Thematically, all season long, OreGairu 2 (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!) has focused on the need people have for bonds of friendship. Through much of the season, of course, we had the crisis of relationship within the volunteer club, which reached some resolution once Hachiman was able to break through his own feelings and then, along with Yui, break through to Yukino. Bookending this season, however, is another story about bonds. The season began with Hina and Hayato trying to preserve their group’s ties against teen hormonal urges, and now toward the end Hayato feels the pressure of doing the same.
Episode 11 of OreGairu 2 gives Yumiko a major role for the first time, as she breaks down crying with a request to the club. Wanting to stay close to Hayato, and further to preserve the togetherness of their clique, she asks that the club find out which career path Hayato will choose – the sciences or liberal arts. Hachiman decides to ask Hayato himself, but he gets a rude response (Hayato seems to only be able to take out his frustrations or Hachiman, or else it’s only with him that he can be his real self – or maybe both). Ultimately, Hayato reveals that he will be doing liberal arts, but only through weird logic in which he tells Hachiman it is the only decision he could make that it his own, though the final conversation between the two (and Yumiko’s response in the post-credits scene) tell us that the soccer star remains trapped as “Everybody’s Hayato.”
So at this point, it appears that the popular clique will remain together – the same as the volunteer club. The latter really seems to need these bonds to continue in their personal growth; for them, it’s only been several weeks since they broke through shallowness and came to start understanding each other on that “genuine level.” But for Hayato’s group, it seems they need the opposite – they need to let go.It’s easy to look at Hayato and say that he needs to be strong and push his friends forward on their own, that they’re stagnant as a group and immature. But for all his elegance, Hayato is still a higher schooler, and the decisions he and his friends are making are very high school ones. They’re treasuring their youth – something that, if you remember, Hachiman spoke about (and despised) from the very beginning. A lot of high schoolers have trouble letting go – they love what they have, and many hang on too long. You might know of a group of friends, for instance, that still hang out well into adulthood, acting like they’re in high school and refusing to grow up.
I also think about a friend of mine who instead of going to his dream university, stayed near home to be with a girlfriend. In the face of really important decisions about the future, he wouldn’t let go. And in true fashion, the girl broke up with him not too long afterward.
Oftentimes, those are the options – we stay where we are forever or our decisions are made for us. The earlier is bad for us but feels good and the latter is hurtful but is better for us. And then there’s a third option – we make the decision to move on, a preemptive strike that is ultimately a good thing and, if it has to do with our friends, good for them as well.
Whether it’s friendship, romantic relationships, work, schooling, or lifestyle, there come times when if we’re examining ourselves and being honest, we realize we have to let go. It’s painful, but it’s the right thing to do. The pain, in fact, sometimes points to it being right – it’s through pain, after all, that we might grow.
Hayato is a good guy – not perfect, but good. But in that goodness, he needs to help his friends by hurting them. And in doing so, he’ll free himself as well and grow, too. Even if it’s painful, that’s what he needs. It’s what we all do.