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.