Episode 7

Episode 8

Episode 9

Episode 9:「そして、雪ノ下雪乃は」 (Soshite, Yukinoshita Yukino wa.)
“And, Yukinoshita Yukino Is…”

We’ve gotten the concerned and angry emails and we’re sorry. Well, I’m sorry. Say hello to a recent graduate (proof here) who is all sorts of done busy, wrapped in a combination of facing reality, being burned out, and looking for a job. Unfortunately no writers were both available and caught up to sub in for me, so please excuse this wait once more.

Where do we currently stand now? Better than the past few episodes, that’s for sure. After Hachiman hit a complete rock bottom in episode 7, going through a rebirth and showing his vulnerabilities in episode 8, we’re finally seeing some progress in episode 9, at least when it comes to our trio. Everything is still pretty tense and far from resolved, but at least our characters are finally learning to lower their defenses and show their weaker sides to one another. All of this came at a costly price though, beginning in a downward collapse starting at episode 3. After so many episodes of an uneasy stalemate, it’s so…fulfilling to see how much Hachiman has developed due to this collapse in his philosophy.

It’s really hard to condense into even a thousand words how I feel about Oregairu, because oftentimes I find myself unable to capture all the subtleties an episode had to offer, nor a potential commentary on the solutions that the characters attempted to construct. It’s actually…quite a struggle (and part of the reason why I’m so bad at posting on time). Of all my years watching anime, this is perhaps the most complex, deepest, and overall most realistic portrayal of human relationships that I’ve had the pleasure of watching; it makes for an amazing challenge in writing about, because even these characters continue to baffle me, yet come off as characters I could easily see in real life.

To illustrate, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso was very natural for me to cover. Although a great show as well, it was fairly easy to follow the character’s intentions and their reasons for doing so, even if the network was fairly complex. I understood how things worked there and as a result, I could push out gushes of my own thoughts because of the confidence I had in what I believed. On the other hand, Yahari makes me doubt every single word I write, mostly because I’m still trying to debate in my head so many factors, much like Hachiman would. Was that subtle sign something important, or a red herring meant for us to over analyze? What would be the best course of action for them going forward realistically? Have their feelings actually changed, or have these past few episodes been an exercise in futility? In fact, when I switched over to Ore Monogatari! to take a writing break, the dramatic shift in being able to ‘read’ the characters and their intentions was so clear, one has to wonder just how much of a genius the author is when it comes to creating characters with a serious amount of depth.

Just like reality, trying to actually figure out people is tough business, much less trying to figure out what to do after you figure them out. For Hachiman, his goal of trying to preserve the friendships he’s made isn’t as simple as just using his past experiences. We’ve seen that message hammered in these past few episodes, with episode 8 being the culmination of his deconstruction. No longer can he just rely on his sister’s optimism to lead the way. No longer can he just be a pariah and shoulder all the work. In fact, it may be that we can no longer call our Hachiman our Batman of anime. These sorts of attitudes have clearly failed in several ways, resulting in the low point that episode 8 starts off on. For awhile, it seemed utterly hopeless that Hachiman, and even the audience, would be able to navigate through these stale waters that slowly rot away at their friendship, but somehow, Hachiman did it. It wasn’t the perfect solution and it came dangerously close to failing–Yukinon was still very sensitive and defensive at this point–but it seems Hachiman found it, somehow, a small hope that things could get better.

Even though there are still several questions and problems that linger, especially considering Yukino’s bed of problems, Hachiman, in my opinion, did the absolute best thing he could by admitting emotional defeat. Instead of taking the high ground of trying to find a solution by himself, his tears and his speech lowered his pride, showing the one glint of truth in a sea of these protective lies and fake smiles–he wants to understand. He wants Yukino and Yui to try and understand. Everyone wants to understand. Thus, this is what saves their relationship, where the admittance of defeat in so many areas allows them to say, “We don’t have so many answers, but the one thing that’s certain is that we want to stay together and try.” For Hachiman, Yui, and Yukino, it’ll be a sensitive trip moving forward, but now that each of them admit they don’t have a clue what they’re doing, they can instead focus on the mutual desire to see things through to carry them through all the problems these misunderstandings (or lack of understanding) create.

After having watched that particular emotional scene twice, it really is hitting quite close to home with the themes it expands on. Human connection, a genuine one, is fairly hard to find. For Hachiman, Yui, and Yukinon, their struggle is very much representative of the hardships of navigating tough waters, where there simply may not be an easy solution at hand. However, in times like this, assuming good faith and lowering one’s defenses can do wonders, even if everything else is an indecipherable mess. Considering how the three of them are from vastly different walks of life, it is a miracle they’ve made it this far. I really look forward to covering the rest of this series (hopefully on time from now on), because it’s always such a challenge, a rewarding challenge, to write about and deconstruct. With Iroha’s rejection ending episode 9, there’s still a lot to see, but already, if the series had just ended on episode 8, it would’ve made for one of the best sequels ever, as well as one of the best series airing this season. It’s a shame I haven’t been more available to cover this more regularly, but I hope we can see the finale to the end!


  1. It’s very interesting, how breaking down social interaction, the social contract we all take for granted, can take the most words. I too cover this show, and I often wonder whether it’s even “worthwhile”, because we all live and interact with others, so how much sense would it make to break down every single interaction? Well, it turns out that a lot, because every reader has their own set of presuppositions, and it seems like it actually takes quite a bit of empathy and/or experience to try and “read” characters with whom you’re not identical.

    And yeah, episode 8 was definitely the thematic core the series as a whole was working towards. Now it remains to see it being realized.

    And if it makes you feel good, I spent thousands of words on every episode up to now (you can read it all here, if you’re so inclined). The other thing that makes it feel worthwhile is to help avoid more people who somehow ended season 1 thinking the show was exalting Hachiman and painting him as happy and “correct”, instead of someone who’s miserable and self-deceiving.

      1. Thank you for the link. As someone whose social interactions as a geek at an all male high school were limited to being roughed up by the jocks, beat up by the tough guys, and ignored by everyone else, I need all of the explanation of the fine points of this show that I can get.

  2. Yukino was the “ice woman”. And 8man and Yukino in the iceberg… doesn’t count like their ice ship sail? and she ask about “tasukete”. Yukino x Hachiman forever!!!

  3. Random Thoughts:
    Congratulations, Zanibas!
    I wonder how Hachiman would react if Saika ever got a girlfriend (or boyfriend).
    Does anyone else think Rumi and Yukino are similar? Rumi would be mini-Yukino.
    Hiratsuka-sensei should really get married! After the conversation with Hachiman, I really wonder why it has not happened yet.
    Komachi always gets a ton of points! o(-^o^-)o
    What will happen to you, Yukino!?

  4. Ah thanks very much for this review, Zanibas. I think Stilts and Enzo are at the moment better at getting to the core of the emotions and really understanding characters, but I suspect they’ve had more practise IRL with this kind of thing. I never felt this show sent out any “red herrings for fans to overanalyse”, but I think some things were easily and largely misinterpreted by some fans. Anyway, you could tell that you were stopping your lines of thought short in some of your recent reviews and while that’s a let down, it’s interesting to read why now. This review is so much better.

    I think the best drama often happens when genuinely good people with the best intentions end up hurting each other anyway. Very much like life, which is mysteriously devoid of cartoonish moustache-twirling villains. I don’t know what scared the other writers on RC off this anime, it’s fucking brilliant. Was it Hachiman’s attitude in the start? Anyway, their loss.

  5. Sensei phone number plaese? I’d love to get a date with her… Heck might as well go straight for proposal!
    Komachi best sister of the season, without silly romantic subtexts, just straight supporting wing(wo)man!

  6. it’s an awesome point that oregairu 2 makes when it comes to human relationships; sometimes you can read people and make judgments based on your assumptions whether good or bad, but the human desire to connect with people will find some way to outweigh those assumptions and cynicism. This is why hachiman was so perplexed looking at hayama’s group and seeing them still stick together despite the shallow underbelly of the group’s interactions

  7. @Zanibas: Congrats on graduating

    While the character’s thoughts and feelings may be convoluted at times, one of the biggerst mysteries to me is why Shizuka sensei isn’t married yet. Hachiman got it right. Must be a problem with the guys around her ’cause I’m not seeing any reason on her end. Talk about a kawaii blush. <3 That was great.

  8. After the final scene of ep 09, I still think Hachiman should end up with Irohas. They are the perfect pair!

    The best possible ending is with Hachiman having good friends for life in Yui and Yukinon. I can’t really see Hachiman in any other kind of relationship with the two.

    Irohas and Hachiman ship!

  9. I find Iroha and Hachiman as a cute pair for some reason. Iroha seems to be really spoiled by Hachiman and Hachiman is fine with it. I understand, its Iroha and her calling you Senpai you cannot resist >3<

  10. That Iroha rejection will be the next thing that will rock the boat of our 3 leads. I already had a bad feeling when Iroha became a part of the main 3 in the OP. It’s as if she’s a huge wall hampering Hachiman’s smooth relationship with Yui and Yukino.

    Though it will bite Hachiman again if Hayama somehow learned that 8man used underhanded tactics (at Hayama’s expense no less) to let Iroha win the student council seat.

    Still episode 8 was really the best. Hachiman throwing away his pride and fixing his relationship with Yui and Yukinon. Really love that episode that I can’t help but to rewatch it a few more times.

  11. Though the actions and motivations of all the characters intrigued me, there was one thing that really confused me. That is, how/why did Shizuka sensei get a left hand drive Aston Martin? Japan drives on the same side of the road as the UK. There’s more to this teacher than meets the eye. Makes one wonder what are her motivations in making the club.

  12. Congratulations on your graduation Zani.

    Seriously, Oregairu girls are some what on par with Monogatari girls.

    By the way, I think most of the men she dated may find her overbearing or possibly get too intimidated by her. If I had such a hot colleague, I’d pop the question.

  13. dear Zanibas !
    1st things 1st: Congratulations on graduating !!!

    2nd: thank you so much for taking the time to review this show! it’s such a good one (best of the season, in my opinion) and for weeks, I kept going through this website (my fav anime blog) in the hope that it would be reviewed! just last night, I thought, “How could they drop such a great show so unceremoniously!?!?!?” and ta-daaaaah !!! here you came along !!


  14. I cried.

    When Hachiman cries, the world cries.

    Congrats on graduating! I’m getting ready to walk the stage myself, just have one last class this summer….

    Now that Yui is intensifying her pursuit,

    and Yukinon wants Hachiman to “save” her one day,

    I’m strapped in for another great series end.


    I saw this coming, and i swear if Hayato shoves his self pity down our throats next episode, i’m going to roll my eyes hard.


    This is just what i think but for reasons unknown, Yamato cannot get over Haruno. He rejects girls left and right because he cannot move on. I really would like Hachiman to flesh Hayato out. Pretty sure Ebina would like that too. >>

  15. I just caught up from season one and I get confused by this season because in the first season it’s just Hachiman doing his thing and solving problems his way. Yeah they do hint that he feels hurt and lies to himself through monologues but there’s never any outward reaction except for the last scene with hayato. Now in season two they try to add the drama but like since they want to keep it realistic the characters just brush subtle comments off that you feel are a bomb and perhaps they’re trying to keep it for later I don’t know. I know in season one they never spoke of the whole dog incident once they found out all 3 of them were involved. It’s just that sometimes i just feel like talk to each other come on or what does that mean tell me more how can you just set a bomb and leave it alone. Like I said though it’s going for realism and I’ve been a loner too so I get it’s hard to talk and express things. It’s just the viewer in me feels it’s been at a plateau for a while.

  16. While Iroha denies any interest in Hachiman, the girls don’t see it that way. Other situations in the LN show that they see her as getting to close to their guy. Check out their expressions when Hachi takes Iroha’s bag:

    Also, both girls have made comments that imply that they are getting feelings for him.

    AFA Hachi goes, this arc could be titled “And Hachiman questions what he believed about himself”. Though they showed how Rumi is still isolated, one thing they didn’t show from the LN is that Hachi is questioning if his actions for Ebina really solved anything for her. He’s been really shaken by recent events and now realizes how much the girls mean to him. The mystery, to me at least, is what secrets does Yukino still have. I think a lot hinges on what her real situation at home is and how Hayama and Haruno fit into it.

  17. Other shows have clear routes with easy to see misdirections or at least unlikely scenarios. In this show Hachiman could plausibly end up turning to anyone cause they have written it so well and he’s so isolated still. I can’t really see him with Iroha though. She’d have to grow up and be herself more. After the rejection who knows. That often leads to changes in perspective. It’d be neat to see some more of Yui’s life too. I hope we get to see Hachiman take Yui out like he promised. It seemed vague when he mentioned it in the gift shop again. He did seem to want to do it though. AHH the writers and the anime guys did such a good job keeping suspense rolling along.

  18. Geez… can’t wait for the episode 10 blog. No matter how much Iroha denies it, she’s slowly warming up to Hachiman almost entering romantic territory (if not already falling for 8man already).

    And daym Yukino, you have so many issues in your personal life. Here I am thinking that everything will be smooth sailing for sometime given how positive Yukino was on the train then the final sequence happened. There’s something terribly wrong about her and her family then add Hayama in the mix. Another cliffhanger of an ending. It can swing for the good or worse next episode depending on how Yukino interpreted what happened.

  19. Hachiman’s breakdown saved the series for me. I was so SICK of them all acting like morons that I actually avoided watching a couple of episodes for a bit before finally breaking down and continuing, but when it hit that it was all worth it for me.

    You can’t go through life lying all the time. Do it long enough and something somewhere will break, and if you want to fix it you have to try a little honesty. This show didn’t seem to get that at first until finally showing that that in fact was the moral of the whole story. Just a wonderful emotional scene where he finally lets the wall down for a second and it was all they needed.


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