haru brushing rins hair
haru braiding rins hair
haru staying in bed to run his hands through rins hair early in the morning instead of going for his everyday bath before rin wakes up because its soft and nice
#haru washing rin’s hair in the bathtub#haru buying rin hair accessories#haru painting the shades of red in rin’s hair in his portraits with loving care#haru getting stuck watching water shine over rin’s hair and trail down his nape when they’re training togeter
Lately I’ve been talking about Nitori’s character with a bunch of people again, and I figured I’d write down some of my thoughts on the reason why his character tends to split the fandom down the middle. Given that he’s not much more than a side character with very limited character development, the fact that he is capable of rousing such extreme emotion on both sides of the spectrum is nothing short of fascinating, so I’ll try to objectively tackle both (as well as offer my subjective view, because why the hell not).
DISCLAIMER: I don’t hate Nitori, though admittedly I’ve never been his biggest fan (for reasons which I shall disclose below). My best friend, however, loves Nitori more than any other character on the show, so safe to say I have no agenda in trying to paint Nitori as the antichrist either. I’m not trying to convert anyone onto either side, but perhaps offer some food for thought on why some of the extremes are capable of hurting people on both sides of the spectrum.
Bless for this analysis, even though there is one point I can’t see still:
Nitori resonates on that level that exists between insecurity and hopefulness, the belief that by putting in enough effort you can overcome your limitations.
I can’t talk about the people who liked Nitori, since I’m not one of them. The above statement (and way of thinking), however, was already addressed in the show proper:
Rin’s utter failure in Australia.
We have already seen a case where “putting your best effort” doesn’t mean you will succeed at all. If anything, you might fail tremendously, despite your efforts. It is a punch of realism on this ever-optimistic shounen mindset.
The answer the show has given us is that “it takes more manner rather than effort” to achieve a goal: despite Rin’s best efforts, swimming with a certain mindset was the key to swim fast, to come first, to succeed. So, even if Nitori says that he feels frustrated that he can’t swim in his preferred event, the show keeps on (or rather, forgets him in) pushing on with the same mindset it condemned as not working.
And it’s not just that. If you build up everything wrong with Nitori’s character and actions, you eventually meet a fallacy that is indeed frustrating:
- Nitori helps Rin train.
- Rin never asked for it.
- Nitori does so anyway.
- Rin tells him to focus on his own event, style and swimming.
- Nitori still focuses on Rin instead.
- Nitori feels frustrated that he can’t get any better.
- He complains about it to Rin.
The dead-end is absolutely enraging at the second half of the show. Nitori wants to get better AND support Rin, but is too blind to do the very basic thing: focus on his own self and train properly and accordingly. Instead, we see him focus on Rin and then whine “I CAN’T SWIM THE WAY I WANT”, even though Rin gave him the answer: “take care of yourself and leave me alone”.
So, when I listen that Nitori is someone all awkward-ducklings can relate to, I wonder why they don’t also cheer on Rin’s behaviour towards him: Rin is giving Nitori the answer to achieve his goal, but Nitori simply doesn’t take it, even if the person of his admiration directly tells him to.
Why doesn’t he do it? Because it involves stop being so hung up to said person of admiration.
For someone who seems to be hung up on Rin, Nitori sure doesn’t listen at what Rin says when Nitori thinks it’s inconvenient.
And yet, Rin suggests the very logical thing: how on earth can Nitori become better if he worries and tries for someone else to be good instead?
And then the last episode came, which was pure nonsense: instead of Nitori becoming more self-aware, mature and truly considerate, Rin had to lower his level to reach him. Instead of both becoming better, Nitori went stagnant and Rin simply “gave in”.
So, really, what’s the message Nitori gives off in this show? “Try hard and your goal will be achieved”?
Rather, it’s "Even if you did more harm than good, it’s the intent that counts, not the result!"
I don’t think I should explain how this is harmful and even truly disturbing if applied to real life.
Personally, I’ve given up on Nitori in my head, even though I know that KyoAni won’t give up on him, considering the spreads he’s getting.
I just hope he’ll get minimal screentime in a possible continuation. His writing was intolerable.
|Maybe I have my shipping googles too tight, but don´t you think that a hidden idea of Free! and High Speed! was for Haru to meet a person who will attract him almost the same way water does? Like Haru was always drawn to water, thinking about swimming, feeling water, craving it physically and emotionally, like he wouldn´t crave for a human being. But than there is Rin, and he thinks about Rin, wants to swim with him, be with him, and all the Haru/water and Haru/Rin paralels...|
((omfg i was still so groggy when i opened up this ask I read High Speed! as High School Musical and… was so confused… for a second orz))
But no! I would actually say it’s not necessarily a case of shipping goggles being on too tight at all – the entire thematic narrative of both works revolves around water, and HS! clearly underlines the idea of Haruka substituting human contact with water (which he regards as its own sentient entity). When Rin enters his life, he senses a
disturbance in the forcea shift in this status quo, and becomes vexed over the idea of “Rin feeling the water better than he does” because he cannot fathom why Rin’s presence would get under his skin as much otherwise.
Based on HS! alone we could still pin this down as a standard rivalry-turned-companionship storyline, but Free! takes Rin’s importance up by a few notches to the point where water no longer offers Haruka the same solace as it used to, simply because it is void of Rin – Rin therefore has the ability to withhold and grant water, as also illustrated by the cheesy but awesome ED sequence, which means that the “sentient” nature of water is transferred upon Rin as a person, so to speak.
Basically, the whole Rin = water narrative is what Mizu also brought up a while back and I promised to write an extensive piece on it; I’ve been way too lazy/preoccupied with other stuff to finish it yet, but once I do I’ll expand on this further so I’ll keep it brief for now. So to answer your question in short: I think “for Haruka to meet a person who attracts him almost the same way water does” is a very plausible hidden narrative in the story, and that person invariably turns out to be Rin. Whether that attraction is platonic or romantic though, well… /slinks into the shadows trying not to become too biased by Harurin hell