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Haruko Akagi
Haruko
Name
Characteristics
Gender Female Female
Hair Color Brown
Eye Color Brown
Professional Status
Team Shohoku
Year 1st year
Position 2nd Manager
Personal Status
Relatives Takenori Akagi (elder brother)
First Appearance
Manga Debut Chapter 1
Anime Debut Episode 1
Voices
Japanese Voice Akiko Hiramatsu
English Voice Martha McIsaac
Charmaine Cordoviz (GMA Dub)
[v · t · e]

Haruko Akagi (赤木 晴子, Akagi Haruko?) is Takenori Akagi's younger sister and Sakuragi's love interest. Haruko was responsible for uncovering Sakuragi's athletic talent after seeing him try to dunk a ball at her request. She was impressed by the height of his jump and considered him good enough to join the team. Sakuragi always listens to her due to his deep affection for her. They have gone on some (what Sakuragi considers) non-official dates and have occasionally trained together.

Personality

Sweet, kind, friendly and with a captivating personality, she is always around to cheer on the players, especially her brother Takenori, who is extremely protective of her and taught her the basics of basketball, and Sakuragi, whom she considers her best friend. Haruko often appears at matches together with Sakuragi's cohorts and her two best friends, Fujii and Matsui. She, like most girls in Shohoku, has a strong obession for Rukawa, although he never reciprocates her feelings and, later , she acknowledges that he will not love her the way she wants him to and tries to let go of her crush, however unsuccessfully.

Haruko is also emotionally weak, very naïve and a very dense girl. She was unable to realise Sakuragi's love for her until the end of the manga, when he confessed his love for Basketball to her. She is also unable to understand that she is the main factor for Sakuragi's and Rukawa's rivalry; as Rukawa is an obstacle for Sakuragi to win her heart.

Despite her emotional denseness and sweetness, Haruko is a pretty good student, helping Akagi tutor Sakuragi and the other three starters when they had to retake some tests they had failed or be disqualified from the National Tournament, and is not afraid to stand up for others when needed. She confronted Sakuragi when she mistakenly thought that he had attacked Rukawa, and also defended him many times from his most rabid fangirls.

At the end of the manga series, Haruko became the second manager of basketball team. .

Plot

Apart from being Sakuragi's love interest, Haruko does not play a huge role in the series. Her greatest involvement in the series comes at the beginning of the series when she inquires to Sakuragi on whether he likes basketball or not. Sakuragi, who falls in love with her at first sight, fervently says that he likes basketball in hopes of getting closer to her. He, in fact, does begin to get closer to her and receives the opportunity to showcase his basketball skills to her. He does not fail to impress with his exceptional athletic abilities and strength, leading her to believe that he will be the savior of the basketball team one day. She speaks highly of Sakuragi to her friends and sees his shortcomings simply as small obstacles on his road to glory.

Throughout the series, Haruko is shown to always watching the team's practice or watching basketball matches with her two friends; Fujie and Matsui.

She also had spent time with Sakuragi several times; when she offered him to teach him layups, helping him buy basketball shoes, comforting him after his mistake during the match against Kainan and helping him buy his second basketball shoes after the first ones were worn out after completing his 20 000 jump shots training.

At the end of the manga, she became the second manager of the team. Her first job as a manager is to keep weekly correspondence with Sakuragi, who is still in rehabilitation from his back injury. She informs him of the team's progress and is excitedly anticipating his return. In the first letter she sent to Sakuragi, she informed him that she would be waiting for him, revealing her new feelings for him after the latter confessed his love for basketball to her during the match against Sannoh.

In Slam Dunk :10 Days After, She is seen reading Sakuragi's returned letter, and was pleased that Sakuragi is the Rehabilitation King. At the end of the chapter, she sent him a letter again informing him of the team's progress. At the end of the letter, she told Sakuragi she is desperately waiting for his return as the Reboung king once again.

Relationships

Takenori Akagi

Haruko has great respect for her elder brother and a lot of faith in him as a Basketball player. She always cheers him up and congratulates him on his victory and achievements in the matches.

Hanamichi Sakuragi

-"Do you like Basketball ?" The question that triggered Sakuragi's interest in basketball.

-"I'll be waiting." Haruko's reply to Sakuragi's feelings.

Haruko is impressed by Sakuragi's physical stature during their first encounter, leading her to ask if he likes basketball as an attempt to recruit him to the basketball team. On the other hand, Sakuragi immediately falls in love with her at first sight and decides to play Basketball as a way to gain her affection. Upon being the first person to witness his first slam dunk, Haruko realizes Sakuragi has enormous basketball potential. Sakuragi's jumping ability, along with his constant bragging, leads her to believe he would one day be the savior of the basketball team. She is also the first one to befriend him, despite hearing from her friends that Sakuragi is notorious for his arrogance, fighting history and short temper. Many girls are intimidated by him rather than being attracted to him. However, Haruko is convinced that Sakuragi is a good person. Her conviction, however, is temporarily lost after she witnesses Sakuragi punch Rukawa. This leads her to call him a horrible person and spurn him. Soon after, she regrets her actions after Yohei Mito told her the truth about the incident. She apologizes to Sakuragi for her poor judgment and unfounded behavior. Since then, the two began to get along and quickly became best friends. She helps Sakuragi in his practice, cheers him up during matches, comforts him when he is unhappy and willingly hangs out with him. Haruko sees Sakuragi solely as a friend and is oblivious of Sakuragi's romantic affection for her. Much of this fact could be blamed on her crush on Rukawa. Despite that, Sakuragi continues to attempt to win over her affection. In order to impress Haruko, Sakuragi continues to improve his game at a rapid pace. Every step of the way, Haruko is with him, caring for him when he is hurt, comforting him when he is gloomy, and praising him for when he attains his goals. As a spectator in all of Sakuragi's games, she notices his rapid progress throughout each game and practice. This leads her to grow envious and proud at the same time for his development. During the Shohoku's last game against the first-ranked basketball team Sannoh, Sakuragi injures his back after falling on the referee's table. It is at this time he realizes something quite remarkable about his life. This provokes him to confess this discovery to Haruko. He holds her on both shoulders and tells her he loves basketball, which indirectly reveals his love for her. Sakuragi tells her that he isn't lying, unlike the first time she asked him that question, since the first reason he played basketball, was his love for her, not for basketball itself. The sudden confession made Haruko blush, stunned, speechless and at the same time concerned about his injury. After Sakuragi scored the winning shot, Haruko sheds tears of happiness.

After the Inter-high championship has ended, Sakuragi and Haruko's relationship continues to blossom while he is in rehabilitation. Haruko keeps in close contact with him, writing letters to him every week informing him of everyone's situation. In the end, Haruko encouraged him to tries his best to recover and once he is done with his rehabilitation, she would be waiting for him; implying she has reciprocated his feelings.

Kaede Rukawa

-"Rukawa-kun's head is full of Basketball. Originally, there was never any room for me to enter it." Haruko, realizing her hopeless crush on Rukawa.

Like all high school girls, Haruko has a huge crush on Rukawa due to his attractive physical features and exceptional talent as a basketball player. Due to her infatuation towards him, her memories are mostly colorized with his heroics in basketball, including a game where Rukawa scores a dunk over three players. However, Rukawa remains unaware of her crush on him and refuses to acknowledge her. During their first interaction, Haruko offers to clean up Rukawa's bleeding wound from his fight earlier. Rukawa, clearly annoyed at her, snaps coldly at her, which leaves her very upset and hurt by his cold behavior. She takes out her frustration and anger on Sakuragi, leaving him mortified and embarrassed. Despite being berated by Rukawa, Haruko still clings to her feelings and insists on coming to the gym to watch the team's practice in hopes of getting Rukawa's attention. During practice or during matches, she always squeals or becomes heart struck whenever Rukawa scores, much to Sakuragi's chagrin. Haruko continues to pursue Rukawa, and in instances where she tries to pick up a conversation with him, he always tries to find a way out of the conversation. It becomes clear that he completely oblivious of her fondness for him. Throughout the storyline, it is shown that Rukawa has no interest in anything other than finding ways to improve his own basketball prowess. After Anzai challenges Rukawa to become the top basketball in Japan, his determination in becoming a better basketball player only becomes stronger. During one of the Shohoku practices, when Rukawa blocks Sakuragi's shot, the ball came straight at Haruko and she dodges it. Rukawa picked up the ball intently, and the realization dawns upon Haruko that it wouldn't have made a difference to him even if the ball hit her. Realising that only basketball is in his mind, Haruko's romantic feelings towards Rukawa begin to wane slowly. She acknowledges that she would never be able to get his attention, though she still admires him as an amazing and talented basketball player.

At the end of the manga, she turns her attention to Sakuragi instead, staying in close contact with him.

Quotes

-To Hanamichi Sakuragi: "Do you like Basketball ?"

-To herself (About Sakuragi): "Sakuragi-kun will be the savior of the basketball team."

-" No one can ever know how to do everything without learning it first."

-To Sakuragi: "Sakuragi-kun, it was me who brought you to the basketball team, i believe that my eyes aren't deceiving me."

-To Sakuragi (about his match against Kainan High): "I'm sure that yesterday's match will be unforgettable. Because it's the match when Sakuragi-kun, the basketball player scored his first dunk. Player Sakuragi, when did you score your first dunk ? You will be definitely asked about that in the future."

-To Sakuragi: "Even geniuses make mistakes."

-To herself (acknowledging her unrequited love for Rukawa) : "Rukawa-kun's head is full of basketball. Originally, there was never any room for me to enter it."

-To Yohei Mito (About Sakuragi): "Normally, people are like trains that halt at every stop. However, Sakuragi-kun is like the Shinkansen bullet train that never stops... It makes others envious."

-To Her brother (About Sakuragi): "He might be a beginner, but maybe one day he'll become the savior of the basketball team. That's Sakuragi-kun."

-To Sakuragi (reciprocrating his feelings): "Good luck Sakuragi-kun, once you finish with this rehabilitation... I'll be waiting.... I'll be waiting."

Trivia

  • She has a huge crush on Rukawa.
  • She was the first person to recognize Sakuragi's potential in basketball.
  • She always squeals or gets heart strucked whenever Rukawa gets points.
  • It is implied that she finally realised Sakuragi's love for her after he confessed his love for Basketball to her.
  • It is implied that at the end of the manga she started to have a crush on Sakuragi.