On Makoto and Haru's living arrangements
- Interviewer: By the way, are Haruka and Makoto attending the same university?
- Utsumi: No, they’re at different universities. They’re both in Tokyo, but they live in different areas; they live near enough that they can have dinner together on occasion. And while the paths they walk may not be the same, I feel that this sort of distance is really ‘them’.
Everyone’s all emotional about this picture because “it ended the way it started” and that’s really deep and all
but I’m just here like damn Haru still got the booty.
On Haruka's decision for his future
- Interviewer: And how about the linchpin of the series, Haruka?
- Utsumi: For Haruka…we really discussed a lot [about what path he would take].
- Interviewer: I couldn’t tear my eyes away to the very end, wondering what sort of future this boy—who back in Season 1 said he couldn’t wait to be normal—would wind up choosing.
- Utsumi: Yes, he did say that in Season 1 (haha). Haruka’s kind of a weird kid, so we discussed a lot about what sort of future he’d choose. It was easy to imagine the core Haruka as someone who’d stay in his hometown, swimming as he liked, and that was actually one idea we tossed around. But the notion of Haruka swimming on the international stage resonated the most strongly with me—albeit not the exact same path that Rin’s walking, mind you. Rin’s motivation is to become a swimmer at the international level and score times at all manner of tournaments and win a gold medal, but even if Haruka chooses that same swimming career as Rin, I feel he’ll do it for his own, Haruka-ish reasons. He wants to swim “in the place”, the whole world, and that’s why he chooses that path. So while being a professional swimmer isn’t something Haruka would ever choose on his own, with his friends pushing him from behind, and pulling him along, I feel it’s a very Haruka-ish decision that he ultimately made.
- Interviewer: So Haruka decided how to live his own future with the support of a lot of people.
- Utsumi: Indeed; it’s a path Haruka never would have chosen himself. But despite claims that he doesn’t care about winning or losing or scoring certain times, he’s always been attentive to Rin’s presence. So I believe there were signs, deep down, that he would choose this path for his future.
Makes me wonder if the original idea was to have Haru and Rin in separate beds XD
- Hatta: And also, the scene in episode 12 where Haruka and Rin have to share a bed due to a hotel mix-up was based on something that actually happened on the Australia location trip. Yokotani-san had an up-close-and-personal encounter with that double bed (haha).
- Yokotani: That’s right! …We got out key, stepped into the room, saw there was just one double bed, and it was like, “EEH?!” And while the [male] staff member I was sharing the room with said, “I don’t mind~” I was still, “Noooo no no no.” (haha) Then when we checked with the lobby, we realized that Director Utsumi, who was supposed to have a single room for herself, somehow had wound up with two beds in hers…
- Hatta: So the hotel staff member just made a mistake (haha).
More deets about Episode 14
- Interviewer: [Regarding episode 14, to be released with DVD 7 in March 2015] Can you give us a hint about what we can expect from that episode?
- Hatta: The main 8 will form a single team! […] The Samezuka and Iwatobi teams will be shuffled. It’s usually Iwatobi vs. Samezuka, right? But wouldn’t you like to see something different, seeing interactions between characters you’ve never seen before? Like Makoto and Momotarou, for example.
- Yokotani: But it won’t be a swimming match! (haha)
- Hatta: Right! (haha) Everyone will deepen their relationships through this episode, so please look forward to seeing just what sorts of conversations these characters will have with each other!
On Haruka and Competition
- Interviewer: It’s true that in Episode 1 of ES, when Rin said, “You still think you’re the best in the water though, right?” Haruka’s expression changed a bit.
- Utsumi: Plus, I feel that if all he wanted to do was swim, he wouldn’t have joined a swimming club in the first place. There was no reason for him to participate in tournaments, either—he could’ve just gone to a public pool and swum to his heart’s content. He’s always been sensitive to winning and losing, instinctually; he simply never realized it. That’s why, after encountering Rin, he started getting so competitive. I’ve felt that Haruka has had those instincts within him ever since first reading the original novel (“High Speed!”), so this was all a journey to help Haruka realize that himself, I feel.
The difference in Utsumi's post-13 vision for Makoto, Haru, and Rin's relationships with each other
- Makoto and Haru: "This sort of distance where they can see each other on occasion really suits them."
- Haru and Rin: "They may be in completely different locations, but the path they walk is the same, so they'll be able to swim together again."
Rin taking Haruka to Australia was Director Utsumi’s idea, and even now, I still remember the moment she told us about it. We had these organizational camps where we’d do nothing but discuss the story’s composition the whole time, and it was there that we’d flesh out the general idea of how the story would go. When we’d gotten most everything hashed out, we were still faced with the issue of how Haruka’s feelings would change—it was really difficult deciding what sort of big dramatic event we could bring into his situation, and a lot of ideas were tossed around. But then, in the middle of all of that, Director Utsumi just dropped the bomb: “Why not have him go to Australia?” (haha) And at first, I thought, “That’s totally impossible!” but then I realized that the impossibility of the situation actually made it pretty possible—and that was the moment where I finally saw everything from the beginning of ES’s story to its conclusion. [aside to Hatta] Do you remember that? When I said, “Wait, I feel like I’ve just seen it—I’d like to think about this on my own for a bit, so please leave me alone.”
When I tried to think about what on earth could move the heart of a boy like Haruka, who’s awkward and never really gets agitated over anything, I realized that it would have to be something out of the box, or it wouldn’t work. But maybe something as big as going to Australia would be sufficient to awaken something within him. Haruka has never really left his hometown, has lived there his whole life, so he’s probably never really seen what “the world” really is. And I felt that if Rin had just taken him to visit some famous pool in Tokyo, it wouldn’t have been enough to really shake Haruka—but Rin himself would probably choose to take him to the place where he’d grown up, Australia. For Rin, Australia was a place filled with a lot of harsh memories—but they weren’t all bad, and he saw and experienced a lot of things there, so he’d want Haruka to see those same things. And I feel he was the only one who could do that for Haruka; its as a very “Rin” approach to the issue.