Oregairu 2 – 12

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Haruno gets the ball rolling from the get-go this week, calling into question Hikki’s efforts so far to find that mythical “real thing” he spoke of tearfully to reconcile with Yukino and Yui after his fake confession to Hina.

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Things seem back to normal for the three, but a tension remains, one that’s probably intensified by the presence of, say, Iroha, who is now all but an unofficial member of the club, while the balance between Hikki, Yukino, and Yui, was delicate before she showed up.

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The normalcy with a film of tension continues when the club gets Yumiko and Saki as clients, both wishing to make chocolate for the impending Valentine’s Day, a day when people typically give chocolate either out of obligation or affection to the recipient.

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Iroha uses her resources and the other school they worked with before to share resources and organize a big chocolate-making workshop. The girls cook with varying degrees of success while the guys taste.

Here, after a previous incident in the episode where Iroha seemed flattered Hikki didn’t consider her younger than him, Iroha seems similarly flattered when he praises her cooking skills, but hides it with another rapid-fire rejection before shoving a spoon in his mouth. Their push-pull, along with Kaori’s promise to make Hikki chocolate this year (likely out of obligation), paint the picture of a Hikki who’s more popular than ever.

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Then there’s Yukino, who seems increasingly nervous and flustered around Hikki, and both panic when they both touch the same bowl. Their behavior is plain to see, especially to Yui, who can’t mask her discomfort with the moment of closeness between the other two.

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Things get increasingly awkward throughout the workshop, especially when Haruno further stirs the shit, Orihara Izaya-style. The elder Yukinoshita bemoans the fact the three youngins before her are “boring”, and questions both the existence of the “real thing”, and calling into question Hikki’s resolve to achieve it.

As he eloquently puts it, Haruno is always there to remind him of things he’d rather not think of, just as another older mentor in Shizuka is less aggressive and cynical in her meddling. The olds are sitting around watching the youngs, and they want something to happen. I can relate!

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The cake is taken when Yukino’s snooty mom shows up in her Toyota Century in traditional clothing to scold Yukino for being out so late doing who-knows-what and expressing her fear her daughter’s on the “wrong path” to the future.

She claims to want Yukino to live her life, but maybe that’s something she told herself before Yukino got to the point where she actually would, a time that’s is already here. She can’t help but want to set her straight, no matter how intrusive it looks.

That puts Yukino on edge, and also increases the awkwardness between the trio, all three of whom, we must remember, are still, with just one episode left, trying to figure out who they’re supposed to be, and what happiness is supposed to be…and still struggling mightily.

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Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru – 10

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Club has become awkward between Hikigaya and Yukino, and with the school festival approaching, they decide to suspend activities. Hikigaya is named the boy’s class rep for the committee, while Sagami Hinami is chosen as the girl. She volunteers to be chairman after Yukino passes, but Yukino ends up doing all the work while Sagami slacks off. Hayama and class president Meguri believe she’s shouldering too much of the workload, and she reassesses the work assignments and accepts their help. The next day, she’s out sick, leaving a mountain of paperwork at her desk.

When we learned this would be yet another school festival episode, we pretty much made the same noise Hikigaya makes when he eases himself into the bath after a grueling day of committee paperwork. But this episode wasn’t so grueling, and it serves as a means to shake up the club status quo already shaken by Yukino and Hikigaya’s distance, and introduce new character dynamics. Sagami Hinami is a outwardly pleasant enough girl who likes to laugh at private jokes with her friends, and sees the festival as a chance to “grow as a person”. Yet she lacks confidence and drive to be chairman, a role far better-suited for Yukino, who’d once again be following in her perfect sister’s footsteps.

As her Haruno has mentioned before, Yukino can make insecure people hate her for her steadfast diligence and refusal to mince words or tell lies (the car accident thing notwithstanding). So the insecure Sagami, resentful of Yukino upstaging her, punishes her by giving her all the work, then ganging up on Yukino with Haruno when she shows up to volunteer. We can’t help but feel bad for Yukino in this scene, getting poked and prodded into fulfilling roles everyone else creates for her, be it classmates or family. Hikigaya doesn’t like what Sagami is doing to Yukino (or what Yukino is doing to herself), but his ability to act is limited by that cloud handing over their friendship. Regardless, it may be up to Hikigaya to come to her aid if and when everything comes crashing down.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Totsuka is going to play The Little Prince, because of course he is.
  • Hey, we’d nearly forgotten about Kawasaki…there she is!
  • Did Yukino get sick for real (from overwork or just chance), or did she call in sick to get away from the stress?
  • This series’ penchant for singsong names knows no bounds.

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru – 05

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Hachiman’s sister Komachi comes to him with a new mission for the service club: Kawasaki Saki’s little brother Taishi is worried about her staying out late all night. Her attitude has deteriorated to the point she’s labeled as a delinquent at school. Yukino, Saika and Yui’s attempts to try to get through to her fail. When they recieve a clue and find her at her late-night job tending bar, a job for which she faked her age.

Meeting up after her shift, Hachiman figures out that she’s doing it to pay for college prep courses and doesn’t want to be a burden to her family, but Taishi doesn’t want to be a burden to her either. Komachi recognizes Yui as the girl whose dog Hachiman saved. The next day Hachiman tells Yui to stop being nice to him if she’s doing it out of guilt, or just to be nice.

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While episodes thus far including this one have been episodic in nature, focusing on the club’s mission of the week, it nevertheless has never neglected the development of Hachiman, Yui, or Yukino’s characters. Their experiences reveal more about who they are and what they’re made of. So far, Hachiman is the only one whose mind we can read, so we also get his analysis as he learns about Yui and Yukino in tandem with us. We liked the Kawasaki Saki mission, and how she turned out to be less of a bad girl than everyone thought, but as that investigation unfolded, something unexpected happened.

Komachi, the go-between for the mission, gave Yui a funny look, and tells the previously unaware Hachiman that she’s the owner of the dog whose life he saved. We hear his thoughts tell us Yui is merely being nice out of guilt or obligation, but that’s just Hachiman’s view, informed by his experiences being hurt by girls. He’s not necessarily right, and in any case, he hurts Yui with the accusation. We’ll see if he doubles down on his rejection of what he sees as her “hollow niceness”, or if he can get past his prejudice and open his heart to someone. In any case, it’s a great development that lends momentum to the narrative.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Komachi was far more bearable this week.
  • Yukino’s a rich girl with many dresses and tries talking to cats when she thinks she’s alone. She also still won’t call Hachiman a friend, nor does she pay for his drink at the bar.
  • Con: they couldn’t resist putting Saika in a maid’s outfit, though mercifully it didn’t happen in real life, only in Yoshi’s mind.
  • Pro: Yukino and Yui do dress as maids in real life, though we’re not sure why.
  • Also Pro: Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui look pretty boss in their eveningwear.
  • Apparently minors in Japan can’t work past 22:00.
  • Wacnordo, eh?
  • Hachiman’s final line is great: Yukino is the harsh mistress (the truth) while Yui is the nice girl (a lie). At least that’s how he sees it…the jury’s still out whether he’s correct about either.