Its a really strange feeling to see a series that you hardly ever expected to continue get a second season, under a different studio and just continue directly from where it left off. The quality of the first three episodes of this series really does show the wisdom in that decision, and honestly fans like myself are all but glad to see the story continue, as it really is hitting into the crux of the central issue of the story now.
I’m going to do something a bit different, and really just dive into the meat of the story and where we are. If you haven’t seen the first season, or are pretty lost with what I say below, I apologize. In the spirit of the second season, I’ll dive right into it. Lets start with why I like this series so darn much. XD
What really appealed to me about Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru first season was its protagonist Hachiman Hikigaya. His cynical world view, and his ability to get results while constantly making himself look like the bad guy, or taking the brunt of the societal and emotional damage, was just something that hasn’t been done before, in anime or otherwise.
Hachiman, for all his pessimism and rational thinking, is actually just a kid that’s a bit wiser and maturer than his peers. He understands the failings of the world and people in general just enough to be able to manipulate things to the point where everyone can get what they want, the sacrifice being himself.
The issue though, is that Hachiman has unknowingly gotten two girls really interested in him, our own Yui and Yukino. Yukino’s got her own share of issues, and while she’s a clever and smart girl in her own right, she’s socially awkward and also a bit of an idealist. Its no surprise that the first story arc of the season is exploring the conflict between Hachiman’s practical cynical methods and Yukino’s more idealistic ideals.
And Yui, who just simply cares for Hachiman and is a good friend of Yukino’s, is caught in the middle. The thing that makes this all the more interesting though, is the way these three people are having an effect on one another.
Hachiman, as practical and smart as he is, is willingly letting himself be used by others, and giving them what they want at the expense of himself. Now, Hachiman himself couldn’t care less about what others think of him, he’s emotionally scarred to the point of indifference But… there’s Yukino and Yui.
Both girls care deeply for him, and it crushes them to see him continue to damage himself. But, being the high school girls that they are, they haven’t exactly TOLD him that they like him either.
So their reaction to their pain, is to simply lash out and question his methods, as they do both in the first two episodes, and then more strongly in the third.
Now, while Hachiman in his own twisted mindset can’t even imagine that a girl would like him, he does like and respect these two girls as friends. He might even like them, but given his past experiences, doesn’t expect any reciprocity of those feelings.He keeps his distance, but he does value their opinions and what THEY think of him enough.
Thus, when the two girls lash out at him, it affects him, depresses him. And for the first time in a large while, we not only see Hachiman’s cynical self destructive habits take their toll on him, but we also him legitimately hurt and depressed.
This is a glorified mess, but its also pretty beautiful and really interesting to see play out. Its looking at High school life and the pressure of a bunch of teenagers interacting with one other, through the lens of a character that is very much smarter than the average, and suffering for it.
And the fact that the series is just slamming us right into this, is great. Its almost a great contrast to Durarrara!x2, where I really felt like the series lost all its steam. This series is roaring with power and fury.
Look no further than the middle segment of the third episode for instance. Hachiman runs into Yukino’s sister, and things only go south from there. Not only does he also run into his middle school crush, the one who many could argue warped his mind in the way that it did, but who also played with his feelings. And there she is, right in front of him, at the worst possible moment.
Its admirable how nicely Hachiman takes it, when he’s clearly suffering. And while I applaud the guy who just can’t catch a break lately, I have to point out that Yukino’s sister Haruno is a terrible human being. As an adult what she did is pretty sickening and inexcusable. Sure she puts up the excuse of “amusing herself” and even Hayato rationalizes it with the whole: “she only messes with people she’s interested in”… But that’s a horrible friggin excuse.
You’d need to have a pretty thick skin to deal with the shit that Haruno hurled towards Hachiman and I don’t think anyone should have to deal with that. Hopefully this is one of those rare instances where we see Haruno, as that’s one character I really can’t stand.
Its one thing when well intentioned people push the people they care about as we saw in last season’s Your Lie in April, but this is just… Yeah, this is where even I get a bit offended. Is it enough to ruin the show for me? No, not really.
I think Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Zoku is really throwing the pain Hachiman’s way this season and making him struggle. Its when the characters struggle that the best stories come about, and I won’t deny that whatever is being done here, is effective.
I’m not sure how things will play out, but what I do like is that there’s no avoiding the core issues that the main trio has now. Will either girl be able to get together with Hikigaya? More importantly, can either really understand him and what he’s going through? That’s the question.
There has been progress on the romance front though, with both Yui and Yukino. Each of the two girls got their own quiet moment with Hikigaya over the course of the first episode, and the ship war is still pretty much on.
And while I like Yukino as a character, I should probably state that I’m firmly in the Yui camp. I feel like Yui is not only the nicer and more sincere girl, despite her odd “YaHello” stuff, but she’s fundamentally less broken than Yukino. Yukino has her issues, and I’m sure that both Hachiman and Yui helping her through those is going to be a big part of the story at large, but I feel like her character arc will complete there.
And honestly, I’m sure some people will argue against this, but I really don’t see the chemistry between Hachiman and Yukino. They’re both too cynical, damaged and at odds with one other. A relationship beyond an uneasy friendship seems out of the question. And while I say that, I will say that the last season really did position Yukino in a better spot than Yui, so it really doesn’t matter what I think. I HOPE, sincerely hope that the ending heads towards a Yui and Hikigaya route, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was dead wrong here.
Or that we’ll even see the ending to the story in this season, given that it is just another 13 episodes. But I’ll take what I can get, and seeing this story continue is a gift in itself, one that I really didn’t even expect that I’d get.
And that brings us to the current situation then, which is namely that Hachiman and Yukino are bickering, with Hachiman pretty much excluding or having been excluded from the Club. Yui’s caught in the middle, unsure of what she can do. And all the while, the rather sleazy girl Iroha is looking to use Haciman once again to get out of being a student council president for which she was “nominated”.
Going behind Yukino and Yui’s backs, she’s already asked Hachiman to pretty much go with his plan that basically involves putting himself in a position of being responsible for her loss. It’s messy business and how it all turns out for Hachiman and the two girls is what we’ll see unfold soon. Hopefully its not the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but it very well could be.
And with that, I think I’ll state that I will definitely be blogging this series from now on. As is evident from the rather long post that I wrote already, I have a lot to say and talk about when it comes to this series. With such a strong trio of episodes to start off the season, I’m really looking forward to what we get to see in the next 10 episodes. Here’s to the return of Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru!
Its interesting how this season doesn’t really have previews, so all we really have is the episode title: “And Then, Yui Yugihama makes a Declaration”. So yeah, things are definitely heating up. See you on Saturday!
Posted by setsuken
Posted on April 21, 2015 at 7:59 am
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