Another week and still zero yahallos. Why even live? Welcome back to yet another one of my weekly write-ups. I left this week’s episode feeling very much like I did with week four’s which just meant a lot of sadness for a certain someone. As is tradition with this show, there’s much to get through with this week’s episode so let’s get started.
The episode opened with a still-very-annoyed Iroha catching up to Hachiman shortly after her departure from the student council room; a scene set with a tone befitting the end of the last one, despite all of Hachiman’s efforts in trying to lighten the mood. Iroha just wasn’t having it with him and his attempts at returning to their usual back and forth and for very good reason. Something wasn’t quite right with Yukino and Hachiman’s “resolution” and Hachiman hadn’t quite picked that up. Moreover, and more importantly, her own personal grievances were yet another thing that Hachiman wasn’t quite able to either notice or deal with and so she settled with a demand for a drink and some of his time.
The conversation between the two that followed was a good one for putting to words a lot of what was left unspoken on Iroha’s end. It started with her apology to Hachiman for getting the trio involved in something that would eventually lead to this conflict of theirs – the now evident reason for her first formal apology in episode three – and ended with her explanation for why she wanted to throw a prom in the first place. It was, in her words, so that she would be able to give the only people she considered friends a proper farewell. She wanted to be able to work through all the problems and frustrations and hard work so that she could be satisfied with the experience of giving back before finally saying goodbye. Though her feelings and intentions were very clear well before this episode, her honest answer to Hachiman here showed off just how much she’s changed in the time since her introduction. And to this person of whom brought about all this change, the person who she felt so similar to, she told him to do the same. To do what he could so that in the end, he too wouldn’t have any regrets.
The scene that followed opened with Komachi asking Hachiman to choose between two identical bowls of food and for the life of me I hoped that this wouldn’t be the same kind of “fun joke now, terrible foreshadowing of events later” like with Iroha and Hachiman’s rather topical little sister talk from episodes past. That aside, this scene was just another reminder of the dear siblings’ adjustment back to mutual independence, with Komachi none-the-wiser about all that was going down with Yukino and the prom. At this point, I’m not sure if this will end up as a net positive or negative thing for Hachiman but his decision to deal with his own relationships himself is most probably a step forward.
The next school day rolled around and Yui, after a full episode of absence, finally returned. Their conversation here was colored with the service club’s specific kind of awkwardness and not the least bit because of both the events of the previous day and Hachiman’s current need to spend his after-school time on his plan to beat Yukino. His attempts at letting Yui down softly hadn’t changed at all since helping Iroha with the Christmas event and this would have surely led to the same terrible isolation of that event, that is had he not mentioned that he was – far from helping Yukino – competing against her. And this of all things was what finally prompted Yui into action with her request to help out in whatever scheme that Hachiman was now cooking up.
With their party of two signed up for the plan, all that was left was to work out the details and to gather some resources, and this of course started with a strategy meeting. The first half of the restaurant scene was a fun return to Yui and Hachiman’s weird chemistry. Hachiman’s attempts at explaining his plan (with varying degrees of success) showed a lot more effort and patience than he ever would have in seasons past. The two really close now and this was certainly much more evident with Yui. She was boldly affectionate in the scene, pushing a lot further into Hachiman’s personal space and comfort zone than she had really ever before. And this would be something of a bit of an important note with all that would come later in the episode.
The second half of the restaurant scene featured the arrival of reinforcements in the form of Saki, Totsuka, and Zaimokuza. The most notable moment of this part of the episode was definitely Totsuka’s direct request for Hachiman to explain his intentions and feelings toward yet another grand scheme that he’s found himself in. Totsuka cares about Hachiman and every big event like this had thus far left Hachiman in a worse position than he started, with Totsuka always left in the dark as to why. So, making clear where he’s coming from with this plan and just being able to know more about the situation so that he could help out was a big step forward. From here, spurred on by Yui, Hachiman left all his cards on the table: his whole plan, the pointlessness of it all at the end, and his reasons for carrying it out even though he never had much investment in the event in the first place. All punctuated by a final, sincere request for help, something that has surely become a welcome habit for him.
The final bit of the episode found Hachiman and Yui leaving the restaurant together to work on their proposal for the faux prom. An extended scene of decision making for their workroom of choice landed on a ‘pair room’, setting the scene alongside the instrumental ‘Everyday World’ for their time alone together. They talked for a while about a venue for their prom and after several largely unreasonable proposals, Yui suggested the beach by their school. The place over which the sun set, always marking the end their after-school days together. There’s a cut to a rotating shot of the pair with Yui’s eyes obscured before she fell onto Hachiman’s shoulder, feigning sleep as she monologued to the end of the episode.
Yui talks a lot about endings here. Not wanting things to end, already knowing the ending, how her actions won’t change the ending, etc. She’s solidified the image in her mind of what’s the come with the trio and it was a picture that she was very absent in. And because of this, she wanted to maintain this fleeting place of comfort for her. She called it unfair and a lie. But it was something that she pleaded to an unknown someone to continue for even a little longer. This was the lie that she kept feeding to herself, and it was one that she hoped could eventually turn into a reality. Or so, she claimed.
Yui’s words and actions have been quite contradictory since her discovery of Yukino’s picture in episode two. The status quo that she wanted to maintain was one that could have been easily disrupted by her romantic advances towards Hachiman. This very scene was evidence that maybe her actions wouldn’t have sparked any significant change but who could’ve known before this, or even after this. And so, this lie of hers didn’t fit quite right for me. Perhaps this thing that she wanted to make a reality was instead, the picture of the person that spoke these final words.
And that does it for this week. We’re just about at the midpoint of the season now and I had planned to devote either a section of this one or a separate post on mid-season reflections but my time and energy have about reached their limits this week so I’ll just keep it short. Unsurprisingly, things have gotten a lot more complicated and with very little in the way of clarity between the three. I can’t even remember the last time that Yukino and Yui had a proper conversation and that, I think, says a lot about the state of their communication. Nothing had ever really been talked over since their promised conversation from the end of season two and the frustration that comes out of that is very understandable for someone in Yui’s position. Things will most certainly get worse before they get better for the kids of Oregairu but I’ll be both exhausted and happy whenever they do.
Thanks for reading,
- Hachiman is shockingly good at drawing. Why hasn’t he bragged about this to anyone again?
- I might have just missed it from the episodes before, but the opening has translations now! There’s a lot to unpack in it if season two’s opening is any indication but first impressions have me a little worried about what’s come at the series’ eventual “end”