“Allow me the privilege of distorting your life.”
Only Hikki would make his love confession in such a way. But isn’t that just like him in the end? It’s as authentic as it is awkward, honest as it is strange, and precisely the proper way for him to end the first journey he was on and properly begin the second, longer, more significant journey into the rest of his life, which, by the way, is what Yukinon references in her “clearer,” better confession in return.
Yes, we finally got there. Through our Instagram account, I’ve realized how invested people are in the romantic aspect of Oregairu. This has been the moment that they’ve waited for—and I admit, I’ve been waiting on the bridge scene as well. But for me, that scene was about more then the confession (as good as it was)—it’s the last step of an adventure for both Hikki and Yukinon (and Yui, too, in a way), toward understanding themselves better and learning what it means to be genuine.
Way back five years ago now in season two, through tears in his eyes, Hikki told Yui and Yukino he wanted something genuine. But you can’t have authenticity just like that. It’s scary and awkward at first, because the self you show to other people must be pulled away, like a magic trick, to reveal the real person underneath. That real person is not the same as the image portrayed; it’s awkward for Hikki to throw off the chains of being a smart recluse and admit both his foibles and his “desire.” And Yukinon fears putting aside her perfect self to admit her insecurities, including a fear of depending on someone else and dragging that person down with her.
We’ve all been teenagers, so we get how hard to it is to be genuine (especially during those years when we’re not quite sure who we really are). And we’ve all engaged in relationships, whether it be just friendships or romantic ones as well. Both types usually develop over a long stretch of time, but for Hikki, Yukinon, and Yui, they don’t have all the time in the world. There’s a self-set deadline—the end of prom—that will mark the closure of their special relationship. A year or less just isn’t enough for this group, especially for Yukinon and Hikki, to go from being unaware of each other (and then even actively disliking one another) to breaking through all their pain in order to develop a deeper, lasting relationship. It’s just too much to expect for these two, and Hikki admits thatHe has to take the leap now, because he knows that their ties will disappear because of his own weakness and hers. He has to confess to her if we wants that something authentic.
AND HE FINALLY DID IT.
Of course, he takes a roundabout way to do so—he continues with the dummy prom, which now seems set to happen. I have to admit, this part confused me when reading the light novel, and it confuses me now: Did he have to do this so that he could tell Yukinon he loves her? Was this his weird, grand setup to let her know that he would like to continue distorting her life? Or was it to just show Yukinon that they can help one another, and also that her family has begun to trust her in her growth?
I don’t know, but the development shocks all parties involved, including Iroha, who scares the team of nerds with how forthright she is.
And Yui? Well, she cries one more time. But the tone now seems to be of acceptance—not fear, not holding on, not resignation. She’s moving forward, as much as it hurts.
And so are Hikki and Yukinon. The latter has received little screen time this season, but in episode 11 is finally front and center. I admit, I got teary-eyed and a huge grin appeared on my face as she started explaining all her faults, while Hikki calmly accepted them (this is sooo When Harry Met Sally: “I’m difficult.” “You’re challenging.” “I’m too structured. I’m completely closed off.” “But in a good way.”).
And then Yukinon, who for all of the focus in the series on Hikki, is the one that’s furthest from being able to become authentic person she wants to be, pursues him, grabbing on to him, and then giving her beautiful confession.
At the beginning of the episode, Hiratsuka-sensei explains how complex emotions are, how they can’t be conveyed in a simple word. And yet, she does just that when she explains to Hikki that despite his many, many faults, she loves him.
For Yukino and Hikki, it’s the same: Their feelings are complex, their issues deep, and their words scattered—and thus, words (and especially one word, as Yui mentions) aren’t enough. They have to do. And in this case, that doing meant becoming genuine; it meant being brave and showing their hearts to one another. For love is more than just a word, as our trio discovers. Love is action.
And ultimately, if the action of becoming vulnerable and showing your true self isn’t love—then I don’t know what is.
- Yui’s wish is to have it all. Sigh. Her ending isn’t happy now, but she gets a happy ending ultimately, I believe—she’s growing up, and she’ll be ready when the next Hikki comes along.
- Yui crying to mom is the kind of relationship I’m sure most daughters want to have with their mothers. Gahama-good-mama!
- MVP of the episode: Yukinon. She finally did it and opened up “clearly” and fully.
- I love how Hiratsuka’s speech to Hikki was foreshadowing of the confession scene. She explained to Hikki that despite knowing you, and because of knowing you, I love you; and Hikki says the same to Yukinon.
- MAXIS COFFEE gets some excellent screentime to make up for a couple of lost episodes!
- Ending with the song toward the end of the love scene and moving into a credit-only closing was NICE.
- And we come full circle with the title of the last episode and Hikki reading his opening assignment over the episode preview. Sniff sniff.
Oregairu can be streamed through Crunchyroll.