Oregairu 2 – 10

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So this is how it’s all poised to end? With Yukino marrying Hayato to form an alliance between their families? And this is how Haruno decided to break that news to Hikky? Man, that’s harsh! Nagato Yuki getting hit by a car harsh!

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But let me back up: this was another solid and thoroughly enjoyable episode of Oregairu. Irohas’ non-flirtation flirtation, along with her not-so-easily-concealed growing affection for him (paired with yet another quick rejection, even as she herself stings from the same thing), starts things off right. Sakura Ayane is doing a nice job as Kosaki’s sister over on Nisekoi:, but she really shows her stuff here, with a far better script in her hands and a meatier character to chew on.

If my hardly-groundbreaking theory about Yukino and Hayato holds true, it means both Hikky and Iroha are alike in being rejected by the members of that couple. Misery loves company, yes?

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Putting aside romantic entanglements real or envisioned: the cavalry arrives a week earlier than it does in Preston’s DanMachi, as Yukino cuts through the other school’s verbose president like butter. I don’t know what it is about Hayami Saori and rants, but her swift, biting, brutally accurate takedown is her best performance since Hatoko’s Rant, and was a lot longer in the making.

It wasn’t just a takedown of the haughty synergy nut, either. A lot of what she said also, somewhat devastatingly, applies to her present situation.

This is what Hikky had been missing: someone who knew what to say and wasn’t afraid to say it. Better still, Yukinon opens the door for Yui, Hikky, and Iroha to take the reins of the meeting and finally hammer out what they’re going to actually do for the Christmas event.

And lest I forget, Hikky lays his past mistakes bare before Yukino pipes up. After the display, Kaori comes to him, both impressed and admitting she was wrong about him. While dating remains as out of the question as ever, she wouldn’t mind someone like him as a friend, if he’ll have her.

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LOVE how quickly the event flies by, in montage-form. Sometimes, you just need a montage to barrel through something that in a longer form would only take away valuable character time. Suffice it to say, Iroha and the other Prez manage to shine and the event is a smash hit, thanks to the efforts of the Service Club.

Back in the club room, Hikky not only finds Yukino pouring tea again, but the girls got together to get him a special teacup as a Christmas present, which was all kinds of sweet.

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When Yui brings up getting a present for Yukino with Hikky, he asks her when she’s free to go shopping, with phrasing that could be easily construed as asking her out. Later, Komachi ditches Hikky and Yukino, leaving them alone on the train, where she grabs his sleeve as much as she dares when they hit a bump.

But there was something so final about those doors closing on the softly smiling Yukino, as she said she was looking forward to the next year. Could that be because it’s her last year as a single woman?

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I’m with Yui: glasses DO make you look more intelligent. That’s just SCIENCE, man! ; )

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All of Hayato’s seemingly guilty self-deprication and strange comments to Hikky; all of Haruno’s meddling; the presence of Haruno, her and Yukino’s mom, and Hayato at the same mall where Hikky and Yui happen to be shopping for Yukino; Haruno calling Yukino and telling her to join them; it all feels like Yukino and especially Hikky being ambushed. With Yukino being ambushed into participating in the ambush of HIkky.

Is this Haruno’s way of presenting The Truth to Hikky, and by extension us, the audience? If so, it’s Classic Haruno: cruelty with a smile. Hikky has certainly had a lot of other options placed in front of him, but while I’ve at turns shipped for him and Yui or Iroha or even Kaori (Hilarious!), part of  me has always felt like the show was going to somehow get Yukino and him together. After this week, whatever went on here, the chances of that kind of ending seem bleaker than ever…

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Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

4 thoughts on “Oregairu 2 – 10”

  1. 1> Uh wat? You mean the nightmare’s over? We don’t have to hang out with the other school reps anymore? Big sore aru to that! Dayone?

    Those meetings really impacted the sense of pacing in the story–making the story feel as if it had ground to a stop. Coming at a time when the three protagonists reach a dangerous moment in the progress of their relationship building, this effect is pretty cool at the meta level. Still, even though that was so far by far the best arc in the story, I’m really really happy it’s over. It was beautiful, yes, but that’s partly because it got so miserable. But worse than the relationships crumbling apart were those meetings.

    2> I’m also happy that there was no repeat of Sagami Minami-type drama. At first, Iroha seemed to be another Minami in the making. But Hachiman has grown since then and Iroha proved to be a much stronger girl.

    Hachiman probably wouldn’t have resorted to the same tactics even if presented with the same circumstance. But his circumstance has completely changed. The biggest difference is that both his social standing and credibility are much higher now.

    The other three kids on the council followed Hachiman basically because Iroha supported him. Yes the others were clueless as to how they might proceed. But there’s a difference between not knowing what to do yourself and actively following some stranger’s plans. Even when the vice president disagreed, he acquiesced when Iroha insisted. This kind of surprised me and it made me wonder about the evolution of Hachiman’s reputation in the school since the incident with Minami on the rooftop.

    3> I like Iroha’s closeups. They draw out her cute devious side.

    4> I completely disagree with both your points on the montage–that 1 cutting the time we spend with characters increases valuable character time and that 2 this montage increased valuable character time. The montage was awful and stupid because it 1 deleted an urgent opportunity to build Iroha’s character and 2 completely deleted Rumi’s denouement.

    Rumi’s part in the story spans two seasons. She’s kind of a proxy for Hachiman and Yui but especially for Yukino. She’s a minor character but one Feel thought was important enough to include in S2.

    So then WTF are we to take from Rumi’s participation in the play. Did Hachiman successfully undo the halfassed mess he created back in S1? If so, how? Will she now come out of her shell and make friends? How did she feel about it? These and many other questions start building up once you start thinking. But this montage actively invites you not to think–and this is the worst kind of montage. The cuts before the musical cue of the montage involves Hachiman’s plan to help Rumi. Three minutes later, we assume she was helped somehow because–look! everyone was smiling and having a good time.

    And what of Iroha? I suspect the montage damaged Iroha’s character-building to some degree. We never really got a sense of how she manages big troubles and big projects. We only know that she got the job done in this case, enough to earn high praise from Hachiman implied in his “Ryoukaida, Kaichou.”

    But actually witnessing characters in performance matters. If we had only been shown Hachiman’s and Yukino’s crisis management performances in montage form this show would never have worked. It would have been worse for Yui because her contributions are subtle.

    Iroha has not had as rich an opportunity to show us her abilities and competencies. Until very recently, Iroha was shown as someone who is mostly shallow and scheming, which is why she reminded me of Minami. The planning and execution of the play is where Iroha earns Hachiman’s respect. This is the time when she proves to him that she is much more than what he had thought of her. Apparently her performance was so good he completely changes how he views her. But via the montage we are given, we don’t actually know the details, only the aftermath. Because we don’t know exactly how she handled things, she cannot fully earn our respect. She does earn our respect, just not to the level of Hachiman’s. And earning our respect is more important.

    Including a montage is generally fine. But the way Feel does it here is not. It does not show a planning stage, which is really where the head manager would have been shining most. Instead, it starts on the day of the performance and completely butchers it by not offering a single highlight. This is in severe contrast to S1 when we got to see Yukino performing as proxy chief executive during both planning and execution stages. That performance is how we knew that only Yukino could solve this assignment and take control of the meeting from Tamanawa. We knew before that she was amazing. But the festival showed how we could still underestimate her.

    Feel really should have shown at least one significant hightlight from the play–one which would have demonstrated that Iroha and Rumi have special qualities, Rumi by her performance and Iroha by the success of the highlight. Consider how GOD KNOWS, the KREUTZER SONATA performance, and the FAVORITE THINGS-PRINCE WILL COME-MOANIN’ medley affected our understanding of Haruhi, Kaori, and Kaoru. They were completely different characters after we saw their performances.

    This is apparently the magnitude of the change Hachiman feels toward Iroha. Otherwise, that shot of Hachiman gazing at Iroha’s back as she strolls confidently onto the brightly lit stage should be considered ridiculous. The least thing a proper highlight should have provided is a welcome payoff for successfully fending off Tamanawa after weeks of “sore aru”.

    I may be forgetting something, but Iroha’s one actual impressive attempt to manage a difficult situation which I actually saw is when she tried to duel Tamanawa earlier in this episode. She lost but fought well. That’s hardly enough example.

    === === ===

    5> Finally, it looks like they’ll start showing us how Hayato really fits into the overall story. The next episode’s title is riddle-like. “Hayama Hayato Always Responds to Everyone’s Expectations.” It could mean something unqualifiedly positive but probably isn’t.

    Hayato again talks in the riddle-like way intended to be full of meaning even though he has no intention of explaining himself.
    “I am not the nice guy you think I am.”
    “I’m complimenting you for my own sake.”
    (“When I praise you I do it for myself.”–alternative translation)

    If he said that to me I’d be like WTF does that mean. And why are you telling me this. But Hachiman hasn’t really cared about Hayato so he hasn’t really tried to figure him out. It looks like that’s about to change.

    6> I only half agree that Hachiman was ambushed. But if it is an Ackbarean trap, it is set by Haruno to target Yukino using Hachiman as bait. After all, the encounter was completely accidental. Haruno and Hayato are not the NSA, dutifully tracking Hachiman’s movements all day. Actually, Haruno and Hayato are at the mall only because their parents forced them to tag along with them before they head out for a gathering between the Yukinoshitas and Hayamas.

    Haruno may be devious but she adores Yukino and is fond of Hachiman. In fact, in S1, Haruno implied during the fireworks that if Hachiman preferred Yui he would break Yukino’s heart. She knows Yukino best and likely cares for her most. But Haruno’s presence and her dominant and controlling personality is what threw Yukino into the shadows. This seems to be the cause of the younger sibling’s resentment.

    As for Hayato, he has no reason to show up Hachiman. Besides, his frown when Mrs. Yukinoshita pushes Yukino to follow shows he’s not comfortable with the situation either.

    The purpose of the trap was probably to get Yukino to show up for a family function with the Hayamas. Remember, Yukino had just told Hachiman that she had not met up with her family all year. She feels she has nothing to do there. And she once more implies that with the exceptional Haruno there she would feel like an unwanted spare. Even so Hachiman himself suggests she should go. He argues that if she has no responsibilities there then that she should relax. He also mentions that unlike him she would not make people uncomfortable merely with her presence.

    Finally, Haruno only realizes she can use Hachiman as bait while they have refreshments together after the boys remind her why she and Hayato are there in the first place.

    Haruno’s MO has consistently been to try to pull Yukino out of her shell. This is much more important than punking Hachiman. Still, Hachiman does realize he’s been used to make Yukino do something she didn’t want to do. So he’s been ambushed only into participating in the ambush of Yukino.

    1. Also, I agree that the families would probably not protest all that much were Hayato and Yukino to marry.

  2. Clarification: I mean that Haruno cares deeply for Yukino. But Yukino cannot openly show Haruno affection because Haruno’s personality and mere presence are both inherently hurtful.

    Yukino resents that Haruno knows she is powerful and has no qualms bullying or manipulating others.

    Anyway, that’s my reading. I can’t fully tell if it’s correct though.

  3. EDIT: I didn’t complete my point #6.

    1 It’s also Yukino’s birthday party. Haruno is roping Yukino into her own party.

    2 I meant to also agree that Hayato seems devious and that you may be right after all.

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