Episode eight of Oregairu’s final season speeds us through some of the light novel material as it wraps up planning for the dummy prom and moves us even a few steps beyond that. The computer club creates a nice website for Hikki’s prom, and with some help from Haruno, he realizes that Yukino’s mother isn’t the enemy after all—she’s a “queen” chess piece, as he says, or more a messenger between parties. And so when he meets with her again, Hikki decides to ask this messenger to help them instead. She agrees when he pulls out the trump card—his name—and she realizes that this is the boy they ran over nearly a year ago. What can she do but capitulate at this point?
And with Yukinoshita’s support, the prom (Yukino’s) is approved. Which means we can get down the heart of the season: figuring out the friendship / love triangle and where everyone will end up. The tangled knot gets a little looser in this episode (even if it tightens a bit as well near the end) via conversations revolving around Haruno, who once again uses the word “codependence” during a coffee date with Hikki and Yui, and later when she speaks alone with Yui and when Hayato meets with her. Haruno is hell-bent on making it known that this word aptly describes the service club’s relationship, and it’s not the best thing for her little sister (or any of them).
But throughout this season, and particularly in her conversation with Hayato in this episode, it’s revealed that Haruno is not some neutral genius levying judgments that are undoubtedly true. She, too, is influenced by her past relationships and their outcomes, and the hurt she’s experienced. Could it be, then, that Hikki, Yukino, and Yui aren’t codependent at all?
I think what’s key to unraveling this idea is to consider at what level of maturity they’re at. That idea even comes up in conversation between Yui and Haruno, when the latter says what I’ve been emphasizing all season: Yui is the mature one holding the trio together. But it’s hard even for her. Do you remember your relationships when you were 17? I bet they were emotional, complex, and probably not handled with the care that you handle relationships now. That much is true for me, at least. I saw so many things (not just friendships and romance) in black and white. I had trouble considering others’ feelings. And even my “best friends” hurt me, and I hurt them.
When Yui walked into the clubroom that fateful day, way at the beginning of the school year, none of the three understood what kind of journey they would go on. Yui is most socially adept of the three, but still a teenager; meanwhile, Hikki and Yukino had so many walls up that it was only by the emotional escapades that developed through their club activities that they could start coming down so quickly. But that’s a lot to handle as a teenager, and so imperfect relationships are bound to develop. Yukino starts to cling to Hikki, and he to Yui, and she to them both. And codependency develops.
Haruno wants Yukino to break free from this cycle and for that to happen, she believes that Yui and Hikki must let her do her own thing, even if that leads to failure. Yui disagrees, thinking that she should rescue her friend because that’s what friends do. And Hikki and Yukino? They’re in the middle and all around, justifying all sorts of actions, including this latest attempt at aiding the latter’s plan in a way that’s supposed to not appear that way at all, even though Hayato and everyone else understands that Hikki is once again coming to Yukino’s rescue.
But Haruno, and even Yui, are looking for a one-stop solution to help a most complicated situation. Assisting Yukino in getting permission to put on the prom won’t solve every issue she’ll have, nor will letting her do everything on her own. And Hikki’s way won’t either, where he pretends he’s not helping her when he really is. Yukino, by the way, has understood what he’s doing all along and declares him the “winner” of their bet, though he refuses that honor and turns it back toward her.
And so, it’s really a complicated web because at the end of the day, all three students are just regular people, with problems that can’t be fixed in a black and white way. Friendship and romance is an every day action, and requires different approaches for different situations; it also means that even if the wrong approach is taken, the relationship isn’t ruined—not if it was genuine.
Yukino, the least mature of the group, doesn’t yet get that, judging by her declarations at the end of the episode. And Yui, the most mature, doesn’t either.
But they will one day. Yukino will understand what their relationship really is—her’s to Yui, and Hikki’s to her. And when she does, she’ll comprehend what I’ve explained, that there are too many moving parts for any person to have the perfect answer in all cases. But that’s okay, because the word that defines their relationship covers a multitude of sins…and hiccups…and wrong choices…and heartbreak…and SNAFUS.
There’s a lot of pressure on these kids to get to that point, though, to understanding how to navigate these relationships to success. But I believe in them. I believe they’ll get there. They just need to not blow everything up before they understand what it is the service club and its members are really all about.
- MVP of the episodes? I’ll give it to Hayato. He did just enough to push people in the proper directions.
- Speaking of Hayato, he’s a little less sassy here than in the past. And it’s nice to see Hikki growing to the point where he can tell himself that he appreciates his nemesis.
- This scene also gives our real hero a chance to shine, as MAXIS COFFEE makes it eight for eight this season. I’m absolutely sure the animators are purposely doing this, though a rival also appeared: MONSTER (probably MOBSTER) energy drinks.
- We also get a few more moments with Ebina and Miura, two horribly underrated characters. I would have loved to see Hikki interact with Miura and little more, and both interact with Zaimokuza, but I’m thankful that we got to see this scene at all.
- The website, by the way, looked awesome. Good work, nerds!
- Gahamama in the next episode! I’ve been waiting for this scene!
- Oh, and since I haven’t really commented on it, I gotta say that I HATE the opening. It’s way too cheesy. The closing is much better, but it, too, is my least favorite across the series’ three seasons.
Season three of Oregairu (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU CLIMAX) can be streamed on Crunchyroll.