「未だ、彼の求める答えには手が届かず、本物はまちがい続ける。」 (Imada, Kare no Motomeru Kotae ni wa te ga Todoka zu, Honmono wa Machigaitsuzukeru.)
“Still, The Thing He Seeks Is Out of Reach, And He Continues to Mistake What’s Real.”

Of all the characters that hold the most influence, Haruno ranks high on the list. While this episode showed Yukino’s mother holding a terribly strong influence on Yukino, Haruno has been most active in manipulating both Yukino and Hachiman on a consistent and strong basis. Her ultimate goals and motivations are remains secret, but at face value, she’s a fairly hard pill of a character to swallow.

It seems most appropriate to talk about Haruno now, considering how over two seasons, she has influenced many people without much change on her own side. As Hachiman and Yukino both pull and push away from her influence and transform in the process, Haruno continues to be the character that can see through the smoke and mirrors effortlessly while simultaneously hiding behind her own illusions, obfuscating her own insight and feelings. She’s much like a riddling trickster, who knows exactly what buttons to push to get an interesting response, all while frustrating everyone else. Take for instance episode 12’s casual discussion on Yukino and Hayama’s past chocolate give-and-receive: she knew exactly what was going on and in response, decided to ruffle things up for a little chaos. Only a small drop of information is required to make big ripples in a very precarious romantic standoff.

From a storytelling standpoint, Haruno’s role in Yahari is critical. For Yahari to avoid falling into that stereotypical pit where everyone is happy but competing under the smiles, Haruno is the bitter catalyst that’ll break apart that fragile false peace. This web cannot last forever–the longer it simmers in the background, the worse the emotional fallout will be when it all blows up. However, what motivates Haruno to act in this manner is still largely a mystery. It’s been noted that she’s most meddlesome with people she likes, so it’s unlikely that she’s trying to purposefully sabotage the relationships she sees. However, her own guiding philosophy does come into direct conflict with Hachiman’s, whose desire for compromise comes at odds with Haruno’s strict disdain for the false and shallow. The show thus far has cumulatively resulted in a battle of relationship morality, where although Hachiman and Haruno both seek the genuine article, both doubt its existence and question the way to reach said genuine moments.

In my opinion, I believe that although Haruno is definitely moving the story forward, I do question whether it is optimal for her to meddle actively in calling out bullshit. Considering how our trio + Iroha managed to get past their lowest point relationship-wise a mere two months ago and are just now recovering, it seems almost cruel that Haruno would throw another wrench into a still fragile web. True, that there is a huge white elephant in the room where everyone is playing nice to one another, but at the same time those surface feelings of enjoying high school life and one another aren’t so bad in themselves. In fact, Hiratsuka-sensei would be butting heads with Haruno right now. Whereas Hiratsuka-sensei points out that there is value in the relationships Hachiman and friends have formed up until now, Haruno finds little value in these relationships, instead guiding Hachiman and Yukino to face their problems head-on and deal with their problems now. However, it seems…disagreeable that Haruno should rush things so quickly. Though her stance is definitely economical and utilitarian, this black-and-white philosophy on the validity of relationships is troubling. I am personally proud of what Hachiman, Yui, Yukino, and Iroha have managed to form, considering the odds against them. Their conflicting personalities and unlikely backgrounds make for terrible theoretical matchups, but they somehow made it work. Attempting to destroy that in the name of finding something genuine is counterproductive and unnatural.

Thus, to conclude, I thoroughly believe Haruno to be an antagonist of the series, though most definitely not the only one, or even the ‘main’ one for that matter. I believe in Hachiman and friends to come to a solution, even in the face of Haruno’s meddling, though at this point it’s not going to be pretty. Hachiman’s journey thus far has been dealing with the conflicting beliefs and occasionally misguided courses of action proposed by others. Seeing how he’ll synthesize these ideas into something of his own, to meet his own goals, will be the final treat of the series. Yukino continues to be chained by her family, a powerful one at best. With Haruno constantly meddling and the matriarch of the Yukinoshita’s applying uneasy pressure, the new question is how Hachiman will solve this massive problem, all while managing the other problems stewing on the side.

It’s really a shame that the second season is coming to a close, but it has been a satisfying show thus far. Here’s to hoping I can post on time for the finale!


  1. I wonder what is the history between Yukino and Hayama.
    As for the Haruno, her “shield of lies and smoke” seems to be her way of coping with having THAT kind of mother, just as is Yukino’s distance and coldness. No one can hurt your feelings if they dont know what they really are…

    1. Yukino and Hayama were grade school friends if I remember? And he let other kids bully her for no reason, and the elephant in the room is that he loves the girl whose name starts with a ‘Y’, either Yukinon, most likely, or Yuigahama (not very likely). The he ‘won’t lose’ to someone ‘inferior to him’ (Hachiman) was probably meant at the Y-girl.

      1. It’s really most interesting if it’s haruno. If it’s Yukino that just sets up a fairly standard love triangle. Haruno on the other hand creates a web of broken, twisted relationships, which is what this series is about.

    2. it’s fairly obvious that hayama liked yukinoshita haruno but yukinon could have liked him when she was young but was rejected bcus he liked haruno when they were a trio

  2. Thank you for your post zanibas.

    When I was finally starting to cheer up for our trio getting back together and the exchange between them (just like I was a fourth member), I am now also pulled back into a dark place by Haruno. Jeez, Haruno, let the kids have some breathing space. Sometimes I am just taken aback by Sika’s charecter, he’s the only one that sounds to be so pure now that Hayama’s group has secrets of its own and our trio is not doing so well either.

    I can’t wait for the finale.. no I really mean I can’t wait, I don’t want it to happen! I don’t feel like anything would go down too well by the time of the finale and it hurts!


  3. yui is about to bite the bullet real hard it seems in the finale; doesnt look like things are gonna end well with her. It’s a shame too because she’s a genuinely sweet girl although sometimes in life, that’s just not enough

  4. It’s almost over heh. Episode 11 finished covering the essential material from Volume 10 of the Light Novel. I was very excited for episode 12 because it covers material from the unreleased Volume 11. I can’t wait for the final episode and see where the story leaves off.

    1. Woah. I did not know that the anime has already caught up with the novels.

      If the novels really are going in to the final arc, I’m really praying for that season 3 a couple of years from now.

  5. Haruno is really such an intriguing character. You can hate her or love her but you can’t deny that she’s the one that will push the plot forward for now.
    It’s just as Zanibas said, Haruno saw through our main trio. They are still lacking the genuine thing but it’s alright, because what they have right now will eventually change, develop and one day mature into something that could be call genuine. Thus Haruno’s choice to make them face their problems right now is wrong. That why she comes of as malicious and is compared to the tyrant king in the LN.
    I remember someone saying that Haruno is similar to Hachiman in the way that she also snarks at those lies, even though compared to Hachiman she didn’t really change into someone better but actually became more “evil”. I kinda agree with that statement, Haruno and Hachiman have very different personalities but Haruno is probably more broken that Hachiman. Of course, this is just an opinion. We don’t really know that much about her.

    1. Yep, Haruno is a character that is very easy to hate and it looked like all she did at the event was be a bitch and make everybody uncomfortable. But she is essential to the story by calling it like it is. She reminded 8man, Yukino, and Yui that there is no real bond between them, just a very fragile friendship that they are trying not to disturb and hurt anybody.

      Something cataclysmic needs to happen where the trio gets hurt and finally see each other for who they are and accept themselves and each other and find that true bond. Yui might the one to take the first step in this direction.

  6. I don’t like it’s so much that Haruno messes with people she “like” likes, i.e. people she has affection for, but rather that she messes with people who interest/amuse her.

  7. I’m increasingly beginning to suspect that it’s a very pertinent question just how much choice Yukino ever had in becoming what she was when the club was started. The constant hints that she was very different as a child make it quite likely that much of what Yukino is today – complete with her complexes, vulnerabilities, and neuroses – might be a product of Haruno’s active and passive influence.

    What I see in Haruno is this – that familiar occurrence where a parent projects themselves and/or an ideal onto a child, and attempts to shape that child according to that ideal. Except that in this case it’s an older sibling onto a younger, and further coloured by their constricting household and female parent – and thus shaded with some level of resentment, which is where you get offhand remarks like, ‘well, that was cute was she younger, but now…’, reflecting gradually growing annoyance that, given Haruno’s meddlesome and manipulative personality, resulted (and is still resulting) in Haruno attempting to forcefully carve Yukino into some idealized opposite of Haruno herself… in often blatantly hurtful ways, which is that shade of resentment showing itself. It’s probably no coincidence she actively pushes Yukino to stop acting like her – to be cold and self-sufficient rather than social and manipulative – to be only brutally honest and seek the genuine when Haruno herself is probably the most artificial character in the show.

    Of course, the thing is, like most people of intelligence, she often has a point. Here in this episode you also see Yui/Yukino/Hachiman beginning to mirror Miura/Iroha/Hayato, right down to the subtle and ‘subtle’ hints of flirtation and/or claiming territory. The former three arguably needed a wake-up call that they were starting to fall into that most comfortable of traps… but of course, because of her own complicated complex towards Yukino, Haruno sends that wake-up call with more than a tinge of outright malice.

    In a way, it would be fitting – Haruno, too, is by my reading like many of the other characters in this show… a hypocrite who is at least somewhat right. It’s just that there’s a bitter irony in her constantly pushing Yukino to choose for herself, by closing off every other choice that exists.

    1. This is really well written and I think nails it completely. You expertly convey how Haruno can both seem to be pushing Yukino to be more ‘honest’ and to ‘be herself/genuine’ while at the same time in a seemingly contradictory fashion being exceedingly malicious and hurtful towards her.

      Basically Haruno is lashing out at her situation through her treatment of her sister.

      Just well done.

  8. The recurring theme of this show seems to be folks trying to preserve the status-quo condition of their relationships with others, even at the cost of being disingenuous, for the fear that change would destroy these relationships altogether. The initially nihilistic Hachiman seems to have morphed over time into some sort of idealist who wants to both have his cake and eat it- he wants to have genuine relationships with the people he cares about without altering the status-quo condition of his relationships with them.

    Hayato is a little different- he doesn’t seem to mind being disingenuous to preserve the status-quo but wants to do it in a manner which makes everyone happy if at all possible (Versus Hachiman’s now defunct initial “No-holds-barred” approach). And the bull-headed Haruno seems to just want blunt honestly- “If you can’t take it, you should just take a hike- out of my life!” Both are rather sh*tty solutions. I’d wonder if someone like Hayato had any genuine relationships at all- attempting to artificially preserve the status quo through disingenuity will only lead to eventual catastrophic collapse (No honest communication = the closest of friends becoming strangers over time due to all the lies). And someone like Haruno would likely alienate others, ending up very lonely indeed (Geez, maybe that’s why she’s so clingy with her family- reflects her inner emotional neediness because she has few real friends. Women like Haruno scare me, seriously- both needy and bossy- signs of abysmal emotional maturity- the recipe for a horrible relationship).

    I think what I’d like this show to ultimately lead up to is to have Hachiman eventually evolve into the first person in his circle of friends who isn’t afraid of change. Eventually, I hope Hachiman (the LN author makes him) comes to realize that the evolution of human relationships over time is a part of life that cannot be avoided. You cannot hope to preserve the status-quo condition of human relationships without sacrificing all notions of genuineness, and eventually destroying those relationships altogether. However, through honest (but tactful) communication, with the emotional maturity to accept things about others you may not like and compromise one can usually ensure that the evolution of his/her most important relationships (best friends, family, etc.) occurs in a positive way over time- into some far more beautiful than before. You can’t have the same relationship with someone forever along with genuineness- but you can have a genuine, amicable, dynamic, growing relationship with them over time. Remember the old “relationships are trees” analogy? Well trees grow bigger and stronger and change over time.

    God, I swear, the kids in this show all have the emotional intelligence of bricks. I have never seen a group of teenagers so afraid of relationships changing over time- it simply isn’t realistic, I don’t recall anyone from my own high school years being anything remotely like that. Hachiman wonders what true “genuineness” in a relationship is. The answer’s right under your nose godda*mit! It’s what you have with Komachi. Everything I mentioned in the above paragraph he puts into practice in his interactions with his little sister- it’s about making your interactions with others honestly reflect how you feel about the present situation and how you feel about them. If you feel displeasure, make that displeasure known, but tactfully and with a willingness to compromise, in acknowledgement of the fact that you care about the other person too. Don’t be an emotionally immature doofus like Hayato (and proto-Hachiman) who lies to others, denying how he truly feels about the present situation, or like Haruno who lies to herself, callously dishing out blunt honesty which hurts the people she cares about, ignoring the fact that caring about someone very much involves being conscious about how they feel…

  9. I’m neutral on Haruno. Yes, she’s rocking the boat and destroying the status quo but let’s face it, is it okay to just perpetually maintain the status quo unitl they graduate and go to college?

    As of this time, Yui is shrinking and is getting hurt inside more and more. She’s slowly becoming pretentious as the more jealous she gets on 8man’s interaction with Yukino and even with Iroha. A few more and I think she’ll burst and her geniune love for 8man will turn into hatred and disdain to her friend, Yukino.

    Notice how Yui calls 8man’s attention on even the smallest misgivings, like not waiting for her when they go to the clubroom. And Yui declining 8man’s offer to walk her home is a sign that she had enough.

    For Yukino’s side, I don’t know if she knows Yui’s feelings for 8man but she’s very weary of Iroha to the point that she’s in unison with Yui on getting jealous whenever Iroha elicits some embarassing reactions from 8man that they could never dare do to him.

    One more week. Hopefully I get some happy ending from this rather heavy piece of work. I do hope that whatever choice 8man take will not hurt him the most.

  10. damn haruno… she is probably envious because no one truly loves her eh? which is why she is trying to destroy yukino’s current friend relationship with hachiman.

    The Last Idiot
  11. My one complaint with Haruno once again stirring the pot is that she didn’t give them any real time to our trio to do things for themselves. It’s been what, two months since Hachiman said he wanted the real thing? You know Yukino at least hasn’t stopped thinking about what that could mean, even if she is enjoying the friendly relationships she now has. I really don’t think two months is long enough to say a relationship is stagnating, and while I do feel bad for how Yui was shrinking back, I honestly think the trio could’ve done something about it themselves that wouldn’t have felt like such a kick to the temple with steel-toed boots.

    The real villain here is Yukino’s mom. Can you say passive-aggressive? Hell, that bordered on psychological abuse.

    1. Sidebar: I love how Iroha’s “rejections” of Hachiman get less harsh each time, to where in Ep. 12 she really didn’t reject him so much as she just told him to try harder.

  12. Reikakou mentioned about Yui shrinking and fading into the background reminded me one of the posts someone posted on the Service Club fan page on FB. He pointed out that in season 1, Haruno mentioned that the people around Yukino gets upset and jealous of her and eventually distance themselves from her and Haruno hopes that Yui does not become one like them. Yui gave Haruno assurance that she would not do it.

    HOWEVER, I believe as of late, I believe that Yui herself is getting upset withYukinon one way or the other and also there’s that sense of jealousy slowly eating and creeping up on her. I don’t think we can deny that Yui does not have any feelings for 8man but I believe Yui has come to realisation that the card house that the 3 of them have built is going to come crashing down and some, if not all of them, will be trapped under the debris

  13. im still frustrated at how the trio will bring things or somewhat express themselves but then they leave it alone. I caught up on both seasons this month n I feel there r tons more questions than answers. Perhaps it’s the realistic tone or maybe I’m too dumb for this show lol.

  14. I think one of the larger questions is what the heck Haruno wants for her sister. Obviously what she wants for anyone is a huge mystery, but from a plot perspective at least she does seem to serve the purpose of moving Hachiman forward; a sort of antagonistic mentor. But most of her interactions with him make him better. With her sister on the other hand her behavior comes off as far more cruel and pointless.

    Presumably since Haruno hasn’t been painted as a strictly malicious character there will be some purpose revealed in the end, but it’s hard to see at this point and she certainly appears more malicious when dealing with Yukinoshita.

    1. .Mero
  15. Haruno, stop hanging around your old high school already. It’s CREEPY AS HELL.

    Seriously, if Haruno’s life is such a bed of roses in university, why is she always showing up at her old HS? It’s weird. And did I mention creepy? Because it is.

    I’d imagine she’s releasing some of her own pent-up stress on the little kids around her, because her own relationships suck. Then again, she learned how to bully kids from YukiMom, who is a terrible parent in her own right. (OMG, so many layers of awful in her approach to raising her children.)

    Writing-wise, I think it’s kind of sloppy to force all the progress on Haruno and YukiMom.

    TV-wise, they rushed through WAAAAY too much stuff. It’s a shame. Lots of development just got skipped. Go read the LNs.

    I’m still rooting for Iroha, because I can’t help it. Yui is cute and nice, and Yukino is tragic and you want to save her like a sad bunny or puppy or something, but I’d rather be with someone like Iroha. Less baggage, less BS, no Haruno, no YukiMom. Good times.

  16. I get the feeling Haruno sees Yui and Hachiman mesh well and getting closer, and that she’s throwing a bomb at them to give Yukino more time to decide if she will take a shot. I fear Yui may step aside in support of her friendship for Yukino. If that happens I really can’t see Yukino taking advantage. Yukino must have an idea Yui likes him. That’s a talk they need to have. It’s a shame though, just when Hachiman seems to be reaching back to Yui’s feelings. It would be rejection all over again. Damnit he should just pick Totsuka!

  17. this”genuine” thing have troubled my for a long time since when I read the novel back then and watched anime now.

    “genuine” is really a loose term and hard to describe and define, much like true, reality, and essence. everybody can have their own version of “genuine” and will cause conflict, both internally and externally.

  18. Kerozenpy
  19. a personal reflection:

    given yahari and genshiken are two of my most influential shows in life, i tried to apply myself and make comparisons and reflections to it.

    what i got was that much to my distaste, my personality and action is similar to that of Haruno, while my brother is a people’s person like Hayama, who fits in any form of society and holds the status quo with everyone.

    The problem is, I’ve been striving to be more like Hachiman for years, but the more I try, the more I ended up like Haruno. I’ve always thought I could lead to Hachiman’s lifestyle eventually since I don’t have friends and could learn to be content with it, but instead I ending up seeking people and understanding like Hachiman did, but always got annoyed with the appearances and formalities that things fall apart quickly.

    I wonder what is it that changes a person. It seems that my social relations is as wrong as I expected.

  20. Interesting episode. Same comment as before, while I’d rather have less material cuts, what is kept is presented well. Yahari, IMO, is doing a fine job in that respect.

    Honestly, I never liked Haruno, and at this point, I’m starting to hate her. To say that’s she’s “critical” for the show/series is an overstatement, especially given her limited involvement. Plenty of “moving forward” without her in the past. That’s not to say she’s unimportant – I do think she has an important role, but “critical” is going too far IMO. In this instance, she may “move things forward”, but then again there is something known as pacing. Some things do take more time than others. Is it REALLY necessary to ruin the trio’s fun – especially since they recently came through a trying time, and have shown signs of change? What’s really funny (read as ironic/hypocritical) is that to me, Haruno is fake as well. We’ve seen the claws come out in contrast to the “perfect, nice daughter” persona. Even when Hachiman first met her, he realized she wasn’t exactly as she appeared. Another thing is that she chastises Yukino for not being able to figure out what Hayato’s planning for college, but then shortly thereafter waits for Hachiman to “request” that he find out Yukino’s college plans and report back to Haruno. Huh? Go figure it out yourself, Haruno. You should know – right? (insert what ever snippy remark she said at Yukino). What a hypocrite.

    Honestly, Haruno just seems cruel and malicious too often – screwing around with people for her own amusement. How often does she always talks about things – people specially, being “boring” – as if others exist solely for her amusement? Notice how she mentions that again when she mucks with the three this episode. There are times in which she seems to care about Yukino, but not frequent enough IMO, and Haruno’s “fun” been going on for a considerable length of time. The poor girl (Yukino) has issues with roller coasters thanks to Haruno screwing around when they were younger. “Good job” onee-san, you gave your imouto trauma. Meh, I’ll stop here. Honestly, at some point I’m hoping Hachiman just rips into Haruno.

    As for the main trio, this episode shows why I have trouble deciding who to “ship” with Hachiman – Yui or Yukino. I like all three, and whoever is left out is going to be hurt. Such is life, but still… Harem FTW LOL.

    1. I basically agree. Clearly there’s a ‘reason’ for Haruno’s behavior that is important to the secrets of the plot, but at the same time she’s a jerk. So whatever the reason is for her behavior, if it’s something as shallow as ‘she loved her sister all along and was helping in her own way’ that will be a huge let-down.

      Haruno is far too malicious to simply be playing the jester. There has to be a reason for her malice, even if it turns out to be somewhat understandable. Personally, I think she could end up being central and in this story of broken people turn out to be the most broken; sort of like the god from Fruits Basket (Akito? Can’t remember).

  21. Meh, I think Haruno is finally getting tired of covering for Yukinon. The only reason that Yukinon gets any of the freedom she enjoys is because Haruno is still playing the perfect daughter. Without Haruno following through in that role, Yukinon’s life would be…difficult. Especially since Haruno has the ability to say no, while Yukinon doesn’t have to strength to fight her mother. It’s not that Haruno doesn’t get some perverse satisfaction from messing with Yukinon’s life, but outside of that I fear that she doesn’t really get to make any real choices to relieve the stress that the matriarch is putting on her. And to be honest, Haruno is somewhat on par with Komachi in the 8man/Yukinon shipping department. That gets her kudos in my book.

    TLDR: Haruno is no saint, but it may be that she sacrificed her life (at least in terms of choices) to allow Yukinon to have a life outside of the primary responsibilities of the Yukinoshita family.

    1. I think that’s an overly rosy view of her personality. While I’m sure there’s something to it, if Haruno’s only motivation was resentment of her sister, I don’t think she’d spend so much time on Hachiman and others.

      Also, this series is very philosophical. These characters’ motivations are always tied up in their personal philosophies regarding human relationships. Which is crazy in reality, but it’s the point of the show; the competition between differing philosophies on human interaction.

  22. I really enjoyed this write-up on Haruno’s effect on the characters and identification of the specific conflicts of the show. I FEEL the conflicts but find it hard to specify what they are since everything is so…realistic. I guess I need it all spelled out to me LOL.

  23. if you are too busy to make a weekly coverage ; might as well pass it to someone else , it add up to the disappointment list when I check in every week and end up sad , because you can’t cover it.

  24. my call as to what is going on is something like this.
    yukinon family had organised a arranged marriage for their daughters
    hayama is/was engaged to yukinon at the time yukinon was ok with this but *event* hayama ended up in love with haruno, now he cant break up that engagement because his family would be ruined but young hayama most likely confessed his feeling to haruno who turn him down but yukinon got wind of it got heartbroken.

    that would explain the dynamic we see from the 3 yukinon got resigned to her fate of getting married to a guy thats actualy in love with her sister , hayama is resigned to his fate since his dad’s job is on the line with that engagement. thus haruno trying to meddle and have her sister rebel against her fate and break off the marriage

    lot’s of hint all over the place , when yukinon turn 17 hikki did mentioned that 17 was teh legal age for marriage and why would her family be celebrating her 17 birthday without her Hayama was there. sounds more like a meeting to finalise details to me.

    that would make the most sense to me it could go full circle to the start of the series why did the teacher setup a club like that if she new of the circumstance then “hmm i got a girl thats stuck in social norm and a guy that excell at fixing problem by taking the fall himself” lets trow them toghether.

  25. Man good to see Hachiman coming around and utilizing alternate methods to accomplish goals. His days of social suicide are ending?….. I’ll still remember him for his feats in season 1 though. Him ripping Sagami to shreds, letting Hayato be the good guy….
    Hiratsuka sensei: They’ll hunt you.
    Hachiman: You’ll hunt me. You’ll condemn me. Set the dogs on me.
    Because that’s what needs to happen.
    Cause sometimes the truth isn’t good enough.

    https://youtu.be/GDQob4AOCsQ?t=1m29s viva Hachiman


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *