The Volunteers Club starts taking up “Cross-Chiba Counseling Emails”, the latest being one from student council president Shiromegumi Megumi, who wants their help planning the main events for the athletics festival. Hiratsuka shoots down everyones’ ideas, so Hikigaya recruits Ebina Hina and Zaimokuza Yoshiteru. Zaimokuza comes up with a “Girls’ Chiba Citizen Cavalry Battle” for the girls, which Team Red wins, and Ebina devises a pole-toppling contest, which the red team also wins, but is later disqualified for foul play.
Another day, another series wrapping up, and Oregairu does so on an ellipsis rather than a period, with the core of Yui, Yukino and Hikky tighter than they’ve ever been, despite the occasional barbs exchanged between the latter two. So confident are they in their bonds, they’re already looking forward to spending next year’s festival together, even if they’re not still on the same team. But while at first glance following up one festival with another seems like a bit of a dawdle, this series pulls it off admirably, holding our interest with plenty of peppy dialogue (some of our favorite exchanges are on our tumblr) and action.
The episode also gives pretty much all the side characters one last chance to shine before taking a bow. Shiromegumi, she of bubbly but inspiring energy and optimism (not unlike Yui!) requests the mission. Ebina and Zaimokuza play the important role of devising unique and ultimately fun and memorable main events, though both chose the events they chose for purely selfish, not altogether savory reasons. Hayama has the ladies in his thrall and knows it, while Totsuka inadvertently makes every member of the same sex melt because of his excessive cuteness.
We can’t believe we’re saying this, but we wouldn’t mind a second season of this, although we no of none in the works. After this season brought the three misfits together and threw challenges at them to strengthen their bonds, we’d like to see a season in which, now firmly established as their own little posse, face more challenges, such as the romantic tension between Hikigaya and the girls, while continuing their service work, perhaps with a fourth freshman member? But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Regardless of whether this story continues, it ultimately left us satisfied and glad we watched.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Hikigaya and Yui pay Yukino a visit at her apartment, telling her they need to talk, but Yukino needs more time to think, though promises one day she’ll be able to rely on Yui. The next day in committee, while the slogan for the festival is being brainstormed, Hikigaya uses the opportunity to protest how hard he’s working while others slack off, getting a rise out of Yukino, who is more friendly with him afterwards. The next day, as the festival begins, Sagami gets stage fright. After watching Totsuka and Hayama perform “The Little Prince”, Hikigaya mans the reception table and is joined by Yui. As thanks for the bread she shares with him, he suddenly agrees to take her out on a date.
When the slacking chairwoman suggests a festival slogan about “helping each other out”, Hikigaya can’t let it pass. In his distinctive pasive-aggressive manner, he suggests a slogan of his own: one that is actually pretty deep. Not only is it a statement challenging the commonly-held idea that the symbol for “man” of two people holding each other up represents equal sacrifice. In reality, one line is leaning on the other; one drew the short stick. It’s something you’ll only notice if you look closely, which also applies to Sagami. On the surface she’s involved in the planning of the festival, but in reality she’s foisted most of the work on to Yukino, and is in over her head: she freezes on stage and ends up cowering in the girls bathroom. Hikigaya rejects Sagami’s slogan not just because its hyprocritical, but because he feels it doesn’t apply to him, as he’s doing all the work while she laughs it up with her clique.
But that doesn’t mean he’s totally opposed to the idea of relying on others and in return letting them know they can rely on him. He tells Yukino he may not know the proper way to go about what she’s going through, but he knows enough to know she’s not doing it right. Yui is willing to wait and let Yukino come to them when she’s ready. But she’s not willing to wait for Yukino or Hikigaya; she’s the one who takes the initiative and finally suggests Hikigaya take her out. It was a sudden development, but felt very natural and unforced. But this is terra incognita for Hikky, who had been rejected in the past but never asked out. To his credit, once he realizes what’s going on, he doesn’t totally fall apart or retreat into cynicism, nor does he jump right in. He asks for time to think. Hopefully not too much.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- Some awesome Yukino moments: laughing into her papers after Hikigaya presents his slogan, than cutely waving goodbye to him as they part for the day. What is with this girl?
- Hikigaya and Yukino are bantering again, and we see how much they both enjoy it.
- As the episode progresses Sagami’s face becomes less and less capable of containing the dread fear of failure that lurks beneath.
- We’re not sure Haruno’s presence at the festival committee really added much to the scenes she appeared in.
- That Honey Bread (whatever it was) looked tasty.
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.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- 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.