Comfort Entertainment: Which Members of ‘Free!’ are Actually Dateable?

Image of the characters from ‘Free! Eternal Summer’. Copyright goes to Funimation and Crunchyroll.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I actually really enjoyed writing my last post about ‘Ouran High School Host Club’ and I’ve really been looking into writing something similar. So this anime was one that I definitely watched for a while and was absolutely made for the fan service. While some hoped that the fan service for this particular show would lean more queer, unfortunately this didn’t happen. I have a suspicion it didn’t because it was mainly made to appeal to women, but the fan service did feel a bit like queer bait at times. But because of the purpose of this anime, I thought it was only fitting to address how dateable these characters actually are. Because, even though these characters were made to be attractive, this doesn’t always mean their personalities would make for good boyfriends. In fact, most of the time I would argue that it really really doesn’t. So, let’s just get into it! If you haven’t watched any of the seasons of ‘Free!’ and want to, this is your MAJOR SPOILER warning. Though I do find ‘50% Off’ on Youtube to be superior; it’s absolutely useless to talk about those versions of the characters as boyfriends. Because that would be disastrous.

Haru:

Haru is very dedicated to the water. No, I don’t mean swimming. He likes swimming. But he’s dedicated to the water. He’s very hard working when he wants to be and is a complete perfectionist when it comes to his talents. He doesn’t talk much, but what he has to say always seems to be of some importance. And though he’s brutally honest, he does have a sincere loyalty to his friends. So, does all this make him a great boyfriend? I think you might have noticed that I was really stretching for good qualities here. I don’t think Haru is a bad person, but there’s no point in time where he’s emotionally available to anyone around him. His best friend is Makoto, and even he has a lot of trouble getting through to him on various occasions. Haru’s one great love is the water. Sometimes disturbingly so. I just don’t see Haru ever caring for anyone romantically, I sincerely apologize to the Haru and Rin or Haru and Makoto shippers. I think it would take an enormous amount of work for Haru to even be the friend he should be towards the people in his life, never mind a romantic love interest towards anyone.

Makoto:

From petting adorable cats to helping old women, Makoto has got the nice boy vibes down. Makoto is constantly looking after his friends, making sure Haru gets to school on time, and attempting to dissuade his friends from doing anything dangerous. Definitely the one with anxiety, which I may or may not be able to relate to. Makoto loves swimming, but he’s much less obsessed with it than other members of the team. He’s far more inclined to do something else with his life, such as teach or help the community. He’s far and away the most responsible member of the team. As seen when he saved Rei from the ocean when Rei was attempting to teach himself. But does this mean he’s dateable? Absolutely it does. By far the most dateable member in ‘Free!’, and I would argue that he’s one of the most dateable anime characters I have ever seen. It does help that his dub voice is Johnny Yong Bosch. (Can you tell I’m a fan?) But that aside, Makoto is the absolute opposite of Haru in that he is actually emotionally available. He’s the friend that all of his friends go to for advice, and there are no limits to his loyalty or compassion. Makoto is not only kind, he’s also that golden retriever boyfriend we all want.

Nagisa:

The youngest member and by far the cutest. The one that everyone feels they have to take care of, but somehow Nagisa ends up taking care of them more often. I think it’s very safe to say that Nagisa is the glue that holds the team together. When several of them develop grudges for each other, this never seems to touch Nagisa. He just assumes he’s still friends with all of them and shrugs off the negativity. But does that make him mature enough to be a good boyfriend? I would say yes. I know, I know. I argued that Honey from Ouran was not dateable because he acted too young and Honey is a bit older than Nagisa. But I think there’s an important difference between acting like a toddler and just acting innocent. Nagisa never crosses the border into acting like an actual toddler for me. Could he stand to grow up? Probably. But I think Nagisa’s openness towards people different from him massively outweighs anyone else’s in the group. And I think that shows a maturity that many of the other characters in this anime don’t seem to have.

Rei:

Rei doesn’t come in until ‘Eternal Summer’ and is the last member to join the friend group. And that’s for a very simple reason; he doesn’t actually start out as a swimmer. He’s a member of the track club, and very much focused on that and his studies. Nagisa only sets his mind on the poor guy when the High School has too few swimmers to actually form a swim club. It’s hard to tell for certain why Nagisa focuses on Rei specifically. Though some fans have a few theories. But Rei has to actually learn to swim, and is often frustrated because he strives for so much perfection. He’s responsible with his studies, but does that make him mature enough to be good boyfriend material? Absolutely not. Nope. Rei’s level of perfectionism that he strives for is absolutely insane. And Rei makes it a point to note that he strives for this level of perfection in all facets of his life. Though he doesn’t always push it onto his friends, it’s also reasonable to assume that he would look for this in a romantic partner. Rei is another character who is emotionally unavailable because of that. I seriously couldn’t imagine anyone dating him happily.

Rin:

The last main character in this series and quite possibly the most popular. Rin is that bad-boy anti-hero that everyone loves. While he used to swim on the same team as Nagisa, Haru, and Makoto, he now goes to a completely different school. And you can bet he holds a grudge against Haru for forming a new team without him. Even though Haru arguably had very little to do with the forming of the new team. Rin is the most serious about a career in swimming than everyone else, which is why he decides to go to a High School with an elite swim team. So does his hard work and passion for his career show enough responsibility to make him seem like a good boyfriend? If you didn’t see this coming with what I said about Haru, I would be genuinely surprised. The answer is a definite no. His strong grudge and obsession with his old friend would make him a very unavailable boyfriend. To anyone except maybe Haru. But still, he’s pretty contentious. Rin seems to be more focused on holding his grudge than anything else, because he feels he doesn’t have anything else.

I think what I’ve learned about a lot of these anime shows, is that there are less characters that are actually boyfriend material than you think. Or at least, want to think. What I’m getting at here is just because someone looks attractive, doesn’t mean that they would be at all pleasant to date. I don’t think anything demonstrates this more than fictional characters. But I always have fun going through these characters and actually considering what it would be like to date these fan favorite characters. And sometimes the results of thinking about it, are just hilarious. Maybe this will become more of a series! I really love doing these! But until then, we’ll most likely have a lot more BTS news to share soon. What with the last day of the concert and then the important decision to be made at the end of this month. Let’s hope for good news!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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