Why Haru & Rin?

I have so much love for these boys! Everything about Free! was just wonderful, but I found the relationship between Rin and Haru to be especially captivating. To both of these characters, swimming was absolutely everything. Haru's reactions to Rin saying he was quitting, or that he was never going to swim with him again, were very telling - the look on his face was one of complete devastation. To him, Rin not wanting to swim with him equated with Rin saying he wanted nothing to do with him. When Rin realized that he was the reason Haru no longer swam competitively, he was completely taken by surprise and couldn't believe that Haru had been as deeply affected by the fallout from their race as he was. Regardless of their shaky friendship after Rin's return home, they never lost their utmost faith and respect in each other's abilities. They were so fixated on one other that the other characters even picked up on it and commented about it on more than one occasion. At the festival, for example, Rei and Nagisa spent the whole evening trying to keep Haru from learning that Rin was there so that he wouldn't be upset.

It was just so interesting to watch the interactions between these two characters. They both wanted to be friends again more than anything, but were just completely unable to communicate their needs in a way that the other could understand. It seemed that they both needed the other in their lives in order to be whole. When Haru was around Rin, he showed real emotion instead of his usual indifference. And through making up with Haru and the rest of the team and swimming in the race, Rin was able to find contentment with swimming that he hadn't had in a very long time. I loved how the season ended with Haru 'showing him a sight he'd never seen before', just as Rin had done for Haru back when they first became friends. I just think they make a beautiful couple (to borrow Rei's word)!

- Liz