Along with Rin and Nagisa, Makoto is one of the few characters of Free! whose family is shown throughout the series. Glimpses of his family can be seen in the anime and light novels which, despite being rather sparse, provide a certain dimension to Makoto’s character.
From what is shown of him and his family, Makoto’s home life is a healthy one. Both of his parents are supportive of him and his interests. Early in the series, Makoto’s father remembers the old Iwatobi swim club and remarks that it will be torn down soon. Similarly, with the swim club established and active, Makoto’s mother comments that she is happy Makoto is able to swim with his friends again.
More noticeable, however, is his relationship with his younger brother and sister, Ren and Ran. Based on the information given in the light novels and what is presented in the anime, Makoto is older by them by quite a number of years. With him being about twelve-years-old and his siblings in kindergarten in the first novel, the age disparity may be about seven or eight years.
Makoto had a younger brother and sister in kindergarten, and they often managed to drag him off one way or another.Regardless, it is clear that Makoto assumed a degree of responsibility over his younger siblings from an early age. Needless to say, he continues to carry those responsibilities as their older brother, being attentive to their needs and settling whatever disputes happen to arise between them.
High☆Speed! Chapter Two: Water
In cases such as the latter, Makoto tends to sacrifice something of himself in order to arrive at a resolution. When Ran takes a portion of Ren’s dinner, Makoto is quick to offer his own share of food to appease Ren; once Ran asks for more, Makoto also doesn’t hesitate to give her some of his dinner as well. This automatic response of his reflects his selfless nature—a trait of his that is readily demonstrated beyond the household.
Having spent years being a big brother to his younger siblings, it comes as no surprise that Makoto continues to play this sort of role in his social life outside of his family. Whether he is expressing concern over the well-being of others or encouraging them, his thoughtful and considerate behavior is practically second nature for him at this point.
While Makoto's home life may have shaped his personality for the better, in some ways it may have isolated him as well. Between being years older than them and needing to fulfill the responsible big brother role, it would’ve probably been difficult for Makoto to open up to his younger siblings or to confide in them about his problems. Similarly, by being the eldest in the family, it would've also been natural for him to keep his difficulties to himself so as to not have his parents worry over both him and his siblings.
Although they are family, neither his siblings nor his parents are the kind of people he can converse intimately with.
This is why Haruka was—and continues to be—an important part of his life. Being of similar age and his closest friend, Haruka is someone Makoto can relax and talk freely with. Although he still tends to fuss over and worry about Haruka, there is never the sense that he is trying to fulfill a role of some sort. He does not see Haruka as one of his younger siblings; he sees Haruka as his friend.
Thus, instead of telling his family about his fear, Makoto chooses to confess it, along with his reasons why, to Haruka. In doing so, he is able to at last set free the secret he has kept so long to himself.
"Why?"While Makoto has a happy home life, it does not provide a confidant for him—a person he can talk to and rely on when it comes to his own troubles and tribulations. But what he is unable to share with his family, he is able to share with Haruka and—once overcoming his own reservations—his friends.
Makoto didn't mind being asked by Haruka. Actually, he even felt like he wanted Haruka to know. Maybe he had even been waiting for Haruka to ask him. On the other hand, Makoto felt ashamed of how weak he was. It wasn't that he wanted to hide anything; it was just that he had been keeping this locked away deep in his heart for a long time.
High☆Speed! Chapter Three: Free