OreGairu Season 2 Episode 3 – Scabbing Normalcy, Scarring Unchange

So, we’re already past an arc! The first arc doubled down on reminding us why the characters work as they do, and gave us insight as to their characters – they’re lonely, even as they cling to others. They’re suffering, and they hate themselves. But they, like everyone else, has to make do with the situation they’re in, which includes lying to themselves about their suffering, and thus, hating themselves even more.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Keeping Up Appearances:

OreGairu S2 episode 3 anime notes - Hikigaya Hachiman is running away

1) “But I think any news is better than no news.” – Hachiman is bored. You know why he’s bored? Because he’s alone, because no one will interact with him, or make him part of their activities. Though it goes both ways, it means he’s not going out of his way to interact with others. As he keeps demonstrating, he thinks his only real strength is his loneliness, so he will not let it go.

2) “You’ve always been prone to saying dumb things, but they get even dumber when you’re feeling down.” – After thinking for a moment, this line actually matters. What are the dumb things Hikki says? “I blame society,” “I hate nice girls,” etc. Meaning, Hikki is lashing out at society verbally, because he’s feeling down, because he’s feeling hurt. His “insight” isn’t something born out of joy, but a defense mechanism.

3) No “Yahallo!” from Yui to Hachiman. It’s almost as if we’re back to season 1, where she doesn’t want to be seen with him in public. Only Tatsuka, who’s surprised Hachiman replies to him as if nothing changed, which are Hachiman’s words – a group that resisted change. Except, he’s the one who enabled it. But of course, things didchange, and everyone knows they did, so it’s literally living the lie of “nothing changed,” which is what Tatsuka’s little comment is saying. Hachiman knows things changed too, but the lie of “nothing about the situation did” enables him to overlook it

4) Lonely Hachiman, where is Sensei when you need her? She’d probably cry though.

2) SNAFU – “Situation normal, all fucked up.”

OreGairu S2 episode 3 anime notes - Nothing changed, far away - Hikigaya Hachiman, Yuigahama Yui, and Yukinoshita Yukino

1) “I see you came.” – “The same as ever.” – Hachiman had to force himself to act the same as he always did. Likewise in class, everything isn’t simply the same, but carefully arranged to be the same. Everyone is going out of their way to act as if nothing changed. But everyone is also going out of their way to not meet Hachiman’s eyes about it. Blaming him? Afraid he’s hurt? Both.

2) There’s a stark difference between the situation being normal and everyone acting as if it’s normal, and knowing everyone else thinks it’s not normal. This episode up to now is all about hammering about this point. Why does it do that? Because it wants to show us not only that Hachiman’s “unchanging loneliness” is not a source of strength, but that he failed last episode – everyone’s acting the same, but the group was changed. Things are very much not the same.

3) “So, that’s what you consider normal? You’re saying you won’t change, aren’t you?” – This is the million dollar line, right here. It’s not that Hachiman sees it as “normal”, as much as he’s afraid of anything else even more. Afraid of the loneliness. Also, for Yukino, Hachiman was sent to the club in order to change. And since Yukino and Hachiman are mirrors, seeing he won’t change is also a blow as to her belief that she herself could change, alongside him.

3) Projecting Past Grievances:

OreGairu S2 episode 3 anime notes - Hikigaya Hachiman projects on Isshiki Iroha

1) Hachiman already projects past hatreds onto Iroha. Not for who she is, or what she’s done, but for control she exerts over people like him, and for being popular without trying.

2) “But losing would make me look super lame.” – Yes, she cares about how she looks like to others, but losing a vote where you’re the only nominee sucks. It’s not like you can’t understand her.

3) The moment Hachiman asked about who’s giving her speech, it made perfect sense what he’s going to do – he’ll give the speech, bear the blunt of the blame. Also, what sort of school elections are these? Give nominees the ability to bow out, I mean, seriously.

4) Hikki and Yukino, but especially Hikki, operate on a level where it’s “all about the results,” where feelings don’t matter. As last episode showed us, it’s a big fat lie. So Yukino has to give Hikki a reason as to why she’s rejecting his scapegoat act. He’s not a martyr, he’s not suffering for what he believes in. He’s a scapegoat.

4) Running Away from a Contest with no Winners:

OreGairu S2 episode 3 anime notes - Hikigaya Hachiman doesn't believe in compromises

1) Amusing, being reminded of the silly premise that started it all. Of course, it’s played for anything but laughs here. This is serious business. This is asking the adult whether results are all that matters, or whether how you go about things also matters. And whether they’ll both remain in the same environment after the verdict is given out, that’s also at stake here.

2) Silly Yukinoshita, there can be no clear winner. Sensei just told you, it all depends on how you look at things, and it takes the three of you together. One to plan, one to carry it out, and one to make sure the group actually works.

3) “And if you stick to your methods, you won’t be able to help someone when you most want to.” – Is she talking about hypotheticals? I think she’s talking about the club. She’s talking about wanting to help Yui, Yukino, the club itself, and himself. If all he knows is how to take the blame, then he can’t help the people who are troubled by him doing that (or Yukino with the car accident), and he certainly can’t help himself by blaming himself further.

“I thought we hated superficiality above all else,” Yukino said when Hachiman left. It could refer to Hachiman maintaining superficiality last episode, but helping appearances remain afloat, but I think it was born more out of Hikki leaving the room when he’s given the okay, as if he only spent time in the club because he’s been told to keep appearances, not because he was their friend, or cared for the club. It’s related to the above point, as Hikki only solves problems by running away. Taking it all on himself makes it so people don’t have to actually work through things themselves.

5) An Annoying Aside We Call Relations:

OreGairu S2 episode 3 anime notes - Yukinoshita Haruno describes Yukino

1) Speaking of which, “Hey, no need to run away!” – Yukino’s sister, Haruno, who’s the opposite, all about rubbing people’s faces in what they’re trying to escape.

2) And speaking of keeping up appearances and superficiality, Yukino buys souvenirs, because it is proper, yet she doesn’t actually care to meet with the people for whom she’s buying them. Everyone’s a troubled teen in this show.

Ooooh, Haruno actually has something else to say, “She hates us, but she doesn’t want us to hate her in turn.” – Is this superficiality? Nah, no one wants to be hated. No one includes Hachiman. Does Hikki hate others? With how he speaks of them, it sounds like that. And he acts as if he doesn’t care if he’s hated by others. But I think for Hikki, neither is true. He’s trying to hate others so as to convince himself he doesn’t hurt when they hurt him, and so he brings about their hatred for which he purports to not care, which fuels his resentment of them further.

3) “So Yukino won’t be Student Council President?” – Silly you. The moment Yukino suggested an alternative method, it was pretty clear that the prospect of her running was in the air. I was actually surprised no one mentioned it in the club meeting. Makes you wonder if this isn’t all an elaborate ruse to force her into the position.

6) Rubbing It In, Scabbing Over, Scarring:

OreGairu S2 episode 3 anime notes - Orimoto Kaori doesn't care about past wounds

Except Hachiman, who cares about nothing else.

1) “Not your girlfriend? Figures! I knew she was out of your league! Smart? News to me, but since you were practically mute in class, guess it was news to everyone!” – Ouch. Ouch. See the source of all of the scars Hikki bears.

Yeah, it’s all in the past now, who cares about it?” – See, that’s the thing about scars, they serve to remind us. Hikki can do nothing but remember, and act accordingly. Yes, to Orimoto, it was nothing, to Hikki, it was enough to launch him on a thousand tirades, such as, “I hate nice girls” :P

2) You know what might be the most hurtful thing to Hikki about this whole thing? Orimoto is not being superficial. She’s coming out right with the punches. Hikki’s not at all enjoying it, and it’s wounding him.

3) “[Haruno] smothers the ones she likes, or destroys the ones she hates.” – And thus, Yukino’s weird relationship with Haruno. Being smothered by Haruno, by being compared to her, that’s what’s destroying Yukino.

4) Yukino coming up with the pledge, the goals, the agenda? That means she needs to find someone who’s in perfect agreement with the mission statement, and preferably “someone amazing” for Iroha to lose to. Meaning herself. This is where my last note about Haruno becomes relevant. What were Haruno’s last words about Yukino in that scene? “I was never student council president,” and “that’s lame.” – What is lame? That Yukino only tries to live up to her sister, and not surpass her. This is finally a way for Yukino to do something that her sister did not, to leave her own mark, as herself.

7) “I’m Only Here For Results, Tee-Hee!:

OreGairu S2 episode 3 anime notes - Yukinoshita Yukino calls Hachiman on his bluff

Yukino is telling Hachiman he fails, even by his own criteria.

1) Poor Iroha, caught in the crossfire of a deeper conflict, of which she knows nothing. Well, seems Yukino did in fact refer to the “simple” superficiality, of not actually tackling the problem. Hikki is a master of orthogonal solutions, where he doesn’t tackle people bullying others, or their feelings for one another, just makes sure they can go back to before the actions were carried out. Hikki is all about running away. Even “I hate nice girls,” is a way to run away from having to admit he has feelings for nice girls, and likes them, and would like them to be nice to him.

Though yes, he’s doing what is asked of him. Hikki makes the problematic situation go away, by scabbing over the negative emotions. Hikki is leaving everyone around him with scars, just like himself.

2) “Nothing changed,” Hikki thinks of himelf and Yukino. I’ve covered numerous times why this is a lie. But last episode I covered why he can’t let go of the lie.

3) The post-ED sequence. Unlike Hikki’s classmates, Iroha is straight out telling Hachiman she only cares for the results, but she does so from a position that lacks understanding and knowledge. She takes Hachiman at his word, that she’ll be saved in “the worst case scenario,” not realizing Hachiman saving her would perhaps be even worse, like a malignant genie.

Iroha doesn’t know how Hachiman operates, and she also doesn’t know how much his “solution” will cost him. Would she care if she knew? Perhaps not.

Shorter Notes / Asides:

  1. Freezing when he’s bringing the food to his mouth, focusing on his hands. This is some KyoAni level of attention to small detail to bring the characters to life, via the smallest of gestures. Not as pretty, but it’s the same spirit. Even the cat agrees.
  2. “See? Something did happen!” Is Komachi talking to herself, their mother whom we never met? I wonder. But Hachiman is left alone, again.
  3. New OP art. Very colourful. Focusing on the characters.

Post Episode Thoughts:

OreGairu S2 episode 3 anime notes - Yukinoshita Yukino wants Hachiman to change

Interesting. This was an episode that talks about how nothing changed, while repeatedly demonstrating, rather than telling us, that it’s a lie. Think even to Orimoto, because in Hikki’s classroom, even though he barely speaks, everyone knows he doesn’t simply shut up, and everyone actually remembers his contributions. Supposedly, Hachiman’s sitting at the corner of the class, ignored, just as he did in the past. But everything’s changed, and the show was so strong this episode because not once did it tell us “Things changed,” but it just showed it, via tension, via the glances people stole at one another, and via how pointedly others did not glance at Hachiman.

That’s what the episode had done masterfully, so what did I find to be interesting about it? That in many respects, the show does indeed feel as if “nothing changed,” as we’re back to Hikki and Yukino don’t talk to one another, as happened over the realization that Yukino didn’t tell Hachiman the truth. In both cases, it’s about superficiality, it’s about being cordial, and trying to not ruin friendships through information that might change them. In other words, just like what we’ve had in this season thus far.

But what’s different? Is anything different? Yes, there is. Yukino maintained superficiality in order to bond with others, to try and strive further. Hachiman is being superficial in order to remain apart. And Hachiman is being superficial about his lack of superficiality – he’s working extra hard to remain separate from others, that he’s only working for the greater good, while his anti-lie platform is in itself a lie.

But if I had to pick out my favourite segment of the episode, it’s the one involving Yukino’s sister, Haruno. Though the show had repeatedly shown us that Hachiman is the way he is now because of past events (“I got turned down, so I hate nice girls. I’ve been left alone, so I hate “friends”.”), the scene with Haruno actually showed us his scars, the scars that develop into spines that keep him apart.

And since Yukino and Hachiman are mirrors of one another, it’s also shown us her own scars, so very gently, by very obliquely referencing that it is Haruno’s love for Yukino that smothers her, and her need to live in her shadows. Also, since Yukino is Hachiman, and Hachiman is Yukino, what followed also made sense – Yukino berated Hachiman for his superficiality, but she’s also berating herself for hers. They both know what they need to do to advance, but neither of them is willing to change.

And here is where the two differ. Yukino wants to help others change, even if she cannot. Hachiman is more interested in creating more Hikkis, by maintaining a false status quo, returning the situation to how it was before people harmed one another, but you can’t undo the actions, and you can’t undo the harm, so all he’s doing is scarring people, scabbing their hurts over, while they grow gangrenous underneath.

They both hate superficiality, and they’re both superficial, but only one is trying to change. Hachiman rejects Yukino’s desire for change, her thought that change is in fact possible. Hachiman also rejects any possible future between them.

(P.S. I have a reason as to why I sometimes refer to him as Hikki and sometimes as Hachiman. They’re not the same character, or rather, they’re not the same mask.)

Return to the OreGairu S2 Episodic Notes page.

13 comments on “OreGairu Season 2 Episode 3 – Scabbing Normalcy, Scarring Unchange

  1. sena says:

    Because I’m also doing a thesis on just this one episode, I’m going to borrow (steal) your numbering system to make the formatting looks better.

    1. Show, not tell

      Yeah, they’re doing a great job with showing how much things change, even before Hikki steps in to the clubroom, but never telling us straight out. At least three times to three different people he said that “nothing happened”, yet the truth is clear from his actions. He had a fight with Komachi, one of his staunchest ally and probably the one person he cares the most about (platonically of course, unlike the other LN set in Chiba). He stops his usual fantasizing with Saika, something even the latter notices. Also, by being stopped when he hears Yui and Yukino chatting as usual through the door, he realizes that the reason the club changes is if he comes into the picture.

      But they even show it in the littlest things, with how even with no one else around, he decides not to take his usual favorite MAX Coffee brand, and opting for something more bitter (oh, the implications from this one scene alone…). Btw, that being Hikki’s favorite brand is hinted in the S02E01 (where he bemoans Kyoto’s lack of variety in the vending machines), but I’m not sure if it’s been really said in the anime, so forgive me for the very minor LN spoiler.

    2. Yukino going straight to the heart of the matter

      Of course, it’s not as if telling is always worse, as the go straight into the heart of the matter by the two million-dollar statement from Yukino.
      “So, that’s what you consider normal? You’re saying you won’t change, aren’t you?”
      “I thought we both hated superficiality more than anything.”
      Many people were wondering why Yukino got so mad at Hikki last episode, and they straight up the reason here. Whereas Yui was hurt (of her crush getting hurt again, and him confessing to another girl in front of her) Yukino was disappointed. Now she had more time to think about things, and go straight to the jugular.

      Like you said, Yukino and Hikki are similar in some ways, and I think Yukino notices this too. Him always running away from the possibility of changing hurts her not only because she cares about him, but also because she sees herself in him, and this doesn’t reflect well for her own development. Also, while last season it was Hikki who was let down by Yukino (the person he thought hated superficiality and never lies hid that she’s the one who injured him), this time it’s Yukino who is disappointed that Hikki is the biggest liar of them all, when she already placed him on a pedestal.

      Of course, they’re two different person and reacts differently. Hikki internalizes everything and blames himself for daring to have hope that Yukino is different, whereas Yukino confronts the problem to Hikki directly, in typical Yukino fashion. Oh, and a word for Yui, who desperately (and unsuccessfully) tried to keep things together. As sensei said, she’s the glue that hold things from falling apart – she may not solve problems like the other two, but she’s just as important for the club if not more.

      Speaking of sensei, it’s always great to see her being an actual adult and not just a spinster joke. As she said in the first ep, “being scolded is good as it means that someone is still looking out for you.” and it seems that she’s doing the same thing to Hikki. She does indeed have favoritism to those three students, and wants them to be better people. I agree that this may be what she means when she talks about thing Hikki wants to help the most .

    3. Haruno, the harbinger of chaos

      Hayama: “Why’d you do this?”
      Haruno: “It sounded amusing.”

      Yep. that’s Haruno in a nutshell. Like Hayama said, she messes with people she’s interested in, and Hikki is clearly her newest target after Yukino. She knows something’s changed with Hikki, but can’t crack his shell – which is why Orimoto’s appearance is such a godsend to her. She now knows something he’ll never tell her, something he never even told Yui and Yukino, and she’s much happier with this new toy to play with.

      Speaking of which, while it doesn’t really excuse things you can really see how Hachiman becomes what he is, even after a short time with Orimoto. Most people really can’t handle an embarassing part of their past coming up, and for someone like Hikki to be confronted with his worst reminder must be really bad. He only have himself to blame though – (another minor spoiler ahead): the reason he even went to the donut place in the first place is because he doesn’t want to go home early as he’s still fighting with Komachi.

    4. The actual plot of the arc

      The greatest thing about Oregairu is, the conflicts and the requests for the club are often absolutely minor – and yet it’s a really big deal to the students. There’s no zombie apocalypse or aliens falling out of the sky, even the simplest things can affect the social life of these highschoolers. Of course, this only fits, as things that seems really trivial is a matter of life or death when you’re in high school – when your social life is the most important thing in the world, your first love is one that’ll last forever and be told for generations to come, and an embarassing moment is enough for you to dig up a hole and die.

      Which brings us back to new character Iroha. Her request can so easily be solved if she’s not at all concerned with appearances (which might be the theme of this arc) but of course this is so important to her and makes things much more complicated. She’s definitely smarter than she looks (you don’t get 30 signatures against you by just being cutesy) but being in the center of this chaos is not a position to envy.

    • sena says:

      Somehow the numbering disappears in the comment? I can’t edit it either. Oh well, have to deal with what WordPress brings, hopefully it’s still readable despite the horrible formating.

      • Guy says:

        Dunno how you did it, the trick is to write “1…” in front of each point, then a space before each paragraph that follows. If you want sub points, it’d be “_1.” for sub-points, where _ stands for a space. Well, hope it’s fine.

        I usually just use quote marks to separate segments like this.

        And yes, it does help make the main post look much more organized, which is why I added them, as the posts are quite long.

    • Guy says:

      Also, by being stopped when he hears Yui and Yukino chatting as usual through the door, he realizes that the reason the club changes is if he comes into the picture.

      I think it’s more that he doesn’t want to have to suffer through Yui and Yukino’s reproach, either in them acting as if things did change, or through the facade of nothing changing. He says he doesn’t care about others, but it’s obviously false, and this scene shows it. He’s afraid of being hurt here.

      Many people were wondering why Yukino got so mad at Hikki last episode, and they straight up the reason here. Whereas Yui was hurt (of her crush getting hurt again, and him confessing to another girl in front of her) Yukino was disappointed.

      This assumes Yukino lies to herself and others any less than Hachiman. You can argue Yukino is disappointed because she was hurt. It’s not like Yukino actually says what she feels and doesn’t sacrifice herself either.

      I also wouldn’t say “Hikki internalizes everything,” it’s somewhat of a semantic argument, but “It’s nice girls’ fault” isn’t internalized, it’s him projecting and blaming his hurts on others – he just keeps it all inside him. “Internalizing” would be blaming himself for others’ actions, or him not being able to see when others are nice to him because he internalized being rejected. But he often projects the blame outside.

      Of course, this only fits, as things that seems really trivial is a matter of life or death when you’re in high school/

      Not just high school. Things in our lives are often “trivial”, except to those who live them. We can feel it when people tell us about their hard day – we care that people close to us are having a hard day, even if we might not care about the issue itself. This is life, for most of its length, for most people.

      She’s definitely smarter than she looks (you don’t get 30 signatures for you by just being cutesy)

      Eh. Being popular is enough. Whether she’s smart or not does not necessarily play a part in it. I’m not arguing she is not smart, but it’s immaterial, really.

  2. David says:

    I really enjoy reading these :)

  3. Seikyo says:

    Your note on you having a reason to sometimes refer to Hikigaya as ‘Hikki’ or ‘Hachiman’ really piqued my interest. Now I sorta have a vague idea of the differences between the two but just to be sure could you elaborate on the full reason why? Thank you ^^

    • Guy says:

      I could elaborate on the full reason, and while it’s always nice to have additional and different lens through which to look at the material, I think it’s also fun to try and figure out some things on your own, and giving a somewhat open-ended question so each person would have their takes was part of what I was going for there. I could’ve given the full reason if I wanted to, after all ;)

      But, here’s a hint as to my read, using a couple of lines from episode 4. Dr. Hachiman is the Rationality Monster, and Mr. Hikki is the Self-Consciousness Monster.

  4. Seikyo says:

    First off, thank you for actually taking the time to reply me- and on such short notice too!
    Now then, back to the heart of the matter- Hikigaya Hachiman… To be completely honest, that hint was actually what I needed to clear the obstruction in my train of thought. I’ve more or less a clearer picture of what you were referring to now, thank you :) I’ll just write my thoughts here and see if they tally with yours okay? ^^
    Hachiman and Hikki are both Hikigaya Hachiman, just different parts of him. Whilst Hachiman would represent his logical train of thoughts, Hikki is his feelings, emotions train of thought. Hence, the Monster of Rationality and Monster of Self-Consciousness. Its raison d’etre would be that rationality is borne out of logical thinking while self-consciousness is borne out of feelings and emotions.
    In Hikigaya Hachiman, we see him using either side depending on the situation he finds himself in. Usually, when he is requested to resolve a sticky situation he uses logic and rationality to get the task done. Now, the way he accomplishes feats like this are usually through self-sacrifice and his default reason is ‘because it was the most effective way’. To put it simply, he doesn’t care what people think of him (whether they like him or hate him) as long as the job gets done- there is not a single shred of self-consciousness here.
    Only when he is not on duty that the Hikki counterpart is dominant. This side of him is the one that encompasses him to feel hurt. In a way, his various emotional scars is what fuels this side of him. In the anime, more often than not, his insights or thoughts on society is expressed before and/or after a request has been fulfilled. If I have to say, I’d say he tends to read between the lines more during times like this where he is free to ponder on the many possible hidden meanings behind people’s words or actions. Thus, he is rather self-conscious when in this state of mind.
    With that, I’m done. Perhaps I didn’t do a very great job of putting the point across but I hope you get it :D

    • Thanks for that insight seikyo,I sort of realised on what you said about Hachiman and Hikki are both Hikigaya Hachiman but never could put it into words.I don’t think it is mentioned in LN or anime that he is a monster of rationality(but it makes sense and I could be wrong). Don’t worry,you put the point well.

      • Guy says:

        Episode 4 has “A monster of rationality” appearing. Haruno says that to Hikki, around 3:30 minutes into the episode.

  5. XOZO says:

    heey i was kinda wondering…
    as u say if hikki and hachiman are ‘masks’
    did u mean his persona?? or just two parts of his actual personality??
    if u meant it is his persona…(just like haruno)
    then what exactly is his actual personality??

    • XOZO says:

      the only thing i cud think of was his loneliness inside that he wanted to ‘cure’ subconsciously even though he is kinda lying to himself when he says being alone is who i am and i’m fine with it…
      but for some reason, i get the feeling im way off the mark

  6. About this episode, if you want to know what Haruno is thinking about her sister, along with the truth that she is venting her feeling to Hachiman, you can proceed at

    https://yaharibento.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/yukinoshita-haruno-launched-operation-fire-doughnut-part1/

    I feel that Haruno feels disappointed in her sister, and it appeared that the result of her secret plan during the school cultural festival was not permanent.

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