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|Also known as||Iku-Chan (by Nagisa Hazuki)|
|Age||12-13 (High☆Speed! Vol. 2)|
17-18 (Free!-Take Your Marks-)
|Height||143 cm (4'8") (High☆Speed!)|
173 cm (5'8") (Free!-Take Your Marks-)
|Clubs||Shimogami University Swim Club|
|Swim Style||Breaststroke (specialty)|
|Events||4×100 m medley relay|
400 Individual medley
Natsuya Kirishima (older brother)
|Anime||High☆Speed！－Free! Starting Days－(movie)|
Episode 26 (anime)
|Light Novel||Volume 2|
Dani Chambers (child)
Ikuya Kirishima (桐嶋 郁弥 Kirishima Ikuya) is a main character in the anime series Free! , beginning with the movie High☆Speed！－Free! Starting Days－, and a supporting character in the light novel High☆Speed！He is the younger brother of Natsuya Kirishima, former captain of the Iwatobi Junior High School Swim Club. Ikuya is currently a first-year university student at Shimogami University where he is in the Shimogami University Swim Club alongside Hiyori Tono, his closest friend and top supporter.
Ikuya is a muscular, though smaller-framed, young man with amber eyes and dark teal-colored hair with bangs that dip between his eyes. His eyelashes are particularly long and black. In competition, he wears black jammers with subtle brown and gray designs. He tends to maintain a serious demeanor.
When first introduced as a member of the Iwatobi Junior High School Swim Club, Ikuya is quiet, cynical, and distrustful of others. Though taciturn, he isn't afraid to express his annoyance with others, especially his older brother, Natsuya. When Natsuya, as swim club captain, tries to enlist new members for the swim club, Ikuya resists, saying school-based sport clubs are a waste of time. Though he eventually joins, it takes time for him to warm up to his teammates - Haruka Nanase, Makoto Tachibana and Asahi Shiina - but comes to trust them. He admires Haruka a great deal, secretly wishing he possessed similar confidence in sport.
Ikuya's health is delicate and he has some fear of water due to the fact that he nearly drowns several times due to intermittant hypoxic training. Yet, being a determined athlete and not wishing to disappoint Natsuya, he pushes himself endlessly. This drive also stems from his belief that swimming and competition are to be mastered, as indicated by the anime's depiction of water being an "enemy" that binds him. In this way, he is shown to be both similar to and different from Haruka - both brilliant swimmers with radically different approaches to their sport.
Another major difference between Ikuya and Haruka is Ikuya's desire to "never be ordinary." He professes this to Hiyori, who supports him in this belief but who, unbeknownst to the others, is left in charge of keeping Ikuya's health intact while Natsuya travels the world as a professional swim competitor. This responsibility strains their friendship, but Ikuya remains oblivious to Hiyori's struggle until he makes amends with his estranged brother. In making amends with his former teammates and after swimming an Individual Medley with Haruka in fulfilment of a promise made long ago, Ikuya feels re-connected to humanity and is also able to reconcile with Natsuya and Hiyori. Only then, does he begin to see himself in a fully "humanized" way, although he still holds competition and winning to be a major goal in life.
Ikuya enjoys swimming as a child, but grows disenchanted with it as he grows older. This is due, in part, to his idolization of his older brother upon whom he depends a great deal. In a misguided effort to force Ikuya to become self-sufficient, Natsuya pulls away emotionally, but keeps pressure on Ikuya regarding sport. Instead of Ikuya rising to the challenge, his fragile self-esteem perceives the distancing as rejection and he begins to renounce the things that Natsuya and he used to share, like swimming. In junior high, he tries to avoid joining the swimming club because Natsuya is captain, but is steered into doing so by Haruka, Makoto and Asahi.
Once a member, it becomes obvious that Ikuya is an excellent swimmer, but has health issues due to his perfectionism and over-training. In the past, he has been hospitalized and is even once rescued by Haruka. Over time, Ikuya comes to respect and enjoy the camaraderie of being on a team and hopes his newfound friends will continue swimming. Unfortunately, it is at this time that Haruka has a falling out with Rin Matsuoka and gives up competitive swimming. The team's plans to work together fall apart, as do their developing bonds.
Shortly thereafter, Ikuya follows Natsuya to America where he attends junior high school and meets Hiyori Tono. Upon returning to Japan, both Ikuya and Hiyori attend Shionezaki High School and join the school's swim club. As a university freshman, Ikuya reconnects with his former junior high friends and teammates, makes amends with them, Natsuya and Hiyori.
- Main article: Ikuya Kirishima/Story
- Main article: Ikuya Kirishima/Relationships
- His motif animal is a beluga whale.
- He's a childhood friend of Satomi Nii, who only appears in the light novel.
- Squirrels are his favorite animals "for the tenderness," though he won't admit it.
- His favorite foods are fried shrimp, sweet tamagoyaki, and pistachio cream.
- As the youngest in his family, he has always wanted a younger brother.
- According to Hiyori, pistachio drinks are Ikuya's favorite.
- Ikuya acquired his copy of The Little Mermaid in America. It was a gift from his father and he treasures it. When he arrived in America, he couldn't read English well, so he would focus on the pretty pictures.
- At a staff talk event for Free!–the Final Stroke–, one of the character designers discussed the main characters' body types in terms of musculature. Ikuya was listed as being "type 2:" slightly above average muscles, but still quite lean compared to other body types.