— Makoto, speaking to Haruka Nanase.
|Also known as|| Mako-chan (by Nagisa)|
Makoto-senpai (by Rei and Gou)
|Age|| 12 (High☆Speed!)|
|Height|| 151 cm (4'11") (High☆Speed!)|
183 cm (6'0") (Free!)
|Weight|| 42 kg (93 lb) (High☆Speed!)|
73 kg (161 lb) (Free!)
|Education|| Meijou Chuo University|
|Clubs|| Tokyo Swimming Club|
(Tokyo Swimming Club)
|Swim Style|| Backstroke (specialty)|
|Events|| 100m breaststroke|
|Light Novel||Chapter 1|
|Japanese|| Tatsuhisa Suzuki|
Satsuki Yukino (child)
|English|| Johnny Yong Bosch|
Colleen Clinkenbeard (child)
Makoto Tachibana (橘 真琴 Tachibana Makoto) is one of the main characters of the anime series Free! and the light novel High☆Speed！. He is the backstroke swimmer and captain of the Iwatobi High School Swim Club. He is currently majoring in Sports Medicine at Meijo Chuo University in Tokyo, with the aim of becoming a professional sports trainer.
Makoto is a tall, muscular young man with shaggy, olive brown hair and green eyes. His fall and winter school uniform consists of light brown trousers, a white shirt with green necktie, a dark gray unbuttoned blazer, and orange sneakers. During the spring and summer, his summer uniform consists of gray trousers, a white shirt with a dark gray collar, a green dotted necktie and orange sneakers. When swimming in competition, he wears black, long-legged swimskins with a green pattern and longer length swim trunks for recreational swimming. As a swimming coach, he wears a tri-colored uniform consisting of a short sleeve swim shirt and coordinating long-legged swimskins. He usually wears stylish clothing and upon entering college, black framed glasses which he uses for reading and playing video games. The most developed muscles of his form are his trapezius muscles (upper back).
Makoto is a pleasant and considerate individual, who is always concerned about the welfare of others. Due to his caring personality, he is usually seen with a gentle smile on his face. Despite his large frame, he scares easily, as shown when he appeared terrified of the possibility that their old swimming club may be haunted. When he gets scared, he tends to hide behind Haruka Nanase, a habit developed during childhood. As he matures, he develops more self-confidence, especially when defending his friends, as seen when Haruka challenges Hiyori Tono to a race and Makoto intervenes upon learning that Hiyori swims backstroke.
Makoto is one of the more sensible people in the group and can get a bit worn out from his friends' peculiar antics and mannerisms. He is usually the one restraining Haruka from randomly stripping at the sight of water or diving into fish tanks. His easy-going nature, combined with his self-discipline, makes him an excellent Captain for the Iwatobi High School Swim Club where he demonstrates responsible and steady leadership with a natural proclivity for building bonds between its members. Being the eldest in his family, he has long been responsible for assisting in the care of his young twin siblings, Ren Tachibana and Ran Tachibana, who adore him.
Makoto and Haruka have been best friends for so long that it seems they are able to read one another's thoughts, Their countless hours together have enabled them to intuit one another's feelings, but Makoto is actually vigilant about Haruka's well-being, especially when other people are involved. In turn, Haruka defends Makoto when the much-larger boy expresses irrational fears. Makoto's insight into how Haruka thinks is an advantage when convincing him to do something he doesn't want to do, often using water as a lure. This ability to sweep Haruka into his plans, and at his pace, lessens as Haruka grows more independent and vocal in college, but is demonstrated to be as strong as ever when Haruka tries to ignore the advice of his professional coach, Ryuji Azuma, but is convinced by a simple anecdote about preparing mackerel by Makoto. And although Haruka dislikes it when people use his first name and especially his full first name, Makoto does so and also uses the informal form used between close friends, calling him 'Haru' and even Haru-chan, which Haru constantly corrects without success.
Makoto and Haruka have been friends since at least kindergarten. It was in kindergarten that Haruka started calling Makoto by his first name and Makoto calling Haruka "Haru-chan." It was Makoto who wanted to join the Iwatobi Swimming Club when they were children and Haru tagged along with him. Due to the length of time Makoto and Haruka have been friends, Makoto can usually guess what Haruka is thinking and vice-versa, resulting in the both of them being able to hold wordless conversations.
When Makoto was young, he would visit a small fishing harbor. At the harbor was a nice, old fisherman who would sometimes play with Makoto. One summer, during a harbor festival, Makoto wanted to scoop for fish but had already used up his allowance. The fisherman gave him two goldfish to make him feel better. Later that season, a typhoon swept the coast and the fisherman's boat sank. Many people drowned, including the fisherman. Later, when the two goldfish died, Makoto made a grave for them, changing the flowers every day. Because of this experience, he developed Thalassophobia, a fear of the ocean.
As a child, Makoto swims the breaststroke and usually wins the 100m breaststroke events against Rin Matsuoka, but loses the 50m breaststroke against him. It's only when he teams up with Rin, Nagisa Hazuki and Haruka for the relay in elementary school that he switches to the backstroke. Finding it more comfortable, since he can see the sky, he henceforth specializes in that stroke.
At Iwatobi Junior High School, Makoto is known as "the big kid from class 2" because of his good physique. Kisumi Shigino asks him to join the basketball team after seeing him play during a combined gym class with Class 1 and Class 2, but Makoto ends up joining the swim club with Haruka, Asahi Shiina and Ikuya Kirishima. One day before swimming practice, Makoto and Haruka run into a stray dog. Makoto likes it, but Haruka tells him to ignore it because it will follow him around. Even though Makoto makes sure not to look at it, the dog follows them and despite Nagisa's assumption that the dog is attached to Haruka, it's actually attached to Makoto. It stays at the bottom of the stone stairs near Haruka and Makoto's houses, but Makoto is unable keep it because his mom proves allergic. Haruka comforts Makoto, naming the dog Makkou, and telling his friend that he will keep the dog if it stays at the bottom of the stone stairs until they return from school each day.
- Main article: Makoto Tachibana/Story
- Main article: Makoto Tachibana/Relationships
- Main article: Makoto Tachibana/Music
Creation and Conception
Hiroko Utsumi, the director of the Free! anime, described Makoto in one phrase as "sweet boy." "He’s your everyday common high school boy. Strong, sweet, and a very helpful older brother. He was childhood friends with Haruka, so there’s not anything he hates about him. Conversely, he knows quite well the things he likes about Haruka. And because of that, he knows how to handle Haruka very well. Since Haruka isn’t the type to talk much, Makoto will follow up for Haruka and speak in his place. If Haruka wasn’t like that to begin with, Makoto wouldn’t become close to him. Since he is flawed, Makoto’s there by his side. I wonder if Haruka would also notice if Makoto’s big existence wasn’t always taking care of him." She also says, "He’s big, yet scary things get to him. It was a bit sad when we decided to make him scared easily yet have that body style. My impression is that as he grew bigger, he didn’t know how to use his size to his advantage. Really, a smaller body seems to fit that side of him."
- The kanji for his family name Tachibana (橘) is also the Chinese hanzi character spelling of the word "orange."
- Additionally, there are also two different spellings for the Japanese family name "Tachibana"; 立華 and 立花. The character "華" in 立華 can also be translated as reading "hana," the Japanese word for "flower." Both of the other spellings are spelled with two kanji and also spell out "Rikka."
- Like all members of the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club, Makoto has a female name.
- Despite being on the swim team, Makoto is afraid of the ocean. However, in High☆Speed！, Makoto is not only afraid of the ocean, but the water in general.
- Makoto has been described as the wishy-washy type by Haruka, because he is too nice and was unable to decide which club member would be his boyfriend if he were a girl.
- Makoto and Haruka appear to have a game that consists of Makoto guessing what Haruka is thinking.
- According to Free! TV ANIMATION GUIDE BOOK:
- Makoto likes eating green curry and chocolate.
- Makoto's best subject is Literature, while he's bad at English and Art.
- Makoto likes physical activity and manual labor.
- Makoto was voted Sexiest Anime Man of 2013, winning over Haru Yoshida from "Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun" with 24,861 votes.
- Makoto won the Muscle Contest held at the renewed Iwatobi Swimming Club, where Gou Matsuoka was one of the judges. However, Gou gave the most points to Rin.
- Makoto's voice actor, Tatsuhisa Suzuki, is the vocalist for OLDCODEX, the band which performs the opening themes for all three seasons of Free! -- "Rage on", "Dried Up Youthful Fame" and "Heading to Over".
- His motif animal is an orca.
- Young Makoto's English voice actress, Colleen Clinkenbeard, also provides the voice for his mother, Mrs Tachibana, and Tsukushi Kurimiya.