Oregairu is at it’s best in the leading up to the big moments—not the big moments themselves. While “something genuine” and other cathartic scenes are meaningful and lovely, much of the genius in the series is in the getting there through clever, funny, cute, angsty ways. That’s part of what makes episode six of Oregairu season three the best so far this year. But not to worry, all you who think the exact opposite of me: The episode also had an excellent, heavy ending.
It begins, though, with Iroha and Hachiman having another conversation. By this point, I feel like my brain just doesn’t work anymore, as I assumed most of the Irohas / Hikki stuff would be over by episode two. Iroha discusses the prom situation with Hachiman, but she also continues to show him more of her real self. I’ve made the comment before that of all the girls (sans the obvious in Komachi), it’s Iroha that’s most likely to have a lifelong friendships with Hachiman. The two are just so similar. Their facades are different—Hikki is a loner and a loser, while Iroha is popular and cute—but underneath, they think, struggle, work, and eventually do what’s necessary to help others.
But for Iroha, she needed Hachiman to help her bloom. Prior to him, there was no one to actively challenge her while at the same time caring for her despite her inadequacies. He ignited her spark, and prom is just the beginning of the work she’ll be doing in high school and throughout her life.
This conversation, and another later on between Hachiman and Yui, also present an additional literary layer to all that’s going on. For years, Oregairu fans waited while Watari-sensei finished the final few volumes, and I imagine (again, I can’t remember if this was in the light novels or just here in the anime), he’s speaking directly to the audience through his characters. It would be like him to say the following, for instance:
I’ve not been a super fan of this season (nor was I of the last few volumes), but perhaps neither was Watari. A conclusion is the hardest thing to write, and for series that stretch on for years, there’s a tendency to continue building the story instead of properly closing it. Perhaps Oregairu would have had a season more consistent with the others given a few more volumes, but all stories must come to an end, otherwise “It would have dragged on like this forever.”
And so, Hikki has one final crazy idea to put into effect, one that makes enough sense initially: He’ll create a prom that runs counter to Yukino’s. Then, instead of the choice between prom and no prom, the PTA and others against the idea will shift toward the choice of Yukino’s prom or Hachiman’s. Yui immediately volunteers to help, and he also recruits other friends, though Totsuka, who has become increasingly assertive through his friendship with Hachiman, refuses because he’s too busy, while Saki does the same because she’s actually helping Yukino, which only leaves the greatest character of all to deliver in a most epic way.
Zaimokuza finally gets his chance to be cool. I’ve been waiting for this all season! One of the things that season three is doing well is giving Saki and now, it seems, Zaimokuza their due. He’ll help Yui and Hachiman, who move from that meeting to their own more personal work one, where they review the prom video given to them by Iroha once again and begin making solid plans for their not-so-solid prom, like for instance, where it’ll be set. They also cozy up a bit.
As Yui feigns sleep during their meeting, her inner monologue continues to convey her honesty and maturity. While she sees herself as a liar, as technically it’s true that she’s deceitful to her friends and herself, she’s also being genuine. What does she want? She wants everything. She wants their trio of friendship to endure. She wants Yukino to be her best friend forever. And she wants Hachiman to be her boyfriend. Of course, she knows that isn’t going to happen, but she also wants to hold on for just a little while longer and enjoy it while she can, while holding off reality and buying into a possibility that really isn’t, a hope to “let this lie I keep feeding myself turn into a reality.”
Yui is brutally honest, I can’t see anything more authentic than that, even though she would see it otherwise.
Relationships are complex, much more so than anime or any type of media usually convey. So for Yui to say things that are all over the map is right on, because it’s realistic. Her hypocrisy is the same we all feel and experience, and would see if we wrote down our feelings on paper as they occur. And so again, it goes to show you that Oregairu is about as good as it gets.
- I’ve been thinking a bit about Hayato’s role in this series. At first, I thought he would end up with Yukino, but lately I’ve started to consider that his problem in wanting to keep his own group together was just foreshadowing of what the main trio is now going through, which Yui in the role of Hayato and, weirdly enough, the club’s leader. It’s an interesting idea.
- MVP of this episode is…the woman who steered Yui and Hikki toward the “pair room.” Good job, lady.
- MAXIS COFFEE continues to get its due this season, with Iroha even pointing toward this vital supporting player.
- We got some Gahama-mama fanservice in the episode. :O
- The next episode features some of the series favorites (preach!), as well as the first appearance by a character related to one in Oregairu that NO one loves.
Season three of Oregairu (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU CLIMAX) can be streamed on Crunchyroll.