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Haruko Akagi (赤木晴子)Year: 1st Year
Haruko is Takenori's younger sister and Sakuragi's love interest. Sweet and with a captivating personality, Haruko 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 as 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 High, only has eyes for Kaede, although he never reciprocates her feelings and, later in the anime, she acknowledges that he won't love her the way she wants him to and tries to let go of her crush, however not successful.
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. Hanamichi always listens to Haruko, due to his deep affection for her. They have gone on some (what Sakuragi considers) non-official dates and have occasionally trained together.
Despite her emotional denseness and sweetness, Haruko is a pretty good student (she helped Akagi tutor Sakuragi and the other three starters when they had to retake some tests) and is not afraid to stand up for others when needed. She confronted Sakuragi when she mistakenly thought that he had attacked Rukawa, and she also defended him many times from Kaede's most rabid fangirls (one of them even knocked her to the ground in the anime series).