Oregairu 2 – 08

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After living a tentative dream stumbling both with his one-man service request and his “replacement triangle” of Iroha and Kaori, Yukino splashed cold water on him before walking away.

(*VROOOM VROOOM*…a red Aston Martin DB9 pulls up…)

Oh, Shizuka-sensei, thank God you’re here! I’m not going to ask how a teacher can afford that car—I’m guessing an on-the-side service club-for-profit of her own—but I am glad she’s arrived in Hikky’s darkest hour to counsel him.

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As far as mentors go, Komachi is too young and Haruna is Yukino’s sister with her own baggage, so Shizuka is the right woman for the job. And goddamn it, if a gorgeous woman in a suit picks you up in her British GT, drives you to a bridge, tosses you a coffee and lights a cigarette, you listen to her.

You listen as she talks about how mental states and emotions one feels are not always equal. How if you can only think in terms of calculations, calculate. How it’s impossible not to hurt people; it’s just a fact of life. That instead of worrying about how not to hurt someone (again, an impossibility), try to find out why you don’t want to hurt them in the first place.  How caring for someone means knowing you’ll hurt them from time to time.

Shizuka’s saves her wisest and coolest words, and one of the central lessons of Oregairu—and growing up, period—for last:

Right now isn’t everything, but there are things you can only do now, and things you can only have here. Now, Hikigaya. Now is the time. Think. Agonize. Struggle. Worry. Otherwise, it’s not the real thing.

Hikky makes Shizuka blush by telling her all the men she’s courted have had terrible taste—a very Hikky compliment—and in his head, wonders what might have been had they been closer in age. I’m thinking “Dude, when you turn 18 and she’s still single, don’t hesitate!”

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But that’s then. This is now. So he thinks, agonizes, struggles, and worries, through the night. And the next day after school he knocks on the door of the service club; not as a member, but as a client: The joint Christmas event many of his own actions led to is a hot mess, and he can’t fix it by himself. But this isn’t about swallowing his pride or admitting he was wrong.

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Yukino tells Hikky that people who made messes on their own should fix them on their own. Hikky agrees; Yui doesn’t, calling Yukinon unfair, and all of a sudden the discussion is no longer about his request. The event, like Komachi’s request, was simply the means to get in the door, a reason to spur action, but not the reason; the one Hikky agonized over. He cuts off Yukino and Yui’s sniping about being unfair and the efficacy of understanding through talk.

Hikky has been uncharacteristic from the start in this scene, first by knocking, and then sitting so he faced Yukino and Yui. But he really catches them off guard when he himself tears up in preparation reveals his true request, or rather desire. He doesn’t want words or mutual understanding or acceptance of each others’ “ugly self-consciousness”…he just wants the real thing, which he tearfully proclaims after a montage of all the times he believes he experienced it. But what is that?

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No…not that, but for many, including me, Coke is so irresistible because of nostalgia: it tastes like childhood; like a simpler time, long before we were aware of the concept that we all hurt each other, and that understanding others can be extremely difficult. But I don’t guzzle a two-liter every day. It’s a temporary retreat, not a replacement for life. Diet Coke, on the other hand, tastes like being six feet under. Just one guy’s opinion.

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Oh. Sorry about that!

Hikky wants “the real thing” even though he’s not entirely sure what it is, let alone how to get it. But there’s value in knowing that he doesn’t have it and that he doesn’t know how to get it. Of moving beyond what one doesn’t understand and instead trying to figure out why one wants to understand.

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He also believes all three of them want it. Yui is able to express that right off the bat with a smile, but Yukino still doesn’t understand. She’s terrified of not understanding, and flees while clutching her arm as if she’d just been shot with a dose of radiation.

Hikky is paralyzed in the moment, but yet again proving she’s the essential fulcrum of their group, Yui snaps him out of it and urges they chase after her. Whatever Yukinon’s problem is, they can’t let it end without knowing, or trying to know. She takes him by the hand—a romantic gesture in most Japanese high schools—but Hikky’s grip loosens; not because he isn’t going with her but because he “can walk himself.”

And who is it who know where she went? Why Iroha! Yui and Hikky’s shortness with her underscores how special their three-person group really is, and how far Iroha still has to come to being as much of a priority.

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Thankfully, her aim isn’t to break their momentum, but to point them in the right direction of their wayward member (on the school rooftop at sunset, for maximum dramatic impact!) There, Yui takes the lead, telling Yukino none of them understand, but if they talk more, maybe they will…and even if they don’t, they’ll at least understand that they don’t understand. Yui doesn’t even understand what she’s saying, but like Hikky, and like Yukino, she doesn’t like the way things are now.

Now, when there are things you can only do and have. Yui tears up again, as does Yukino, who calls Yui “unfair” again as they tightly embrace. Yukino says it’s unfair because they’d just fought a battle of sorts: a battle Shizuka hoped Hikky and Yui would win before someone else does later in life: the battle to get inside Yukino. With Yukino accepting Hikky’s request—upon further consideration, tears, and hugging, and perhaps even the tiniest sip of the real thing—victory is in sight again.

Last week was so grim for the service club that I’d gone ahead formulating contingencies in case it simply wasn’t to be, something Shizuka touched on during her bridge chat. This was an outstanding episode not just because it chastised its characters for having holed up inside their own heads, but it chastised me and anyone else whose hope had faltered, making me feel foolish for ever contemplating lame backup scenarios. Hikky, Yukinon, and Yui are the real thing, and their time is now. Thank God!

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Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

6 thoughts on “Oregairu 2 – 08”

  1. All the FEELS this ep.
    Loved seeing hikki have a change of character
    IMO, best ep of the series thus far !!!

  2. 1 Shizuka is a generous warm-hearted woman who cares deeply about some creepy ass boy. Takes him under her wing. Mentors him. Gives him guidance allowing him the opportunity to navigate his awkward teen years rather well. She also opens up to him with her most vulnerable fears. She complains to him that no man will have her. She complains to him that she is overworked. She complains to him that her pay is low. Even though she owns a sexy ride.

    Shizuka is a gorgeous woman who forces a gorgeous amazing young girl to spend long hours with this creepy ass boy–for their own good, she says. The situation is expressly contrived so that the young hot girl must socialize with and perhaps even befriend this creepy ass boy. For kicks, Shizuka has another girl who is extremely cute join them.

    Shizuka is a tall, sassy, smart, understanding, patient, perceptive, intuitive, kind, long-legged, long-haired, sexy beautiful woman who no normal man could possibly want to date. This allows the young creepy ass boy to fantasize about doing it with her and know the odds would be–not so bad?

    This is why Shizuka is a fictional character. j1/2k [^_^]

    2 <3 to Yui. Despite Shizuka's wise guidance and Iroha's key assist (yay, she was allowed to join the table in the variable last part of op2!), Yukino would have still rejected Hikki were Yui not present. When Hikki makes a request of Yukino to save his fool ass, she flat out refuses him. Then when he persists, she becomes agitated and confrontational. So when he resorts to baring his soul to her to prove his sincerity, she flees, literally running out the room and slamming the door behind her. ouch.

    So Yui was huge. Yui always seemed to have been the most prepared of the three to transition into a more genuine relationship. But she had to wait for permission from the other two to have it because she sits at the bottom of the hierarchy–just as in Miura's group. Once Hikki is forced to admit that he desperately craves to experience genuine trusting relationships, Yui is right there to make sure their mutual relationships get upgraded. But Yukino cannot handle the truth of the feelings she shares with the other two and bolts. Fortunately, ultimate glue friend, Yui, uses her empathy to lasso the skittish filly and force her away from the cliff edge and saves the day. It's a good thing that Yui's glue is made of hugs and kisses.

    3 Back in S1 ep1 I had no idea this is where the story would go. I thought it might be just another harem comedy with a bit more interesting male mc than usual. But OREGAIRU has become a top 10 anime for me.

  3. All the viewers of this series finally got their payoff this episode. The thing that makes this series one of my all time favorites is that it takes its time to slowly develop the plot and characters. While other series like Ore Monogatari and Nisekoi have smaller arks with their own plot that are satisfying on their own, Oregairu takes it another step further by having character and plot progression over the entire series. It is understandable that these series are like this as Nisekoi and Ore Monogatari are both adapted from manga while Oregairu is adapted from a novel. Both of these formats are fine, but I think that series like Ore Monogatari and Nisekoi shine with shorter series while Oregairu is only going to get better as it progresses. Proof of this comes from the slight dissatisfaction from Nisekoi season 2 and how Oregairu’s seacond season is scoring a lot higher than the first.

    This episode alone I think I’m going to have to rewatch a few time to just to understand the depth of everything that has happened to this point. I think one reason why Yukino was so upset was that she has already been looking for something “genuine” (which is the word that my subs used) when trying to solve the requests this season only to have the problems stagnate due to 8man’s “solutions”. By the point of the previous episode, Yukino has already accepted 8man’s hard work in preserving the way things are only for him to come up to her and tell her that he is also dissatisfied and wants things to change. From Yukino’s point of view, none of them know how they should bring about change, and up to this point, 8man has been the one gating her progress. If it was me, I’d be pretty upset too. Luckily Yui is also there to bridge the gap between them.

    1. While I agree that Hachiman has been the most at fault what I appreciate about OREGAIRU is that it gives us ample credible reasons for why he had to create the crisis between them and yet makes certain that we never turn against him. Most important for me is that the story did not turn full on emo. Despite the crinkling faces and tears, the pacing of their development has been right on and the way they are able to possibly move forward is rewarding and not overly full of self-pity.

      He has remained an intriguing protagonist as have the girls.

      1. By no means do I dislike 8man nor deny any of the growth his character has gone through. I think he is honestly one of the most well made male protagonist in romance anime. I was just pointing out once facet of the depth of what just happened in this episode. The reason why he was such an interesting character is due to how flawed he is and how much growth he has gone though to get to the point of appologizing

  4. Rereading my post I can see how starting comment with “while” might have sounded as if I was disagreeing or being critical when in fact my intent was to agree with you and add to your point. Comment should have begun, “I agree that Hachiman has been most at fault. What I appreciate about OREGAIRU is that….”

    Sorry. :)

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