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I only swim freestyle.
— Haruka Nanase.
Haruka Nanase
Haru s3 pfp
Kanji 七瀬 遙
Rōmaji Nanase Haruka
Also known as Haru (by Makoto and Rin)
Haruka-senpai (by Rei and Gou)
Haru-chan (by Makoto and Nagisa)
Description
Gender Male
Sign Cancer
Birthday June 30th
Age 12 (High☆Speed!)
17(Free!)
18-19 (Dive to the Future)
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!)
Professional Status
Occupation University Student
Affiliation Iwatobi Elementary School (former)
ITSC RETURNS Logo Iwatobi Swimming Club (former)
Iwatobi Junior High School (former)
Iwatobi Badge Iwatobi High School (former)

Hidaka University

Function Vice-captain of the Iwatobi High School Swim Club (retired)
Swim Style Freestyle (crawl)
Events 50m free
100m free
200m free
4x100m medley relay
Personal Status
Relatives Father
Mother
Grandmother (deceased)[1]
Debut
Anime Episode 1
Light Novel Chapter 1
Voice Actors
Japanese Nobunaga Shimazaki
Megumi Matsumoto (child)
English Todd Haberkorn
Lara Woodull (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 a freestyle swimmer and was the vice-captain of the Iwatobi High School swim club. He is currently a freshman at Hidaka University where he also a member of the swim club.

Appearance

Haruka Full

Haruka is a muscular young man with short, straight black hair and blue eyes. He always maintains a serious expression and rarely expresses emotion. In high school, he often wears his jammers beneath his regular clothing in order to be ready to swim on a moment's notice. As pointed out by members of his swim team, all of his jammers are nearly identical (black with minor variations in the violet striping), yet he claims they all fit differently and he often has trouble selecting which one to wear in the morning.[2] The most developed muscles of his form are his triceps and abdominals.[3]

His autumn and winter high school uniform consists of brown trousers, a long-sleeved white shirt with a green necktie, dark gray blazer, and blue sneakers. During the spring and summer, he wears gray trousers, a short-sleeved white shirt with a dark gray collar, a green dotted necktie, and blue sneakers. When not in school, Haru dresses in stylish, casual clothes suited for his age.

Personality

Haru in the store

Haruka about to enter a fish tank.

Haruka is a quiet but determined individual with a strong affinity for water. His greatest asset is his confidence in his decisions, once made. Despite his cool persona, which many perceive as uncaring, he is protective towards his friends, particularly those on his high school swim team: Makoto, Nagisa and Rei, but particularly Makoto, his best friend since childhood. This is seen twice during the team's seaside summer training -- first, when Makoto feels compelled to tell his team the truth about his fear of the ocean and Haruka, immediately sensing Makoto's discomfort, commands Rei to drop the question, though Makoto insists just the same and second, when Haruka actually rescues Makoto from nearly drowning earlier on.

Haruka also values his relationship with Rin, another childhood friend with whom he shares an intense athletic rivalry. During elementary school, while on break from schooling in Australia, Rin loses to Haruka in a private race and declares he's quitting swimming altogether. Though Rin's reasons are otherwise, Haruka believes it's his fault and, out of guilt, quits competitive swimming. When Rin returns for high schooling in Japan, an impromptu race restores both of their competitive spirits and both join their respective school teams. Later, at tournament, Rin is released from his school's relay team and runs off. Haruka seeks him out and reminds him that it was Rin who taught him that the most important thing about swimming is not winning, but teamwork with friends. Rin takes Rei's place in the relay race and although the Iwatobi team's win is rescinded, everyone's friendships are restored.[4] 

Haruka's fixation with water makes him a very comical person as he will strip down to his jammer just about anywhere and in anything if there's available water nearby (including a fish tank). He even considers an encounter with a waterfall to be romantic. Despite being stoic, he is ticklish, as seen in the seventh FrFr short.

History


Haruka has been friends with Makoto since early childhood, meeting him on a local playground in Iwatobi. As the playing children run to see a passing rabbit, Makoto trips and falls but is helped up by Haruka who sees his distress. Since that time, the proximity of their homes and complementary personalities grows their friendship. One day, Makoto asks Haruka to join the swimming club with him, but Haruka refuses saying, "it's too much trouble." When Makoto replies he won't join either, Haru asks why and Makoto says there's no point if Haruka isn't with him. Haruka eventually does join and others begin to see his incredible talent. [5]

While attending elementary school, Haruka teams up with Makoto, Nagisa and Rin to form a relay team that wins a tournament.

In middle school, Haruka doesn't intend to join clubs because it will detract from his swimming time. On the first day of school, Asahi approaches saying, "You look like the type of guy with no friends," getting off on the wrong foot with Haruka, though he fails to realize it. Haruka doesn't want Asahi to call him "Haru" like Makoto, but says he can because he wants the boy to stop following him around.[6] Haruka is eventually drafted into the swim club along with Makoto, Asahi and Ikuya. When Makoto creates distance between them, Haruka is the one to reach out and initiate amends. He also makes a pinky promise to Ikuya that they will one day swim a race against one another. Their team, however, falls apart when Asahi moves away and Haru quits competitive swimming (causing Makoto to also quit), hurting Ikuya deeply.

Plot

Main article: Haruka Nanase/Plot

Skill

That Haru... Every time I swim against him, he gets faster. He's like a freaking monster!
Rin Matsuoka to Sosuke Yamazaki, on racing Haruka.

Current stats:

Stamina
4/5 HARUKA STATS
Body
3/5
Mental Strength
3/5
Water Repellency
6/5
Logic
1/5
Smile
1/5


Expected stats:

Stamina
5/5 HARUKA STATS
Body
5/5
Mental Strength
5/5
Water Repellency
8/5
Logic
2/5
Smile
5/5


Relationships

Main article: Haruka Nanase/Relationships

Music

Main article: Haruka Nanase/Music

Creation and Conception

Hiroko Utsumi, the director of Seasons 1 and 2 of the Free! anime, describes Haruka as "equipped with 'coolness'." "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." She adds that the audience will get to see Haruka gradually change as he matures throughout the series, as seen in episode 9.[7][8]

The animators had little trouble designing Haruka's character, paying special attention to his eyes, made blue to reflect his love of water. On close-ups of his eyes, the animators have made them detailed, using many frames to make them life-like. Character designer Futoshi Nishiya dresses Haruka with clothing for easy removal because whenever he sees water, he wants to swim in it. The designer also says that when he designed school uniforms for the Iwatobi High School students, they fit perfectly on everyone except Haruka, shocking the crew.

The animators named Haruka a "waterdere," because water brings out his 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 explains in one interview.[7]

Trivia

  • 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.
  • Haruka often bathes wearing his jammers.[1]
  • Haruka has excellent art skills, such as drawing and wood carving.[9]
  • The year before, he submitted one of 987 entries in the Iwatobi Town mascot contest. His entry was named Tobimaru-kun. According to Gou, it wasn't very cute.[10]
  • Haruka could be called "hydro-sexual because he has expressed romantic feelings towards water when younger, though whether this continues into high school is unclear.[11]
  • Haruka has said "Tadaima" (ただいま), meaning "I'm home", upon arriving at the swimming club during elementary school.[12]
  • When asked which friend he would date if he were a girl, Haruka first chooses Makoto saying it would be easiest, but quickly changes to Nagisa when Nagisa promises to cook him mackerel for breakfast every morning.[13]
  • Rei states that Haruka's decisions all center around mackerel.[13]
  • Haruka and Makoto appear to have a game that consists of Makoto guessing what Haruka is thinking and is usually correct, stunning those around them.[14]
  • Haruka once wore a girl's swimsuit in elementary school when Nagisa borrowed his trunks because the blond's sister swapped out his swimsuit for a female one. Haruka claims that he had no recollection of this memory, but admits he does by the track's end.[15]
  • According to Free! TV Animation Guidebook:
    • Haruka's best subjects are Home Economics and Art; his least favorite is English.
    • Haruka likes cooking and is good at it. He once baked a chocolate-mackerel cake for Makoto's birthday.[16]
  • He bathes with a dolphin toy he received on his first day at Iwatobi Swim Club.
  • Haru is ticklish, but hates being touched.
  • Once in elementary school, Haruka sleep-laughed, which is one of the rare times he has laughed out loud, besides when being tickled.
  • His motif animal is a dolphin.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Episode 1
  2. Episode 4
  3. Episode 13
  4. Episode 12
  5. Episode 18
  6. High☆Speed! Volume 2, Chapter 1: Jump
  7. 7.0 7.1 Free! TV Animation Guidebook
  8. Episode 9
  9. Episode 2
  10. Episode 3 Preview
  11. Episode 6
  12. Episode 7 Preview
  13. 13.0 13.1 Iwatobi High School Swimming Club's Diary 1: Track 3
  14. Iwatobi High School Swimming Club's Diary 1: Track 5
  15. Iwatobi High School Swimming Club's Diary 1: Track 6
  16. Birthday Suprise-Free! Iwatobi


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