Its about darn time… After three weeks of making us wait, patiently wait, Yahari Kan finally delivered the goods this week. It finally gave us a powerful episode that pushed its characters, drove the story forward and really made you FEEL a wealth of emotions. This is what I think many of us fans of the franchise wanted the show to do from the get go. This is, honestly, what I expected to talk about and deconstruct as it happened. In short, this week, was a good episode and it was Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Kan really firing on all cylinders.
So, having said all of that, what exactly changed from the last few episodes, this week? Well, for one thing, the story stopped meandering and beating around the bush and dove straight into the topic that’s on everyone’s minds; The complex and awkward dynamic between Hachiman Hikigaya, Yui Yuigahama and Yukino Yukinoshita. Its something that the previous season really dove in on and promised us a resolution to, and its something that the previous three episodes have had to dodge or avoid.
Before we get into the crux of this issue and the final season as a whole, I want to speculate on why exactly it took us three weeks to get to the good stuff. My suspicions are falling primarily on how truncated Season 2 was, and how little planning went into ever connecting to an eventual season 3. I thinkthe audience, the production committee and the production staff as a whole, all expected to NOT see a season 3.
I can’t tell you why we got a season 3, but when we did, there were some gaps that definitely needed to filling. If you remember season 2, then you remember that while the end of that season pointed to the fact that Hachiman, Yui and Yukino all realized that they were in a love triangle, the development needed to sell the audience on that particular aspect, was definitely missing.
And so really, that’s what the previous three episodes have had the difficult task of doing. They had to actually lay the ground work for what this episode was ultimately going to tackle. And while a part of me sympathizes with the challenge that everyone making this show faced, another part of me definitely thinks the execution was poor.
But… That’s now all in the past. I’ll take three bad episodes if it means getting a solid 4th episode and really a solid season as a whole. And this week’s episode? It really was solid. Heck, lets call a spade, a spade and say that it was really really good.
Why was it so good? Because it gave the audience three things that I think really pushed the entire cast into an interesting place and drove the plot forward. We got some really big bombshells dropped on us this week, and some characters finally cut through their own bullshit and just were direct about how they felt.
First and foremost, I have to comment on Hachiman and Yui. The way the series keeps giving them couple-like moments? It hurts me inside. It makes me hope, hope for that particular ending where both Yui and Hachiman DO end up together. At the same time, as we keep seeing again and again, as natural as Hachiman and Yui are together, there’s a sense from Yui and even the overall story, that that particular ending isn’t going to happen.
It may not be because of a lack of compatibility or want, but rather because these kids just can’t get out of their in their own way. Lets look at one of the core issues in this episode: Yukino and Hachiman helping her. Hachiman’s entire reason for helping Yukino is that he promised Yui (a season ago) that he would save Yukino one day. Yet, Yui… Seeing Hachiman continue to want to push himself and save Yukino, can’t help but feel hurt and jealous. Not only that, but I think Yui actually sees Yukino and Hachiman as a better pair, and it destroys her inside.
The audience, and Hachiman even, perhaps, see something different. See, the way I see it, if Hachiman wasn’t interested in Yui, he wouldn’t be trying to hang out with her and make up all these excuses for them to spend time together. Its never overtly clear, but I’m really really getting vibes of Hachiman liking Yui. On the other hand, I think my feelings on all of this, have been brought to the forefront, BECAUSE of this episode.
I stated a couple of weeks ago, that I didn’t care what the resolution to the love triangle was. Well, If this week has shown me anything, its that that particular statement is so darn false. I want Hachiman and Yui to end up together, and man, am I invested in all of this, once again.
Of course, given the weird situation that Yui and Hachiman find themselves in with Yukino, I can’t see them being able to have ANY kind of meaningful relationship until they resolve their issues with her. Which, of course, brings us to Yukino and her whole deal.
I have to say, I’m not thrilled about the way Yukino is dealing with all of this. If I had to put my finger on it, I’d have to say that she’s struggling to change herself, rather unsuccessfully. Yukino is emotionally weak sure, that’s something we’ve known for a while. Unfortunately for her, she’s been asked to confront her larger issues by her two closest friends. Yukino clearly doesn’t want to actually change, but she’s trying really hard to because she not only cares for her two friends, not only has feelings for Hachiman but also because she realizes how wrong she is in not improving herself.
As it stands, Yukino is no place to have a relationship with anyone. She realizes that, and that in itself, is why she’s trying so hard to change (I think). Either that, or she hates how weak and dependent she’s become on Hachiman and Yui, and wants to push both of them away to fix that. That’s her sister’s interpretation anyway, and that’s also where Yahari gets really interesting.
See, I’m speculating and reading these scenes the way I see them, and I certainly have particular biases here. The characters themselves haven’t outright spilled all the beans yet, and So… We honestly don’t know for sure, what Yukino is thinking. We only know what Yui is thinking, and what other characters’ interpretations of the situation are.
Characters, like Hachiman, for in stance. It was honestly refreshing to see Hachiman openly admit to Haruno (Yukino’s older sister) that he, Yui and Yukino were in a love triangle. Its something many of us have suspected they are all aware of, but none of them have openly said. So there’s some gratification there, but, as soon as we get that, Haruno really rips into Hachiman in the most “direct” and “cruel” way possible.
The relationship between Hachiman and the girls, is one of codependency, she says. And all you need to see, is Hachiman’s shocked, pained expression at hearing that, to see that he does finally understand. And even I (the audience), until that point, hadn’t looked at it that way. Its true though, isn’t it? I’m sure it does feel good to save and protect the people you care about, right? Do it enough times, and I can see someone getting addicted to it.
Which also, in turn, gives some serious context to what Haruno said earlier in the episode; Helping someone isn’t always the right thing to do. In Yukino’s case, that is very much true, but its doubly true because of the weird dynamic that’s formed between the three kids here. Haruno may seem like a jerk, but she’s actually saying some tough things in order to help out all three of them.
There’s clearly some jaded-ness there too, as both she and Hiratsuka-sensei have clearly not had a great time with the transition to adulthood. I’m not entirely sure what happened in their high school years, but its clear that both of them have some deep scars from all of that. The opinion that being an adult means losing something is a really dire one, and one that Haruno seems to think Yukino needs to go through. Hiratsuka-sensei, on the other hand, wants the best for these three kids, and so she wants to guide them to a more happier conclusion.
Speaking of which, can we talk about the little nugget of information regarding Hiratsuka as well? She’s leaving the school? Why exactly? I’m honestly very very intrigued about this as well, and the reasons behind it. She’s obviously not focusing on that yet, but its actually Hachiman who points out that particular fact amidst everything else going on. The fact that Hachiman and the rest have to deal with one of their teachers potentially leaving as well, is a rather big load to deal with.
Change is coming, and change is inevitable. Yui wants change to happen, and she wishes for something that she feels she can’t have. Hachiman is in the moment, doing his best to help all those around him, and prevent the destruction of all these relationships he’s accumulated over the past two years. And then, there’s Yukino, the one that seems most in danger of being left behind and who can’t seem to grow and change at all.
Its an interesting situation, and its a situation where all these broken, conflicted people are slowly heading towards some kind of conclusion. We’ve seen Hachiman grow considerably over the course of the last two seasons, but its become evident that he’s been alone in that growth. Yui and Yukino are very much in a position now, where they need to evolve past being kids and transition into adults.
Only when all three kids become mature adults, can any kind of resolution actually occur between them. Hachiman is by far, the furthest ahead, with Yui trailing behind him and Yukino really really far behind. With the issues of the prom, Yukino’s mother and everything else going on, it seems like these kids will be pushed towards growing up, whether they like it or not.
And it seems like, despite Haruno’s warnings, Hachiman intends to go forward with trying to help Yukino out of her latest jam. In this case, the prom has very much been cancelled, with Yukino making the decision to cut her friends out of the whole equation. Yukino has thus, decided that she’s failed, and would rather have that then become dependent on her friends again. Can Hachiman saving her, at this juncture, actually help? Or will it forever damage any chance he has of having something “real” with either girl.
My gut tells me, that we’re heading for an ending where none of these characters are happy. It scares me, because I don’t want any of these characters to suffer. Yukino, Yui and Hachiman, I want them all to be okay, and for an amicable solution to come through.
And as much as I hate to say it, Yukino does need to get away from Hachiman. She’s too dependent on him, and isn’t great for him. Yui, I think, at least adds some contrast to Hachiman’s personality, and understands him really really well. So my hope is for an ending where Hachiman and Yui get together, and slowly distance themselves from Yukino. And Yukino? She grows stronger from this situation and moves on to the next stage of her life.
That’s my scenario, but Yahari isn’t my story, and Thank God for that. I’m excited to see how it all ends. Excited, scared and hopeful, three things that I finally got back this week. So in the end, I guess I’ll say it; Welcome back Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru, took you long enough.
Posted by setsuken
Posted on July 30, 2020 at 7:38 pm
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