Now I know I’ve spent about 10.000 words trying to convey the importance of the car accident, but the point is that the car accident merely serves as the catalyst that brings the trio together (on two separate occasions) and later on as the reason why Hachiman’s relationship with both girls gets tested in the first season. (It’s highly likely that it will also play a role in the conclusion of the story. Most likely it will be the thing that causes the divide in the Service Club, because it will invalidate the feelings of one of the characters.)
The reason why I’ve spelled pretty much everything out is because apparently no one picked up on why the Service Club actually exists (you may as well add “Mystery” to Yahari’s genre).
With that said, without the car accident (or that single heroic act from Hachiman) Hachiman, Yukino and Yui would have never met or taken an interest in one another. Hachiman would have remained a shadow in his class that didn’t interact with anyone for three years (except for Komachi and Zaimokuza). Yukino would have remained an untouchable “perfect girl” that kept her distance from other people. Yui would have stayed with the popular group, so she would have probably been better off than the other two.
Hachiman’s single heroic act put him on the radar of two girls. One of them, Yui, fell in love with him because he saved her dog. The other, Yukino, felt concerned about Hachiman, because he was clearly not living the life he wanted to live. (Yes, Hachiman always claims how much he enjoys being a loner, but after two seasons it should be clear to you that he does want to be accepted and loved by other people, as long as it’s meaningful.)
Everything that happens in Yahari from the first episode, is because Yukino sets things in motion. Yukino goes to Sensei to tell her about her concerns about Hachiman. Sensei sees this as an opportunity to help Yukino out as well. Hachiman and Yukino are placed in the same environment. Because of their contrasting personalities, the two of them continuously banter. Sensei sends Yui to the Service Club to make Hachiman and Yukino’s interactions smoother. Yui decides to join the Service Club for her own reasons (See Yui’s analysis). Saika, who has been in the same class as Hachiman for an entire year, is now able to approach Hachiman because Yui is hanging out with him. They help Saika with his tennis practice, Hayato finds out that for some reason Yukino is hanging out with Hachiman and Yui. Hayato approaches the Service Club for his own reasons. (See Hayato’s analysis)
Hachiman has spent an entire year on his own, to showcase the contrast between his second year after joining the Service Club. Every person Hachiman interacts with in his second year is because of Yukino. Which is good, because that’s exactly what her intentions were in the first place: to make Hachiman a more sociable person that can make friends and maybe someday even get a girlfriend.
(However Hachiman is going to reject those intentions, when he tells Yukino that he doesn’t want relationships that are simply given to him, he wants the “real thing”, see Part 5.)
You can also tell what Yukino’s intentions are when Hachiman shows affection towards those close to him. Yukino always shows interest in whether Hachiman has friends or not. She rewards him with kindness when she sees how much he cares about Komachi (a stark contrast to the relationship she has with her own sister). When Hachiman celebrated Yui’s birthday properly, Yukino thought that was incredibly kind of him.
>Hachiman tries naming a few things as to why he’s an upstanding individual: I’ve got a good looking face, I’m in a great school, I’m ranked third in Japanese etc. Yukino counters all of those and gives him -1 points. When Hachiman runs out of things to say, Yukino says the following in a very soft voice:
“Is your grading system rigged?! Shit! What else… I‐I give up. Nothing comes to mind…”
I thought hard, but I drew a complete blank. As I labored over my indecision, Yukinoshita turned to me with a benign smile.
“You’re done, I take it? I could think of more things.”
So she had more bad things to say about me… what, did she have a Heaven’s Memo Pad or something? Yukinoshita secretly averted her eyes and murmured something softly.
“For instance… you celebrated Yuigahama‐san’s birthday properly. Plus one point… just kidding.”(!)
“Huh? You said something?”
“Not really,” Yukinoshita deflected my question coolly as she stood up from her seat. “Now then, we ought to get going. I used fruits on this cake. We’d best eat it while it’s fresh.”
(2:22 - 4:13)
The most important things you should get out of Part 1 from my analysis are:
1. The Service Club exists for Hachiman’s sake.
2. Yukino is a girl that felt sorry for Hachiman for not having any friends/living his life incorrectly. Since the beginning of the series she has been looking out for him and trying to make amends for something she believes she is responsible for (which she isn’t, but Hachiman’s heroism has left an impression on her, so she can’t just leave him alone to rot away). She has been looking for a way to “save” him from society, his loneliness but most importantly his low self-esteem/self-deprecation (and from season 2 onwards, his self-destructiveness/self-sacrifice). Up until a certain very important moment in season 2 (“I want something genuine”), she has only been guessing as to how she could repay Hachiman. It’s only when Hachiman actually opens up to her and tells her what he truly desires, that she now has an actual goal in mind as to what she can “give” him. I feel like the biggest reason why people have trouble understanding season 2, is because a lot of people never truly understood season 1 and more specifically what Yukino has been trying to do and why she has been trying to do it.
(Long story short: Yukino’s main goal the entire series long has been to “save” Hachiman.)
3. Hachiman told Yukino that he didn’t want to clear up the misunderstanding between the two of them. He basically told her he didn’t want to know the reason why the Service Club exists (and he never finds out in ANOTHER).
4. Sensei is very well aware of the things that are going on. This you really should have figured out on your own. Sensei is always steering Hachiman and the Service Club in the right direction, for some reason she is almost always up-to-date with what is going on etc. (Only natural, because she’s a teacher and she’s in a position where she receives a lot of information. It also helps that after Service Club hours are over, Yukino always goes to Sensei to return the key of the clubroom, so Sensei can always ask if there has been any progress). If you’ve paid attention, you should have noticed that she has played matchmaker on several occasions.
>Hachiman is “dancing” exactly the way Sensei wants him to.
>Sensei playing matchmaker, instructing Hachiman to strive for something genuine.
>Sensei playing matchmaker, lending Yukino her coat.
>I can’t keep watch over you guys forever.
(Speculation: In Volume 1, Sensei mentions a Tsurumi Sensei.
“Sensei, aren’t you a Modern Japanese teacher?”
“I’m the school’s guidance counsellor. Tsurumi sensei pushed the responsibility to me.”(!)
I looked to one corner of the room to see said Tsurumi sensei watering a decorative plant. Hiratsuka sensei gave her(!) a quick glance before returning her eyes to me.
It’s very possible that Tsurumi’s mom told Sensei that her kid was being ostracized/isolated.
Sensei knowing that Yukino has gone through a similar experience, forces the Service Club members to attend the camp trip as well, to try and solve Rumi’s problems, but also to make Yukino confront said similar experience from her past.)
>The three characters that are most concerned about Hachiman’s growth as a human being are: Yukino, Sensei and Komachi.
“Aah, could you not spoil my brother too much? You’ll only speed up his uselessness as a man. If he becomes financially dependent in the future, the ones who will suffer will be me and also his wife. As far as Komachi is concerned, I want my brother to have a respectable happy life.”
The timeline is:
• The car accident happens.
• The Yukinoshita family sends the chauffeur to the hospital to apologize. They pay all the bills etc. As far as the Yukinoshita family is concerned, that’s taken care of.
• A year passes.
• Yukino, having plenty of opportunities to observe Hachiman for an entire year (because they go to the same school), sees that he’s not doing anything with his life, starts feeling concerned/sorry/responsible/guilty, so she goes to Sensei and tells her about the car accident. Sensei instructs her to start the Service Club.
• Haruno first meets Hikigaya at the mall with Yukino in S1E6. She doesn’t recognize him immediately, until he introduces himself. Haruno starts thinking: “Why does this name ring a bell?” She inspects him, repeats his name a couple of times and then it dawns on her: “Oh, that Hikigaya.”.
• Haruno doesn’t want to bring it up in front of Hachiman (it’s possible that she waited until she got home and contacted Yukino about why she was hanging out with the boy from the car accident).
• During S1E8, Haruno comes to pick Yukino up in that car.
• Hachiman and Yukino have their falling out.
• The events of Sagami arc.
• Hachiman and Yukino make up and their relationship is stronger, even though they haven’t touched upon the car accident yet.
Yukino’s initial plan was: get in, help Hachiman become a better more sociable human being and help him get some friends, get out. However there were a few complications along the way, namely:
1. Yui wanted to join the Service Club (for her own reasons).
2. Yui said she wanted to be friends with Yukino (this is important, try keeping this in mind until you read Yui’s part).
3. Yukino grew closer to Hachiman and started liking being around him.
4. Hachiman turned out to be way more stubborn and difficult to fix than she had hoped he would be.
5. Hachiman turned out to be WAY more difficult to fix. After seeing Yukino being taken advantage of and working herself to death during Sagami’s arc, ever since then Hachiman decided to play the villain to protect her from harm.
6. Yukino eventually started developing romantic feelings for Hachiman.
(It’s important that you remember these reasons, because they’re all reasons as to why the Service Club continued to exist longer than it should have.)
Basically: Yukino never anticipated that she would forge long-lasting relationships out of this. She has always tried keeping a distance between herself and the other two.
As I let out a deep and heavy sigh, I looked around the window of the now deserted classroom. Yukinoshita had been standing there just a while ago. It wasn’t even two metres between where Yukinoshita had been and the seats Yuigahama and I had been sitting on. Yet for some reason, it was hard to cross that looming distance, and I could sense an unseen line drawn there. It would not be long before the two of us discovered what exactly stood between us ‐ or rather, you could say, the truth.
It’s because it was Yuigahama’s birthday that it was still vivid in my mind. A momentary break of clear weather in the rainy season. A girl wearing a lonely smile(!), the offensive red glow of the sunset raining down on her from behind. At the time, she had undoubtedly drawn a line.(!) A line indicating that she was different from the two of us, the victims.(!) Exactly what was that boundary line?(!) Now I was finally beginning to understand what it was.(!)
>What did she mean by that?
Those are the most important things to take from Part 1.