The swim team manager...who's afraid to swim

Okiura Kaname is the male lead character of the series Umisho. He is the romantic interest of his friend Ninagawa Amuro and possibly crushed on by other female members of the swim team. In a collection of egos and oddballs, he often ends up the straight man and the prime victim of the chaos.

When Kaname was a child, an incident of near-drowning made him badly fearful of the ocean or pools, fueled by a belief even he admitted was irrational, that a sinister mermaid lived in the water who would try and drag him under. In high school, in an effort to at last overcome this fear, he joined the swim team as manager. While very interested in girls (especially ones in and out of swimsuits), Kaname's earnestness (as opposed to some male perverts on the team) earns him the relative trust, though hardly the respect, of his female teammates, some of whom nonetheless have varying levels of interest in him. Kaname's success at any of his goals, be it girls, swimming or the swim team, meet with at least dubious results. It should also be noted that Kaname is not subjected to the passive-agressive behavior many of his fellow male leads in anime find themselves up against; While the girls aren't always clear on what they want from him, nor does he get blamed, say, for the team's poor showings.

His luck on many fronts takes an odd turn when Ningawa Amuro comes to be in Umienko High School, and joins the swim team. Besides her odd and often immodest behavior, Kaname and Amuro feel a past connection of some sort they cannot define. Amuro's nearly magical swimming abilities arouse the ire of senior team member and Captain Orizuka Momoko. Kaname and Momoko enjoy a love-hate relationship that varies from an unspoken light flirting to that of a big sister and little brother, and while she can be difficult towards him, Momoko recognizes that Kaname is as serious as her about improving the team, even if his focus is not as intense. The relationship uis perhaps best described by the Japanese terms Kohai and Sempai. Ikuta Maki, the frantic and tiny member of the team, is about the only one who outright respects him, since he is her senpai, or Senior. Shizuoka Mirei is another teammate, very beautiful, but with a secret perverted side in that she likes to be viewed by boys and is obsessed with a certain part of the male anatomy, particularly on Kaname. Ironically, despite an embarassing incident for Kaname, Shizuoka is the only girl who doesn't get to see that part of him. His childhood friend (although he remembers her as an unholy terror) Nanako Maaya became a model and idol, and expressed intense jealousy of his relationship with Amuro. Takeda and Ikamasa are a pair of male perverts who, while possessing some swimming skill, joined mainly to ogle the girls. In Ikamasa's case, he is also an exhibitionist, something which causes Kaname no end of headaches. In Takeda's case, he is usually smart enough to know his place and try to be helpful. But in any situation where he gains power over the girls, real or imagined, he develops a nasty streak that inevitably costs him, as when Kaname rallied the ladies he was blackmailing in an election for team captain. Deprived of his extortion materials, Takeda was beaten sensless, and Kaname gave him no help.

Elected as Team Captain when Ikamasa and Orizuka graduated, Kaname found that he could gain no respect until he overcame his fear of swimming. With Amuro's encouragement, he improved until he could compete in the interschool tournaments - which they still lost big time. Finally, the return of Amuro's thought-dead grandmother revealed that Amuro herself was the cause of Kaname's swimming fears, since it was she, as a child, who dragged him underwater to swim and nearly drowned him, since few can swim quite like she does. Slowly but surely, the relationship deepened till it is Kaname sailing the seas in a houseboat with Amuro and their toddling son - who is also afraid to swim.

Note : As per Japanese culture, many characters in Umisho are known primarily by their surnames. Amuro and Kaname are referred to by either their family or given name throughout the series.

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