Yukino’s Takedown

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If you want to play pretend, could you do it elsewhere?

You’ve been saying all kinds of things that have no meaning.

Is it so much fun for you to pretend you’re working by using words you just learned and mimicking a debate?

You use vague terms to feel like you spoke up, to feel like you understand, but you take no action whatsoever.

You’ll never move forward that way. You won’t create anything. You won’t gain anything. You won’t give anyone anything. You’re just a pretender.

Could you refrain from wasting any more of our time?

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Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru – 08

Yukinoshita Haruno, Hikigaya Hachiman, Hiratsuka Shizuka, Yuigahama Yui, Yukinoshita Yukino

Hikigaya and his classmates plan to use the nighttime test of courage to help Rumi. Hikigaya’s strategy is to sic the popular kids on them, who act threatening and demand the group of friends choose three of their own to stay behind, essentially betraying them. They choose Ruri first, but have to choose two others, and they start to turn on each other. Before they choose the third girl, Ruri hits the older kids with her camera flash and saves all of her peers. At the end of the trip, Yukino’s sister Haruno picks her up, and Yui and Hikigaya both suspect her car is the one that almost killed Yui’s dog.

The saga of helping Tsurumi Rumi with her social problems wasn’t quite enough to occupy two episodes, so Oregairu pads part two with fanservice, first with all the girls (plus Totsuka) frolicking in the river in swimsuits, then with random cosplaying, Yui’s little Dominatrix get-up being the most egregious. In both cases Hikigaya has no choice but to commend Yui on her sexiness. But by the episode’s end he seems no closer to forming deeper bonds with either Yui or Yukino, aside from a few moments of interaction.

But while the mission to help Rumi was the primary focus of these episodes, it also offered an opportunity for Hikigaya, Yukino, and Yui to bond more with the “it” kids: Hayama, Yumiko, and Kakeru. They even join forces to teach Rumi’s friends a lesson, though they don’t have to complete the lesson, as Rumi seems to sorta fix things by saving her peers. Still, nothing’s wrapped up with a neat little bow, and in the end, it still seems like Haruno has a strange hold on Yukino – much like Masuzu and her sister/rich family. But it’s still too nebulous to make any judgments about it. That’s a bit disappointing, considering we’re more than halfway through the season.


Rating: 6 (Good)

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.

Oregairu – 04

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As group field trips loom, hurtful chain texts begin to propagate, leading Hayama Hayato to seek the help of the Volunteers Club. Yui tries to investigate by asking girls, but gets severely sidetracked. Hikigaya is distracted by Totsuka, but realizes that Hayama’s three friends aren’t as close when he’s not there to anchor them. As such, he recommends Hayama decline to group with them, so the three of them will grow closer. Instead, Hayama groups with Hikigaya and Totsuka.

There are episodes that are “bad tidy”, resolving everything a bit to neatly and perfectly, and “good tidy”, in which multiple problems are solved in an elegant and satisfactory fashion. The club’s mission is to find out who’s sending mean texts around as a result of the tense situation in which groups of more than three friends will have an “odd man out” for the field trips. But Hikigaya forgoes that investigation altogether to resolve the underlying problem: Hayama’s friends are only friends with him, not each other.

Simultaneously, he solves the problem of who to group with. He has to group with someone, after all. Yui and Yukino seem like an obvious choice, but apparently the groups must be three people of the same gender, so Hikigaya does the next best thing and selects Totsuka (on whom he still has a serious man-crush) and, in the more inspired choice, Hayama, taking him out of the equation with his three friends and leaving them to their own devices. With this course, the texts should stop, eliminating the need to drag the original culprit into the light.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Naturally there has to be a fujoshi in the class, and Yui just happens to set one off: Ebina Hina.
  • Yukino and Yui are pretty cute, but the only person Hikigaya has crushed on so far in this series is Totsuka, whose cuteness is enhanced by his kind personality and apparent vulnerability.
  • We’re wondering if hitching his wagon to Hayama, who is far higher up the high school ladder, will result in social boons to Hikki, or if it will just be a hassle to him.
  • We meet Hikgaya’s sister Komachi, voiced by Yuuki Aoi. Pretty standard fanged imouto.

Car Cameos:

Oregairu – 03

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Hikigaya meets the androgynous Totsuka Saika, who asks him to play a match with him and then asks if he’ll join the tennis club. Later, Yui brings him to the Service club so he can formally ask for help practicing, at which time Yui officially joins the club so the mission can be taken on. While practicing, the “it-crowd” led by Yumiko and Hayama asks if they can use the courts; Hikgaya bristles, but agrees to a mixed doubles match to deide who will coach Totsuka. Using the winds he knows from eating lunch in solitude and an assist from Yukino after Yui sprains her ankle, they win the match, but Yumiko runs into the fence and gets all the attention.

For all his proud internal monologue about living life the way he wants to – as a loner – rather than by circumstances, Hikigaya is not entirely content with his situation, which is why he actually welcomes the friendships of Yukino, Yui, and now the very girlish Saika (voiced by a girl; Komatsu Hikako). He curses himself for instinctively bowing submissively to Hayama, even though he gets his name wrong. He’s made do as a loner for years and tries to convince himself that’s the ideal state of being for him, he cannot deny a measure of envy towards “normal” or “popular” peers.

The thing is, Yumiko and Hayama are boring as shit, and two-dimensional. The friends Hikigaya has made are weird and socially awkward, like him. The fact is, he’s not alone. This week he learns that whether he’s alone and awkward or in a group and awkward, that popular clique will sill look down on him. And just because the unpopular people happen to get lucky and beat the popular people in a tennis match doesn’t mean they’ve magically moved up the social ladder. But as far as inter-group conflict goes, everything was pretty civil, which is about all you can ask for on the battlefield that is high school.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We challenge this series to avoid the temptation to put Saika in a maid outfit (though his seiyu was also maid/pirate Marika Kato). Bonus points if they can keep Yukino and Yui out of them, too.
  • Her tsun-tsun moment when Yui calls her a friend: predicable, but cute. 
  • We also liked Yukino’s line about how in spite of all the insults and remarks she lets fly, she’s never once lied. And she doesn’t: Hiki does win the match.
  • When the tennis match happened, we knew the “wind changing at lunch” remark Hikigaya made earlier would probably come into play.

Oregairu – 02

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During lunch Hachiman observes how Yui’s more popular friend Yumiko treats her. He tries in vein to stop it, but it’s Yukino who arrives to put Yumiko in her place. Afterwards Yui finds the words to explain to Yumiko why she hasn’t been around. Chuunibyou sufferer Zaimokuza Yoshiteru comes to the Service club to ask them to read his light novel. Hachiman and Yukino get through it in a night (Yui doesn’t read it) and while their collective criticism is harsh, it ends up inspiring Yoshiteru to keep writing.

So it’s starting to look likely that each episode will open with a haughty monologue by Hachiman that looks down on society in some way in order to make him feel better about the fact he’s socially awkward. We weren’t big fans of the first monologue, and we don’t like this one that much either; something we and his teacher have in common! At any rate, while he may decry the pack mentality of high school, he can’t deny that he’s not alone anymore. He, Yukino and Yui have formed a pack of their own.

The episode did a fine job portraying the Queen Bee Yumiko as a self-involved bitch, but also the power of saying what you mean to say and not mincing words. When Yui keeps apologizing, it pisses her off, but once she speaks her mind, she’s at least somewhat receptive. The club’s next mission is rather underwhelming, involving giving a Chuunibyou (we’re a little Chuu-speak-ed out, frankly) their frank opinion of his light novel. But the mission does further underline the club’s commitment to forthrightness.

That can cause some prickly and even hostile interactions to occur. It’s also possible for Yukino and Hachiman to say bunch of stuff so the other will believe it’s them being forthright, when they’re actually concealing their true feelings. Yukino and Yui can’t possibly mean all the mean things they say to Hachiman, or why would they hang out with him?


Rating: 6 (Good)

Oregairu – 01

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After Hikigaya Hachiman writes an unpleasant essay detailing his antisocial views on high school life, his teacher conscripts him into the Volunteer Service Club, which only seems to have one member: Yukinoshita Yukino, whom he deems to be the most well-known student in the school, due to her good looks. It falls to her to solve his “problem”, even if he doesn’t think he has one. When a third student, the ditzy Yuigahama Yui, asks the club to taste her cookies, she is impressed by their honesty and the advice they give her, and inspired to try harder. After his dealings with Yukino, Hachi becomes open to the possibility of being friends with her.

– I’ll change the world and everyone in it.
– That’s a seriously crazy goal.
– Maybe, but I still think it’s better than being dead inside like you.

After OreShura, we’re kind of wondering if its worth it to delve into another rom-com focusing on “anti-love” characters who may well end up together in the end after much stress and strain. And Hachiman’s opening monologue about how he detests those who enjoy their youth is a bit doesn’t have nearly the punch it would if we hadn’t already heard a similar spiel last season. Still, after watching the episode there are sufficient differences between both obnoxiously long-titled to justify giving it a go, and so we shall. We’ll just have to resign ourselves to the fact comparisons will be often and unavoidable.

For instance, like Eita, Hachiman’s worldview is based upon a past trauma, but while Eita’s folks abandoned him, Hachiman has simply tried the normal school life, was hurt by the rejections of girls he liked, and scared of being hurt again. Like Masuzu, Yukino treats her beauty as a burden, creating just as many potential enemies as friends, so she stays above the fray. We even saw a little Chiwa in Yui-Yui, as they’re both orange-haired, bubbly, and comfortable around Hachi (or Hikki, as she calls him). But there’s not yet any indication of this turning into a harem; Yukino seems determined to maintain emotional distance. She will probably not succeed.


Rating: 6 (Good)