「その部屋には、紅茶の香りはもうしない。／つつがなく、会議は踊り、されど進まず。 」 (Sono Heya ni wa, Kōcha no Kaori wa mō shi nai./Tsutsuganaku, Kaigi wa Odori, Saredo Susuma zu.)
“The Scent of Tea Doesn’t Fill That Room Anymore./Without Incident, The Congress Dances, But Does Not Progress.”
My my, we’re already halfway through season two, yet it still feels like Yahari has barely scratched the surface of its potential. We are witness to a Hachiman suffering from the consequences of his solutions, where there is no real answer to fix it. Without his sacrificial card to play, navigating new territory has become a struggle for our protagonist. However, finding that correct option is proving to be troublesome, even if the best intentions are played out. Once again, it’s a lot to dig through, but let’s dive in.
Let’s begin with episode five. After the tense cluster of interactions that Hayama cooked up, Hachiman’s troubles just seemed to keep piling up. In that case, why start by fixing the bonds closest to you? That Komachi stare is big trouble. Thankfully, in one of the few solid victories in the season, Komachi and Hachiman make up efficiently and sentimentally without a hitch. After having to deal with each other for who knows how many years, it’s nice seeing that experience paying off. Komachi only wants the best for his brother and likewise, Hachiman knows when he needs to fess up and admit his mistakes. All is well that the Hikigaya siblings have made up and have full trust in one another, but alas, that is the beginning of a whole set of troubles.
I’ve seen the disagreements you guys in the comments have voiced in the previous episode, so please call me out again if you disagree with my interpretation. You see, it’s interesting that Komachi and Hachiman share enough trust and support for one another to prompt action, but its this sort of trust that can also make people blind to certain shortcomings due to increased confidence. In brainstorming the attack, the Hikigaya siblings and friends used their limited knowledge about the situation to maintain one goal: preserve the Volunteer’s Club. Their final course of action resulted in convincing Iroha to accept the presidency. At surface, this would alleviate both Yukino and Yui from taking up the post, saving Hachiman from sacrificing himself, while also maintaining Iroha’s image and allowing her to get closer with Hayato. However, as we see at the end of episode five and during episode six, this was probably one of the worst choices of action that could’ve been chosen, though paved all with good intentions and planning. While it was fairly clear that the plan would downplay the consequences this would have with Iroha (as evidenced by Komachi asking Hachiman his opinion of Iroha), how that backlash would affect the club in turn wasn’t taken into account. Now that Iroha has received help once before, nothing prevents her from seeking more assistance from the Volunteer’s Club once more. With Hachiman under obligation to assist Iroha for putting her into a mess she clearly can’t handle, the bonds between the club continue to worsen, as neither side is willing to open up to the other. On the other hand, with the student council president position out of Yukino’s hands, it’s clear this turn of events bothers her, as she voices herself in episode 5. With Yukino misunderstood, the distance between the three of them continues to grow. Even Yukino and Yui grow distant despite the smiles, since an aura of ‘maintaining the status quo’ seems to be in effect rather than one of enjoying one’s company. As for the interactions between Yui and Hachiman…my heart. I really want them to be a couple, but seeing how the course of the show is panning out, it looks like a beautiful train about to be a huge sprawling mess. Yui is so cute and adorable and Hachiman is so lucky to have her, but right now it looks like she’s fighting a losing battle, as Hachiman’s happiness right now is connected to righting himself with Yukino.
In the process of round two of fixing things, it looks like Hachiman will be spending more of his time with Iroha in a weird way to fix the Volunteer’s Club. However, at this point Hachiman seems to just be plugging holes he’s already made rather than making any real fixes, but who can blame him? During the start of episode six, Hachiman admitted something very personal to the audience: he really has no idea what to do. Thus, being the context-aware person that he strives to be, Hachiman looks towards others for the hint of an answer, even if it’s a group he doesn’t particularly care for. For Hachiman, this is the exploratory phase, a moment of seriously being lost and trying things in the moment. No longer can Hachiman simply rely on himself most of the time and receive a bit of assistance when needed–Hachiman is clearly reaching out to a lot of people, trying to find the best course of action in what seems a hopeless scenario. Of course, DIRECT SYNERGY between parties using a pre-agreed CONTRACT with HIERARCHIAL DIALOGUE could solve these issues, especially without the use of THIRD PARTIES who could possibly take away the INITIATIVE of the parties attempting CONFLICT MANAGEMENT. If only someone in the Volunteer’s Club could use INNOVATION to cause a PARADIGM SHIFT through PROACTIVE WIN-WIN TACTICS, then BEST PRACTICES could lead to a CONFLICT RESOLUTION that could CLOSE THE DEAL and RECALIBRATE EXPECTATIO–okay I’ll stop.
Really though, it’s a shame to see Hachiman lost, but hpoefully something good will come out of this arc, where he gains some sort of insight into what he needs to do. Considering how Iroha seems just as sly as Hachiman when it comes to different goals, an unlikely ally may appear in the mess that’s currently up and running. I just really hope that Iroha doesn’t become a third challenger in this entire mess–the battle between Yui and Yukino is going to be painful enough.