Haruto Hata

From New Normal Fan Wiki

Haruto Hata (秦 遥人, Hata Haruto) is one of the protagonists of New Normal. After accidentally seeing the face of his classmate and crush, Emi Natsuki, they go against societal norms and begin to secretly spend time together maskless.

History[edit | hide all | hide | edit source]

Background[edit | hide | edit source]

Hata is a second-year high school student. Born a few years after the pandemic, he has only ever known the world as it is post-pandemic.

Volume 1[edit | hide | edit source]

After he accidentally sees the unmasked face of his classmate, Emi Natsuki, the pair begin to secretly spend time with one another maskless. Misunderstanding Natsuki's intentions, Hata initially believes these secret activities are due to reciprocated romantic interest, but eventually realizes his mistake. Immediately after this realization, their secret is discovered by Erika Hinata, a member of his club and another girl Hata unintentionally saw without her mask. Hinata, flying a drone at the time, is shocked by the discovery and inadvertently crashes her drone.

Forcing Hata to go on a date with her in exchange for taking the blame for crashing the drone, they encounter an anti-mask protest. One of the protestors threatens to forcibly remove Hinata's mask, but she is protected by Hata. He is physically overpowered, and is himself rescued by members of the Outbreak Prevention Ministry (OPM) lead by Masto Sagara, someone he and Natsuki had previously met during an earlier outing.

Volume 2[edit | hide | edit source]

As a result of his encounter with the anti-mask protestors he is infected with V-21 and is subsequently placed in an isolation facility.

In isolation he meets, by video conferences, a young woman, Nami Shiina, who is also in isolation in the room across from his. The pair, knowing no one else who can truly understand their situation, develop a friendship. Shiina is a dancer and after some especially vigorous dancing faints. After recovering from her fainting spell she implores Hata to let her show him her face so that in her mind there was proof she existed. She also promises to show him a video of her dancing soon.

Time passes and Hata no longer hears from Shiina, assuming she has succumbed to the virus. In contrast, Hata makes a full recovery. As he is being driven home by his mother he sees a large outdoor television display and recognizes the dancing in the video. Getting out of the car to watch it closely, he notices Shiina in the background. Recognizing her, he begins to breakdown and cry, acknowledging that she had been there with him. However, when he visits a rehabilitation pool with Natsuki and Hinata, he begins to cry again when left alone at the thought that Shiina might have been able to visit the pool if she were still alive.

Hinata, seeing Hata upset, comforts him by embracing him. A scene that Natsuki happens upon.

Volume 3[edit | hide | edit source]

Unaware of why Hata was upset and believing herself to be the cause, Natsuki begins to avoid him. The two, however, quickly reconcile when Hata explains the situation. Natsuki asks him out for the next holiday, but he declines as he already has plans with Hinata for that day. Meanwhile, Hata remains troubled by the memory of Shiina.

On the day of his date with Hinata, the pair attend a festival in celebration of the construction of the pandemic wall. Almost immediately they encounter Natsuki and their other friends. Eager to get away from the others, Hinata forces him away, eventually finding their way to a restricted area at the top of a tower overlooking the entire festival. However, they are caught by Sagara who allows them to stay anyway. From there they watch as sky lanterns are lit and drift into the sky in commemoration of those who died in the pandemic. Hata is moved by this and thinks about Shiina, relaying his story to Sagara.

Sagara, feeling sympathetic towards Hata, surreptitiously finds information about Shiina's burial location and passes it on to Hata via Natsuki, encouraging him to visit her grave and find closure. Visiting Shiina's grave with Natsuki, Hata and Natsuki say some words and release a sky lantern, an item given to them by Sagara. With this, Hata begins to find some closure.

After some time, Hata and Natuski's friend begin to notice that Natsuki has grown close to another girl, Airi Mochizuki. They discover that Natsuki and Mochizuki have been attending a secret meetup at a place called the Salon to watch movies from before the pandemic with strangers. This group is apparently also associated with an anti-mask organization known as TEETH.

When she is alone with Hata, Natsuki reveals that she was approached by Sagara and other members of the OPM to get her assistance in obtaining information about TEETH. Although she is not compelled to do so, she seemingly wants to do it as she still enjoys going to the Salon. Hata is very upset by this, strongly imploring her to no longer go due to the risk. Moved, she agrees to no longer go.

Volume 4[edit | hide | edit source]

Some time later, while shopping for a drone together, Hata and Hinata are stopped by an OPM barricade and are surprised to see Natsuki being taken by OPM. Forced to take a driverless taxi due to buses being suspended due to OPM activity, the pair are joined by a unknown woman with an artificial eye who convinces them to allow her to join them.

The woman who has apparently come from out of town reminisces about the past. While traveling, there is a news bulletin about an infected man being wanted by OPM that the woman pays close attention to. After arriving at her destination, reimburses the pair with a ¥10,000 note. Not used to seeing paper money, especially in such a large denomination, Hinata decides to return the money to the woman and leaves Hata alone in the taxi.

After waiting some time for Hinata's return, Hata becomes worried and attempts to contact her, but is unable to reach her. Existing the taxi himself in order to investigate, he follows the path where the woman and Hinata went and is passed by a van. Seeing no sign of Hinata, he discovers the ¥10,000 note laying on the ground, ripped to pieces. Suspecting foul play, he returns after the van that passed him and desperately attempts to contact Hinata. As the van rushes off, he finds Hinata's smartwatch laying in the middle of the street and is almost struck by another van, this one driven by Sagara driving Natsuki home.

Hata relays the events to Sagara who initially believes it to be a kidnapping and thus a police matter. However, he becomes suspicious at the use of paper money and investigating himself, discovers debris from an OPM stungun that was supposedly disposed of months ago. Considering it now an OPM matter, Sagara gets involved.

Informed by Sagara of the events of the day, Hata is made aware of the fact that the woman they rode with was likely an accomplice of the infected man wanted by the OPM and Hinata was likely kidnapped to keep that secret. Upset by the situation, Hata does not wish to return home and with the help of Natsuki is allowed to stay at Sagara's residence overnight. While at Sagara's residence, Hata admits to Natsuki that he is scared at the thought of losing another person he cares about.

Hata and Natsuki eat together maskless for the first time in a long time. After their meal the two lay together on a tatami floor and Natsuki admits to feeling culpable due in part to her own involved with the Salon and TEETH. Comforting her, Hata embraces her and they almost kiss.

Appearance[edit | hide | edit source]

Hata has a slight build and is short compared to his peers. He has dark, medium length, closely cropped hair and does not consider himself to be attractive. His mask is unadorned. He does not normally wear a mask at home, except when video conferencing with others.

Personality[edit | hide | edit source]

Hata is quiet, reserved, and unassertive. Among his friends he appears to be subjected to a significant amount friendly ribbing, offering no rejoinders himself. It appears that he is commonly the object of teasing, having been teased by nearly everyone he has had significant interactions with, with the notable exception of Natsuki who, in contrast, has actively encouraged him. With girls especially, Hata is highly acquiescent, readily willing to flout societal mask wearing norms with Natsuki and go on a date with (and accept the blame for) Hinata with very little protest.

Still, Hata is a teenage boy and is very interested in girls and their mouths, visibly excited at the prospect of seeing one on multiple occasions. But, he is also chivalrous, immediately protecting Hinata from an anti-mask protestor, and showing a great deal of concern for Natsuki, Hinata, and Shiina when they appear upset or in distress.

Hata's self-confidence reflects that of someone unsure of himself. He is surprised when Natsuki wishes him good luck unprompted and is taken aback when he believes she is asking him to go out. However, his self-esteem still prevents him from actually going out with Natsuki when she offers to do so while unsure of her own feelings. He states that while the thought of dating her would is like a dream, he wouldn't want to while her own feelings are so ambivalent.

Despite his general demeanor, he becomes very assertive when he learns about Natsuki's involvement with the Salon and her plants to inform on the anti-mask group TEETH. Greatly upset by the risk she's taking and her apparently cavalier attitude, he strongly implores her to no longer go to Salon. Seemingly both shocked by this rare display of forceful assertiveness and moved by the degree of his concern, Natsuki agrees to no longer attend.

Relationships[edit | hide | edit source]

Family[edit | hide | edit source]

Hata lives at home with his immediate family, consisting of his father, mother, and younger sister. Not much is known about his family, but they appear to be on good terms, teasing him when he appears overly elated after he believes he was asked out by Natsuki and showing appropriate concern when he is isolated due to the V-21 infection.

Friends[edit | hide | edit source]

Emi Natsuki[edit | hide | edit source]

Natsuki is Hata's classmate, sitting to his immediate left in class. At the start of the series, he has an unreciprocated crush on her, often stealing glances at her when she is not looking. However, they already appear to have at least an amicable relationship, with Natsuki specifically offering him encouragement for an upcoming drone racing competition, causing much jealously amongst his friends.

He seems to have significant feelings for Natsuki, appearing elated when he believes they're going out romantically and describing the time they spent together as like a dream. However, when she reveals her own ambivalent feelings and asks how he feels, he says he would prefer not to go out with her if she is unsure of her feelings.

When Hata is absent from school due to his isolation with the excuse that he developed a common cold she becomes concerned, especially thinking that it may be her fault that he became sick due to encouraging to him to spend time with her maskless. Hata reassures her that that is not the case and promises to speak with her when he gets better. However, she inadvertently hears Hinata talking about his actual condition and becomes very concerned. To that end, she convinces Sagara to take her to the isolation facility so she can pay him a visit. Not actually permitted to enter the facility, however, she instead calls him from the roof of Sagara's truck across from his room. Taking off her mask, she shouts well wishes at him.

The two continue to grow closer. Natsuki, along with Erika Hinata, is one of two people Hata invites to go to a rehabilitation pool with him. He also takes her with him to visit the grave of Nami Shiina. When he discovers that she's putting herself at risk attending meetings at the Salon and informing on the anti-mask group TEETH he becomes very upset and implores her not to go, asserting that he may not even have the right to make such a request since he is not her boyfriend, but she is still an important person to him.

Erika Hinata[edit | hide | edit source]

Hinata is Hata's junior at school and younger sister of the president of his club. Their relationship is initially quite acrimonious as Hata accidentally walked in on her while she was eating lunch without her mask. However, despite her initial anger at having her mouth seen, she is still curious as to what Hata thought. Later, she compels Hata to go on a date with her in an effort to comfort him after being rejected by Natsuki in exchange for taking the blame for her crashing of a drone.

They appear to have a good time on the date, but Hinata is accosted by an anti-mask protestor who threatens to forcibly remove her mask. Hata defends her before being overpowered and having to be rescued by Sagara and other members of the Outbreak Prevention Ministry (OPM). Hinata is grateful for Hata's protection and initially offers to let him see her mouth again. However, she quickly reconsiders and offers to let him feel it with his finger. When he accidentally puts his finger insider her mouth, she becomes enraged, quickly chilling their relationship once again.

Despite this, she calls him to warn him of the news of the infected protestors and the OPM's arrival. When he is isolated, she video conferences with him, worried about his condition and promising to let him go on another date with her when he recovers. When he does recover and is released, she seems to have developed significant feelings towards him. She greets and touches him happily while displaying overt hostility and jealousy towards Natsuki when he comes back to school. She gets into a conflict with Natsuki over who will accompany Hata to a pool and when the three of them go to a pool together she explicitly states that she considers Natsuki a rival.

At the pool, when she realizes that Hata is upset after he begins to think about Shiina, she goes to comfort him by embracing him. After this incident she is genuinely relieved to have been able to comfort him and invites him another date. They have a good time on this date, but Hinata is very annoyed to have had the date interrupted by Natsuki and others. Eager to get him alone, she eventually forces him to the top of a tower. Alone, in the dark, she comes on to him, removing her mask and then his. They are, however, interrupted by the illumination of spotlights and the arrival of Sagara.