Everything is bad and nothing is good. That’s what I feel right now, and its been a long time since I’ve been this disturbed by an episode, a franchise and a fan base. Yahari’s main conflict finally ended this week, and to say that I didn’t like the ending is certainly one thing. Endings, resolutions and story decisions are definitely a matter of opinion, and personal biases, tastes and life experiences are what color our reactions to things.
These are the subjective things, the things that allow us to draw our own line in the sand, and just agree to disagree. Who Hachiman ends up with? That’s a question that will get a variety of different answers from a variety of different people. Some people believe that he shouldn’t end up with anyone, others will believe that Yukino is the best choice, some Yui and some Iroha. There’s even a few Sasaki fans, I’m sure. And really, we feel the way we feel about backing a certain character because in some way, we either relate to them, or have some kind of bias that we ourselves may not understand.
And all of that is fine and dandy, except for the fact that my issues with Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteriru’s ending to its established love triangle, have less to do with my own preferences for the ending, and more to do with how we ultimately made it to that ending. Proper development, setup and hard work are key to making an ending actually land. This final season of Yahari? And indeed the final leg of the story? Its the messiest and sloppiest of franchise’s entire run.
The ending, which is Hachiman basically rejecting Yui and making a beeline for Yukino, feels like it comes out of nowhere. It doesn’t feel earned, and my shock and horror at how everyone who is talking about this show continues to suggest that this was how it was supposed to play out all along is well… Isolating. Its odd how as I browsed through r/anime’s thread on this episode this week, I couldn’t find one person questioning how totally off base this ending was.
So, I guess, if you liked this ending, then I’m happy for you. I’ll also apologize, because I’m going to do my best to outline why this ending makes utterly no sense to me, and why it just feels disjointed and wrong, given everything we’ve seen in the anime thus far.
There are a few key rules that I think Yahari and Watari-sensei just flat out break, when they decide to suddenly shift towards a Yukino and Hachiman ending. The first of those, is how little development has actually been done on a Yukino x Hachiman relationship, this season. Its actually been all Hachiman x Yui this season, with the two sharing dances, going out on dates, exchanging looks and hanging out.
There’s been evidence of chemistry there, and while Yukino has hung over the both of them like a wet blanket, its been there none the less. So, why on earth would you spend the majority of the season building up a relationship in order to just flat out kill it later? I honestly wish I could say I have no idea, but I actually do have a few.
My first guess (and these are guesses as this point, because I can’t honestly say I truly KNOW why Watari-sensei made the decisions that he made), is that this whole focus on Yui and Hachiman was supposed to sell us on the idea that their relationship just doesn’t work. And I get that in principle, as its actually not a bad way to sell an audience on why something shouldn’t work.
The problem, of course, is that I think the show did anything but convince me against a Yui x Hachiman pairing. If anything, it all worked a bit too well, so much so that I kept wondering and questioning what the issue was. I was getting flashbacks to True Tears and even Nisekoi when I saw the Hachiman and Yui scenes this season. For all intents and purposes the two made a lot of sense together. They were good for each other, supported each other and even Hachiman’s original reason for helping Yukino was said to be because he had promised Yui to do so, a season or two ago.
The only evidence to the contrary of them ending up together, was Yui’s very real lack of confidence in herself. But even that wasn’t powerful evidence, because any girl who likes a guy will wonder if he truly would want to be with her. And with Yukino’s friendship there to complicated things? I was sold on the fact that maybe Yui was going to self sabotage herself. THAT would honestly have made sense, because the show had been hinting at that as far as the first episode of this season.
Yet, instead we had Hachiman come in, and pretty aptly reject Yui. And look, I have no problem with Hachiman rejecting Yui if he didn’t like her, but the show never “SHOWED” me that particular aspect of his viewpoint.
Which, essentially is one of the big cardinal sins that any writer can ever do, which is “tell” and not “show”. I needed to see, through events in the story, that Hachiman didn’t actually like Yui. I needed some hints, some breadcrumbs that it wasn’t going to work out between them. The ambiguity of Hachiman’s actions could certainly be, in retrospect interpreted as him just being nice and not wanting to hurt Yui, but the show clearly didn’t show me that.
As an anime only viewer, all I could see was Yui and Hachiman, hitting it off, having all these romantic moments together, and then suddenly that whole thing going side ways after Hachiman ultimately solved Yukino’s “whole prom” issue. Or did he? No not really, because if the last episode proved anything to us, its that Hachiman never really solved anything on that front, and all he did was finally get Yukino to stop using her “issues” as an excuse to not deal with their own love triangle problem.
And Yukino… Lets talk about her. Look, its no secret that I haven’t dug her character or her actions this season. I was actually fifty fifty on Yui and Yukino before Kan started, as you can all go and see in my earlier posts. Yet, for how selfishly I saw Yukino behave, and how much she basically threw her friends under the bus, it made no sense whatsoever that she got rewarded for that.
Yukino mentions during the big confession scene with Hachiman on the bridge that she creates a ton of problems for him, that she’s not charming, or nice at all. All I could say to that was: YES! YES! A hundred times YES!
And here’s the thing, the reason I think Yukino and Hachiman don’t make any sense, beyond the fact that their dynamic and romance was never ever built up, is the fact that this relationship is not good for either of them. Yukino, by getting her troublesome personality catered to like this, is not going to mature or grow as a person. She will continue to be coddled and favored by Hachiman, throughout whatever weird kind of relationship they have.
Yukino has just been shown, by Hachiman’s weird romantic confession bordering on marriage proposal, that she can continue to act selfish and self centered with him. As any human being in a healthy relationship can tell you, that is not how relationships work. REAL relationships are all about both parties sharing the load, about being there for each other. Hachiman offering to just shoulder all of Yukino’s faults and issues is not only problematic, but its the sort of wish fulfillment that I don’t think I wanted to see from this show.
Yahari has always been a show that I felt took a realistic approach to how the world and relationships worked. Hachiman was a key component of that appeal, where he drudged through the weird societal norms and did things in a way that used those same conventions that people adopt, against them. In a way, the show seemed to point at how messed up people are, and how it would be nice if some of that were approached in a more direct way.
Yet, guess what? Yukino goes about getting what she wants in the most selfish roundabout way possible. Even her sacrificing her “chances” with Hachiman for Yui, were born out of a selfish desire to not have to deal with her two friends head on. It was a coward’s escape, and yet that very escape was rewarded by Hachiman, the Knight in shining armor.
As I saw Hachiman and Yukino confess their feelings for one another, I honestly wondered if I was watching the right show. It was just too much of a leap, for two characters that had barely interacted this season, and were constantly at odds with one another. Yet, both Watari-sensei and the show’s production staff wanted me to believe that this was what Hachiman had been gunning for all along.
It just doesn’t work for me. I honestly wish we had gotten that “coming of age” bittersweet story that I was thinking we’d get, rather than this romantic drivel that came out of nowhere. Which ultimately, points us to what I view as the final issue with all of this, the fact that it feels like the characters in the story are sacrificed for the plot.
Here’s my second guess; I think Watari-sensei probably always planned to have Hachiman and Yukino end up together. That makes sense on paper, as Yahari could be seen as a story where two troubled youths meet thanks to a rather nice teacher of theirs, and grow and improve enough to start liking each other. Yet, the issue with that, is that Yukino and Hachiman are not the same type of people that Hachiman so clearly says they are on the bridge.
Despite whatever his issues and weird tendencies, Hachiman has grown a lot over these past three seasons. He’s stopped being the socially awkward outcast that he viewed himself as, and has actually gone on to really help people out and develop a social circle. He’s not selfish, he cares for others, and does things to genuinely do good. He’s become a great upperclassman for Iroha, he’s dealt expertly through a number or problematic situations from multiple people, and he’s genuinely gotten better at communicating.
Yukino, on the flip side, has not improved as a person at all. And the issue with that, and why I bring it up again, is because it reads to me like wish fulfillment. All the awkward anti-social people would LOVE to believe that acting selfish like Yukino is okay, and that true love will totally find them if they’re lucky enough. It reads like Watari-sensei is just in love with the IDEA of two social misfits finding each other.
At the beginning of the series? That would’ve been a fine ending. Moving through all the way to now? With how much Yui, Hachiman and Yukino have been through? That just doesn’t fit any more. So what is a writer to do when his own story has morphed into something that he himself never intended it to be? Well, you could try and slowly work out a solution that moves things to where you want to go…
Or you could just stick to your guns and shove an ending down your audience’s throat, character arcs and plot development be damned. Which, in the end, is my big issue; Yahari Kan failed to sell me on the idea that a Yukino x Hachiman ending makes sense.
It did the opposite in fact. Yahari Kan took someone like me, who was fine with Hachiman ending up with either girl, and proceeded to develop one girl to be the clear winner, only to then suddenly shifted to the other girl after dilly dallying for the majority of the show’s runtime.
And really, I hate this. I hate how most of this season is pretty inconsequential to what ultimately happens in this episode. Last episode for example? It really doesn’t matter because its honestly just Hachiman slowly removing all the barriers to the point where he and his friends can finally confront their issues, excuses all gone. And no, after this episode, I don’t think I’ll go back and write about that episode. I don’t think I honestly can.
Instead, I feel like I don’t even want to watch the last episode after what occurred this week. For me, this another disappointment to a long running show that I ADORED, in the same vein as Durrarara!!!x2 and Fairy Tail the Final Season. I’m starting to wonder if modern day writers, whether in Japan or the west, are just really bad at providing their audiences with satisfying and conclusive endings.
Its tough man, being let down by a series that you loved and adored so much. At the end of the day, however, it was Watari-sensei’s story, and his decisions to make. He skillfully built up this deck of cards, and if he wants them to all fall a certain way, then he has more or less earned the right to do that.
To all the people who love this ending, I’m happy for you, and I wish I could agree with you or share your feelings. I just can’t, however, and instead I’m left scratching my head, once again, and wondering if I’m just an odd ball. Maybe I am, heck, I probably am, but I expected Yahari of all stories, to GET me.
This episode felt like rejection, not just for Yui, but for the kind of story that I want to see. It hits home and it hits really hard. I’ll probably carry this scar with me for years to come, and I don’t think its because Yahari was particularly powerful in what it tried to do, but rather it was powerful in what it couldn’t do. That’s quite the tragic way for all of this to end.
Posted by setsuken
Posted on September 19, 2020 at 1:37 am
Tags: my teenage love comedy SNAFU climax, oregairu climax, oregairu final season, oregairu season 3, oregairu season 3 episode 11, who hachiman chooses, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru anime, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru anime blog, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru final season, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Kan, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Kan anime, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Kan anime blog, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Kan episode 11, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Kan episode blog, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru season 3
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