So, subtitles of unproven provenance, after I woke up 14 hours ago for an episode that did not arrive, and these subs went unnoticed by me for 3 hours. Welp. Anyway, last episode for the most part was a continuation of the episode that preceded it, with busy Hikki going on essentially 3 dates in one episode, and there being the long-awaited smackdown of Tamanwa, and Iroha finally taking charge of her Student Council, and although nice, the true focus of that scene was where Yukino and Hikki spoke to one another and of themselves, and Yukino did not let Hikki sacrifice himself once more while stepping back.
And then, fitting for Yukino’s little speech about how you can’t progress without speaking clearly and being willing to be hurt, we finished the episode in an extremely uncomfortable position, with Yukino and her mother not-speaking in front of everyone else, and no one knowing what to do about it.
Post Episode Thoughts:
Hayama Hayato is a character I like. It’s how somber he is, how much you can see he’s hurting, and how hard he’s trying, trying to not hurt, trying to make sure everyone else is alright, trying to be the best person he can be, while hurting, and not knowing what the “right decisions” are. So what does he do? The only thing he can do, his level best.
After episode 2 I commented that Hayato is jealous of Hachiman, but that Hachiman is also jealous of Hayato. Some trusty LN readers were happy to tell me that there is no way Hachiman is jealous of Hayato. Then again, someone on my blog, just the other day, told me how wrong I am to think Hachiman could be miserable, or could’ve been miserable at any point during the show… yeah. Well, this episode cinches it, Hachiman is definitely jealous of Hayato, just as Hayato is jealous of him. I discussed it before, they’re all jealous of one another’s masks, of their supposed self-assuredness. They all want to appear wise, without realizing everyone else is just as unsure within as they are.
Hayato wants his friends to be happy. He wants to be happy himself. He wants his friends to be happy with him, and because of him, and he wants to move on, to somewhere, to somewhere real, while he’s also terrified of losing what he currently has. Hayato is mature enough to know that he’ll hurt either way, and his friends will hurt either way. So he tries to take it on himself, but not because he’s “stronger and better” as Hachiman would, but because he wants to try and make it so others suffer less. Yes, he’s still like Hachiman, except he sees himself not as someone that others do not deserve, but as someone who is a servant to others, as some cultures see their politicians, their rules, as noble sacrifices.
But that’s not the real core. The real core is that Hayama does things the only way he can, and he accepts it. He accepts it with dignity, and doesn’t run away. He looks straight on his situation, he acknowledges it as best he can. He’s the runner Hikki was thinking of, who always gives it his all, and who doesn’t save energy for the return path, because then he’ll end up nowhere. Is this perhaps a too bright picture of Hayama, who still tried to stop Tobe’s confession, while also giving Hikki the go-ahead originally? Is his “Please stop bothering me” actually reflective of his true feelings?
It is too rosy. He’s still a kid. They’re all still kids. We are all still kids, walking along a dark path with only starlight to show our path through the forest’s dark canopy, but he knows where he’s going, and he’s trying. He knows there’ll be hurt, but it doesn’t mean you have to relish it, and can’t try to postpone it, or prevent bits of it.
Hayato might reflect on Hachiman, but he reflects more on Yukino. Hating those you feel inferior to, those you walk in the shadows of, like older siblings. Older siblings who hurt you for your own growth, who keep alienating you so you’d try to be someone else, your own self. Is it better to think you’re inferior to someone who is your better, or to think you’re inferior to someone whom you despise? Despise, and hope that they will be better, and so, that the you whom you see within them, weak and cold and calculating, could have a hope of being better too.
It’s not easy to admit that you are weak and need another’s help. Look how hard it’s been to Hachiman in episode 8, and Yukino? She couldn’t do it even after, where in episode 9 all of Hikki’s vulnerability was enough for her to say she will ask him for help in the future. Haruno? She’s never asked for Hikki’s help directly, just insinuated it, toyed with him for it. But no, Hayato is different, willing to bow his head for help. Hayato is as close to a grown up as they come in this show, or at least sees himself as one. If he needs to grow up it’s to learn he can disappoint himself at times without the world coming to an end and that his friends? They will understand as well. As Miura said, but did not yet understand, it’s not understanding that leads to closeness, but closeness that leads to understanding. You don’t understand and then accept, you’re willing to accept, and then you can understand other people.
P.S. It’s interesting to note how Hikki wore his Hachiman suit on, but as a suit, rather than as his own nature. Employing Iroha’s tactics on Hayama, to try and get the truth out of him. Hachiman sees himself as the man in the middle of the race, and the truth is that you never reach its end. Is he jealous of Hayama because he sees him as someone who reached the end of the race to “maturity”, or because he instinctively understands that Hayama knows this race is never-ending, and that you always have half to go? I wonder.
P.P.S. That last episode’s “confrontation” wasn’t “resolved” and we just ended up in this episode does feel weird. Hm.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Diving Into Shark-Infested Waters: Romance:
1) Right, it wouldn’t be an anime set in a highschool without a future career questionnaire. And we’ve been told several times Hikki is kind of smart, but the real question is where Yukino sees her future, Yukino who isn’t part of their class.
2) Hayato dating Yukinoshita? And everyone is aptly surprised. Of course, there are two Yukinoshita sisters. And note how angry Hayato seemed, although he very much did not deny it.
3) “Yukinoshita-senpai, are you dating Hayama-senpai?” And the reaction from Yui and Hikki is a very audible “GEH!” Haha. For all of their talk about talking to one another honestly, and sharing their feelings, the club members are still very much teenagers who are afraid to hurt and be hurt by one another. Even Yui who is not romantically interested in either Yukino or Hayama wouldn’t dare broach the subject this openly. Teenagers, for whom the only time is now, which contrasts nicely with a reminder that there’s life after high school by way of the career choice.
4) Haha! That was funny. I did wonder about explaining Iroha’s mention of how Hayato supposedly dating someone led to more people asking him out rather than less, but Iroha using Hikki as a test dummy, and him truly beinglike a deer caught in a headlight was amusing. You see, it’s not that Hikki is using his cold exterior as a shield in case people make a move on him, it’s a shield for when they don’t, and also so they won’t, because he’s not their friend. But here we see Iroha fitting right in with the Volunteers Club. She can “hit on Hikki” like this exactly because they do not have any romantic tension between them. So she doesn’t fear he’d mistake it for that. Though Yui, and to a lesser degree Yukino, are still rattled, but that’s also because how those two are afraid to actually bare their romantic feelings to anyone.
Anyway, to get back a bit to Hayama, this is an idea I’ve seen in other anime before, where a super popular boy is considered “everyone’s” so no one can actually date them, and any attempt to do so is seen as acting against the entire group. Hogwash and nothing I encountered in real life, but I’m not a girl, nor am I Japanese, so who knows. The confessions do two things, on one hand it means someone “broke the treaty”, so Hayato is now “free for all”, as if he were a slice of meat. Second, it’s “now or never”, before he’ll truly be with that other person. And third, and purportedly the real reason, is to actually check whether Hayato is taken or not. But of course, if he’s not taken and he’d be willing to date the one who asked, it’s not like she’d say no ;-)
2) Miura’s Hachiman-like, Yukinoshita-like, Yuigahama-like Vulnerable Humanity:
1) Oh, these subs don’t have translations for written text. Derp. But Yumiko sent that email, meaning Miura, and there she is. By the way, I used to work in some technical support, and someone sending an email and then calling immediately? Happened all the time, and defeated the purpose of sending mail, yes.
And Iroha running away from a senpai who might be competition for Hayato, not wanting to hear she might have competition directly, or to step away from a potential face-off between Miura and Yukino, though since Yukino isn’t dating Hayato, there shouldn’t really be anything going on. Also, this reminds me, the awkward meeting with the Yukinoshita mother where we ended last episode? Sort of weird that we haven’t seen how that wrapped up, but zoomed straight to school, hm.
2) Here we see Yui, as always, a part of every group, trying to sort things out between people. And here we see Yumiko going “If that was really everything, then Hayato wouldn’t be so worried.” And here we can wonder, is she worried because Hayato is worried, or because his worry is a signifier that there’s something going on? Of course, it can be both.
3) This is interesting. Miura and Yukino always argue, because Yukino sees herself as superior, or at least is unwilling to act with false modesty, and Miura is used to being at the top, or at least is used for a certain level of, well, tact. Funny, that “Polite Yukino” is the one acting tactless. Yukino is somewhat teasing her though, but at the same time is saying that her words were never seen as if they mattered, which is why she’s allowing herself to speak her mind, because… why not?
4) Ok, see, here we see all the kids in this show are the same, they’re all motivated by the exact same thing, and even phrase it as variations of the same idea – Yukino says that what matters to her is that the close people understand, and she doesn’t really care about strangers, to which Miura remarks that she’s so bothered because she wants to be close to other people, that because she wants to be close to Hayama, that she wants to understand him and his circumstances. Everyone just wants closeness and to understand others. Of course, there’s a chicken and egg situation going on here, you get close to people and then you grow to understand them, rather than growing to understand them and only then achieving closeness. If you think back to episode 8 with the teary confession in the club, it was first the admittance that they want to be close that led to them understanding one another, and being willing to bare their souls some.
5) “I just think it’d be nice if we could stay together a bit more…” A call back to both Hayato and Miura’s talks with Hachiman in episode 2 of this season, where they both tried to resist change, wanting to maintain things as they are. No, Miura doesn’t want things to be as they are with Hayama, she’d like to go further, but she is also afraid of losing what she already has.
6) “Thinking you want to be together is a really, really normal thing to do.” That’s so Yui to say. They all understand it in a manner they’re able to say clearly since episode 8’s resolution, but Yui’s the one who wasalways able to say it. Go Yui, relationship fixer, self-confidence booster, by telling people it’s alright to feel weak and needy.
7) “It might hurt you, he might hate you, but do you still want to know?” Miura’s not one of the Volunteers Club Members shut-ins, she resists change, but she’s actually engaging with others, she knows the nature of hurt. She’s willing to be hurt for the truth, rather than assume she knows it, be hurt, and not find out what it really is. I’m trying to say, she’s more mature than Hikki and Yukino are, or have been up to recently. Heck, considering how Yui and Hachiman were unwilling to broach the topic with Yukino, she’s definitely more mature. She was also willing to engage in her current group relationship, though it was hurting her, and was going to hurt her more. Not because she was avoiding the topic and being hurt as Hachiman would do, but because she deemed the pain worth it.
3) Non-Confrontation – Man and Hachi-Man:
1) “But we can’t let you handle it all alone.” The growth of sharing the burden. But Hikki’s got a point, some things are easier alone, man to man, or at least man to Hachi-Man. Also, mittens, and Hikki’s favourite brand of coffee, small touches that show their friendship.
2) Hayama, saying a line he doesn’t mean to Hikki like that, very much like Iroha. Then again, he’s more similar to how Yukino addressed Miura, “And what if I told you that he and I used to have a thing?” which is to say, “And what if I told you what you did not want to hear?” Miura said she’d want to hear it anyway, but hearing what you don’t want to hear is not the same as being told you’re not going to be told anything. And honestly, it doesn’t feel as if Hayama is toying with Hikki, it feels more like he’s caring for him and trying to help him see something.
So, didn’t Hayato just reject him, with his answer, even so? I don’t believe he did. There’s a difference between “I’m not going to tell you” and “Dude, piss off,” especially after one goes to the trouble of actually pointing out said difference. Especially since Hayato’s “fake rejection” wasn’t about the question per se, but about someone meddling in his affairs, of acting as if they’re close enough to ask, or to care. I said before, that it feels Hayato is trying to show something to Hikki, and if I were to try and figure out what, it’s that Hayato knows a group is defined also by who isn’t part of it, and Hikki serves the outsider role perfectly. Except that’s not Hayato, that’s Hikki’s past view of the situation. Hayato sees Hikki as part of the group, but one of the things friends need to understand is also when you want your space.
4) Sweet Barbs of Hurtful Expectation:
1) “And here I thought you could finally do things by yourself, but here you go relying on others, again.” Youch. And yes, that definitely resonates with how Yukino stood up to Tamanawa last episode, and offered to help Hikki earlier in this episode, so she wouldn’t rely on him. And yet, two episodes ago she asked for his future help. But help is not the same if you didn’t try on your own first, and if you can’t stand on your own in general. Regardless, Haruno knows how to hurt her little sister. Of course, she’s treating it like a game, because giving a small detail like this to her sister shouldn’t be an issue, except her sister cares, and it’s a request, and it’s another opportunity to poke her with a barb.
“That’s what made you sooo adorable as a child.” Ouch. Only Haruno can lead to a shot such as this, with Yukino looking surprised by her own hurt, Yui looking concerned for her, and Hikki not knowing where to bury himself. I want to see Iroha’s reaction.
2) And here we see Hikki unable to deal with yet another woman talking to him directly. Then again, he can’t really handle anyone talking to him directly, because they make requests of him, which he can’t turn down. Is she like Iroha, just toying with him? Who knows, but she’s also toying with him.
3) And for all of Haruno’s talk of Yukino figuring for herself what Hayato’s career path will be, she’s going to rely on Hikki to find for her Yukino’s career path ;-) I guess the difference is that Haruno doesn’t have a problem relying on others, whereas Yukino sees it as an offense to her self-image.
4) Hayato is “expecting something as well, something to find him.” He’s expecting someone to decide for him? Considering his parents, that’s possible. Or perhaps he’s expecting someone who will actually make a demand of him, show him they care? I’m starting to warm up to this idea, that Hayato asking Hikki what he’d do if he’d be rejected by him was a test, and he wanted to hear Miura’s reply, which is what happened in episode 8, he wanted someone who’d go “I’d ask you anyway! I’d cry and shout and make sure you tell me, because I care for you!” That’s what they all want, they want someone who’d fight for them, they want something willing to be hurt by them, for them, and someone willing to hurt them too.
1) This talk about how Hikki is only able to keep up with Hayama because he’s not pacing himself, but is giving it his all, then his monologue about the halfway point, I suspect this show isn’t knowingly referencing Gattaca, and it’s just a happy accident, but man. Also, watch Gattaca, very good film.
This little monologue by Hachiman is pretty spot-on for his situation, when you’re in the middle of a very painful thing, but there’s a landmark that lets you know you’re exactly at the middle, do you despair that you still have half to go, that you’re going to have to keep bruising yourself, or are you relieved half of it is already behind you? Here, he’s talking about the long run, and that there’s half, and also of accepting Miura’s request but now having to potentially anger Hayato, or hurt him, for it. But what I am thinking of is episode 8, or the concept ofgrowing up. Knowing you need to grow up is only half the battle. Knowing you’re going to hurt your loved ones and be hurt by them, and then having to actually go through with all the suffering.
2) And here we see an act, by Hachiman. Not Hikki. Telling Hayama he’s hiding behind Miura, and using her to keep all the other girls away from him. In other words, using her to keep the other girls away because she’d make sure none would approach him, or they’d think he’s with her and wouldn’t approach him. This is calculated to try and get Hayama to reveal his actual feelings. This is also how I explain what follows, when Hachiman tells Hayama that he doesn’t care whether he’s going to the sciences or the arts, but that he should change his decision and go to the sciences. This is Hachiman employing Iroha’s “trick” from the opening segment of the episode, where Hayato should be tricked into either saying “I was planning to go to the sciences all along” or “It’s none of your business, I’m going to go to the humanities, because [x]”.
But note the very Hachiman answer, to a very Hayama Hayato person, “This will fix the problem that’s plaguing you right now,” rather than looking ahead. But how does Hachiman propose to solve the situation? By doing the one thing Hayato desires least, of breaking him from his social circle. He’s proposing to turn him into a Hachiman. This in part is designed, again, as emotional bait, to force Hayato into admitting what it is he desires, but it’s also designed to help Hayato achieve what he wants. Here, Hayato is treated like someone between Yukino and Haruno, someone who is forced to live up to others’ expectations, who doesn’t want to disappoint others. Both for their sake, and for his, both in terms of his own self-image and because he cares about those others. Yes, Hachiman is proposing that Hayato needs to become a loner, a Hachiman, in order to be able to be himself. Someone who doesn’t constantly keep hiding his true self, or who sacrifices himself, for the sake of those around him. So, Hayato has to become a lonely Hachiman in order to stop being a self-sacrificing Hachiman who’s still lonely. Except, of course, this is designed to egg Hayato on, as a middle-point, not as an actual goal.
3) “If things naturally disappeared, then you can avoid hurting people, or betraying their expectations.” – This is a very Hachiman line. And it’s important to remember this isn’t really Hachiman the cynical loner, but Hikki, on the road to adulthood. All of these lines are calculated to achieve a goal other than actually push Hayato to the place they describe. He knows you can’t avoid hurting people if you want to be with them. Yes, Hayato can go away, and thus not hurt them, but Hikki’s only trying to pull a Sensei, as awkwardly as he’s forced to.
6) To The Very End, He Is Hayama Hayato:
1) “I hate you. I absolutely can’t stand it when I feel inferior to you.” Yeah, this isn’t what Hikki wanted to hear. Also, remember how similar Yukino and Hayato’s situations are? This is what Yukino described, when she said she always felt she lacked something her sister had – she hated her sister because she felt inferior to her. She probably hates her still.
2) “That’s why I want you to be my equal, so I won’t mind losing to you.” This seems to make no sense, right? There are two ways to read it, the first is that Hayato is saying he sees Hachiman as beneath him, as the lowest of the low, and feeling inferior to him still, to this despicable and hurtful person, hurts him. The other is that you can feel better losing to someone who’s your equal, because you could still catch up to them, or be ahead of them in other ways. Which way did Hayama mean? Probably some of each.
3) “I’ll win, because that’s me.” Hayama Hayato, who will live up to the expectations and hopes people place on him, no matter how many, and no matter how heavy the burden, he will rise up to meet it.
7) All Together Now:
1) Man, they sure held onto that post/scene for a long time. If anything, them not kissing would only make it more awkward in the future. Well, if it weren’t an anime.
2) “For the time being, we’re all together.” Awww, and that means Hikki’s going in the Humanities as well, hm.
3) “Relationships won’t reset just because you move up a year or graduate,” meaning everyone who didn’t keep in touch with Hikki from junior high, like Orimoto. Hayama is saying two contradictory and complementary things here, the first is that the now matters, because what he does in his relationships now will not disappear later on, and the other is that the now is not the only thing that matters, because he can keep trying and changing with the same relationships even later. Each of those things is somewhat right and somewhat wrong, of course.
4) “I can’t call choosing something that was the only available option my own decision.” Going with the above, Hayato is saying he’s choosing the Humanities as well, or is he? He’s saying he’s going to keep meeting everyone’s expectations, and insinuating he’s going for the Humanities. What is important here is that this is a very human discussion, with no right answer. Even if there’s only one option, you can run away (like Yukino), or you can balk against your own nature (as Hachiman has done). Even if there’s only one option, how you go about it is still a choice. What Hayato is saying here isn’t blaming it all on external expectation and influences, but on his own nature – his own nature would only let him do one thing, and he’s aware of his nature, it’s just not a “choice”, it’s just being himself.
Hikki’s only possible response is surprise, or amazement. Hikki is jealous of Hayama, of his acceptance, of his maturity. Of how cool he is, too.
5) “But even so, I won’t choose anything. I want to believe that’s the best option, even if it’s just self-satisfaction.” It’s not rejecting forward movement and accepting something fake, no, it’s willing to hurt and be hurt because, well, because that’s what you believe is best, and will be the optimal situation for everyone involved, because that’s how relationships go. And once more, Hikigaya Hachiman is left speechless, in awe, of someone who faces his own choices, but took another route, and is willing to accept the cost, or seems to. How can he not hate him, while admiring him?
Shorter Notes / Asides:
- Another funny moment, with Yukino’s cold and plastic smile, and Iroha’s scared(?) reaction. The mongoose taking on the cobra, but which is which.
- Yukino is using Gunnar glasses? Huh (what a nerd :P). Also, more blushing.
- Iroha, caught red-handed, relying on Hikki.
- Iroha has no problem cheering Hayato on, while Miura does. This follows what Iroha said last episode, and what was said in the beginning of this one, after being rejected, what does she have to lose? And everyone knows she likes him, which makes them more uncomfortable, rather than her.
- Oh my, I absolutely love that shot of Yui with her “serious face” on and the fist. Must find it without the line of text running at the bottom.
- Right, people actually running would be way out of how much Feel animates (or doesn’t) this season. So, let’s see what’s Hikki’s plan, for which he enlisted Totsuka. That mist drifting out of Zaimokuza’s mouth is the best. He’s a dragon.
- I see, the tennis team is athletic enough to be ahead of most people, and then they form a wall to stop anyone from catching up to Hikki and Hayato. I’m surprised Hikki is in a good enough shape to not lag behind Hayato, though. Unless Hayato is being nice and isn’t running ahead on purpose.Of course, this is prejudice. You can be a skinny nerd and be pretty athletic. I was asked to be on the track team as well :P
- Man, Yui’s body looks sooo off-model here. Like those horses (that looked more like giraffe-dogs) in Log Horizon S2.