— Haruka Nanase.
|Also known as|| Haru (by Makoto and Rin) |
Haruka-senpai (by Rei and Gou)
Haru-chan (by Makoto and Nagisa)
|Age|| 12 (High☆Speed!)|
|Height|| 145 cm (4'9") (High☆Speed!)|
175 cm (5'9") (Free!)
177 cm (5'10") (Dive to the Future)
|Weight|| 38 kg (84 lb) (High☆Speed!)|
63 kg (139 lb) (Free!)
|Affiliation|| Iwatobi Elementary School|
Iwatobi Swimming Club
Iwatobi High School
|Function||Vice-captain at the Iwatobi High School Swim Club (retired)|
|Swim Style||Freestyle (crawl)|
|Events|| 50m free|
4x100m medley relay
|Light Novel||Chapter 1|
|Japanese|| Nobunaga Shimazaki|
Megumi Matsumoto (child)
Haruka Nanase (七瀬 遙 Nanase Haruka) is the main protagonist of the anime series Free! and the light novel High☆Speed!. He is the freestyle swimmer and was the vice-captain on the Iwatobi High School swim club. He is currently a student at Hidaka University where he is a member of the swim club.
Haruka is a muscular young man with short, straight black hair and blue eyes. He always retains serious expressions on his face and never seems to show any kind of emotion. He seems to wear his swimming jammers everywhere. As pointed out by members of the swim team on multiple occasions, all of his swimsuits look virtually the same (they are all black swim jammers, but with slightly different patterns of violet), yet he claims they all fit differently. The highlighting parts on his body are his triceps and abdominal muscles.
His typical school uniform consists of light-brown trousers, a white shirt with a green necktie, a dark gray unbuttoned blazer, and blue sneakers. During the spring and summer, he would wear his summer uniform, which consists of gray trousers, a white shirt with a dark gray collar, a green dotted necktie, and blue sneakers.
PersonalityHaruka is a strong and quiet person who loves water. He is a taciturn and reserved individual. His strength lies in his confidence in his decisions. Up until Rin beat him their swim race, Haruka never questioned his reasons for swimming.
Haruka is very protective towards his friends, especially Makoto. During the team's summer training, Makoto relived his childhood nightmare in the ocean and felt compelled to tell his team the truth about his fear when the subject was brought up. Immediately sensing Makoto's hesitation, Haruka commanded Rei to drop the question.
Haruka also deeply values his friendship with Rin. Afraid that he had hurt Rin when Rin lost to him in a swimming race when they were little, Haruka had given up on swimming competitively just to guarantee Rin's victory the next time they were to race. This willingness to compete was gradually restored, however, when Rin challenged him a number of times. He was extremely devastated when he had overheard that Rin wanted to abandon swimming, as he wished desperately to be able to swim with Rin again. Haruka demonstrates his great determination, through his efforts to revive Rin's passion by seeking him out and offering consolation before the relay race. He seems to be ticklish as shown in the seventh FrFr short.
Haruka's attraction to water makes him a very comical person; he will swim anywhere and in anything with water (including a fish tank). His style captivates many others, and he has a powerful fixation towards freestyle swimming in particular.
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Haruka had been friends with Makoto ever since they were very young. One day, at the playground near their homes, Makoto asked Haruka to join the swimming club with him, but Haruka immediately refused, saying it's "too much trouble". When Makoto said he won't join as well and was asked why not, Makoto said that there was no point in joining if Haruka wasn't with him. Makoto eventually got Haruka to join the club with him and since then, they were the members of Iwatobi Swimming Club.
Starting his junior high school life, Haruka wasn't intending to do club activities at all because he didn't like that they would cut his swimming time down. He didn't see the point of doing anything other than swimming and time spent in P.E. classes doing sports was enough for him. On the first day of school, Asahi approached Haruka and said, "You look like the type of guy with no friends," therefore having a one-sided friendship with him. Haruka didn't seem to like Asahi and when he asked him to call him "Haru" like Makoto does, he said that he could, but just because he did not want Asahi to follow him around more.
- Main article: Haruka Nanase/Plot
— Rin Matsuoka to Sosuke Yamazaki, on racing Haruka.
- Main article: Haruka Nanase/Relationships
- Main article: Haruka Nanase/Music
Creation and Conception
Hiroko Utsumi, the director of the Free! anime, described Haruka in one word as "cool." "Haruka seems to be equipped with 'coolness'," she says. "One aspect of him is his love for water. He has a bit of an eccentric image; he has trouble interacting with people at a fundamental level. If he’s not interested in something, he won’t do it. Normally his facial expression is very unsociable, but he gets highly emotional when it comes to water. He’s a direct boy who has a strong obsession with the freedom that water gives him." The director said that the audience will get to see Haruka gradually change as he matures throughout the series, as was seen in episode 9.
The animation crew didn't have any troubles designing Haruka's character. They paid special attention to his eyes, that were made to be blue to reflect his love for water. On the close-ups of his eyes, the animators made them detailed and made sure to use a lot of frames. The character designer, Futoshi Nishiya, made Haruka lightly dressed for easy removal, because when he sees water, he wants to swim in it. The designer also said that when he designed school uniforms for the Iwatobi High School students, they fit perfectly on everyone except on Haruka, so the crew was pretty shocked by that.
The animators named Haruka a "waterdere", because water brings out his true emotions, which nothing else can do. "Sometimes it's obvious that he loves water by how much his eyes sparkle when he sees it. Those kinds of actions and glances speak as much as words to help bring out that humanity in him," Utsumi explained in one of the interviews.
- Like all members of the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club, Haruka has a female name.
- Haruka shares same birthday as real-life U.S. Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer Michael Phelps
- He bathes with his swimming trunks on.
- Haruka will go anywhere as long as there's a body of water that he can get into.
- Haruka has exceptionally great art skills, such as drawing and wood carving.
- The year before, Haruka had been one of 987 entries entered in the Iwatobi Town mascot contest. His entry was named Tobimaru-kun. According to Gou, it wasn't very cute.
- He has a certain romantic attraction to water.
- Rin stated that Haruka has said "Tadaima" (ただいま), which means "I'm home", upon arriving to their swimming club during elementary school.
- If Haruka was a girl and he had to date one of the boys from the Iwatobi Swimming Club, he would choose Makoto because it was the easiest choice. However, his choice was quickly changed to Nagisa when the first year promised to cook him mackerel for breakfast every morning.
- Rei states that Haruka's decisions all center around mackerel.
- Haruka and Makoto appear to have a game that consists of Makoto guessing what Haruka is thinking.
- Haruka once wore a girl's swimsuit in elementary school. Nagisa borrowed his trunks because the blonde's sister swapped out his swimsuit for a girl's one. Haruka claims that he had no recollection of this memory, but shows that he does at the end of the track.
- According to Free! TV Animation Guidebook:
- Haruka's best subjects are Home Economics and Art, while he's bad at English.
- Haruka likes cooking and doing chores.
- Haruka is also shown to have baking skills. He baked a chocolate-mackerel cake for Makoto's birthday party.
- He always bathes with a dolphin toy he received on his first day at Iwatobi Swim Club.
- Haru is ticklish, and the only time he will ever laugh out loud is if he is being tickled.
- Once in elementary school, Haruka sleep-laughed, which was one of the only times he has ever laughed out loud.
- His motif animal is a dolphin.