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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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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OreGairu Season 2 Episode 5 – Wrong Every Time

Well, last week’s episode sure was eventful, eventful enough I wrote my longest episodic write-up to date. What did we have and where are we going with it? Hayama walked a mile in Hachiman’s shoes, and extended empathy and pity to him that Hachiman rejected, because he’s not ready for such abrupt change, and to not being punished.

For all of her talk of not sacrificing oneself, Yukino is going to take it all on her and is going to run for presidency. Yui does not wish to be the only one to let her friends suffer, so her solution, as someone who understands taking the load is suffering and you don’t let friends suffer is to take the load on herself, so she could suffer. And now we are in a pickle, in a place where Hachiman has to choose how to get it so that only he would suffer, or the least amount of people will suffer. Is he going to run for Student Council President himself, with hopes of winning? How will you save your friends who are only trying to save you, dearest Hikki?

Thoughts and Notes:

1) For Sister and State!:

OreGairu S2 episode 5 anime - Hikigaya Hachiman and Komachi stay close

1) This is hard for Hikki. Hikki isn’t used to be the one to frankly reach out to the other, to fix relationships, to say he was wrong, to try and make things not just “optimum happiness for everyone while hating him,” but actually fixing them hating him. But this shows that to Hikki, his relationship with Komachi is just that important. As an aside, this is also why the “incest” romantic line in anime had replaced the robot girlfriend one, someone who’salways supposed to be there for you. So when she’s not, it means things are really that bad.

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Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Week 4 (Anime Power Ranking)

Another week, another batch of episodes. Going to be shorter about most this week, as I’ve wasted some time elsewhere. Some shows are finally “starting”, while most others are going as they did before, for better and for worse.

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 4 (SNAFU Too!):

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

Another episode of OreGairu S2, another monstrously long and in-depth breakdown by myself? You don’t say! I might have gone overboard, as I think this is my longest episodic write-up to date. Just like with NagiAsu back in the day, breaking down social interactions is interesting. It’s something we all live and breathe in, and take for granted, so supposedly it shouldn’t take much space. But, there’s nothing that’d take more space were you to actually break it down.

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OreGairu Season 2 Episode 4 – Being Understood is a Fearful Thing

What do we have? We have another breakdown between Hachiman and Yukino, over some disagreement in how they do things, in how Hikki hurts himself and everyone around him to defuse the situation rather than actually resolve the underlying issues.

But what Yukino and Hachiman do isn’t too different on some level – Hachiman is going to try and make Iroha lose by shouldering everyone’s hate, and Yukino is going to make Iroha lose by shouldering this responsibility she doesn’t care for, by becoming the next student council president. They both make themselves into martyrs. “Nothing changed,” but they only hurt further and further, and everyone around them knows it.

(This might be my longest episodic write-up yet. It’s long. It might also get a tiny bit rambly at the end.)

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Hayama Hayato, Hachiman’s Shiny Mirror:

OreGairu S2 episode 4 anime - Hayato Hayama asks for help from Hikigaya Hachiman

Hayama’s “Is that so?” could refer to any and all of Hachiman’s statements, let’s go in reverse order, because the reasons became less revealing and incisive as Hikki kept bringing them up, “I’d like to at least chill during the weekend” shows that Hachiman doesn’t want to help, and engage with others, that he’s an introvert and that helping others comes at a cost to him, or rather, that he finds it stressful.

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Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Week 3 (Anime Power Ranking)

This was not a good week. Not for my mood, and sadly, this week’s bounty of shows had done very little indeed to improve my mood, with most shows being underwhelming if not flat out bad. Knights of Sidonia episode 2 wasn’t watched this week, so it’d appear in next week’s write-up.

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 3 (SNAFU Too!):

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

Well, another episode where I had a lot to say. This seems to be the trend with OreGairu this season. Thankfully, the other trend is that the show continues to be very good this season, building on everything that went on up to this point, and taking it further, without holding back its punches.

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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.

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Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Week 2 (Anime Power Ranking)

The season started! Premier write-ups for Punch Line, Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!), and Sidonia no Kishi S2 (Knights of Sidonia), and episode 2 write-ups for everything else. While most episodes this week were decent, I felt it was weaker than last week.

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 2 (SNAFU Too!):

OreGairu S2 episode 2 anime overview - Ebina Hina hate herself

I sure had a lot to say about this episode. I mean, here’s a full episodic notes post for it, and here’s a lengthy post-episode editorial detailing the show’s breakdown of self-loathing, and how it relates to the wish of maintaining the status quo, and both leads to self-loathing, and is one’s “punishing” of one’s self for said self-loathing. This season seems to go straight for the jugular in how much it directly attacks the manner in which the characters are built, and how they interact with one another. Or perhaps I just notice it even more since it builds on all that came before.

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OreGairu Season 2 Episode 2 – Protective Self-Loathing

So, what did we have this episode? What did we really have this episode? First of all, we’ve had “someone acting strange.” Hachiman was speaking of Hayama not being his usual effusive and helpful self, and rather being unhelpful, but watching the episode you also have Ebina acting somewhat weird and giving off “sad vibes”, and Miura actually being aggressive for the sake of others. And you have Hachiman and Yukino hold onto the note they pass for too long.

OreGairu S2 episode 2 anime - Hayato Hayama fears change

That last one seems irrelevant, but that is the point. Everyone is acting “weird”, because everyone is trying to deal with the tension of desiring for the status quo to remain, because everything else is scary and you risk losing what you already have, and the constant desire to have something better, something more. In terms of a community, this struggle is a bit more complex, but still similar, and ranges the gamut from desiring your friends to be happy in the status quo, to them being happier if things change, to the risk that not only your friends will not be happier if things turn out badly, but that as a result everyone else will suffer as well.

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