Kyoto Animation’s Free! franchise is all about the bodies. The central cast of five high school boys are all shimmering specimens of lean muscle mass, and the fact that they’re all swim team members means that the animators have plenty of opportunities to show the teen athletes getting all wet and wheezy together, much to the delight of the Free! fujoshi fanbase.

The Free! TV series was popular enough to warrant a second season, and that it turn was so well-received that there’s a prequel movie, titled High Speed! –Free! Starting Days- set to premier on December 5.

As with all movies with a cult following, a selection of tie-in items will be offered for sale at theaters that are showing High Speed!.

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Along with old standbys like posters and clear files, the merchandise mix also includes hair scrunchies and nail stickers, since High Speed! ticket buyers are expected to be overwhelmingly female.

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Something else that’s been designed with female tastes in mind is the Swimsuit Cushion, modeled after the trunks worn by main character Haruka.

▼ Haruka, shown on the far right

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Of course, the cushion isn’t flat like an empty pair of trunks. All three dimensions are accounted for, which means it’s actually shaped like Haruka’s crotch.

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The little white mark at the top indicates that this is the front side of Haruka’s trunks, which makes the contours all the more evocative.

The 35 x 34-centimeter (13.8 by 13.4 -inch), 4,300-yen (US$36) Swimsuit Cushion will be offered for sale at participating theaters, and also through online retailer Froovie starting December 5. Initial reactions to the design have ranged from “I don’t know how you’re supposed to use this” to “I’m ready to bury my face right there!”

▼ It’s not like the franchise has ever been shy about its suggestive undertones.

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It’s worth noting that High Speed!, being a prequel to Free!, is set during Haruka’s time in junior high school, which in Japan corresponds with the seventh through ninth grades. As such, that “swimsuit” cushion is ostensibly modeled after a boy of somewhere between the age 12 and 15, a fact that’s somewhat disturbing. The fact that it’s a pillow shaped like a set of disembodied hips remains extremely disturbing, regardless of the age of said body parts.

Source: IT Media
Top image: High Speed! –Free! Starting Days- official website (1, 2) (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert images: High Speed! –Free! Starting Days- official website (1, 2), YouTube/KyoaniChannel (edited by RocketNews24)