|“||If you're not there... It's meaningless without you!||”|
— Makoto, speaking to Haruka Nanase.
|Also known as|| Mako-chan (by Nagisa)|
Makoto-senpai (by Rei and Gou)
|Age|| 12 (High☆Speed!)|
|Height|| 151 cm (4'11") (High☆Speed!)|
183 cm (6'0") (Free!)
|Weight|| 42 kg (93 lb) (High☆Speed!)|
73 kg (161 lb) (Free!)
|Occupation||2nd year High School Student|
|Affiliation|| Iwatobi Elementary School (former)|
Iwatobi Swimming Club (former)
Iwatobi High School
Ren Tachibana (brother)
Ran Tachibana (sister)
|Light Novel||Chapter 1|
|Japanese|| Tatsuhisa Suzuki|
Satsuki Yukino (Child)
Makoto is a tall young man with short, olive green hair and droopy green eyes. His usual school uniform consists of light brown trousers, a white shirt with a green necktie, dark gray unbuttoned blazer and orange sneakers. During the spring and summer, he also wears his summer uniform that consists of gray trousers, a white shirt with a dark gray collar, the green dotted necktie and the orange sneakers.
While swimming, he wears black long leg swim pants that have green patterns on them. He's seen wearing black framed glasses once, but it's not said whether he really needs them or not. 
Makoto is a nice and considerate guy, who is always concerned about his friends' welfare. Due to his caring personality, he is often seen with a gentle smile on his face.
However, he is rather weak-hearted and can get scared easily, as shown when he appeared terrified of the possibility that their old Swimming Club may be haunted. When he gets scared he tends to hide behind Haruka or cling to him in some way.
Makoto also seems to be one of the more sensible people in the group and can get a bit worn out from his friends' peculiar antics and mannerisms. He is the one usually restraining Haruka from randomly stripping or diving into fish tanks.
Makoto and Haruka have been together for so long that Makoto is able to read Haru's mind. He is also shown to be slightly manipulative, often using Haruka's love of water to his advantage to convince Haru to do what he wants. It was also shown that Haruka dislikes it when people use his first name, but Makoto always somehow manages to win the argument and call him 'Haru'.
Makoto and Haruka have been friends since at least kindergarten. It was in kindergarten that Haruka started calling Makoto by his first name and Makoto calling Haruka "Haru-chan". It was Makoto who wanted to join the Iwatobi Swim Club when they were children and Haru tagged along with him. Due to the length of time Makoto and Haruka have been friends, Makoto can usually guess what Haruka is thinking and vice-versa, resulting in the both of them being able to hold wordless conversations.
When Makoto was young, he would visit a small fishing harbor. At the fishing harbor, there was a nice old fisherman that would sometimes play with Makato. During the summer, at the festival near the harbor, Makoto wanted to scoop for fish but already used up all his allowance. The fisherman gave him two goldfish to make him feel better. Later that summer, there was a big typhoon and the fisherman's boat sank. Many people drowned including the old fisherman. Later when the two goldfish died, he made a grave, which is now a precious memory to him, for them, in which he changes the flowers everyday. Because of this experience he is afraid of the ocean.
As a child, Makoto used to swim the breaststroke and usually won the 100m breaststroke events again Rin but would lose the 50m breaststroke against Rin. It was when he teamed-up with Rin, Nagisa and Haru for the relay in Elementary school that Makoto switched to backstroke and found that he was more comfortable with the stroke and has since specialized in the backstroke.
Makoto goes to pick Haruka up for their second day of school at Iwatobi High. While having lunch that day, they encounter their old friend, and recent transfer, Nagisa Hazuki. At school the next day, a scarlet-haired girl observes the group with a friend and remarks of them being old acquaintances before Makoto and Nagisa are reprimanded by a teacher for trespassing at the swimming club. As Makoto and Nagisa visit Haruka that evening, they discover the scarlet-haired girl turns out to be Rin's sister, Gou Matsuoka attempting to pay Haruka a visit. They then learn from her that Rin is now attending Samezuka Academy upon his return from Australia. Afterwards, Makoto and Nagisa convince a reluctant Haruka to visit Samezuka by tempting him to a swim duel in the school's pool. Upon arriving, they wait until the school's swimming team is done with practice and break into the academy's swimming pool. They are then discovered by Rin who aggressively orders them out.
After the match, Haruka and the others are once again reprimanded for trespassing on Samezuka Academy grounds. Makoto and Nagisa run into Gou and they all agree that Rin's attitude had dramatically changed in the past few years, simultaneously learning that Gou had been the one who sent him to the Iwatobi Swimming Club while Nagisa suggests that they form a school swimming club. After getting Haruka on board, Makoto and Nagisa propose the idea to their home room teacher, Miho Amakata who agrees after they give her a little prompt. While continuing the restoration, Gou, who was still confused about Rin's behavior, asks Makoto about their race and learns that Haruka threw the match. Believing that they can revert Rin to his old self, Gou volunteers to join the club as their manager. Later, Makoto pays one final visit to the Iwatobi Swimming Club and runs into their old mentor, Coach Goro Sasabe. Upon learning why Haruka quit competitive swimming, Makoto calls Rin to inform them of their plans while Rin decides to join the Samezuka swim team for his own grudge against Haruka.
Nagisa and Makoto try teaching Rei how to swim after his innumerous unsuccessful attempts to do so and learn that while he can float, his problem still eludes them. Makoto then suggests they ask Sasabe for help but he bluntly refuses.
The club tries and fails to get Miho to sponsor the trip to the island where they wanted to train for the next swimming tournament. Makoto proposes using camping equipment to stay outdoors while resorting to bribing Sasabe to use his squid fishing boat to take them to the island and back. Later, Haruka expresses concern for Makoto since he had a rather scarring experience with the ocean in the past, to which Makoto reassures that he is fine. That night, unable to sleep due to his performance, Rei heads into the ocean to continue training when a sudden storm takes him by surprise. Makoto awakens at that moment and goes looking for Rei, frantically diving to his aid upon hearing Rei's cries for help.
Haruka gets Makoto out of the water and falls down out of tiredness. He finds out that Makoto is alive, but his heart beating is slow. After checking if Makoto is injured, he decides to perform CPR, but when his mouth are about to touch Makoto's, Makoto suddenly wakes up and finds worried Haruka beside him.Haruka asks Makoto if he's still afraid of the ocean, which Makoto answers "I thought I'd gotten over it.". Makoto apologizes to Haruka for dragging him into all that and says that all he wanted to do is to swim with Haruka once again. Haruka gets a surprised look on his face just when Nagisa and Rei appear running toward them. Makoto runs to them and apologizes to Rei for not being able to save him, but Rei then tells him that he's the one who should be sorry for making them worry. The group decides to look for a shelter where they can stay until the storm stops and finds Sukishima Rest House nearby. As they enter the rest house, they find a kitchen and start looking for some food, since all of them are starving. As they're eating around the table, they started talking about their current situation. Haruka then suggests that they spend a night there since there were no signs that the rain was gonna stop soon. Makoto tells him that it'll be hard for them to sleep because of the situation they're in. Rei then asks Makoto why was he acting strange when he tried to save him, but Haruka interferes saying that they're not going to discuss that. Makoto, however, says that that's okay and tells the group a story about a fisherman and his goldfish. Soon after he finished his story, the rain stopped and the group went outside to see a beautiful sky above them. As Rei tells the group about the constellations he sees in the sky, Nagisa notices a puddle beneath them that reflects the beautiful starry sky. Makoto looks at his friends and smiles.
As Gou and Makoto watch Haruka and Nagisa swim, Gou states that Haruka's time have improved and tells him that it's his new personal record. Everybody agrees that their training camp has paid off. Gou then tells Nagisa that he'll have to train a little more, but then Makoto tells her that they all have come so far in such a short time.As Makoto, Nagisa and Rei go to check on Haruka if he's okay, they seem to run into Rin in the hallway. Nagisa asks him if he saw Haru anywhere, but Rin just smiles and asks them if losing to him was that big of a shock to Haruka. Makoto interferes and says that there actually is something more, that at least Haruka thought so and that that was probably the reason why he wanted to race with Rin. Rin tells him that nothing else than beating Haruka matters to him and leaves. The group decides to go and prepare themselves for their own races.
Back to the competition, Makoto prepares himself for his race. Goro asks Nagisa and Rei where Haruka is, but Rei tells him that they couldn't find him. Nagisa runs away to find Haruka. When Nagisa and Haruka arrive at the pool, Haruka sees Goro, Miho, Gou and Rei cheering for Makoto and Makoto swimming his last sprut. He stands there speechless as Makoto finishes the race being second. As he gets out of the water, he sees that Haruka was watching him swim and smiles warmly.
As soon as the first day of the tournament ended, Miho and Goro left Makoto, Nagisa, Rei and Gou alone. Gou then decides to tell the group that she signed all of them up for the medley relay on the second day of the tournament. They go to Haruka's house with a goal to make him agree on swimming in the relay with them as well, but nobody's there. They break in the house and start searching for Haruka in the hope that he's somewhere in the house. After going in every room and not finding him there, they decide to call him, but he doesn't answer. Rei, Nagisa and Gou leave him a voice message, but soon discover by Makoto that he doesn't bring his phone with him often.After some time, Haruka finally come back home, just to find Makoto sleeping on the doorstep of his house, holding his phone. He takes it and listens to a voice message Nagisa, Rei and Gou left him a while ago. He looks at Makoto sleeping and remembers the words he said to him when he rescued him from the ocean and decides to wake Makoto up. Makoto wakes up finding Haruka in front of him asking him if they have a relay to swim the other day and blushes out of joy.
Thanks to everyone's efforts, Iwatobi manage to win the relay race, earning a place in the regionals. Later, the group attend a summer festival, where Haruka tells Makoto how much he and others made him happy and that he wants to swim in the relay with others again, much to Makoto's joy.
After the team finished on one of their practices, Nagisa, Makoto, Rei and Haruka together with Gou, Goro and Miho had a hot pot in Goro's house even though it's summer. Later that night, Haruka tells Rei a story about Rin's obsession on swimming relay, which Makoto and Nagisa listen to as well.
Haruka and the others come over to Rei's place, where they assure Rei he is an irreplaceable team member. After arriving at the location for the regional tournament and checking into their hotel rooms, the group go to see the pool they'll be swimming in. Haruka thanks to Makoto for always being there with him.After Rin runs off in an outburst, telling Aiichiro that he will quit swimming, Haruka, Makoto and the others overhear Rin say he was taken out of the relay, which comes as a shock to Haruka. It is at this point that Rei tells everyone about what Rin told him the previous night, stating his belief that what Rin wanted wasn't to win, but to swim with everyone again. With the relay preliminaries approaching fast, the gang splits up in search of Rin, who is eventually found by Haruka.
Later, although the Iwatobi team is inevitably disqualified for their unapproved roster change despite placing first, they feel proud in doing what they thought was the right thing. The episode ends with showing Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, Rei and Rin's photo after winning the tournament.
- Main article: Haruka Nanase
Makoto has known Haruka for over 13 years, having been friends since kindergarten, and is his best friend. As a consequence of being together for so long, Makoto is able to read Haruka's mind, understands Haruka's good points, and is often forced to speak as his spokesman. When Haruka doesn’t want to speak anymore, he just "leaves it up" to Makoto to speak for him. It allows Haruka to act aloof and stoic, but still get his thoughts across - though they aren’t stated to be his, necessarily.
Haruka, in particular in his 12-year-old portrayal in High☆Speed!, is rather spoiled by his best friend. He is extremely used to having Makoto always there to help him with making decisions and even speaking up his mind, and when he feels like Makoto oversteps his boundaries, he dismisses him in his mind as a meddlesome guy. But as soon as Makoto isn’t there to help him, or does something else instead, Haruka pouts and wishes he was there.
Both have had near-drowning experiences; In the sixth grade, Haruka fell into a river and was saved by Makoto. During the training camp on the deserted island, Haruka saves Makoto after he fails to save Rei. When Haruka brings Makoto to shore he is terrified when he realizes Makoto is unconscious, and is about to preform CPR, but then Makoto coughs up water and regains conciousness. He tries to sit up and look for Rei, but Haruka tells him that he should be resting and holds him down. Shortly afterwards, Makoto tells Haruka that he is the biggest reason he still swims and gets close to the ocean because Haruka does, and he cares that much for Haruka and what Haruka loves, enough to put his fear aside so he can enjoy it with him, wanting to share the experience, to understand what makes Haruka the happiest, and so he overcomes fear for it. Makoto wants to understand and feel the same emotion as someone else to the point of conquering a deeprooted fear — something that gave him a panic attack, made him stop moving in the ocean during a storm, while trying to save someone, despite himself. Haruka then gasps, showing that he himself didn’t even realize what he was to Makoto until Makoto told him so.
Haruka greatly dislikes it when people use his girlish first name, but Makoto always somehow manages to win the argument and calls him 'Haru'. Makoto is also the major person to restrain Haruka from randomly stripping around or diving into fish tanks. When he gets scared, he tends to hide behind Haruka or cling to him in some way.
Makoto and Haruka are often seen doing things together, such as sharing rooms, going to school, and having lunch. Also, being best friends, they are often seen wearing same or similar clothes and accessories and sharing things. They live very close to each other with Makoto's house being visible from Haruka's. Specifically, Makoto's house is at the bottom of the stone stairs leading to the shrine near their house, with Haruka's house being up the stone stairs, just past the first torii gates. It is not uncommon for Haruka and Makoto to wait for each other on the stone stairs.
They are very close and care for each other greatly. In the beginning of the series, Haruka didn't express himself as much, although Makoto always knew what he was thinking. Throughout the show, Haruka begins to speak his mind more often, especially to Makoto. He's very gentle towards his best friend, treasures him greatly and is very afraid to loose him. In the hotel, he tells Makoto "I appreciate you being here for me," which embarrasses him to the point where he gets up and "goes for a run".
It is shown that Haruka bought Makoto four aquarium fish. Nagisa told Makoto to name them Nagisa, Rei, Haruka and Makoto, however Haruka told him that it's better to name them Mackerel, Bonito, Tuna and Jackfish.
- Main article: Nagisa Hazuki
Nagisa and Makoto are close fiends, despite having not been in contact for a few years. While both are generally outgoing and positive, Nagisa is bouncy and Makoto is kind and sensitive. They care for each other. Makoto also knows when something is up, for example at the squid festival when Nagisa was acting paranoid and gave Makoto a wink, he knew to wait for a moment without Haruka to ask Nagisa what was going on.
- Main article: Rei Ryugazaki
Makoto and Rei have a good senpai-kohai relationship. Makoto tends to act towards Rei as an older brother and often draws him away from Nagisa's constant hyperactive activities.
Makoto was ready to risk his life in order to save Rei from the storm.
- Main article: Gou Matsuoka
Makoto and Gou have a good, friendly relationship. Makoto was the first one to notice Gou and the first one to actually realize that Gou is Rin's younger sister. Since the day Makoto and Nagisa ran into Gou in front of Haruka's house, all three of them started hanging out a lot and spending time together at school. After having a talk with Makoto at the school pool, Gou decided to join Iwatobi High School's Swim Club.
Unlike in Gou and Nagisa's relationship, Gou never gets angry with Makoto, despite him calling her "Gou-chan".
- Main article: Chigusa Hanamura
During the squid festival, Makoto complimented Chigusa and Gou for their looks, but Chigusa misunderstood him, thinking that he complimented their yukatas instead of their looks, making Makoto feel a bit uneasy.
- Main article: Miho Amakata
Miho is Makoto's Classic Literature teacher as well as his homeroom teacher. He met her at the opening ceremony and could tell a lot about her to Haruka the next day.  She had helped him and Nagisa when they were scolded by another teacher and later, she became a supervisor of the swimming club at Iwatobi High.  Miho got angry with Makoto and Nagisa several times, usually when Nagisa wanted to make her wear a swimsuit in order to get more students to join the swim club. However, she would not be angry with him for too long, usually forgiving him right away.
- Main article: Rin Matsuoka
When Rin first transferred to Iwatobi elementary, Makoto was much more open and kind to Rin than Haruka; who (at first) didn't want to get involved. Makoto wanted to swim in the relay with Rin, and was able to convince Haru to swim with them as well. During their time in elementary school, Makoto and Rin were close friends; Both being friendly and outgoing. When Rin returned to Japan, he barely paid attention to Makoto or Nagisa, asking "You're still hanging out with these guys Haru?". When Rin beat Haru at regonials, the boys went looking for Haruka after he failed to return. They bumped into Rin, who thought that Haruka was upset due to loosing to Rin. Makoto responded sternly by saying that swimming meant something more to Haru, and he's pretty sure that Rin was the one who taught him was it was. In the last episode Rin appears to have rekindled his friendship with his old friends.
- Main article: Goro Sasabe
Goro and Makoto have a good relationship. Goro used to be Makoto's coach while he was still a coach at Iwatobi Swim Club. One night, wanting to visit the abandoned swim club building, Makoto ran into Goro, but didn't recognize him. After having a talk with him (not knowing it was actually Goro), he recognized him as Coach Sasabe and told him that he was one of his students. Goro then noted that Makoto grew big. 
Makoto and his mom and dad have a great relationship every parents and son should have. They talk a lot and it seems that they really love each other.
Ren, Ran and Makoto have a good sibling relationship with one another as Makoto looks out for them like a big brother should.
- Main article: Mrs Tamura
Makoto and Mrs Tamura are neighbours and they seem to have good relationship. Mrs Tamura often gives Makoto food to bring with him when he passes by her house in order to get to Haruka's.
Creation and Conception
Hiroko Utsumi, the director of the Free! anime, described Makoto in one phrase as "sweet boy". "He’s your everyday common high school boy. Strong, sweet, and a very helpful older brother. He was childhood friends with Haruka, so there’s not anything he hates about him. Conversely, he knows quite well the things he likes about Haruka. And because of that, he knows how to handle Haruka very well. Since Haruka isn’t the type to talk much, Makoto will follow up for Haruka and speak in his place. If Haruka wasn’t like that to begin with, Makoto wouldn’t become close to him. Since he is flawed, Makoto’s there by his side. I wonder if Haruka would also notice if Makoto’s big existence wasn’t always taking care of him." he says. "Actually, one point of Makoto’s character is that he’s scared easily. He’s big, yet scary things get to him. It was a bit sad when we decided to make him scared easily yet have that body style. My impression is that as he grew bigger, he didn’t know how to use his size to his advantage. Really, a smaller body seems to fit that side of him.", the director says.
- Like all members of the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club, Makoto has a female name.
- Despite being on the swim team, Makoto is afraid of the ocean. However, in the High☆Speed!, Makoto is not only afraid of the ocean, but the water in general.
- Makoto has been described as the wishy-washy type by Haruka, because he is too nice and was unable to decide which club member would be his boyfriend if he were a girl.
- Makoto and Haruka appear to have a game that consists of Makoto guessing what Haruka is thinking.
- Makoto likes eating green curry and chocolate.
- Makoto's best subject is Literature, while he's bad at English and Art.
- Makoto likes physical activity and manual labor.
- According to Rin, Makoto has a rough but dynamic stroke that leaves everyone behind.
- Makoto was voted Sexiest Anime Man of 2013 by winning over Haru Yoshida from Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun with 24861 votes.
- ↑ Episode 4 End Card
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Episode 1
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 High☆Speed!
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Episode 6
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Episode 2
- ↑ Episode 11
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Episode 8
- ↑ Episode 4
- ↑ Episode 5
- ↑ Episode 7
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Episode 9
- ↑ Episode 12
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Free! TV Animation Guidebook
- ↑ Episode 6
- ↑ Iwatobi High School Swimming Club's Diary 1: Track 3
- ↑ Iwatobi High School Swimming Club's Diary 1: Track 5
- ↑ Anime America Podcast Facebook Page
|Main Characters||Haruka Nanase • Rin Matsuoka • Makoto Tachibana • Nagisa Hazuki • Rei Ryugazaki|
|Iwatobi High School||Gou Matsuoka • Miho Amakata • Chigusa Hanamura • Male Teacher|
|Samezuka Academy||Seijuro Mikoshiba • Aiichiro Nitori|
|Others||Goro Sasabe • Ren Tachibana • Ran Tachibana • Mr Tachibana • Mrs Tachibana • Aki Yazaki • Mrs Tamura|