Grace Means Loving Even When Yukinon Runs Away

How far does grace extend? Is it an inch long, an action that lasts a moment, or does it extend from sea to shining sea, fully and for all time?

I don’t think there’s a black and white answer to that; it depends on how much you choose to give. The problem with me is that when I give grace (love and forgiveness and kindness to one who hasn’t earned it), I give an inch, but expect the receiver to feel like she’s gained a thousand miles.

This concept plays a role in a key scene of season two of OreGairu. An uncomfortable atmosphere fills the service club throughout the season, prompted by conflicts between the three protagonists, Hachiman (Hikki), Yukino, and Yui. There eventually comes a point where Hikki goes against his character and breaks down in front of the other two, explaining, in short, that he values them so much so that he wants to create something genuine with them.

So, all hugs and tears of joy, right? Nope, not quite. Instead, we get a confused Yukino running from the room, and a dejected Hikki almost giving up.


I know exactly how Hikki feels. I’m prone to great declarations of forgiveness, love, and giving. And those closest to me, those on the receiving end of my grand words, don’t always respond with an “I love you, too!” In fact, the response is often like Yukino’s. There is no kindness in return; in fact, there’s sometimes quite the opposite.

When that happens, and I feel like Hikki must have. I quit. I stop pursuing. Instead of giving more grace, I decide, well that’s over and done with, and I proceed another route. Sometimes, upset at the response, I demonstrate the opposite of grace and start blaming. At my worst, I’ll even throw out a “why can’t you show grace.” Yikes.

Hikki has that moment, too, when he could have quit. Yui encourages him to keep going, to keep pursuing, but he ultimately has to make that decision himself. And once he does, he turns it on full again, running after Yukino and continuing to show love toward her, no matter how uncomfortable it makes him feel. His flow of grace, having slowed from a gush to a trickle, is activated again. And this time, Yukino responds in kind.

Grace is a powerful weapon. It can bring down regimes, change the foulest of hearts, and turn hatred into love. But I sometimes use it sparingly, as if I might hurt someone if I used it too much. But too much grace is a hard line to reach. The more I give, usually, the more the receiver comprehends it’s value, and the more likely he or she is to experience the weight of its love. And even if that doesn’t happen, I’m changed by giving a love to someone that breaks my sense of justice, my ideas about judgment. I hope that I’ll use this weapon more often and without abandon, because in doing so I have so much to gain – and so much to lose.


6 thoughts on “Grace Means Loving Even When Yukinon Runs Away

  1. I watched OreGairu in its entirety after I saw your post on the ugliness of something genuine. That simple truth–“To be genuine is to be ugly”–is powerful yet often neglected, so I decided I had to check it out. It is now second only to Trigun on my list of favorite anime, so thank you for writing about it and putting it on my radar. Its insight into relationship dynamics is truly amazing, and this particular episode definitely stands out.

    1. Thank you for sharing! I’m so glad you enjoyed the show – it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it really gets down to some really core issues about relationships that I think speak to most is us. Take care!!

  2. Similar for me. This was posted at a very special time of my life, and really helped me. Afterwards, I watched both seasons of OreGairu, which has made into my top list.

    The show is amazing, in the genre of Toradora or Clannad, but very realistic, to a degree I´m not sure I have seen before in anime -well, wrong, I have, Sakamichi no Apollon, Big Windup, Hibike!Euphonium and so on-, full of not-so-unbelievable coincidences, complex, interesting and not uncommon personalities, very funny situations, deep problems and questions about what´s good, truth and lie, ends and methods, loyalty, friendship and love. Spoilers from here. Hachiman was a lot like me at his age, only more gloomy, cunning, naïve and hilarious: “My teenage romantic comedy is wrong, as I expected”.

    1. In fact, all the class problems felt that way: jealousy, not wanting to change, unrequited love, events where people don´t want to work, burnouts, anti-social geeks, children summer camps, mumbo-jumbo management chat in the school meetings. I have actually been in these places, or I have a friend who has, which makes the show all the more interesting to watch. Other characters, like the ambitious but vulnerable school president or the cheerful old friend or that working girl with silver hair were not mainly potential love interests/harem -not that this is always bad, look at Clannad and Toradora-, but people with their own diverse goals and their unexpected twists and turns. There were some things I didn´t like, mainly the girlish boy and that guy with glasses, who feel a bit over-the-top and far-fetched from my perspective, but hey. The music was also great.

      1. I’m glad you enjoyed the series! I agree that there’s a believability to it, along with other pieces that make the series special. The writing is terrific – it’s subtle and complex and real and interesting. There’s a depth to this series that’s lacking in all but a few series I’ve seen, and I think there’s so much in it that we can learn from and explore as we each try to grow.

        Thanks for sharing – I’m glad that the series spoke to you, and that the article helped as well!

Leave a Reply