「しみじみと、平塚静はいつかの昔を懐かしむ。」 (Shimijimi to, Hiratsuka Shizuka wa Itsuka no Mukashi o Natsukashimu.)
“Shizuka Hiratsuka Deeply Longs for the Days Past.”
When the SS Yui went down last week, I was expecting for Hachiman to make a beeline for Yukino. Nope. Turns out he needed to take detours along the way, destroying the reamining hopes and dreams of fans who were shipping other girls. Myself included.
The Great Shipping Crash of 2020
God damn it. That was one hell of a SNAFU. On top of Yui from last episode, more characters continued going down as Hachiman showed no signs of relenting from causing collateral damage in his single-minded determination to save Yukino. To be honest, I couldn’t care less about the sensei – and it would be pretty criminal if she hooked up with Hachiman. But as a proud member of Team Iroha ever since she popped up in Season 2, I saw this coming from miles away. But it still hurt nevertheless. As Iroha noticed, Hachiman essentially confess his feelings for Yukino in a roundabout manner. Not as much as seeing Yui break down last week, I’m still hurting over that one. But Iroha’s internal monologue was well written – subtly hinting at her internal state of affairs without outright giving away her crush on Hachiman – which can be gleaned from her deflated reaction to witnessing their chemistry. And it made for a nice contrast from how Yui wore her feelings on a sleeve, whereas Hiratsuka-sensei’s thoughts remain shrouded in mystery. Sometimes it’s better to leave behind some clues then let the audience fill in the blanks.
Finding the Third Path Between Two Choices
So, what next? Yukino rejects Hachiman’s help – which was within the realms of expectation. But Hachi decides he must shake up the odds and proposes a challenge – as a way of circumventing this limitation. Where both of them would come up with alternative solutions, to see who can come up with the best one. This will allow him to ‘help’ her out without breaking her independence from him. Also, it would be foolish to go at it alone. Hachiman’s assessment is correct. Yukino’s mother is intentionally finding any faults in bad faith to try and cancel any premise of prom. She’s without question the most formidable adversary to have appeared thus far – with other difficult characters being small fry compared to her. And if allowed to do as she wishes, I don’t doubt that prom will be donezo. However, Hachiman can always be counted upon to be a dark wild card who can throw a wrench into those plans. So with Yukino and Iroha being clear about their strategy for prom, it will be really interesting to see the approach Hachiman will opt into – as well as how it influences their plans. And whether it can be made to succeed against Yukimom.
To conclude, I actually have one more side note. I don’t usually mention it, but I particularly enjoyed the voice acting this week. The emotions between Hachiman, Yukino and Iroha were sublimely portrayed. And what made it exponentially better was the way in which Studio Feel subtly animated slight shifts in facial expression, to convey the internal paradigms of each characters. Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post – and see you all next week!