|Name:|| Nanase Haruka
|Relationships:|| Grandmother (deceased)
Tachibana Makoto (childhood friend)Matsuoka Rin (friend/rival)
|Other:||Voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki (Japanese), Todd Haberkorn (English)|
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Haruka Nanase is the main character on Free!. He's a former member of the Iwatobi Swim Club, a co-founder of the Iwatobi High School Swim Club, and is currently in the Hidaka University swim club. He specializes in freestyle, even going so far as to insist: "I only swim freestyle." He's a quiet, quirky character with a great passion for swimming. He's known for stripping every time he encountered water and always wearing his swimsuit under his clothes.
Following the release of the promotional video (PV), but before information about the anime was released, the fandom referred to Haru as "tsundere-kun."
Shipping wars between Rin/Haru and Makoto/Haru resulted in various debates concerning Haruka's characterization by each fandom. He is sometimes the victim of having his canon personality erased in order to make him weaker and more submissive to better fit a seme/uke relationship.
Leading up to and following the finale of Free! Eternal Summer, there was a lot of controversy over Haru's career choice. Some fans argued that Haru's decision to go pro after being against it for so long didn't make any sense, while others argued that this decision had long been hinted at throughout the show and made perfect sense for his character.
Haru is also involved in a number of joke ships such as Haru/Water and Haru/Iwatobi-chan (Iwatobi High School's mascot) as a result of his canon passion for these two things (especially in contrast to his usual apathy).
- Artist, Imitate Thyself by orphan_account. A fic featuring Haru as an artist, a common fanon career path for him.
- On Haruka and Makoto: the C-word by icecreambat. "[Haruka’s] friendship with Makoto might always be sort of shadowed by [issues with devotion, issues with self-sacrifice] unless they’re both willing to address the issues of co-dependency"