Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021


Alright Hachiman, how are we doing this? With Yukino and Iroha’s prom under assault by Yukimom, Hachiman has decided the best course of action is to make a second prom, thereby shifting the active question from “should a prom exist” to “which prom should we choose.” Then, by ensuring his own prom is an inferior possibility, he can surreptitiously ensure Yukino’s prom goes forward as planned.

It’s an extremely Hachiman plan, in a variety of ways. Hachiman is accustomed to circumventing the arguments presented by his opponents, or even his allies. Where they see problems with one clear trajectory of resolution, he looks more broadly, and spies ways that a problem can be resolved without even confronting its central variable. So it went with the resolution of Tobe’s crush, as well as Rumi’s social problems – but of course, both of those solutions were stop-gaps, rather than lasting resolutions. And beyond this familiar vein of tactics, Hachiman is also banking on his most reliable solution: making himself (or his prom, in this case) the monster, thereby drawing all the fire from whoever he’s attempting to save.

Basically all of Hachiman’s friends have expressed their frustration with this approach, whether it’s Hayato’s “why is this the only way you know how to do things,” Yukino’s “I hate your methods,” or Yui’s tearful “you can’t keep hurting yourself for others.” It’s an approach reflective of his self-hatred, his inability to value himself even for the sake of those who love him. But Hachiman has grown a great deal since the last time he employed these methods, and this time, there’s a key distinction: it is not Hachiman himself, but this prom-avatar he’s creating, that will become the target of derision. If Hachiman can maintain the effectiveness of his methods while removing the martyrdom element, he’ll have taken a huge step forward into adulthood, maturing while retaining his fundamental self. Let’s see what he’s up to!

Episode 7

“Until the End, Yui Yuigahama Will Be Watching Over Them.” No, stop doing that, Yui! Stop watching, start demanding! Your needs are important!

It’s tragically something that Yui and Hachiman have in common: they’d never put their own needs before those of their friends

Zaimokuza enlists his friends from the gaming club, Hatano and Sagami

“Who does something so extensive for such a trivial goal?” They’ve got a point

“He always takes a roundabout way to his goals that makes no sense to anyone else!” Zaimokuza strikes at the key of it: Hachiman circles around his conflicts, striking from angles that no one would expect, rather than challenging them directly and relying on earnest communication to resolve them

It’s interesting seeing him get validated like this after all this time. For most of this series, Hachiman’s methods were a crutch he employed to avoid the actual mature solution: treating people with respect, and talking things through in order to resolve disagreements. But now, he’s dealing with an opponent who is impossible to negotiate with, and thus his methods are actually the logical choice

Oh my god, this cut to OP is incredible. We get like two-thirds of the way through Yui offering a panicked explanation for Hachiman being Like That before the scene and music cut

The comedic power of cutting someone off with a scene change is quite potent. It’s worked almost every time I’ve seen it

Sagami is actually the little brother of the Sagami who thoughtlessly became the festival president back in the first season. He doesn’t want a repeat of that fiasco, so he’s willing to step up now in order to ensure future proms aren’t a source of personal embarrassment

“I can relate. My little sister’s starting here next year, and I’m sure to be an embarrassment to her.” Still our Hachiman

“She always looks at us like trash…” “No, she doesn’t even look at us.” Upon the mention of Iroha, both gaming club bros launch into extended rambling about what an awful socialite slut she is, and all the seedy things she’s involved with. They’re basically embodying the same bitter, defensive outlook that Hachiman possessed back in the first season – and could still possess, if he hadn’t been forced to see the human personalities beyond the reductive stereotypes he’d applied to all of his peers. But at this point, Iroha is one of his closest friends, and he quickly speaks up to defend her

“You’ll eventually get addicted to all the trashiness and wickedness in her, and inversely end up finding her really cute.” Okay, he’s still Hachiman, admittedly

Of course, all of the nerds are thoroughly convinced by this perspective. Pretty fun seeing Hachiman dispense girl wisdom to the lesser nerds

Yui actually offers some key advice during their planning session. She states that there’s no way they’ll actually make a better prom than Yukino, so they have to make theirs stand out in a different way – perhaps just through its bigger scale. That, in turn, reminds Hachiman that their goal isn’t specifically to make a prom, but to make a prom that’ll piss off the PTO

Hachiman considers adding more schools to a joint proposal, and Yui suggests Jazzhands’ school. Truly a legendary tertiary character

Incidentally, this episode is continuing last episode’s trend of lightly threading back in all the previous conflicts and characters, to create a better sense of holism within the overall narrative structure

“We need to leech off some official-sounding organization for clout.” “What about the Captain Committee?” “Do they actually do anything?” “I don’t know, but their name sounds important!” Yui’s actually learned a lot of cunning lessons from Hachiman, at least enough to stun the lesser nerds. Of course, she’s always been more cunning than she lets on

Hayato leads the Captain Committee, drawing in our final quasi-lead

Even Kaori shows up for their inter-school meeting

Jazzhands has updated his routine to now include dramatic hair-blowing and tie-adjusting. He’s got a bright future in middle management

Both of them happily slip into their aggravating season two behavior patterns

HOW THE FUCK DID THIS DEVELOP INTO A RAP BATTLE. HACHIMAN WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING

Bless the translators for doing their best with this preposterous scene. Also, he seemed a little stiff at the beginning, but both Jazzhands and Hachiman are emoting wonderfully at this point. I don’t know how we got here, but I’m happy to just marvel at this performance

“The real problem here is your austere sarcasm.” Jazzhands actually has some great points. He very quickly sniffed out that Hachiman’s plan is held together by duct tape and string, a flashy-looking proposal with no clear path to success

For all that, Hachiman essentially cleared the hurdle he needed to. Though Jazzhands is rightly skeptical about Hachiman’s shaky-by-design proposal, he leaves the door open for further meetings – meaning that, as far as “we’re in talks with other schools about a larger proposal” goes, they’ve already succeeded. They don’t need to convince these schools, because the plan will never go through – they just need to maintain the appearance of being in active discussions with them

“I don’t really get it, but keep at it, Tanagawa!” Truly a wonderful victory lap for Jazzhands. I’m glad he got such a killer scene before the end

They reconvene at school, where Yui reminds us that it’s been far too long since a good “Yahallo!”

“Yahallo… is good.”

Zaimokuza’s own growth is reflected in his reasonable prom title proposal. He seems to be learning to temper his melodramatic instincts a bit

Something all authors need to learn: it is not difficult to be “loud” in prose. It is easy to write dramatically, and to include a surplus of dramatic events – but writing in such a way will essentially destroy the dynamic range of your work, setting everything at a dramatic volume that eventually devolves into routine

Hachiman notices Yukino outside – and she’s actually drinking his go-to drink. Feeling a little lonely, Yukino?

The two banter so effortlessly. It’s true, they’re on a closer wavelength than anyone else in the show

So many anime present romantic feelings as something divorced from your actual experience with a person, which in adolescence is frequently the case – you pine for someone from afar, lacking much actual experience talking to them. But actual relationships demand comfort and chemistry, two things these characters possess in spades. Their feelings never feel arbitrary or ill-defined; just listening to them riff back and forth, it becomes obvious what a great couple they’d make

“There’s no need for you to go this far.” “I’ve always gone too far. This is normal for me.”

Yui stops by. Her smile upon seeing them is devastating – the one-sided upturn gives her expression a sense of “yep, they’re perfect together”

Yui is nervous around Yukino, so full of conflicted feelings that it seems like she might actually want to start an argument. She challenges her with “it seems like you’ve been avoiding me,” even though that’s not really what she wants to talk about. The separation of this prom planning is essentially serving as a prelude to the separation of high school’s end, and Yui doesn’t feel ready for their mutual daydream to end

“There’s so much stuff to do! So much it’ll take years, decades to do it all.” Yui really does love Yukino just as much as she loves Hachiman. She better get her decades with both of them!

Yukino accepts Yui’s marriage proposal

Yukino being overwhelmed by Yui’s affection is always good content

“I gazed at them with something that felt like a prayer.” No, no doomsaying, Hachi! I have had it with you!

And Done

Aaaaaaagghh, this is impossible. Oregairu just keeps diligently sticking those knives in my heart, driving me to despair over teenagers I’ve been fretting about for most of a decade. Still, emotional agony aside, this was an excellent episode on the whole. Oregairu continues to draw on its extended cast roster with satisfying results, as the return of Jazzhands provided this season with one of its most iconic scenes so far. Meanwhile, Yui, Yukino, and Hachiman are all warily circling each other, each of them desperate for a resolution that won’t hurt the people they love. It’s satisfying just watching well-articulated, sympathetic people share time together, and Oregairu has built its cast into some of the most human characters in animation. Please be kind to them, Wataru Watari!

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