「そして、由比ヶ浜結衣は宣言する。」 (Soshite, Yuigahama Yui wa Sengen Suru.)
“And Then, Yuigahama Yui Makes a Declaration.”
Every week I keep thinking it will get easier to blog Yahari. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. Is that a bad thing? Of course not! This show just keeps getting better, boasting character depth and interactions that rival even the most serious dramas, digging deep into the inner struggles that every character is facing, with a wide enough depth that it’s impossible to focus on every single character.
In pursuing that tradeoff of clarity for depth, let’s focus on Hayama Hayato, with a few passing notes concerning the other characters.
First off, you go Hayato. Dayo neeee. Neeeee~ There is sweet satisfaction in seeing him tell off both Orimoto and Nakamachi, especially after having to go through half an episode of their shallow and insensitive speech and actions. It reminded me a lot of how seiyuu would often converse with one another in improv anime shows such as gdgd Fairies, except exponentially more annoying and disrespectful. Orimoto and Nakamachi don’t have intentional malice against Hachiman, but at the same time have no respect for his person either, content to use him as the butt of their conversation. This sort of casual conversation hits hard for anyone who’s had to play third wheel or much worse, be that person in a group of ‘friends’. Thus, when Hayato finally speaks his word, there’s immense satisfaction in his deed, but it also represents an important pivotal point.
For Hayato, this was not just standing up reasonably for Hachiman, whom he dragged out in the first place to help him with this ‘issue’. Heck, this wasn’t even Hayato showing that he can’t handle his curse of popularity alone (thus breaking his perfect persona). In my opinion, the real kicker is that Hayato surprised Hachiman, not by standing up for him, but for his social sacrifice. His first social sacrifice in the entire show. For the entire series thus far, it has been Hayato that has reaped many of the social benefits that Hachiman deserves. Ranging from crowd cheers from tennis matches, compliments from the cultural festival for saving it, or even just the consoling of a friend after Hachiman did the brute work, Hayato’s agreeable personality makes him an easy magnet for attributed success than Hachiman ever will. Thus, the significance of Hayato’s intervention is an apparent reversal of roles–it is a reversal that marked the beginning of a chain of many other reversals, in a pinpoint moment that changes the entire dynamic of Oregairu dramatically.
Several other commentators have mentioned the similarities between Hayato and Hachiman. They both value stability in the status quo, both can see the pain that those in isolation would go through, but until today, they have gone about that in very different ways. However, Hachiman is now so connected to a specific network that ignoring this clash in ideals can’t be tolerated anymore. No longer can Hachiman be the sole unspoken pariah, not just because he now has relationships to value, but that those relationships are actively fighting against him. It’s not out of malice, but rather the opposite: a fight for him. Hachiman’s self-destructive attitudes do not mix well, and so Hayato set up a plot to presumably achieve two goals. At surface, he wanted to distance himself away from these two girls, but on a deeper, more strategic level, give Hachiman a taste of his own medicine. Apparently it worked, since it affirmed Hachiman’s own self-worth while also illustrating to him the pain that his methods cause to those he cares about. It is unknown how Hayato will play a future role in Hachiman’s continued reformation, but he definitely pulled the trigger in order to do so.
That trigger though was in part initiated as a team though, behind an individual who has been pulling more strings than Hachiman’s own sister. Yukinoshita Haruno is one sly mastermind. Considering how she was the connector for Hayato and Orimoto, then subsequently shipping Hachiman onboard, her ability to create these scenarios is quite scary. However, these connections mean a whole lot more, especially considering the exposition we received from Hayato today. We know for sure that Hayato likes someone with the initial of Y. Well, Miura Yumiko sure has a Y in her initials, but that’s just boring. Same goes for Yui or Yukino, since their interactions with Hayato have been fairly slim. Knowing Yahari, the more interesting and illustrative answer would have to be Yukinoshita Haruno. It explains why Hayato would answer her call to come out to a restaurant late at night. It also explains why Haruno knew about Hayato asking Hachiman to accompany him and her subsequent role in bringing them together. It also explains a specific scene where Haruno looks towards Hayato and states, “There’s nothing interesting about someone who can handle everything flawlessly,” indicating a previous rejection of Hayato’s feelings confessed once before. I’ll be disappointed if the answers turns out otherwise, but this logic seems to fit in with the visual clues the show has given us thus far. I hope that we can see more of Hayato’s character in the future, since the breakdown of his entire persona to analyze is always fun to do.
Last episode, I said we’d talk more about Iroha, but considering how she got only a few lines showing her cold true personality, that in-depth analysis will have to be postponed further. Rather, I’d like to finish things off with Hachiman once again, who has found himself on a journey that will flip everything he’s known upside-down. After Hayato’s own sacrifice, a dual sacrifice between Yukino and Yui followed suit, with both declaring their presidential candidacies. Once again this is a reversal of roles, forcing Hachiman to watch as others sacrifice themselves to protect him, but stuff gets really interesting once we mix in the other reasons why Yukino and Yui run. Yukino is constantly at odds with upholding her sister’s legacy and forming her own path in life, while Yui seeks to protect both Yukino and Hachiman by taking center stage for once. These details will expand later on next episode along with Iroha’s exposition, but already we have a huge mountain of character developments to keep us busy for weeks. Now, Hachiman must figure out his role in all of these developments, for as it is heading now, someone is going to get hurt badly, even if everyone else wins.