Readers of the light novels, and astute viewers, too, will realize that while there are certainly going to be climactic portions of Oregairu season three, the entirety of it is really a resolution to the story. There are still major moments to come, with the prom storyline becoming a focus of at least the first mini-arc of the season, but the tale of Hiki, Yuninon, and Yui is coming toward its close. This episode continued to emphasize that closure is on the horizon, as does the entire mission of the club members this season, for after all, few things recall a celebration of the memories and friendships you’ve made than a prom.
Irohas, of course, is the
instigator creator of the prom proposal, and though she doesn’t earn a treatment as one of the three main characters, promos have pictured her as first among equals when it comes to the side characters. As a potential love interest for Hiki, she never rises to the level of Yui and Yukino, but is light years ahead of fan favorite Saki, and plays a more important and consistent role in the events of the series than characters like Totsuka (who gets a nice little cameo in this episode) and Rumi. And so it seems proper that she’s given some sort of resolution to her growth arc, too—the prom is that for her. She is taking responsibility for it, and shows as much in this episode by her leadership and humility. But we’re also blessed to get what could be her final real dialogue with Hiki.
Irohas is my favorite characters in the show. She’s not the one I would ever choose to end up with Hiki, if anyone, but I light up when she gets screen time. I think that has less to do with her, frankly, and with her interactions with Hiki. Their conversations are simply the most fun, with the bite of Hiki’s talks with Yukino, but less formal and more silly. The two are hilarious together, and in fact, I could see them legitimately becoming lifelong friends, whereas I’m not sure I could see the same between Hiki and whichever of the two leads doesn’t “win” in the love triangle.
The few minutes that the two get to chat, as well as Iroha’s maturity throughout the episode (and her name being all over it), point to this being the last big hurrah for her, the final episode that features her as (sort of) the main girl. I’m glad for it, even if she really only gets a few minutes of screen time, less, perhaps, even than Yui in this episode, who continues to fall down the slippery slope of attraction toward Hiki while still wanting to support Yukino. Dancing with her boi doesn’t help matters.
But while the dance scenes are nice (and not nearly as cringey as they’re made to be in the opening this season, YIKES), it’s even more satisfying to see Yui, Yukino, and Iroha work together; their identities are so well-defined that the dynamics between them feel realistic and the scenes are great fun to watch. The strength of their characters helps to also push Hiki’s to greater heights. He can be written as both self-deprecating and self-loathing, and yet we have this love and high value for him because we see Hiki through others’ eyes. Komachi, of course, loves him for all the support he gives her (It’s lovely to see the short test results scene at the beginning of this episode, including Saki Brother). Iroha likes that he sees right through her, but accepts and cares for her anyway, the kind of relationship she wants out of the popular Hayato but really has out of Hiki (Who is there for her when she needs it during the prom preparations—this despite Hiki telling her that Hayato would be doing that if she became student council president). Yukino, though it’s hard to tell at this point if she can admit her feelings about him to herself, is pushed by him to become a better person, a more authentic one, and is able to be herself around him increasingly without worry. And Yui sees the real Hiki, and wants him to know how valuable he is. She actually seems almost obsessed with it, like she has a hero syndrome (A unusual flipping of roles for a couple reason, including because of the 8man memes).
I’m interested in seeing how the direction and writing plays out in the remaining episodes of the series, because there is a lot to wrap up—several novels worth to go along with a lot of feelings about and between the leads. To tell the truth—and I’m not sure what the fan community believes about this, but—the last few novels were good, but collectively the worst of the series. They are at the same time a little too jam-packed and without enough depth. They didn’t quite match the previous masterful volumes; however, I think they might work better in animation, especially considering that the prom (and one other event I’m thinking about) is very visual. I hope that bears out to be true, and that the characters each get their due. My timeline may be a bit messed up, but based on the opening minutes of this episode, that might mean that our beloved sensei is up next up.
I expect tears.
- MVP of the episode? Iroha seems too easy of a pick, so I’ll go with Tobe. Of course, Tobe said everyone should “prom it up,” and that was enough for this award, but he gets extra credit for taking all that berating from Iroha (especially in the post-ED scene).
- Saki is getting a lot of screen time, I’m sure to the glee of all her fans. I think that bodes well for another certain character who has had some of his content chopped out before… (and who hasn’t shown up at all yet, I don’t think)
- GOORGIA MAXIS COFFEE continues to get a lot of screen time. In fact, more and more as each episode passes.
- In the next one, it seems like MAXIS is basically so prominent that it’s a supporting character. Could MAXIS be a surprise pick for who Hiki chooses in the end?? The odds are ever in your flavor.
Oregairu can be streamed on Crunchyroll.