|Pairing:||Rin Matsuoka/Haruka Nanase|
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RinHaru is the pairing of Rin Matsuoka and Haruka Nanase in Free!
They are former childhood friends who are rivals. Their rivalry is the driving force of their relationship. Rin viewed Haru as the best swimmer he has ever seen and therefore his ultimate rival; a large part of his angst and character backstory is centered on his obsession with "beating" Haru. Haru, on the other hand, is intrigued and irritated by Rin despite feigning nonchalance to him. Being a tsundere character, he pretends not to care but always competes with Rin.
The show explores how the characters overcome the conflict of their competitiveness and become fast friends and teammates who trust each other, and use each other as standards to meet and better themselves, instead of a rival to beat. Many scenes with these characters contain homoerotic undertones.
The ship is quite popular due to them being the two most central characters to the show and being involved in a number of romantic tropes in canon.
During the first season of the show, there was a lot of controversy surrounding their relationship and whether or not it was abusive.
There was also fandom wank about who the "top" and "bottom" of the ship are: this was related to their [smushname] as it was a trend to consider the order of the names in slash ships to indicate their position. RinHaru versus HaruRin was a huge argument. Many fans opted out of the wank by using the nick Sharkbait (because Matsuoka Rin's associate animal is a shark). Others argued that Sharkbait was a derogatory nickname and had been 'co-opted' by RinHaru shippers, since it indicated an aggressiveness on Rin's part.
Links & Resources
- Mastuoka Rin/Nanase Haruka, Works on AO3.