(If you haven’t read Yui’s part, I’d advise you to read that first before getting started with this one. It’s important that you have a proper understanding of her character, otherwise certain things aren’t going to make sense while reading this part.)
Part 4: Hachiman and Yukino’s relationship and season 2
I’d advise anyone that wants to know not only the premise of Yahari, but also what the series is about and how it’s going to end, to read Volume 1 Chapter 8. I won’t copy the entire chapter, simply the relevant parts:
>The words “monochrome world” are sung by Yukino’s voice actress.
Basically, Hachiman and Yukino are constantly growing closer to one another. Slowly but surely they’re “moving away from this monochrome world” and “edging closer to this sparkling world”.
Volume 1, Chapter 8: And then, Hikigaya Hachiman thinks.My own high school life has not been the Garden of Eden I described before. It is an ashen, gloomy, monochrome world.(!) On that first school day, when I had that traffic accident, my school life became gloomy indeed.(!) After that, I would just go between my house and school, and during holidays I would just go to the library. I really have passed my days living a life that is very far from the typical high school dream life.(!) In my world, romantic comedies don’t exist at all.(!)
I will never reject the time I have spent, that one year of high school “youth” that I have lived. No, I will accept it with all my heart. And that conviction will definitely not change, today or tomorrow.(!)
However, I want to make this clear: even so, I will not reject the way of life of everyone else. I will not reject the way of the people who celebrate youth.
In that case, perhaps my own youth can be tinged with the color of romantic comedy.(!) Perhaps it isn’t all wrong.And perhaps, someday, I will also see brightness in the place where I am, even if I see that brightness through the glassy eyes of a dead fish. I can feel, growing inside of me, something that allows me to at least hope that something like that will happen.(!)
Indeed, there was one thing I have learned in the days I have spent with the service club.(!)
My conclusion is this:
With that, I stopped the pen in my hand.
I gave a nice, long stretch. I was the only person left here, in this classroom, after school.
It’s not like I was being bullied or anything… I was just rewriting that essay, the one that Hiratsuka-sensei had assigned us. I’m being honest here, okay? I’m really not being bullied, okay?
My rewrite was going very smoothly, but I got a bit stuck on the conclusion(!), so it ended up getting pretty late in the day. Maybe I should continue this in the clubroom…(!)
Yukinoshita was probably in the clubroom reading again… In that case, I could just continue writing there without being bothered by anyone.
When I opened the clubroom door, I saw Yukinoshita reading a book in her usual place.
She heard the sound of the door creaking and lifted her head.
“Oh my… I thought you weren’t coming today.”
She placed a bookmark in her book. Compared to my first days here, when she would just completely ignore me and keep reading, we’d made quite a bit of progress.(!)
“Oh, yeah… I also thought that I’d be taking today off, but there’s still something I want to do.”(!)
Our intermittent conversation wandered aimlessly in the usual (slightly awkward) atmosphere.
“I’m coming in.”
The door suddenly flew open.
Yukinoshita lightly placed one hand on her forehead and sighed. She seemed resigned. I see… When you were in such a quiet space and the door suddenly opened like that, then you did start wanting to hurl insults around…
“Hiratsuka-sensei… Please knock when you want to come in.”
“Hm? Isn’t that usually Yukinoshita’s line?”
“Ugh… You two only work together to attack someone else… It’s like you’re old friends or something.”
“What in the world… I don’t recall ever becoming friends with that man.”(!)
Yukinoshita shrugged her shoulders. I was sure she was giving me a sideways glare, but then I saw that she wasn’t even looking at me.
“Hikigaya, don’t be so down… They say that there are bugs that even like to eat weeds. It’s all a matter of taste.”(!)
Sensei tried to comfort me. I wasn’t feeling down at all, dammit… And why did that kindness just feel painful…?
To my surprise, Yukinoshita also seemed to join in… Wait, she was the one who depressed me in the first place. However, Yukinoshita only told the truth; she wouldn’t lie about her own feelings, so she probably truly believed Hiratsuka-sensei’s words. She gave me a kind smile.
“I’m sure there is some insect somewhere who will, one day, come to like Hikigaya-kun.”(!)
Perhaps she was really that happy with what she had said, but her eyes were sparkling; she really looked like she was enjoying herself.(!)
I, on the other hand, didn’t find it fun at all. I mean, weren’t talks with girls supposed to be more hah-hah-he-he-lovey-dovey cutesy? Wasn’t this completely weird?(!)
I thought I would write down what I was feeling at that moment, so I gripped my pen. Yukinoshita looked over at what I was doing.(!)
“Actually, what have you been writing all this time?”
“Shut up, it’s nothing.”
And then, I scribbled down the final sentence in my assignment:
As expected, my youth romantic comedy is screwed up.
Hachiman is re-writing the essay Sensei made him do again. He says that his life isn’t as amazing as he pretended like it was when he wrote his first essay. Hachiman’s life has been gloomy since he has entered high school, he was hoping this would be his second chance at making new friends etc.
Hachiman has never actually wanted to be a loner. He’s a loner because he has come to terms with it. While he was younger, he has tried reaching out to others on multiple occasions, only to get rejected every single time because his classmates thought he was creepy. Because Hachiman has been hurt every single time he tried reaching out, over time, he gave up and stopped reaching out to others. Hachiman’s entire mentality throughout the series exists because he’s afraid of getting hurt. Trying to cross over the line with someone, means that he has to put himself out there, which means he starts hoping that someone will reach out to him as well and if that doesn’t happen, then that means Hachiman is only going to be hurt again. That’s why he avoids others. (That changes after two seasons of character development, Hachiman does want to develop a relationship with other people, however only as long as it’s meaningful.)
While writing his second attempt at his essay, he says he won’t reject the year he spent on his own because of the car accident, but he’s open and hopeful for romance in his life. For some reason he stops writing his essay. He can’t quite write down the conclusion. He decides to go to the Service Club, the place where he feels he belongs. For “some reason” he’s naturally drawn there. Yui isn’t in the service club (this is important).
Hachiman and Yukino banter. Sensei comes in, drops some knowledge on them. Yukino reveals her intentions of wanting to fix him so that someday somewhere some insect will come to like him. Over the course of the series, that insect turned out to be Yukino herself (at the time she didn’t expect that it would turn out that way, also this insect theme is something that is reoccurring in the series, so keep an eye on it).
Hachiman says how usually talking to girls should give you all these warm fuzzy feelings inside and how they were supposed to be more lovey dovey and stuff and then he decides to finish his essay with Yukino looking at what he’s doing (this is important).
He writes down: As expected, my youth romantic comedy is screwed up.
What you should get from this is that while the title of the series is from Hachiman’s POV, Yukino is the title character. Yukino was supposed to be the person that would “save” Hachiman, not fall in love with him. It’s one of the reasons why she keeps suppressing her feelings for Hachiman so much. She had drawn a line between the victims and the instigator. (When I say one of the reasons, I don’t mean the only reason, just one of them. I feel like that should speak for itself, but you never know how someone will interpret it.)
>Vol 10,5: While Yukino may not have intended to grow to like Hachiman it certainly happened over the course of the series.
“Wh-What is it…?”
“Let me ask you. When you were in middle school, did you think that once you got into high school, you’d be able to get a girlfriend?”(!)
Bullseyes; Zaimokuza broke into a cold sweat and went dead quiet. I pressed further. “And this is what you should be thinking right now. And that is… ‘once I get into university, I should be able to get a girlfriend!’”
“Nnnngh! H-How did you know…!?”
He didn’t even need to ask. My answer was obvious.
“Everyone’s gone through that before, after all…”(!) I said, instinctively letting out a heavy voice. Yes, there, too, was a time where I had those thoughts. It’s because I was a teeny, tiny toddler who knew nothing of the world nor his own place in it. You just couldn’t help but think about how you’d get married at twenty-five and have children. But as you progressed through middle and high school, you were gradually exposed to the inner mechanisms and reality of the world. This made you lower the standards of your idealistic visions. You couldn’t see your small dreams to realization; that’s this world, I dare say…
When I had those thoughts, I suddenly ended up letting out a nihilistic chuckle. Zaimokuza sighed heavily and stiffly as if in agreement. But there, I could hear a small cough overlap with a quiet voice.
“Everyone… I see.”(!)
I turned and Yukinoshita who should’ve been reading her book glanced at me. But when our eyes met, she abruptly turned her face away.(!) On the other hand, Yuigahama who had been fiddling with her cellphone had stopped her fingers and froze with a troubled expression.
>Speaking of Hachiman feeling at home in the Service Club, there are a couple of very important moments in the series where he mentions this. The first time in the last chapter of Volume 1. The second time in Volume 6, the halfway point of the series, right after the Sagami incident takes place, Hachiman goes to the Service Club, because for “some reason” he’s naturally drawn there/he feels like that is where belongs (he’d obviously never admit what that reason is). This is right before Hachiman asks Yukino his “question” for the second time.
If I was at home, I would probably fall asleep and if I was at a restaurant, it would have been too full. There was the chance fellow students might be killing time there until the celebration party too. So I wanted to avoid working at those places. My feet naturally carried me to a quiet place where I could concentrate.(!) In the special building with no one around, I walked down the hallway and noticed the cold air. We were starting to get deep into autumn. It’s been half a year since I had started passing through this hallway and started going to club. I arrived at the room of the Service Club and placed my hand on the door. It was that moment that I realized I didn’t have the key. Normally, I never had to worry about it, since she would always arrive here first.(!) But today, there was no proof she would be here.(!) I removed my hand from the door, thinking I should just give up and head home.(!) But the handle of the door was oddly light. I went ahead and opened the door. It was an unchanging, extremely normal classroom. However, if there was something completely out of place, it was because there was a single girl inside.(!) Under the setting sun, she was quietly moving her pen. This painting like scenery gave the illusion that even if the world had ended, she would, without a doubt, still be here in this room.(!) The moment I saw that, both my body and mind stopped.(!)
--Unwittingly, I found myself fascinated.
Noticing that I was standing there idly, Yukinoshita gently placed her pen on the desk.
>Volume 7,5 (which takes place between S1E6 and S1E7), chronologically it takes place before Volume 6 (Sagami’s arc).
It dawned on me that one day. That one day, would I ever be able to make such a place? A place where I think I would want to return to. That’s what I truly thought.
>Volume 7, when Hachiman was trying to think of a way to preserve the Service Club, Saki says the following.
“It’s okay. When you’re in that club… it suits you a lot more.”
There wasn’t any particular elements that made me suited with the club. Just the concepts of the words “service”, “work”, and “labor” were things I hated too.
“N-Nothing. Recently, I just thought you weren’t your usual self, that’s all.”(!)
As expected of a loner, her observation skills were excellent. This must be the Buddha Eyes. Human observation was a skill of loners.
“Usual self”, huh?(!)
But if we were talking about my usual self, then what I was doing right now wasn’t very usual of me. I didn’t give up on the club and instead, I wanted to try to protect it. No matter how you thought about it, it wasn’t very like me at all. But this apparently was seen differently by others around me.
>Volume 10,5. (Which takes place after Volume 10, between S2E11 and S2E12.)
The Student Council Room wasn’t a particularly uncomfortable place to be in, but in the end, I felt much more at ease in the clubroom.(!) I didn’t mean this on an emotional level, but on a more instinctive level; it’s like being territorial. And when inhabiting a place for close to a year, even dogs(!) and cats(!) would start treating it as their own territory. I wasn’t an exception.
I wasn’t sure exactly when, but this seat had become my place. No one had qualms with me sitting here, nor did anyone decree I had to, nor did anyone force me to. It was far more pleasant than I was expecting it to be.
Yahari as a whole can be divided into 4 identical arcs spanning 3 volumes each:
• 1-3: Hachiman, Yui and the car accident;
• 4-6: Hachiman and Yukino (and the car accident);
• 7-9: the fallout of the Service Club;
• 10-14: Yukino’s past and the problems she’s currently facing.
In the same way Hachiman and Yukino’s relationship can be divided into 4 parts as well.
Hachiman and Yukino are strangers. They don’t “know” each other.
Hachiman has fallen in love with Yukino (or to be more precise the image of the ideal Yukino he has in his head) since the first moment he interacted with her. This is going to be something that people will object to, which is fine. You need to keep in mind that Hachiman is an unreliable narrator and that he would never openly (or even to himself) admit that he has feelings for anyone, because he doesn’t want to hold expectations anymore and he constantly keeps suppressing his feelings due to his experiences in the past. (He’s definitely getting there though.)
While Hachiman may never admit that he has feelings for Yukino, it is strongly implied with all of his inner monologues of how time suddenly stops or how he has a shortness of breath when he is looking at her.
If Hachiman being in love with Yukino since the moment he met her is too big of a pill to swallow, then let’s compromise and say that at the very least he’s been “fascinated” by her.
(But, seriously, he’s been in love with her since the first moment he interacted with her.)
Yukino, on the other hand, who has been keeping her distance from others because of her past, after having plenty of opportunities to observe Hachiman throughout the first year, starts feeling concerned about how Hachiman isn’t doing anything with his life. He isn’t making any friends, he doesn’t have a girlfriend etc. Yukino, feeling responsible for something that isn’t necessarily her fault, decides to make amends to Hachiman. For the first part of the series, to Yukino it’s mostly a sense of personal obligation that’s pushing her. However this changes somewhere during Volume 3. Yukino and Hachiman go on their “date” and have “fun” together. Hachiman gets Yukino a Pan-san plushie, they encounter Haruno, Hachiman says how he can see through Haruno’s facade, Yukino compliments him.
>Hachiman gives some random reason as to why he was able to see through Haruno, but then he says how there’s a distinctive difference between Yukino and Haruno’s smile.
“Ah, that’s what my old man taught me. That I should watch out for people like the ladies who sell pictures at shady‐looking art galleries. I’m on my guard against people who randomly invade your personal space the first time they’re talking to you. A long time ago, that’s how my dad got swindled and drove up a big loan.”
Apparently, my mum got so mad at him after that he almost died. In any case, as a result of the special education program for gifted students I received, I had never had any experience of being swindled in such a way until now. I doubted I would be deceived any time in the future, either.
When I told Yukinoshita all of that, she let out a short sigh and rubbed her temple with her hand. “Good grief… what an idiotic reason. My sister would seriously not believe she’d been caught out by such reasoning.”(!)
Yukinoshita might have been less than impressed, but it wasn’t like that was the only reason I thought the way I did. “While we’re at it, your faces might look similar, but when you smile you look completely different.”(!)
I knew what a real smile looked like.(!) Not a flirtatious smile, nor a smile for tricking people or for diverting their attention ‐ a real, honest‐to‐god smile.(!) When I said that, Yukinoshita picked up her walking pace(!), leaving me several steps behind. “Hmph… an idiotic reason.”(!)
Then she looked back at me over her shoulder. I saw her usual cold, unchanging expression.
“…let’s go home,” she said softly.
After that, without exchanging so much as a single word, the two of us embarked on our journey home. I had nothing to ask Yukinoshita, and Yukinoshita didn’t act as if she had anything to say to me either. Perhaps it was a time when we should have asked questions and spoken to each other. But, instead of stepping on each other’s toes, we chose to embrace the sense of distance that was all too familiar to us now. And because of that, we spent the time without any human warmth, as fellow people sitting next to each other on the train.
When she arrived at the station we were getting off at, Yukinoshita stood up from her seat ahead of me. I followed suit. Once we got past the ticket barrier, Yukinoshita instantly stopped in her tracks.
“I’m going this way,” she said, pointing to the south exit.
“Oh. See you,” I responded, facing the north exit.
As my back was turned to her, I heard a small voice.
“Today was fun. See you later.”(!)
My first impulse was to doubt my own ears. I spun around hastily, but Yukinoshita was already walking off. She showed no sign of looking back at me. In the end, I watched Yukinoshita until she was completely out of sight.(!)
So, Volumes 1-3: Strangers => Acquaintances => Warming up to each other and learning a bit about each other.
Hachiman in lo-, “fascinated” with Yukino. Yukino looking out for Hachiman.
Vol 4-6: During the camping trip Hachiman and Yukino grow even closer to one another, Yukino opens up a little about her past. Near the end of Volume 4, Haruno comes to pick Yukino up in the same car that hit Hachiman. Hachiman doesn’t get to see Yukino for the rest of the summer vacation.
In Volume 5, Hachiman spends his entire vacation thinking about Yukino and interacting with the rest of the cast and getting their impressions of Yukino. Near the end of Volume 5 (S1E9), when school starts, he sees Yukino for the first time. Yukino was waiting for him and wanted to apologize for/explain the car accident situation. Hachiman doesn’t want to hear any of it, his image of the ideal Yukino has been shattered. He comes to the conclusion that he doesn’t want to know more about Yukino.
In Volume 6, Hachiman and Yukino have their first falling out.
Hachiman doesn’t want to allow Yukino to apologize or explain the situation, because excuses are meaningless. However he quickly forgives her when he sees that Yukino is in trouble. Hachiman not only comes back to her, but he also sticks up for her and supports her, which to her proves that the relationship she has with him is far stronger than any relationship she has had up until now, considering how up until that point most relationships Yukino has had ended with people rejecting her out of jealousy or abandoning her. This is the moment where Yukino starts developing a crush on him, not because he’s helping her, but because he came back to her after the first time their relationship was “put to the test”.
Yukino having a crush on Hachiman is noticeable by the difference in the way she’s treating Hachiman during S1E11-S2E2 (right up until before he fake confesses to Ebina).
>Waved him goodbye, told him: “See you tomorrow”.
>Their banter over the headsets being overheard.
>Yukino gets jealous of Haruno and Meguri being too close to him.
>The conversation about what their status is near the end of S1E12.
“Yeah, see you.”
“Yes, good bye.” She gave her parting words, but placed her hand on her chin and hesitated for a brief moment. Then, she added, “…See you tomorrow.” Using her hand from earlier for thinking, she raised it in reservation near her chest. Her palm which hesitated between being open and being gripped was waved slightly back and forth.
“…Yeah, see you tomorrow.”
We both turned our backs and began walking. I had the urge to turn back after taking a few steps, but there were no signs of her footsteps stopping. In that case, I wouldn’t either. Can we stay as we are without looking back? Can I really ask one more time?(!) In life, you can never take things back. Your mistaken answer will always stay as is.(!) If you’re going to overrule it, then you had to come up with a new one. That’s why, I’ll ask again.(!)
For the sake of knowing what the right answer is.(!)
>Volume 6, last chapter: At last, he and she find the correct answer. (Hachiman asks his question again.)
That’s why it was only after that accident that Yukinoshita Yukino knew Hikigaya Hachiman. But even so, she said she didn’t know me. Not once did she ever bring up the accident. And this was the girl who would clearly say more things than she really needed to. The long, long silence continued. In the evening approaching club room, Yukinoshita remained looking down, unmoving. Staying still, I could hear just her voice.
“…I’m not lying. I mean, I didn’t know you at all.”(!)
It was as though she was continuing an exchange we had some time ago. However, different this time was what came after. Yukinoshita lifted her face.
She gazed at me, straight on, and smiled. “…But now, I know you.”(!)
I looked at her expression and I finally understood.
“Yes, really,” said Yukinoshita as if in triumph.
Crap, I really just couldn’t win against her. If she’s going to tell me something like that with that cute of a face, how could I even say anything back? Suddenly, the words of the fox came to mind.
--Words are the source of misunderstandings, after all.
How completely true. You can’t clear misunderstandings. There will always be things you can’t undo in life and your mistaken answers will stay as they are. That’s why instead, you should give up on them and pose the question again.(!) All for the sake of knowing a new and correct answer.(!) Both Yukinoshita and I didn’t know each other.(!) What is it we should have to call it “knowing”?(!) We didn’t understand that. Had we just watched each other, then we could have understood too. What is essential is invisible to the eye. That’s because we would avert our eyes.
In the span of almost half a year, we were finally able to know that we existed.(!) Our statues were constructed from just our names and fragmentary impressions of each other, like that of mosaic, burying one fragment one by one until we were able to make up virtual images of each other. And surely enough, those images probably weren’t even real. Well, that didn’t matter right now.
>Taken from the drama CD (We will… We will rock “you”!!). The first 8-9 minutes take place directly after Yui asks Hachiman and Yukino if they are willing to go to the after party (end of S1E12). After Hachiman declines, he steps outside of the Service Club and says the following:
>Which words were that?
>Yukino started to blush when Yui pointed out how Yukino was paying attention to his actions during S1E13 (the Sports Festival episode).
>S2E1, Yukino pours tea for him as well, Hachiman can’t handle hot stuff, but he would for Yukino.
Later on in the series Yukino and Yui get him a Pan-san themed cup.
What’s important to note here, is that Pan-san is a representation of Hachiman.
>Yukino and Yui stood up for him after Hayato and Tobe disrespected him (this was after Sagami’s arc and during the time everyone at school hated Hachiman).
>Yukino got nervous being around him during their walk home/to the hotel. Since after the Sagami incident, all the girls in her class were grilling her on whether or not they were going out (this bothers Yukino a lot, because she has firsthand experience as to how a relationship can be broken because of gossip and rumors (Hayato)).
>Watari himself refers to the scene where Hachiman and Yukino are walking to the hotel as “the sprouts”. Apparently this is also where the real story of Yahari starts.
In this changing world, Yukino will show her unknown side, which the last scene demonstrated where they return to the hotel. What kind of feeling did we want to convey in that scene? Neither Hachiman nor Yukino can express it with words. I’d like to call that scene, “The sprouts”. Beautiful scene, isn’t it?
As for the club itself, there’s nothing changed, but that doesn’t mean the characters’ feeling hadn’t changed
You can say it’s the real beginning of the Oregairu story.(!) Anyway, now you know what to look for, so I’ll continue in the next volume. Don’t forget to read it!
Now, while Yukino starting to develop a crush on Hachiman is great and all, there is one negative thing that arises from all of this: Hachiman willingly hurting himself at the expense of others, or more specifically for Yukino’s sake. Volume 6, the halfway point of the series, is where Hachiman and Yukino adopt each other’s intentions. Hachiman, who fell in love with her at first sight, now starts looking out for Yukino. Yukino, who has been looking out for him since the beginning of the series, now is starting to fall in love with Hachiman.
So, Volumes 4-6: Acquaintances that have warmed up to each other => Learning more about each other, Yukino opening up to Hachiman, Hachiman getting a glimpse into Yukino’s past => Hachiman finding out about Yukino’s involvement with the car accident => Spending his summer vacation thinking about her, ultimately coming to the conclusion that he doesn’t want to know more about her => Falling out => Hachiman forgiving her and standing up for her, to the point of wanting to play the villain for her => Their relationship is a lot stronger, they now “know” each other, or at the very least understand enough about each other and know how the other would act.
Hachiman starting to look out for Yukino/playing the villain for her sake. Yukino developing a crush on Hachiman.
Vol 7-9: Their relationship is in a far healthier place. Near the end of Volume 7, Hachiman fake confesses to Ebina, Yukino is upset that he would hurt himself in order to solve the petty problems of others. Hachiman did this to show Hayato how he’s better than him, but also because he believes that his actions don’t impact other people. Hachiman and Yukino have their second falling out.
Iroha comes in, she has been recommended to run for student council president as a prank by people that don’t like her. Hachiman suggests solving the problem with self-sacrifice again, Yukino says that is absolutely out of the question. Yukino decides to run for SCP to prevent Hachiman from hurting himself for the sake of others, Hachiman goes behind her back and solves the problem using underhanded methods and by lying to her. The Service Club has been saved, but Hachiman and Yukino’s relationship has taken a huge blow. Iroha comes in demanding Hachiman to take responsibility for making her run for SCP, Hachiman agrees to it. He tries keeping Yukino out of it. The members of the Service Club continue to pretend like everything is alright, Hachiman continues lying to Yukino, the two of them meet each other at the mall. Yukino tells Hachiman that he doesn’t need to keep lying or forcing himself to be in the Service Club if it’s only making him miserable, she sets him free of his obligations. Instead he comes back the next day and tells her he wants an even stronger relationship with her, one where the two of them don’t have to lie to one another or keep secrets from each other anymore, a relationship of total honesty, of knowing everything about each other. This is the second time Hachiman has come back to her, the second time he hasn’t abandoned her. Not only that, he wants an even stronger relationship with her. From this moment onward Yukino falls entirely for Hachiman.
So, Vol 7-9: Warming up to each other => Second fallout => Hachiman and Yukino “know” each other, but they aren’t openly communicating with each other, they’re merely operating on what they think the other thinks or what they think the other wants => Hachiman pushes Yukino away, because he doesn’t want to involve her with the mess he made with Iroha => Yukino pushes Hachiman away, because she thinks that his obligation of being a Service Club member is only making him miserable => Hachiman comes back to her and says he wants an even stronger relationship with her => Yukino falls in love with him and drops all of her defenses, she becomes far more open to him.
Yukino and Hachiman are far more open to each other, they are also actually openly communicating with one another. They share a couple of intimate moments, Hachiman for the first time decides to cross the line with Yukino and asks her a personal question. However at the end of Volume 10 (beginning of S2E12) Haruno tells him that what Yukino feels for Hachiman isn’t trust, but something far more sinister. During the entirety of Volume 11 (the last two episodes of season 2) Hachiman is going out of his way to avoid addressing Yukino’s feelings, because he doesn’t believe that she feels for him is the “genuine” thing he has been looking for (See Part 5). After Yui makes Yukino choose between her feelings for Hachiman or preserving the Service Club the way it is right now/preserving their friendship, Hachiman intervenes and says that he doesn’t care about the consequences, the only thing he wants is something genuine. (See Part 5)
With all of that said, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Hachiman and Yukino will end up together by the end of the series. There may be some external factors that will come between the two of them.
There are a couple of themes that are represented in the HachiYuki relationship.
1. Hachiman fell in love with Yukino since the first moment he laid eyes on her/interacted with her in the Service Club (as much as he or anyone else tries denying it. If it’s not love, then surely you can agree that he has been fascinated/mesmerized/captivated/taken away/*insert whatever* by her since the beginning of the series).
Or to be more precise, he fell in love with the “image” he had of Yukino in his head.
Yukino has been in it since day one to “save” Hachiman, because she felt sorry/guilty/responsible/concerned (something he never asked her to do).
Near the halfway point of the series (Sagami’s arc) they adopt each other’s intentions.
Yukino starts crushing on him, because he came back to her after the first time their relationship was put to the test. Hachiman, after seeing Yukino being taken advantage of and working herself to death because of Sagami, starts wanting to protect her at the expense of himself. He’s willing to play the bad guy for her (something she never asked him to do, considering how she wants to change him into becoming a better human being).
Hachiman starts looking out for Yukino, he tries to keep her from harm. Those were his intentions. The effect it had, is that it crushed Yukino’s spirit/self-confidence. The one time she put herself out there/put herself on the line (wanting to become SCP so she could “save something”), Hachiman goes behind her back, lies to her and uses underhanded methods to prevent her from achieving her goal (out of concern that if she became SCP, the Service Club would end right then and there). By “saving” the Service Club, Hachiman showed Yukino how powerless she was to do anything.
The lesson learned here is that both of them have the right intentions: trying to save/help one another, but because they’re not honest with one another, it all ends up going south:
Yukino wants to make Hachiman a better person => he becomes a villain to save her.
Hachiman wants to protect Yukino => he crushes her self-confidence and shows her how powerless she is.
(Basically, if it were up to Yukino, they would all just be sitting in the Service Club, drinking tea, helping people out as much as they could, while Hachiman slowly starts socializing with others and makes friends. However, a couple of things happened that made that impossible, the most important one being that Hachiman decided he wanted to be a martyr. Sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad reasons, in both scenarios it leaves him behind with a huge sense of guilt and hurt.)
While neither Hachiman nor Yukino has been able to directly “save” the other, simply by being in each other’s presence, interacting with one another and growing as people they’ve managed to indirectly save each other from their loneliness.
2. Hachiman and Yukino starting to openly communicate with one another. Since very early on in the series, Hachiman and Yukino have been able to communicate on a different level. They’re constantly reading between the lines and are always guessing as to what the other is thinking based on the fairly limited knowledge they have of each other. This has been shown multiple times throughout the series where Hachiman wonders if Yukino is psychic, because she can supposedly read his mind. While that is great and all, because they aren’t fully opening up to each other, it doesn’t change that they’re still guessing at what they think the other is thinking. A lot of times their guesses are accurate, but what happens if one of them can’t understand what the other is thinking?
It’s this lack of “real” communication that messes everything up, which is why “genuine” and wanting to know everything about one another is so important.
3. Hachiman and Yukino are at their best when they are working together. When Yukino tried solving Sagami’s request on her own, Yukino quickly ran into a wall and realized that she wasn’t able to “save” anyone. Yukino (due to Haruno’s meddling) was saddled up with the entire responsibility of being the chairwoman, instead of being able to make Sagami the one that took said responsibility. (But, then again, Sagami wasn’t really willing to put in the actual effort, she just cared about the title.)
Those voices could be heard all over. Everyone gave praise to Yukinoshita’s prudence.(!) She had been so overpowering, yet striking that the gossipy individuals were going as far as wondering who the actual chairwoman was.(!) Even an individual from the student council had raised her name as a potential candidate in the next election. Indeed, that was Yukinoshita Yukino.
But without a doubt, amongst them all, the one who had it the hardest was Sagami.(!) Their circumstances should’ve been the same. But another student in the same year suddenly took control of the meeting. The other fell behind while the other tried to make up for that gap. Had Yukinoshita displayed her capacity on her own, then it would’ve been a different story.(!) But, Sagami and Yukinoshita. A juxtaposition of their impressions had made evident the distinctive gap between them. It was obvious to anyone’s eyes. To praise Yukinoshita was to spite Sagami.(!) As Yukinoshita opted to remain behind and continue working, Sagami in her group of three left the room as if they were running away from the scene.(!) Now planning committee’s course of action had been made clear, our work would presumably become more optimized. Yukinoshita’s workmanship deserved commendation. But, could it be that Yukinoshita had noticed?(!)
That she wasn’t able to save anyone, nor anything.(!)
(This whole: “Could it be that Yukino noticed that she couldn’t save anyone” applies to Sagami as well as Hachiman. Because Hachiman found out about her involvement in the car accident, he had started to distance himself from Yukino. Hachiman didn’t give Yukino a chance to explain the situation to him. Yukino took up Sagami’s case and tried solving this on her own, because the atmosphere in the Service Club had become tense and awkward. Yukino was starting to feel like this was the end of the line for her and Hachiman’s relationship. She didn’t want to involve him any further against his will.)
The same can be said about Hachiman during the whole Iroha ordeal. Hachiman tried solving the problem on his own, but quickly realized that he couldn’t stand up against Tamanawa, Orimoto and the rest. He had to ask Yukino for help and together they managed to turn the Christmas event into a success.
Basically, when Hachiman and Yukino work together, they’re almost unstoppable. Hachiman and Yukino complement each other and make up for each other’s shortcomings.
4. Speaking of working together, Yukino is also the person that motivates Hachiman the most to become a better person and to actually want to work/put in effort for the things that matter to him. Which is natural, because those have always been Yukino’s intentions since the beginning of the series.
>In Volume 10,5 Hachiman is faced with a deadline. He’s constantly losing inspiration. Iroha and Yui have been keeping an eye on him and gotten him to finish the first 80% of his work. When he gets to the last 20% he is completely stumped. Yukino gives him a can of MAX Coffee and this fuels him to finish the last part, showcasing that Yukino is his biggest muse, the one that motivates him the most. (Also Hachiman calls himself an insect here. Seriously, try keeping this insect theme in mind. It will hopefully pay off for you once we reach the beginning of Volume 11. It’s nothing overly significant, but it’s all these tiny hints and Easter eggs that make this series interesting.)
I continued to stare up at the ceiling like a dead battery and there were knocks on the door. With no spare energy to answer, I turned only my eyes towards the door and the person came in the room regardless of a response.
The one who came in and asked with a bag over her shoulder was Yukinoshita.
“…If I was, I would’ve let you know.”
“That’s certainly true,” Yukinoshita said in agreement. Then, she walked up next to me and took out a printout marked in red from her bag.
“This is from earlier. There are unfinished sentences in the latter half.”
I took the printout from her and did a quick scan. Along with unfinished sentences, I came across several errors. I updated the manuscript with the fixes and I could still feel a presence next to me.
“…Do you need something?”
“Ah, no… There isn’t anything in particular.”
Yukinoshita sounded flustered when she spoke and quietly crossed her hands behind her. She then took a step back and pulled out the seat that was beside me. After taking a moment to dig through her bag, she eventually took out a clear file and began working on something. It looks like Yukinoshita came here to work as well as watch over me. The fact that she was here meant that we were in the final stretches before the deadline.
I mustered what remained of my willpower and continued pounding away at the keyboard. The digital display at the bottom of the screen would tick by, minute by minute, and the empty space would fill in, line by line. Before long, my hands halted in place, not moving an inch. Unconsciously, I let out a disheartened voice.
Apparently hearing my voice, Yukinoshita had an overjoyed face and was about to stand up. I raised my hand to stop her and slumped over, lying on the desk.
“It’s over, it’s all over. It’s impossible, I can’t do it. I can’t think of anything. I can’t think of a single word anymore…”
“That’s what you meant…” Yukinoshita sighed in astoundment and sat back in her seat. “But we can’t have that. We barely have any time left, you know?”
“Well, yeah, I know that, but…”
I was so aware of it that I was sick of it. But my brain just wouldn’t function no matter how much I wanted it to.(!) My brain was always resistant to labor, so I was starting to feel nothing could be done at this point. In the same way you’d wring a wet towel until the very last drop, not a single word came to mind. I fell backwards onto my chair and looked up at the ceiling. I’m all out of options… I left my curled hands on the keyboard despite not moving them. With my hands like that and my body facing up at the heavens, I resembled the corpse of an insect.(!) I’m nothing more than an insect(!)… A small and incompetent insect that can’t even make a deadline. Let’s call myself Hachiman the Insect(!) from now on. And let’s cast aside my human shell into the sea… I stared at the ceiling peacefully and Yukinoshita entered my field of vision. As she looked down at me, her face looked somehow anxious.
“…Here, take this.”
As Yukinoshita spoke, she quietly set something wrapped in a handkerchief near my chest. I lifted my face and took the wrapped object from her; it was slightly warm. The handkerchief was decorated with an adorable design of cat paws. After unwrapping it, what came out was a can of MAX COFFEE. It looked like she tried her best at keeping it warm. Seeing that brought a smile to my face.
“Take a breather. You’re not going to get anything done if you’re staring at the screen the entire time. It’d be better if you take a short break,”
Yukinoshita said, abruptly looking away. She went back to her seat and resumed her work.
I appreciatively accepted her offering and decided to make use of it. I snapped the tab of the MAX COFFEE can and drank it while watching Yukinoshita’s profile in a daze. In the meantime, Yukinoshita’s hands didn’t stop. She was silent and only the sounds of red pen writing on the paper could be heard. Nevertheless, I felt the frequency of the sounds was a little odd.
“…Sorry, is it that bad?”
When I asked her, Yukinoshita turned her face towards me. She then dropped her gaze to the paper at her hands, understanding what I meant. While rolling the red pen along her lips, she opened her mouth.
“…There are mistakes, but they’re at most misspellings and typos. There isn’t anything glaringly wrong, so don’t worry. Rather, it’s the other two who had far more typos,” Yukinoshita said with a teasing tone and chuckled. She looked much more her age like that, taking a much more cherubic appearance.
“Well, you were making a lot of red marks, so it got me a bit worried.”
“Oh. You only forgot to add some notes near the words, so I’m just adding those in. I make revisions as I go along.”
“Sorry for the trouble.”
I thought I was being casual in stating that, but Yukinoshita stopped her hands and gently set aside her red pen on the table. She then lowered her shoulders in discouragement.
“…I’m sorry, too. I should’ve checked on your progress when I had the chance. I should’ve known that even you can make mistakes.”
“Ah, no, it was just a miscalculation on my part. Actually, is that, like, some kind of super high-grade sarcasm…?” I asked.
Yukinoshita smiled and shook her head. “That’s certainly part of it, but… it essentially means that it was my miscalculation as well.”
So you really were being sarcastic… Either way, there’s no doubt that the both of us had made the wrong call. Whether it was me, her, or ourselves, we still had yet to come to an understanding. And that was presently like the state of the sky that expanded beyond the window, the sky that belonged to any one person. While you were unable to distinguish between noon and night, the moment you could tell was the moment the color of would change, moment by moment.
I swallowed the rest of my MAX COFFEE and forcefully put the can aside. The table clanked when the can came in contact with the steel desk.
“Time to finish up,” I said, and faced the computer once again.
“…I see. In that case, do your best.”
As short as her soft words were, they were more than enough to reach my ears.
It might’ve been because of the quick break, or the sugar from the MAX COFFEE that fueled my brain, but my hands continued typing, aiming to fill the remaining blank space.
(Oh, it was the break or the MAX Coffee you drank that gave you new inspiration and concentration, sure.)
Looking to my side, I saw that Yukinoshita was keying in something to the computer. This girl was really still doing work as I had expected…… When others were working, I would feel that I must do so as well. I think that peer pressure is really bad.
5. Hachiman and Yukino’s difference in ideology of how one should live their life and how over time they have influenced one another.
>I hate how you affirm people’s weaknesses.
At the beginning of the series, Yukino is very adamant about wanting Hachiman to change. Out of concern and because she feels responsible, she is trying to change him into becoming a better, more sociable person. All this time she has been simply guessing at how she could repay him: “I should fix his attitude and outlook on life, make him a better person to make sure he gets friends and maybe even a girlfriend.”
But it turned out that not only didn’t that work out the way she intended to, it also wasn’t entirely necessary.
(Or, well, maybe it was necessary in some way. Had Yukino not reached out to Hachiman, he would have remained a loner that kept telling himself how happy he is with the way he is living his life and he would be blaming society for everything. The same obviously applies to Yukino as well. She would have also remained a loner that continued keeping her distance from others.)
Near the halfway point of the series, Yukino comes to the realization that Hachiman’s not that bad, there’s plenty of merit in the way he solves things. She comes to accept him for who he is.
That quickly changes when Yukino sees the aftermath that Hachiman’s methods cause (post Sagami’s arc). From that point onward, she’s rejecting any of his methods of solving problems, because they usually leave someone hurt or with a giant sense of guilt (in pretty much all of the cases that person is Hachiman).
Then that changes one final time, when Hachiman undercuts Yukino during the SCP elections. Yukino was desperately trying to prevent Hachiman from hurting himself/making a fool out of himself again, to the point where she put herself on the line in trying to become SCP, but he goes behind her back and lies to her just for the sake of preserving the Service Club, because in his mind, the only way for him to stay close to Yukino is as long as the Service Club exists.
Yukino has no say in what Hachiman does. He’s not open to her anymore, he’s pushing her away to protect her, he’s lying to her, he’s going behind her back, but worst of all, Hachiman is stuck solving problems for others at the expense of himself. In this case, instead of sacrificing himself, he’s lying, deceiving people and using underhanded methods to solve problems. As much as Hachiman will pretend like this doesn’t affect him, it’s clearly leaving him behind with a huge sense of guilt. Because Yukino doesn’t want to see him suffer like this, she pushes him away for his own good. She also comes to the realization that maybe Hachiman has always been fine the way he was. All of her efforts to try and help Hachiman were in vain and unnecessary. Maybe he never needed Yukino’s help to learn how to develop relationships with others. Hachiman being forced in the Service Club has only had a negative impact on him, or so she believes at that moment in time.
“You could probably resolve things by yourself. That’s how it’s always been”
>All I ever did was act like I could do anything, like I understood everything. Yukino’s self-confidence has been destroyed.
Now, with all of that said, Hachiman definitely has changed. Mostly because and for Yukino, just not necessarily in the way she had planned. Yukino may be unaware of this (well, not entirely, she does know that he has been looking out for them “ever since that day”) but the reason Hachiman is even doing all of the things he does, is for her.
>Who is Hachiman doing it for?
>It’s not like there was someone that had told you, just the night before, that it meant a lot to this person to help Rumi out.
That left Yukinoshita and I together. Yukinoshita called out my name as if she found it a bit difficult to say. “Hikigaya‐kun… who did you really want to solve this problem for?”(!)
“I did it for Rumi Rumi, I guess,” I answered, shrugging.
I mean, look. It wasn’t like anyone explicitly asked us to do it.(!) I took only one matter upon myself: How can I devise a scheme to bring Tsurumi Rumi peace with her surroundings?
Other than that, I never intended my actions to have anything to do with anything. Even if a certain someone had brought their own baggage along out of their own accord(!), I wouldn’t make any wild guesses about it.(!) I didn’t think I had achieved anything, either.(!)
“…I see. That’s good to hear.”
(As you can see, Hachiman is quite a contrarian.)
Like I previously said, all this time, Yukino has simply been guessing at how she could make amends to Hachiman. Hachiman saying he wants something genuine is the first time he told her what he wanted. After two seasons of their relationship growing and undergoing ups and downs, the thing that Yukino is going to give him is this genuine article he so desperately wants. (More on this in Part 5)
However, Yukino’s strong urgency of needing to change is also something that applies to herself. Her entire life, Yukino has been living in Haruno’s shadow, constantly not being able to live up to her sister’s perfection. Yukino is constantly striving to better herself.
People like Haruno. If Yukino could become like Haruno then maybe people would also come to like her (specifically her parents) or at the very least come to accept her.
The influence Hachiman has over Yukino, is that Yukino learns to accept herself for who she is and be more open and honest about it. Perhaps she doesn’t have to continue chasing after Haruno’s shadow anymore and she can just be happy with who she is right now and with the friends she has right now.
>So, in the beginning, Hachiman is very resistant to change. This stays this way until the end of the first season.
Sagami probably wanted to be like Yukinoshita and Yuigahama. To become a person that people would look up to, seek out, and rely on. That’s why she would instantly give out titles. She wanted to increase her own worth by giving herself the label of Chairwoman and she wanted to make sure of her superiority by labeling others and looking down on them. That was the true form of the “growth” that Sagami spoke of.(!)
But growth isn’t something like that. Don’t go mixing up simple change with growth. I don’t want to call simple change and the end solution of compromise, “growth”. I don’t want to pretend that “to become an adult” is to resign to your fate. As if people can dramatically change so quickly within the span of a several months.(!) Humans aren’t transformers. If I could become something I wanted to become, then I wouldn’t have become like this in the first place.(!) You should change, I’ll change, I have to change, I changed. Lies and more lies.
Why can you accept so easily that your current self is wrong?(!) Why do you deny your past self?(!) Why can’t you acknowledge your current self now?(!) Why is it that you believe in your future self instead?(!) If you can’t acknowledge yourself when you were the worst from long ago and yourself when you’re at the very bottom right now, exactly when can you acknowledge someone?(!) If you’re going to reject yourself now and yourself up to this point now, can you really approve yourself from this point onwards? Don’t go thinking you can change by rejecting and overwriting yourself.(!) Holding onto a title from start to end, getting arrogant from acknowledgement, getting drunk on your own circumstances, screaming out how important you are, abiding by your own created rules, and being blind to your own world unless you are told outright; don’t you dare call that growth. Why can’t you just say that you don’t have to change, that it’s fine to stay as you are?(!)
However, from the second season onward, Hachiman starts showing a significant amount of change. He finally starts admitting to himself that he does care about others (among other things).
>Volume 6,75; an example of Yukino’s influence on Hachiman’s behavior.
However, the Miura right now wasn’t cute at all. In fact, you could say that she was scary. She was looking at me, and looked as though she wanted to say something but was holding it back. What? Do you want to ask me if there are rewards for doing this job? But, like, all the jobs are purely on a voluntarily basis. There is not even a gift to show appreciation. The only thing there is, was a thank you.
“…Erm, sorry, but we are counting on you then.”
It was very rare from me, but I thanked her nevertheless.(!) This was probably the result of Yukinoshita’s noisy education on mannerisms.(!) Or perhaps I was trained to do so by her?(!)
Yukino on the other hand learns how to accept herself, her past and also her weaknesses.
6. Opening up to one another and learning to rely on one another. This one kind of ties in with 2 and 3. Hachiman and Yukino both learn how to open up to others, specifically to each other. They also learn that when the two of them are working together, they can accomplish far more than when they try solving matters on their own.
(Yukitoki, S1 OP, is a song from Yukino’s perspective. It shows how Yukino has tried solving her problems on her own, because there was no one else that held the same point of view as her (high sense of justice, dislike towards superficiality). However the only thing it left her with is her being alone.)
Without realizing it, I’ve been looking from high above
with no one to have the same point of view as me.
Eventually my heart became white and opaque…
and the light falling into the snow dispersed.
I was able to solve
a difficult math formula without the help of anyone.
I thought it was natural to do it alone,
so I never doubted it…
but now, as the season is about to end,
the only one with me… is my own shadow.
7. Hachiman wanting “something genuine”. Hachiman says that he doesn’t want relationships that are given to him, because those don’t last. You can look at this as Hachiman indirectly rejecting Yukino’s initial intentions of wanting to make him more sociable so he can make friends and maybe even get a girlfriend. Hachiman doesn’t want any of that, there is something else that he has wanted this entire time. (See Part 5)
Just one more thing that I need to make clear before we dive into season 2. While trying to solve other people’s problems, Hachiman has tried putting the blame on himself 4 times throughout the series. I’m going to explain the differences between those 4 instances.
The first time was during Rumi’s arc. Hachiman made Hayato, Tobe and Yumiko play the bad guys, however Hachiman had planned to jump out at the last second and do the following.
It was about the right time. More than enough time had passed for the girls to become aware of themselves and the nasty intentions of those around them. Now all we needed to do was come out in the open and say “You fell for it!” in a cheerful, singsong voice. I could only see a future of blame and censure ahead of me(!), but I could pull off this much. With that thought running through my mind, I stood up.
Someone yanked on my shirt, causing my neck to jerk.
Rumi used her camera to blind/distract Hayato and co. long enough for them to escape. Rumi “saved” her group herself, without Hachiman having to take the blame.
The second time was during Sagami’s arc. Hachiman saw how Yukino was being taken advantage of and under how much pressure she was. He decided not to let her hard work go in vain. During his confrontation with Sagami on the roof, he made Hayato play the good guy, while Hachiman himself played the bad guy.
This incident has three important things going for itself:
1. Prior to this, no one in school knew who Hachiman was. After this incident, rumors about Hachiman spread like wildfire and he became the most hated person in school.
2. Yukino hadn’t seen what Hachiman did, she only heard from other sources what he did. At the time, Yukino didn’t know what the aftermath would be of Hachiman’s actions.
3. Hachiman’s sacrifice was for a noble cause: to save the Cultural Festival.
The third time was during Ebina’s confession. This time Hachiman’s intentions weren’t as noble as the other two times he tried sacrificing himself. Hachiman wanted to prove to Hayato that he was better than him, he wanted to show him that he could do what Hayato was afraid to do.
A couple of important differences between this self-sacrifice and the one during Sagami’s arc are:
1. After the events on the rooftop during the festival, Hachiman was now the most hated person in school. Things had already started to blow over. However, if Hachiman would have pulled another stunt like that, who knows what kind of effect it would have had. Luckily this incident was self-contained, but it showed that Hachiman cared very little about himself.
2. This time Yukino, after witnessing the aftermath of Hachiman’s actions, got to see up close and personal how Hachiman solves problems.
3. Hachiman’s sacrifice this time wasn’t for something meaningful, it was to solve Hayato’s superficial clique from falling apart (from Yukino’s point of view).
The fourth time was when Hachiman suggested to hold an awful campaign speech for Iroha. That way everyone would blame Hachiman for Iroha not becoming student council president. An event like this would have been held in front of the entire school, so Yukino told Hachiman that option was absolutely out of the question.