「彼と彼女の告白は誰にも届かない。」 (Kare to Kanojo no Kokuhaku wa Darenimo Todokanai.)
“His and Her Confessions Will Reach No One”
Oregairu is quick to remind the forgetful just what it is made of–an ambiguous moral and compelling characters, where no action is without negative repercussions. Hachiman and friends are faced with tough calls and decisions to make; seeing what choices they make the consequences they choose to face make remind me exactly why I chose to watch this show in the first place.
Though at times rushed and seemingly short on time, the second episode managed to get its main points across and flame character tensions across the board. Hachiman’s actions were very much rational–his explanation is satisfactory enough–but at what cost? Yui and Yukinon sure aren’t pleased. The thing is, Hachiman was probably very much aware of his actions this entire time and the potential consequences that go with it. He knew that staging a confession would draw out reactions from everyone watching, far from being an enclosed bubble affecting only Ebina and Tobe. What surprises Hachiman though is actually witnessing those consequences come to fruition, being unprepared for the intensity of how those close to him would react. No matter what sort of rationalizing our protagonist runs in his head, his mental scenarios will never fully prepare him for the real deal. He can feel emotions after all.
That, along with the first season, reminds us why 8Man is such a compelling character, both in isolation and in relation to every other character on-screen. While most can agree that Hachiman’s sharp attitudes towards certain aspects of life could be improved, there is some grain of truth within his biting thoughts. Though more suited to the musings of a middle-aged man, Hachiman’s justifications show a weird blend of maturity and narrow infantile views, simultaneously using his experience from life while also minimizing his own personal pain by hiding away from certain…vulnerable-inducing truths. As soon as you start adding the rest of the cast into the mix–all of whom enjoy a similar level of development–this uncomfortable yet interesting web of interactions arises.
The most interesting of those recent interactions did not arise between Hachiman and his two main love interests. Rather, it was with the clique that he so holds a personal level of antagonism against. Today’s episode was significant in that in continued to break down Hachiman’s perceptions of the people around him, through a deeper introspection of how each character behaves in a vulnerable state. For clarity, we won’t go into the specifics of each character, but I would like to use Hayama and Hachiman’s interactions as an example.
These two did not hit it off so well during the cultural festival, with Hayama despising the ideals that Hachiman represents and the attitudes he holds. In spite of this, Hayama recognized Hachiman’s ability to resolve this whole situation, hating both himself for relying on Hachiman, but also for forcing Hachiman into the very sort of situation he once denounced towards him. Whilst seeing value in Hachiman’s tactics, he simultaneously hates that sort of thinking, putting them inevitably at odds. That recognition of value though is important, since Hayama admits the merit of his natural rival, reflecting his own beliefs in the process. Perhaps in a different setting these two would get along better, but with the popular and unpopular cliques at a natural odds against one another, their animosity towards one another except in times of need is inevitable.
It is this sort of complex underpinning that the show does an excellent job at, gaining it deserved praise even if some parts feel rushed through or some comedic bits fall flat. The tensions will only get more complex as time moves forward though, but perhaps not towards a dreadful end. I look forward to seeing what this well-written show has in store for us–two episodes in and it’s looking really good.