Hi! I wanted to know what your opinion is on the fact the Haru decided on the olympic track. I heard some people saying that it felt off somehow, that haru deserved better in terms of character development considering how in the beginning he just wanted a quiet life. They compared it to an adventurous character w/ big dreams having to settle down with a normal, ordinary life. Idk but can I just have your thoughts on this? I feel you'd be able to articulate it better bc I dont really understand?
Hey there anon!
Whoa. Okay. This came kind of unexpected, but thank you for the interest. I had to sit on this ask for a while because it is an incredibly loaded topic for me, personally – back when ES was airing, I don’t think there was a single other thing that disappointed me about the season as much as the way KyoAni handled Haru going pro. Not because I was opposed to the idea on some kind of fundamental principle –which I will talk about in a second– but because the pacing of the season essentially killed any chance at selling that arc to me like I really, really wish it had.
Now, the subject is a bit of a landmine to tackle because honestly? I’m still a little undecided on the result. On one hand, I can’t exactly agree with the comments you referred to, given that the idea of Haru “just wanting a quiet life” seems to overlook all the scenes that argue the opposite: from his competitive streak to literally admitting that certain aspects of his life were not enough for him anymore (i.e. his current, “tamed” relationship with water), it’s hard if not impossible for me to believe that deep down he was never more ambitious than that. After all, Haru’s entire character revolves around initially rejecting the unfamiliar – be it Rin, the relay, or even his friends’ compassion, there’s always a stage of “I don’t want this, it feels alien and scary, just let me live how I always have.” And yet, some of the most rewarding things in his life turned out to be precisely the unfamiliar, enough for him to want to run and scream through his comfort zones; therefore, taking all his defiance at face value kinda ignores the way an unreliable narrator works. You can’t interpret everything Haru says as objective truth, which was the whole point of his fight with Makoto – that Haru had pushed his fear of change so far into self-denial that even his best friend couldn’t sit back and keep silent.
But this doesn’t mean I’ll take an olympic* Haru at 100% face value either.
(shit this got long, so under a cut it goes)