So many thing happened in episode 10 of OreGairu 2 – the conclusion of one long arc and a transition into another. Too much happened, frankly – I had to rewatch it to absorb it all. And for an episode where so many plotlines moved along, it’s interesting to note that character development did occur, perhaps most of all for Iroha.
As Hachiman, Yui, Yukino, and Iroha ride home after the theme park get-together, the underclassmen lays out her heart to Hiki. And here she notes that the catalyst for her confession to Hayato was Hachiman himself. She overheard his literal cry for genuine relationship when speaking with Yui and Yukino, and decided that she, too, wanted that. And so, she made a move – something very unlike Iroha, who crows a lot but is often unwilling to put herself on the line.
Hachiman is surprised that Iroha overheard his tearful plea, and maybe also that she reacted to his words at all. But he shouldn’t be – after all, words and actions from those we respect or trust have the power to give us courage. In fact, the actions don’t even need to come from a place of respect – something those actions give us the power to put ourselves on the line, no matter from whom they come.
I’m reminded of a small group bible study I led long ago. I wasn’t especially close to the guys who were assigned to me, and I know that at least a few had no special respect for me. But I was convicted to make the study special, to try to do God’s work even though I felt very out of my league. So in our first meeting, I dropped a bombshell, sharing a most personal and embarrassing struggle during our sharing time. Awkwardness and silence followed.
But I bet you can guess what happened after that. Each and every person in the group shared their own personal struggles with the group. My actions paved the way for others to do the same. To this day, of all the small groups I led, it was that one where I saw God working the most. Out of my weakness, He did wonderful work, perhaps sparked by a willingness to just do something.
When Hachiman went way out of his comfort zone before his club members, he moved them to change and he discovered that he also moved Iroha to change as well. As the episode progresses, in fact, we find that Iroha is changing in a lot of ways, all seemingly with a root in her relationship with Hachiman, who has done nothing less than show her his utmost character.
We, too, have the ability to help others change. We can help others become stronger, more mature, more courageous. And sometimes, all it takes a beginning rooted not in what they do, but in what we do.