Already one of the most anticipated anime of the Summer season, Free! has its first official guidebook available for pre-orders at the official KyoAni shop ahead of its premiere. The sale date is set for July 3rd and reserved copies will also be shipped in July according to the site.
A special site for the guidebook is now up, but there is hardly any information available yet, other than this new key art (which maybe just enough for the time being). The other thing you'll find on the site is a link to place a pre-order for the book that takes you to the KyoAni online shop.
In fact, more information about the book is available on the KyoAni shop than the special site itself. It looks like the art will be on both the front cover and the back cover of the book. It is planned to be 100 pages long in full color with character introductions, an interview with the director and the character designer and more. However, it will not be a more conventional character reference guide or a color illustration book. Pretty much everything else regarding the book's contents is TBD, but at least it will be 1,500 yen.
With the recent release of the individual character promo videos, Free! is gradually taking the form of a full blown anime instead of the short, mind-blowing PV that many fell in love with and it looks like it will have a storyline that is interesting enough to keep fans excited, even when all the boys are covered up. The guidebook is welcome news, but would you pre-order it before the airing of the actual anime?