Rin and Haru

"If you swim with me, I'll show you a sight you've never seen before!" - Rin

Haruka Nanase and Rin Matsuoka are from the anime Free!. They were childhood friends and teammates on a swim team, but they drifted apart when Rin moved away to go to school in Australia. To both of these characters, swimming was absolutely everything. When Rin said he was quitting or that he was never going to swim with Haru again, the look on Haru's face was one of complete devastation because to him, Rin not wanting to swim with him equated to Rin saying he wanted nothing to do with him. And when Rin realized that he was actually the reason Haru no longer swam competitively, he was dismayed and couldn't believe that Haru had been just as deeply affected by the fallout from their race as he had been. 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.

It was just so interesting to watch the interactions between these two characters. They both wanted to be friends again so badly, 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 glimpses of real emotion instead of his usual indifference. And through making up with Haru and the rest of the team and swimming in the relay, Rin was able to find contentment with swimming that he hadn't had in a very long time. I loved how the first season ended with Haru 'showing him a sight he'd never seen before', just as Rin had done for Haru years back when they first became friends.

During the second season, I was initially disappointed in how few scenes Rin and Haru were in together, but my irritation disappeared when they visited Australia together. It was so touching to see Rin share that part of his life with Haru, and to see how he was able to help Haru find himself again. Haru's emotional journey mirrored the first season when he was there for Rin, and that episode in particular showed how they were able to inspire one another and how they needed each other to keep going. I also loved how season 2 opened with Haru remembering that Rin wanted to swim in a pool of cherry blossoms and making that happen, and then when Rin returned the gesture in the finale with the whole season coming full circle. Their friendship was so important to them and I loved seeing how they ended up traveling the same path in the future and were able to remain at each other's side.

Quotes

Episode 1-1 (Reunion at the Starting Block!)

Rin: "The four of us won this together, so it doesn't make sense for one person to take it home. So let's put it in a time capsule, and dig it up when we're grown up." [looks at Haru] "Romantic, right?"


Episode 1-7 (One Style Final!)

Nagisa: [Haru looking at photo of Rin] [whispers to Makoto] "Haru-chan says he doesn't care about his times or winning races, but he's motivated when he's racing Rin-chan."


Episode 1-12 (Distant Free)

Rei: "But that's not what he really wants. He didn't care about the race. He just wanted to swim with all of you again. To swim with the best teammates he could have..."

Haru: "How do you know that?"

Rei: "Because... I feel the same way he does. I want to swim in a relay with all of you. With the best teammates I could ask for... I'm sure you feel the same way, Haruka-senpai! The race isn't important! There's someone you want to swim with, right?!"

Haru: "I want to swim with Rin!"

Rin: "Haru... Why are you here? Come to laugh at my pathetic loss?"

Haru: "Rin..."

Rin: "You saw what happened in the free. And I was taken out of the relay. The world is laughing at me. So join in! No need to pity me. I told you to laugh! That's all I'm good for, anyway. I'm not even good enough to race you guys in a relay!"

Haru: "Calm down, Rin!"

Rin: "Shut up! What would you know?!"

Haru: "I know! How fun it is to swim with friends... How good it feels to swim in a relay together... You were the one who taught me that, Rin! You're the reason I..."

Rin: [grabs Haru] "Shut up!"

Haru: "I understand now! I found the answer! Why I swim! Who I'm swimming for!"

Haru: "Rin, come. It's my turn to show you a sight you've never seen before."


Episode 2-1 (Storm of Dive and Dash!)

Rin: "We can't compete in the relay today, so it's just you and me."

Haru: "I don't care about records or anything."

Rin: "You're still saying that? Even if you don't care about winning or losing, you still think you're the best in the water, don't you? I'm going to fire up that cold heart of yours."


Episode 2-12 (A Swim-Off in a Foreign Land!)

Rin: "Hey, Haru? I said I'd always admired you, right? You might not remember this, but I still remember to this day. The day I first met you... Honestly, I didn't think I'd lose to anyone. But any frustration I felt was blown away in a second... I thought, 'there's a guy out there more amazing than me', and, 'I want to swim with him.' That's why it's bad for me if you're not always there when I'm moving forward, swimming in front of me. If you're not, there's no point."

Haru: "I remember that tournament, too."

Rin: "Do you remember that freestyle race we swam in the spring tournament? That race where we tied and set a new tournament record."

Haru: "Yeah."

Rin: "I was testing you at that time. I wanted to see if it was really over for you or not. And then, when I felt your presence coming up from behind me, I was sure. I could tell you were a guy who would enter the same world as me after all. Hey, Haru. Did you feel anything at that time?"

Pictures (click to view larger)
Season 1
Season 2