OreGairu Season 2 Episode 8 – The Ineffability of the Human Experience

I’ll once again open with the post-episode editorial, because this episode’s write-up is so very long, and you might just want to read the bottom line. Well, lines, I expect there’d be quite a few of those. I know myself, which is a large part of this show’s theme, appropriately enough.

(Note: Click here for the full episode notes, where I broke down almost every single utterance or statement as I watched the episode. It’s long.)

I often find it useful to start from the end, because a single journey can lead to more than one conclusion, and it is by the conclusion that you look back and retranslate everything’s meaning.

OreGairu S2 episode 8 anime - Hikigaya Hachiman knows some things can't be understood by being thought of

Speaking of translation and words, we have some pretty cool words for things that cannot be said, words such as “ineffable”, often said as “the ineffable”. Even the word “Sublime” often refers to an experience that transcends, not understanding, but words. Sublime works of art if they use words may use many of them to describe something, but that experience in the end is given to what is merely hinted at, pointed at, experienced.

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Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Week 7 (Anime Power Ranking)

I’m sort of busy right now in real life with many assignments being due for school (ah, the grad student life), so there might not be an overview next week. Well, with how I’m feeling about this season, maybe it is for the best.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) OreGairu S2 Episode 7 (SNAFU Too!):

OreGairu S2 episode 7 anime - Yukinoshita Yukino throws Hikigaya Hachiman old words back at him

This was an interesting episode. While it didn’t have the high drama of episode 2 with Hachiman’s self-sacrificing fake-confession and his friends’ disapproval, nor Hayama and Haruno’s scenes with him in episode 4, outright calling him a “Monster of Rationality” or telling him to stop sacrificing himself, but this episode might have been more powerful in its quiet moments. This episode shows us the results of a season and a half of Hachiman trying to grow, of admitting how much it is a mask he’s maintaining, and how he’s ready to admit it’s not the best thing for him or those around him.

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Goggles, not Labels – Feminism and Good Writing in [Anime]

The following questions were taken from my Ask.fm page, and in both of them the question is posed in a way that seeks to apply a certain label to anime, and I answer that it’s hard, and not all that fruitful. The reasons in each case are different, but I think both answers work well together as an exhortation to look at how we look at things, and to identify that as more important than the result itself.

Which anime works would you consider feminist?

I’ve seen some good tweets on the matter last week, let’s start with those:

MammonMachine on "Is this feminism?"

The long and short of it is that, often, answering such questions (and also, “What’s a libertarian work?” or “What’s a socialist work?” when dealing beyond outright manifestos) means something sort of weird, because all these things are ideological goggles to view other things throughout, rather than labels that apply to things per se. Even “Libertianism” which I said Mahouka espouses the ideals of. It’s mostly that these works contain some of the things these things aim for, or the ideas they use as basis.

Ergo Proxy anime episode 1 - Re-L Meyer looks down on others

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OreGairu Season 2 Episode 7 – Missing the Point, but Trying

Let’s try something new, order-wise. I did consider just posting the “Post-Episode Thoughts” as its own editorial, and linking to the rest of the notes. Tell me what you think in the comment section!

Pre-Episode Spiel:

It finally hit me late last night, when last episode Yukino said that maybe they should stop taking new cases, and Hikki asked “Then what have we been doing all this time?” He was talking about his and Yui’s effort to maintain the club as is, and the rejection of it by Yukino. As a result of the deteriorating atmosphere in the club, and to still feel as part of it, Hikki has gone to help Iroha.

What did we have last episode? The funniest episode that most resembled the first season. A mostly setup episode, with an in-episode cloying atmosphere of dealing with soft social power, by Yukino on Yui and Hikki, by Iroha on Hikki, and Iroha and her Student Council getting absolutely crushed by the other school’s president. You don’t need to shout at people or use physical violence to control them, and the atmosphere. Then again, isn’t that one of this show’s main themes?

Now it only remains to be seen how much Hikki did or didn’t change since the Cultural Festival Arc last season. Will he help Iroha, or will he help her help herself?

Post Episode Thoughts:

OreGairu S2 episode 7 anime - Hikigaya Hachiman couldn't think of the right words

How this episode opened, and closed.

This episode opening and then continuing with banter, first between Hachiman and Komachi (I’d like to call him “Hikki” here, but they’re both Hikigayas), and then between Hikki and Iroha was a small little thing. It showed how Hikki can be when he doesn’t have his barrier up, when he has relations he doesn’t have to question why he has them and can just act secure in the knowledge they’d be there. But of course, as we’ve seen when Komachi was angry with him, it’s exactly this closeness that motivates him to work in order to ensure the relationships can keep on going.

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Spring 2015 Anime Midseason Overview

Mid-season of the anime season of Spring 2015 is upon us, so time to round up how I feel about the shows I’m current on, or decided to put on hold. A round-up telling you what I think is worthy of your time, or not, and where it’s at. This season I decided to pick up less shows than usual, and hold off what I expected will be “averagish”, so let’s see how it panned out.

Tiers are in-order of enjoyment/evaluation. Within each tier the order is alphabetical. Also, each show will get a couple of words about how the past week’s episode had been, because I’d rather jot these down.

Great:

OreGairu Season 2 (SNAFU Too!):

OreGairu S2 episode 4 anime - Hayato Hayama is trying to help Hachiman grow up

If you keep at things for long enough, things will boil over and drama will ensue. The light atmospheric comedy of the first season is rarely seen, and instead Hikigaya Hachiman is brought to task over the way he “solves” things. It’s as if the finale to the Cultural Festival arc was stretched into an entire season. Yes, Hachiman is still allowed to perform his “cool martyr” act, and people who really want to can still believe it’s everyone around him who sucks, but the show, and Hachiman know it’s he who suffers. A very sharp take on human interaction and loneliness. If you liked the first season for “cool Hachiman” and the more standard RomCom antics, you might be disappointed, but otherwise? Pretty great.

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OreGairu Season 2 Episode 6 – Weaponized Amicability; Soft Power’s Strength

Last arc ended in the same place as where it started, with a couple of variations. That is to say, the “normal situation” has been maintained, so “nothing changed”. Except that this time Hachiman knows that he messed up, and Yukino actually said so herself, though understanding why was hard until the final scene with Meguri (write-up on episode and breakdown), and the other change is that Hikki is still trying to change, while considering his friends’ feelings.

Incidentally, since I quite like it, here’s my single paragraph summary of OreGairu, specifically S2, and specifically episode 5, which deals with where we’re at, theme-wise:

Hachiman’s mature realization – Since his personality can’t change so rapidly, faced with the same situation, he’d make the same choice every time. It might be wrong, but one does not have a choice when one only has one option they know how to pick. And that’s Hikki’s story in a single line. And trying to grow out of it or dealing with the ramifications is what this show is all about.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Frozen Smiles, Caving Hearts:

OreGairu S2 episode 6 anime - Hikigaya Hachiman maintains false peace with Yuigahama Yui and Yukinoshita Yukino

1) Hikki, still sitting far away from the girls, but listening, because he wants to, even if he can’t allow himself to turn his body fully towards them. But he’ll admit it when called on it.”Our frozen daily routine, just like Yukino’s smile, fighting the desire to run away.” – Hikki knows they all would like to be elsewhere. Run away, or run ahead, to progress? He’s aware they’re now maintaining the often loathed “comfortable social lie”. We’re actually spelling out the stuff outlined in episode 3, how “nothing changed, everything’s normal” is a lie – the more actively “normal” things are, the more it hides the realization it’s not.

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Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Week 5 (Anime Power Ranking)

A lot of words spent on how things don’t always work for me this week. OreGairu worked, Ore Monogatari did too. It’s something about “My” (Ore), I guess. More seriously, aside from stand-out moments this week had a lot of moments I enjoyed, even as most episodes were underwhelming.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) OreGairu S2 Episode 5 (SNAFU Too!):

OreGairu S2 episode 5 anime overview - Yukinoshita Yukino thought Hikigaya Hachiman would understand her

This has been the show’s weakest episode this season aside from the very first one. It also means it was stronger than all but one episode in the first season, and stronger than most anime episodes out there in general. Just like every other week, I wrote a full episodic-notes post for the episode, where I break down all the interactions. This episode in particular had several moments of interest, and of hope, and then despair.

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