>Sensei asks Hachiman what the Service Club members plan on doing. Hachiman says that Sagami will have to do everything herself this time. The point is, Sagami needs to prove her worth as a proper committee chairman this time so she can make people stop hating her.
That’s right. The three of us will not do anything this time. What we needed to do was already done. The one who needs to bear the brunt of it all was someone else.(!) No, that person should’ve taken up that position right from the very beginning.(!) I peered at that person who was seated far away from me. That person, who was at this moment, checking through sheets of paper.
“This time we will leave it to ‘Miss’ Chairman.”
Hiratsuka-sensei narrowed her eyes, staring hard at the main character this time, Sagami Minami, with what appeared to be a trace of excitement. If we weren’t able to sufficiently demonstrate Sagami’s traits as a committee chairman this time(!), then there would probably be no further salvation for this entire committee.(!) If we were just talking about subduing the helpers, then we, or rather Yukinoshita, would have no problem doing that. However, doing so would not erase the negative feelings that they have against Sagami.(!) Since we already decided against letting Sagami quit(!), and our actions were largely based on this, we have no choice but to let Sagami do it(!), no matter how much unease we felt. Sagami doing it herself is the only way anyone, including Sagami, would reverse their opinions of her.(!) Simply put, this was a bad gamble. The stakes were insanely high. People who were not delicate, arrogant, who only thought about themselves, who were nervous and terrible when it came to the big stage, were probably not suited at all to be chairman. But, even so, for the sake of the Volunteer Club being able to complete two requests, we have no choice but to do this. In order to raise the success rate a little higher, we had to make some preparations. What we did was different. What was left was to take a look at how it all plays out… Talk about unease…
>The meeting starts again. The students are openly showing their opposition to the committee. Sagami starts talking. After finishing what she has to say, she gets verbally attacked by Haruka and Yukko’s side again.
Despite there being nothing particularly noteworthy to report, the behavior of the helpers was atrocious.(!) Besides the volume when they spoke, there were some who were sprawled on the desks, playing with their phones. There were others who were sleeping, looking as idle as someone from a painting. Yet, this also showed what they thought of us.(!) They didn’t even bother to keep up a facade. In fact, they may be doing this on purpose to show us up.(!) Their attitude accurately reflected their anti-executive committee attitude. Because they all adopted this attitude, it further strengthened their sense of unity. Although this was just a childish and malicious act of rebellion, its effects were surprisingly good. With Haruka and Yukko at the center of this open act of rebellion(!), the negative sentiments against us had only gotten stronger.(!) As long as there was someone leading the charge, more people were bound to follow. Something similar to this had happened before during the Cultural Festival. What was different from that time, was that the positions of Sagami, Haruka and Yukko were all different.(!) This time, because the executive committee and the helpers were quite clearly at war with each other, there was no need to create a common enemy.(!) This point was different. The enemy already existed. What we needed to do now was to change it into a situation whereby they would fight amongst themselves.
Hence, another plan was needed this time. The way that this meeting was going was exactly like the last time, and the present situation was just as bad. As Sagami led the discussion, I was quite curious as to whether her voice could really reach everyone.(!) I sort of felt that it would be better if the others couldn’t hear her. Anyway, Sagami continued to advance the meeting in indifference. Then, as we were entering the next topic of discussion, she paused for a brief moment. With a cough, she silently swallowed her nervousness.
“Then, the next topic is about the main events, as we were discussing the last time.”
Upon hearing this, everyone present stopped their boisterous activities, and adopted an attentive stance. It was plain as day that this was the main topic for today. To them, this was surely the largest attacking point.(!) Of course, it was the same to us. Meguri-senpai looked at Sagami worriedly. Yuigahama’s hands, which were resting on the table, began to shiver uncontrollably, looking apparently uneasy. As she bore the brunt of these warm looks, she continued on.
When Sagami was done talking, Haruka and Yukko looked at each other. After seeking confirmation with one another, they nodded their heads lightly and raised their hands.
“This doesn’t sound like anything has changed from the previous time…”(!)
“In the end, it’s still not a completely safe idea…”
I had long expected that they would say that. In fact, one could say that everything that Sagami has said up till now was merely a basis to bait these words out of them.(!) Hence, all the ruckus that the helpers were now causing after Haruka and Yukko, were all within expectations.
“The big meet is coming up soon…”(!)
“Come to think of it, isn’t it a bit atrocious that the chairman is merely repeating what has been said before?”(!)
“Yea! She just wants us to do work.”(!)
However, this sort of thing that was purposely said so loudly would not easily dissipate. The unease within Sagami was clear as she shot several glances at Meguri-senpai and Yukinoshita to seek confirmation.(!) No matter how many times we had briefed her beforehand, she was probably still a little afraid upon facing the sudden commotion now.(!) However, both Meguri-senpai and Yukinoshita nodded their heads, causing her to relax.(!) Sagami trusted them(!), and waited there devoid of movement. She stood without saying a word, her gaze fixated, and her posture never changing. There was only the slight trembling of her hand that was clutching the sheet of printed paper. Soon, most of the unhappiness seemed to have been vented out, and everyone became somewhat quieter. Looks of suspicion were cast upon the silent Sagami.
>Sagami carries out Hachiman’s plans of “mutual self-destruction” by proposing some outlandish ideas. I’m not going to post them here, because at the end of the day they don’t matter. The students lash out at Sagami. Haruka and Yukko bring up Sagami’s failure as a chairman during the Cultural Festival. Then they turn their attention towards Hachiman. Hachiman tries standing up for himself, Sagami tells him to “shut up”. Yukino tries stepping in to protect Hachiman, but Sagami tells her the same thing. Sagami breaks down in tears and is escorted out of the room. Basically, the problem is resolved by Sagami having an emotional outburst in front of everyone.
Sounds of hatred and criticisms came flying towards Sagami.(!) This was natural. From the very start, she had been bearing the full brunt of it. Being the dart-board for everyone to aim at was only natural. All Sagami can do now was to bear with it. There was no bed of roses for someone who was at the top. Because they were right at the top, they were also right in front. Hence, they would be hurt more than others, their blood would be shed more than others. If there was no way to resolve it peacefully, then it would come to striking down others, or getting struck by others. A person at the top could only choose from these two options. Such a position was tough, but for the position of committee chairman, it was still slightly easier to bear the brunt of abuses.
However, in most cases these abuses would soon be linked to one’s character. To begin with, position was a very different thing from a person’s character. Yet, they were intimately linked from an objective viewpoint. In other words, if this goes on, it would soon turn into a personal attack on Sagami.(!)
“You obviously don’t do work normally.(!) Why are you acting all chairman-like only at this time?”(!)
“Incomprehensible… You were obviously late that time too…”(!)
The topic gradually shifted from the chairman into personal attacks on her.(!) At the core of these attacks, were obviously Haruka and Yukko since they knew everything about Sagami.(!) Because they were once close friends, they were much more capable of targeting Sagami’s weaknesses.
“Oi, stop it.”
“Yes, yes. Calm down, please?”
Though Hiratsuka-sensei and Yuigahama urged the crowd to be quiet, the both of them were in a state of hysteria. With so much blood rushing to their head, the crowd seemed unable to listen to any instructions to stop. Not only that, their voices were getting louder.
“During the Cultural Festival, Sagami was just doing her job half-heartedly.(!) What’s up with this attitude all of sudden?”
Having her past dug up, Sagami’s voice began to grow softer. The Cultural Festival was probably not a good memory for her. However, one should further advance their attack after figuring out their opponent’s weak points. And thus, Haruka and Yukko continued their verbal assault non-stop.
“During that time, we were scolding that dude like crazy.(!) How come you are treating that person like your ally now?”(!)
“Yea, aren’t we supposed to be your allies? Why are you helping that detestable person?”(!)
It seems like there were times where the normally meek Haruka and Yukko would also get caught up by their emotions and turn vicious as well. The intensity emanating from them caused people around them to be unable to say a single word. Of course, I was one of them.
“Erm, hey-hey, hold your horses. Hikki is not like that.”(!)
Yuigahama was trying to put out the fire that had spread all the way across here, but it’s kind of bad to have someone defend you when you were the one being badmouthed.
I stood up, and after careful consideration of my choice of words, said the following to Haruka and Yukko. “Well, it’s true that Sagami was like that, but this time…”(!)
My words were interrupted halfway through. I looked towards the person who had said it and saw Sagami with her head lowered. Was it her who said that just now? In order to seek confirmation for my doubts, I took a step towards her. Then, Sagami raised her head, and in clear voice, spoke to me.
“You shut the hell up. So noisy. What is it that you want?”(!)
What she said was full of her enmity towards me. Even since the Cultural Festival, Sagami had always been venting her anger at me like this.(!) Well, I guess I should fight back too. Just as I wanted to do so, someone walked in front of me. Yukinoshita brushed away the hair at her shoulders and looked angrily at Sagami.(!)
“Sagami-san, what you said just now…”(!)
However, Sagami had no intention of listening at all and said the same thing to Yukinoshita as well. Then, just like Haruka and Yukko, she began to launch her own tirade.
“Everything is always decided by you people.(!) No one ever listened to me.(!) What’s up with all your looks of I understand everything?”
She began to gasp for air as though she just had a seizure and with great effort, began to squeeze out the last bit of her words.
“Aren’t I trying my best too…?”(!)
Was this directed at me and Yukinoshita? That wailing voice of hers was not only directed at us, but was also an attack at Haruka and Yukko as well?(!)
“Aren’t I doing my best this time!? Why do you not understand that!? I’ve already apologized and reflected on my actions…”(!)
Sagami lowered her head, and her expression could not be clearly seen. However, what was clear were the tears streaming down her face. Slowly, her voice faded away. However, no one said a single word. The only sound that could be heard was Sagami speaking in a husky, repentant tone once again.
“That’s why I said, that I will do it properly the next time, that’s why…”(!)
Sagami couldn’t continue on. What followed next were no longer words, but the sound of her sobbing.
As Meguri-senpai caressed Sagami’s back, she spoke to her in a gentle voice, “Sagami-san.” However, Sagami could not calm herself down, and continued sobbing convulsively.
“Shiromeguri. Can you bring her someplace else to let her calm down?”
Meguri-senpai nodded her head at Hiratsuka-sensei’s instructions. Then, she slowly tugged at Sagami’s hands and pulled her up. In this manner, she brought her out of the meeting room. The people who were left behind quietly watched as she left. No one could think of anything appropriate to say, and so kept quiet.(!) Even Haruka and Yukko, who had been running their mouths just now were like that.(!) There were still people whispering here and there, but now it was a complete silence. This turn of events was completely unexpected.(!) It totally superseded my expectation. This was not reason. It wasn’t logical at all. It didn’t make any sense. Sagami’s cries and clamors was a pure and simple emotional argument. This was different from what I had planned(!), of not letting her back down from her supposed responsibility.(!) In other words, I miscalculated.(!) There was no mutually assured destruction.(!) Alright, I get it. You’re crying and bawling. It was just that alone. I admit defeat. No really, I admit defeat. Such a lame, dumb, vulgar and petty method. Was this the reason why I had not noticed something that simple? From the very beginning, this problem arose from emotions. If we were to resolve this completely, we had to base our arguments on emotions as well. To return anger with anger, to strike back when struck. In this mud-slinging war, the first to lose their cool was the loser.(!) Sagami had already left the room. On the other hand, Haruka, Yukko, as well as those around them would require some time to recover. As though somewhat embarrassed by all the stares they were getting, they sat back down quietly. In the uncomfortable silence where one would have to think twice before even moving their body, Hiratsuka-sensei coughed lightly. Hiratsuka-sensei was probably the only one who could restore order to this mess.(!)
After looking at everyone, she spoke.
“Let me ask once more. Is there anyone who is opposed to the Chairman’s proposal?”(!)
If anyone were to object now, the person would probably be treated as an asshole.(!) There was probably no one who dared to lash out against someone who just cried her heart out in front of everyone. Therefore, no one dared to raise their hands. Hiratsuka-sensei nodded her head satisfactorily at this result.
“Okay, then it’s decided.”
“Now then, let me explain what we will be doing from today onwards.”
In place of Sagami, Yukinoshita proceeded on with the meeting. Yukinoshita’s calm and steady voice reverberated throughout the meeting room that had yet to regain its composure after the storm. I leaned in heavily on a chair and sighed deeply.
>After all of this, the events that follow are the things you see in S1E13, with the Service Club making preparations for the events and actually carrying them out. Hachiman and Yukino (and others obviously) have essentially turned the Sports Festival into a success.
>After a successful Sports Festival, in the final moments of this volume, Hachiman walks out of the Service Club and encounters Sagami.
Haruka and Yukko’s memories of this Sports Festival, as well as their memories towards Sagami, would become blurred as well.(!) Soon, they would forget about all that had transpired during this Sports Festival, and what had resulted from it. Everything would be gone with the wind. I ambled about in the empty school building. When I descended a floor and turned a corner, I nearly bumped into someone. Who was that? That was dangerous. I raised my head and saw that it was Sagami Minami. Sagami was hugging a pile of papers. There seemed to be the words “Sports Festival” printed on one of them. Seems like the committee still had some things to take care of.
We averted our eyes and kept silent. Then, Sagami spoke all of a sudden.
“Oi, move it.”
Although this was what she said, she didn’t look at me. Just like always, my relationship with Sagami was the same, two parallel lines. Without a word, I moved to the side. What followed was the sound of footsteps going away. Even so, ah, how should I put it? This was a huge improvement. Although it was still unable to be done now, Sagami and I should be able to maintain a normal stranger relationship in the days ahead.(!) As I listened to the footsteps going away, I began to walk too. Just like this, the festival after the festival had ended. It was all too late now. There are somethings that cannot be undone. However, each day continues to pass by in sorrow or happiness, until the day high school ends. That’s why, their festival have yet to end.
Basically, the conclusion is:
>Sagami has redeemed herself in the public’s eye. Yukino’s actions have made Sagami regain her self-confidence. Sagami makes up with her friends.
Sagami stops spreading rumors about Hachiman. By redeeming Sagami, Yukino has indirectly “saved” Hachiman.
However, simply because Sagami has stopped spreading rumors, doesn’t mean that the negativity aimed towards Hachiman suddenly stops as well. By the events of Volume 7 they will start to blow over, but the aftereffects are still there.
Anyway, with Volume 6,5 out of the way, let’s move onto events that actually happen in the anime.
>Hachiman’s friends, while they don’t dislike him, have a difficult time approaching him in the open, right after the confrontation.
>If you remember from Part 1, Yukino had asked Hachiman twice if he was okay with people hating him because of a misunderstanding. He said it was fine. Here Yukino is teasing him for being the most hated person in school.
Why? Well, this took place right after Hachiman told Sagami off. At this point in time, Yukino didn’t know how big of a deal it would become. She had only heard what Hachiman did, not seen it with her own eyes. She assumed that it would blow over.
Secondly, Hachiman’s actions had meaning to them. He had saved the Cultural Festival from becoming a disaster. If you remember from Part 1, Yukino also acknowledges how Hachiman managed to save Sagami, Hachiman has impressed her a lot.
Thirdly, Yukino knows what it’s like to be the most hated person in school and to have vicious rumors spread about you. She’s basically asking Hachiman what it feels like to experience the same thing Yukino experienced when she was younger, she’s establishing that there’s a link between the two of them. Naturally she didn’t want Hachiman to have to experience this, but at this moment in time she didn’t think it would have such an impact or that it would last long.
>I am of diamond level class, diamonds can’t be destroyed or hurt. That’s a lie.
The hot weather cooled down at short moment’s notice and what followed were not cool winds, but freezing ones. For this school that was erected on the coast, it was all the more expected. Something else worth mentioning was that my surroundings were just as cold.(!) The space around my seat, which was smack-dab in the middle of class, akin to the eye of the typhoon, mirrored an isolated vacuum that nobody dared to approach.(!) Maybe it was a special trait of Japanese people, but they do love their edges and corners. When you’re riding the train or bus, you’d want to sit at those spots. Give Edge-chan and Corner-chan a personality and you’ll find them to be quite popular. Because of that, the immediate vicinity of my seat that was situated in the heart of class was all but empty. It’s the same as usual. What was different was what the stares conveyed.(!)
It wasn’t that they were being oblivious, but that they were deliberately giving gazes that screamed out “wait, what, you were there?”.(!) Stares that shot in my direction for a split moment and then they’d look like they were about to burst into laughter, those kinds of stares.(!)
When I surveyed the room to pinpoint the origin of these stares, our gazes would meet. That exchange was something that would warrant me to look the other way, also known as the Hikigaya style.(!) With that being said, it was normal for them to avert their gaze. That was how it was up until now. But, now that they were in a position of superiority(!), that wasn’t the case. In fact, after our eyes met for a full two seconds, they’d sneer to themselves “he’s totally looking our way (lol)”, “what’s with him (lol)”, “gross (lol)”; these stylish jokes went back and forth in their witty conversations.
You know, I’m feeling a little like Panda-chan. No, maybe that’s a little too much. Maybe a wooper looper and a sea monkey might be better. Oh dear, what’s with these lovable creatures? Both disgusting and cute fellows, aren’t they? …Well, I need this much encouragement or else I think my heart just might break a little. Though, I’m sure you’d cry yourself to sleep late at night when you find that there’s definitely something missing over at the edge. Speaking of the hardness of super humans, diamonds, myself being of diamond-level class(!), are quite resistant to scratches, but can actually easily be crushed by a hammer. Someone claimed diamonds couldn’t be destroyed.(!)
That’s a lie.(!)
(Hachiman admits that it does hurt him.)
Fortunately, it seems that the entire school body had moved on from the anti-Hikigaya phase.(!) In the first place, my presence was all but nonexistent, though everybody was quick to latch on to something else of interest. There was a phrase that said gossip lasted seventy five days and that was fitting. It’d be something similar to changing your “waifu” every season.
The poor treatment that I’ve been subjected to gradually diminished over time(!) to the point that I won’t even be called on to “That Person is Now!?”; that was my current relevance. The world has absolutely no interest in me. It’s because there are a lot of fun things out there. Class was bustling with lighthearted and refreshing conversations today as well. Coming from the back of class were loud voices that sounded similar to a gorilla drumming its chest, voices that carried on a conversation and were loud enough to attract attention. By the way, if we translate that to Japanese, it’d be “drumming”. In their conversation of many assorted flavors, they talked with voices as if to assert their existence in class. When I slightly glanced over in their direction, it was the trio of three, Tobe, Oooka, and Yamato sitting on their desks. You have seats, so why aren’t you sitting in them?
“Beh, whacha gonna do on the field trip?”
When Tobe brought up a topic, Oooka responded with his hands elevated in the air.
“Kyoto, right? Definitely the USJ. The U. S. J! U. S. J!”
“Ain’t tha’ in Osaka?”
“There it is! An authentic comeback, I’d say!”
Yamato retorted in an oddly low voice while Tobe frolicked around. Seriously, I could drop dead anytime listening to that. If there was an actual Kansai person here, he’d toss an ashtray at them. Getting angry at terrible imitations of the Kansai dialect is a special characteristic of theirs. It’s what Conan-kun said, ya kno’.
The Kansai dialect of an individual from Kanto isn’t as delicate. They’d just be as guilty if you checked whether they’d let it go or not. For me, it was something I was completely unaware of, but those three continued to talk happily. Occasionally, they’d turn to the girls and give them a look with wretched grins as if to say “we’re talking about some good stuff here, ain’t we?”.
“You know, going out to Osaka would be a total pain though.”
“Ain’t you right.”
Oooka’s face brightened with an awfully satisfied expression at the talking Tobe who was playing with his hair. Then, there was the collected and slow-witted Yamato. He was quick on the uptake and after some careful thinking, as if he was carefully aiming at something, he opened his mouth.
“…You can go by yourself Tobe, yeah.”
“Oh waait! You’re gonna leave me out like that! That should be for Somethingtani-kun~!”(!)
A sudden burst of laughter.(!) On closer inspection, the nearby Oda and Tahara were trying to hold in their laughter, shoulders trembling as they played on their phone; “pfufufu”. Yes, yes, totally interesting. Totally a white tale. Well, that’s the treatment I’m getting these days.(!) They trudge along the limit of what they think they can say, adding a joke in one after the other.(!) By the way, at our school, the only bullying that exists comes in the form of jokes. It was something along the lines of we’re not bullying him~ or we’re just teasing him~.(!) Regardless of how cruel their words or conduct were, “it was a joke” would settle things for good, super convenient.(!) No matter whom it was, akin to where “Vegeta, you should laugh”, you can’t help but laugh. However, the reason for this behavior is none other than for the sake of their usual practice of “accepting”. For times when they can’t deal with something, they compromise by turning it into a laughing matter. It’s a necessity that allows cliques to deal with unknown irregularities.(!) Indeed, the first period of class F had a band of Sagami sympathizers who fervently lobbied in her favor.(!) The glares of contempt directed at me and their beautiful camaraderie with Sagami was quite the sight to behold(!), but our time as high school students is all but fleeting. Around the time the Sports Festival had ended, the “Sagami is pitiful” boom shifted to the current “let’s make fun of Hikitani-kun” boom.(!) I am the loved child of the century, seriously.(!) With Sagami, who was originally the root of all things, already being forgotten, the remaining precedent of the treatment of Hikigaya Hachiman smoothly transitioned into a pastime.(!)
This pastime, as it was, turned into something akin to a religious rite and that was understandable. Back then, rites were carried out because it had a purpose, but now the meaning of that had been lost altogether. For example, Christmas and the Bon Festival dance is enjoyed by everyone regardless of how it came to be and this mirrored how people chose to accept things. Before long, by assimilating it into the culture, they can reestablish their unity as well as seeing their identity as a group in a new light. Well, they’ll lose interest soon enough though.(!) But, the class that was swelling up in excitement over the field trip was currently at its peak. People flock to their own cliques, making talk of where they plan to go and what they should do. Indeed, when they needed to flaunt their “clique power”, it was a necessary rite. Tobe and his buddies continued blurting “Somethingtani-kun, Somethingtani-kun” all the while shifting the topic of their conversations.(!) You know, my name isn’t actually Hikitani in the first place…
Hachiman, for a period of time, being the most hated person in school is important and it ties into pretty much everything that happens from this point onward.
Considering how insignificant of a role Hachiman plays in the social scene of his high school, like he said, it would most likely blow over eventually. That is, unless if he were to pull another stunt like that…
>Slowly his friends start approaching him again, Yui asks him if he’s going to the club, because that’s the place where they can interact without having to worry about others. Miura isn’t all too happy about Yui hanging out with Hachiman, because she fears that people might start spreading rumors about Yui as well, but Miura knows that the “Service Club” means a lot to Yui, so she lets it slide.
>Totsuka and Saki (a really small LN exclusive moment, Volume 6,25) also have their small moments where they approach Hachiman to show that they’re still on good terms with him.
>Hachiman goes to the Service Club, the one place where he is free of the judgment of others.
>Tobe and Hayato enter the Service Club, at first Tobe is reluctant to ask Hachiman, because:
>Yui shows her disapproval of Tobe’s inconsiderate comment. Yukino acknowledges that due to Hachiman’s actions this type of reaction is to be expected. That doesn’t mean they can come into their club, ask them for a favor, while insulting one of their club members.
>Yukino tells them to leave.
>Hayato wants to leave, but Tobe insists, he tells them that he wants to confess to Ebina.
>Later on Ebina comes in and starts talking about her generic fujoshi stuff, however she also talks about how she wants to keep things the same.
>Don’t let me down Hikitani.
>You remember my request right?
What is important to understand here is that out of Hayama’s group, Ebina is highly likely the second smartest person. Her overzealous fujoshi act is exactly that: an act. By saying that, I don’t mean that she doesn’t have any interest in the fujoshi lifestyle, instead what I’m saying is that Ebina overplays that part, so it’s easy for her to fit in, so that people can just accept her as weird and don’t pry any further into her business. Ebina is convinced that people aren’t able to accept the “real” her.
“Ebina too, she has somethin’ like that too. Sometimes, I like, get quick glances at her and it’s like, she isn’t what she looks like or so?(!) That is totally cool. Aah, I’m soo gross for saying this embarrassing stuff!”
As if trying to brush it off, Tobe fluttered the hair on the back of his head. Thanks for happily explaining things that I’m not listening to. Stop laughing refreshingly while twirling your long hair. Cut your hair. But… how should I put it, he’s actually watching Ebina quite closely, this guy is. I’m a man who went through life through just observation for a long time. That’s why I’ve, more or less, noticed that Ebina wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill cute girl from her appearance alone.(!) Even she has something she’s hiding deep down.(!) Tobe may not have fully understood that core issue, but having observed and sympathized with Ebina, he may have a clue about it.(!) And just like that, it began to poke at the back of his mind. Before he knew it, his eyes naturally began following her around and finally, he learned of a new side of her and his heart grew hot. That was the obvious development for anyone… It was the same for me as it was for Tobe.
In other words, Ebina let her surroundings dictate her character which allowed her to keep the appropriate distance between people. She wasn’t an eccentric person, but she was merely being treated as an “eccentric”.
“When Ebina’s quiet, she’s a real hit with the guys and plenty of those guys want me to introduce them to her. She always refused to meet with them though. At first, I thought she was just being shy so I tried pushing recommendations onto her. And then, what do you think she said?”
I’m obviously not going to get this quiz if I’m not given any hints. Miura shrugged her shoulders and just as she was about to say something, she tilted her face slightly.
“ ‘Ah, sure, whatever.’ She said that while laughing. It was like she was talking to a stranger.”(!)
As soon as Miura described it, it felt awfully real as it replayed in the depths of my head. The tone of her voice, her expression, and her look were all piercing cold and she couldn’t forgive the person for taking a step over the boundary that she set to maintain her distance of her own discretion.(!)
“Ebina doesn’t really talk about herself and I don’t really ask about her either.(!) But, I’m sure she hates it.”
That might be a bit wrong. If she was going to lose something, then she would choose to destroy herself instead. If trying to protect something will bring out about victims, she would rather give up and just throw it all away. Even the current relationships she had now; she would definitely throw them away.
“You know, right now, I’m havin’ lots of fun. But if Ebina leaves, then we might not be able to stay as we are right now. We might not be able to do stupid things together anymore.”
Miura’s voice shook as she uttered her words.
We get a short glimpse into her character during Rumi’s arc, about how she personally has found somewhat of a happy place living for her hobbies, suggesting that she as well has had trouble being close to people when she was younger.
During her own arc we find out that she enjoys what she currently has with Hayato’s group, even if she knows how fragile and fake those bonds are. She is essentially a true Hayato group member. She knows it, she hates herself for it, but it doesn’t matter, because she enjoys living in the now and she has no problem playing her part in the group as “the overzealous fujo”, because that’s the role everyone has gotten to know her for and accept her for. She can’t be her true self around this group, but she chooses to go along with it anyway, just like how Hayato chooses to stay everyone’s Hayato Hayama and never goes for the things he wants for himself.
Ebina, the way she is now, would never be able to date someone in her own circle. Before approaching the Service Club, Hayato and Ebina discuss how they’re going to deal with Tobe wanting to confess to her and what consequences it can have on their group. Ebina and Hayato enjoy their group the way it is now, they don’t want the group dynamic to change or, even worse, fall apart.
>Hachiman solves their problem for them, but he does it at the expense of himself and his own group.
>I should thank you. You knew what my request actually was, right?
>I like how I’m capable of saying things I don’t really mean. I like my current self and the way the group is right now. That is why I hate myself.
With that said, Ebina didn’t necessarily intend for Hachiman’s actions to distort the balance of the Service Club. Since Sagami’s arc, it has been made very clear to Ebina (and others) that Hachiman gets things done. The people in the Yahari universe may not agree with his methods, but he gets results or to be more precise: Hachiman is able to make problems disappear without actually having to deal with them, usually by shifting the attention to something else, namely everyone hating Hachiman.
Ebina discussed with Hayato how they should solve this situation; Ebina wanted to involve Hachiman, Hayato didn’t, because Hayato has firsthand experience with how Hachiman solves problems. (See Hayato’s analysis)
>Ebina didn’t mean for it to disturb the atmosphere in the Service Club.
Which then brings us to Hayato’s side of things.
>Hayato doesn’t want Tobe to confess to Ebina, because that means that their group will fall apart. He’s been trying to dissuade Tobe the entire Volume (S2E1+2). Hayato also doesn’t want to involve Hachiman or the Service Club because Hayato knows how Hachiman solves problems. (See Hayato’s part as to why Hayato doesn’t want to involve Hachiman)
During the field trip, maybe possibly way earlier, Hayama’s attitude was quite odd. Hayama, who always flawlessly kept from aggravating things, couldn’t have possibly noticed this abnormality of himself. But this time, he was being too obvious. Too obvious that even someone like me could notice.
That was why I felt something was out of place when Hayama chose to actively avoid the choice of cheering his friend on.
“Obviously. If anything, there’s something wrong with you guys for wanting to continue having fun in that charade of yours.”
“I wonder… I don’t think it’s like that at all. Our current relationship that we have is everything to me right now.”
“No, it is. Then, what does Tobe think about it? He’s trying pretty hard you know. Are you not going to give him any consideration at all?”
I pushed Hayama along with my words and he squeezed the rock in his hand.
“I told him many times to give up. That’s because I don’t think Hina right now would open up to him at all… Even so, we can’t predict what’ll happen down the road. That’s why I didn’t want him to try to get everything over with so fast.”
>Hayato already knows what it’s like to lose something that’s important to you. Hayato also knows how Yukino is as a person, but at the same time Hayato wants to preserve his current group. Hayato has no other options, so he lets Hachiman do as he pleases.
>After that, Yukino and Hachiman have their falling out.
Which then brings us to Hachiman’s side of things.
Hachiman’s issue here is twofold. When Hachiman decided to “sacrifice” himself for Hayato’s group, it wasn’t because he cared so much about preserving Hayato’s group. (Maybe that’s not entirely true. He did empathize with Tobe and he realized that Ebina was counting on him to do something. However there was something else that was the deciding factor.)
Throughout Volume 7, Hachiman interacts with Tobe, Ebina and Miura. He finds out what it is that they want.
>Tobe wants to confess to Ebina, but he doesn’t want to be rejected. While Hachiman doesn’t care about Tobe, he does see a similarity between Tobe and himself. He doesn’t want Tobe to have to face rejection.
In the same way I was once long ago, Tobe was a guy in love. Whether he was a normalfag or part of the top caste, he was just an earnest guy at heart.
Exactly how many times has Tobe failed up until now? If he had failed as much as I have and still managed to retain that optimism and straightforwardness, then it was worthy of respect. But, that probably wasn’t the case.(!) Actually, I want that to be the case… I don’t want this carefree, conforming guy to have some sort of backbone or trauma.(!) I don’t want him to be that guy that broke past all of that and can laugh heartedly, looking cool in the process…
Ebina and Miura want things to stay the same. Both are afraid that Tobe’s confession will drive a wedge between their group, which will eventually lead to their group falling apart.
However, it’s during the conversation Hachiman has with Hayato, right before the confession, where Hachiman decides what he is going to do. Hachiman wants to prove to Hayato that he is better than him, he wants to show him that he can do what Hayato is afraid to do.
The reason why Hayama couldn’t act was because he knew someone was bound to be hurt.(!) The one step that he could take would ultimately hurt someone which would lead to something breaking.(!) Exactly who had the right to deny the justice of those who agonize over their decision to try to protect something? All of us were living in this laughably narrow world with a limited amount of time. It doesn’t need to be said that our time as high school student wouldn’t last forever.(!) Who had the right to criticize you for wanting to value the limited time you had left?(!) It was understandable wanting to not lose anything.(!) What I needed to do was already decided. Hayama Hayato can’t choose anything. There were too many things he had within his grasp that he held dear.
Hikigaya Hachiman can’t choose anything. Rather, there were no alternatives because there existed only one choice. As ironic as it was, Hayama and I were similar in the regard of “not being able to decide”(!), but everything else was completely parallel. The things Hayama wanted to protect were things I couldn’t understand.
But it was better that way. That’s why there were things that only I could do. Hayama called out to me as I left with my back turned against the river.
“I really didn’t want to rely on you for this too…”(!)
The same goes for me too, you bastard. Love and friendship were things adored by the masses. But that was a limited right granted to the winners. The cries of the losers fell on deaf ears. In that case, I will take them all in. I will sing out with all my might.
In the second episode, Hachiman and Hayama already know the situation with the request, so they both had the reasons to do something. Initially, they took different sides, maintaining the equilibrium with their actions. But after the talk at the Togetsukyo Bridge, it was destroyed and we’ve got what we’ve got.(!) Had Hachiman not understood the situation they’ve got themselves into, he wouldn’t have come to his solution.(!) After all, he’s not friends with Hayama, Tobe, and probably Ebina, so he wouldn’t harm himself just because of the simple talk.(!) So it wasn’t an expression of Hachiman’s kindness: just a mitigation of the damage. So his actions can be considered arrogant, as they are done for self-satisfaction. Watching his actions, you can’t help but say, “Like, what the hell?” Or let’s put it like this: if Hachiman, having encountered so many problems, chose this plan as the best, he certainly was at his wits’ end. It’s similar to the feeling of a player whose opponent has just revealed his deal while he himself will certainly lose; so he thinks, “And what now?”
Hachiman’s second issue is that he’s stubbornly clinging to the idea that he is still a loner. Hachiman still can’t accept that anyone can care about him. He has stopped having expectations of others, because those only lead to misunderstandings. Being a loner is what defines him, having no self-worth is something he has grown accustomed to. Hachiman doesn’t want to believe that others can get hurt because Hachiman is hurting himself, because from his point of view, he (or his feelings) doesn’t matter. He is too afraid or unwilling to let go of his loner status. In that sense, he is very similar to Ebina, who overplays her fujoshi role to keep others at a distance.
>Hachiman’s biggest problem of season 2; stubbornly clinging to the idea that he’s still a loner, that his actions don’t have any impact on others.
Hachiman calls himself the biggest liar, because not only did he protect things he doesn’t care about (preserving Hayato’s superficial group), he also acts as if there are no things in his life that matter to him. His actions have no impact on others just as much as the feelings of others don’t have any impact on him or his actions.
>The things Hayama wanted to protect were things I couldn’t understand.
>Everyone has something they hold dear, something they never want to lose. That’s why they lie, but the biggest liar was me, because I’m unwilling to admit that there are things that I care about and don’t want to lose.
Which brings us to Yui’s side of things.
During the entirety of Volume 7 (S2E1+2), Yui takes a keen interest in Tobe and Ebina. However, what’s strongly implied is that Yui is actually doing this because she wants to get closer to Hachiman and confess to him during this trip as well. While all of the things they’re doing during this volume are supposedly for the sake of helping Tobe get closer to Ebina, it’s actually Yui dragging Hachiman along to do couples related things. The chapter where Yui is pretty much going on a date with Hachiman and is continuously making moves on him, is called: Chapter 5: As you can see, Yuigahama Yui is putting in the effort.
(If you want a more detailed look into what happens during Volume 7, or at least from Yui’s side of things, then read the “Promised Date” part. You can see in full detail that Yui intended to spend a lot of time with Hachiman, so she could get closer to him and possibly confess to him.)
>Yui takes an interest in Tobe’s request. Hachiman and Yukino both protested and said that it was something that Hayama’s group needed to solve on their own and that it was a bad idea to get involved (they protested far more in the LN), but Yui insisted and eventually convinced the Service Club to help Tobe out.
>Yui takes an interest in a love related request, because her thoughts are preoccupied with romance as well.
>Hachiman tries leaning away, Yui leans in more.
>Come spend time with me, it’s for our job. Yui pulled some strings to make sure that Hachiman and her would get to spend time together during this trip. (LN exclusive)
>Let’s go into all of these shrines for Tobe and Ebina’s sake. Let’s spin this stone, what did you wish for? I already know what my wish is. (LN exclusive)
>Let’s drink from the same water, your love life will be blessed apparently.
>Hachiman instinctively extends his hand. He realizes the implication and tries retracting his hand. Yui grabs onto his hand.
>M-me and Y-Yui aren’t in a r-relationship.
>This is the perfect place to confess to someone.
>Hachiman confesses to Ebina, preserving Hayato’s group.
>Yui doesn’t like how Hachiman fake confessed to Ebina, because not only does it show how meaningless romantic gestures like that are to him that he could say something like that when he clearly doesn’t mean it, she also just did not want to see him doing that, because she has feelings for him. Yui wanted to confess to Hachiman during this trip and Hachiman’s actions severely ruined the mood. Also, probably just like Yukino, Yui just doesn’t see how Hachiman could do something potentially so embarrassing/derogatory/use such underhanded methods to solve such a petty problem. She was guided by her feelings there, but afterwards she realized that this was something that Hachiman did all the time
The chapter title is called: Chapter 9: His and her confession won’t reach anyone
Which ultimately brings us to Yukino’s side of things.
Both Yukino and Hachiman were hesitant (opposed even) to take on Tobe’s request. It’s Yui’s insistence that convinced the both of them.
While Yukino, at first (moments after Hachiman’s confrontation with Sagami on the roof, when they meet each other in the Service Club), may have had a jokey attitude towards Hachiman being the most hated person in school, that quickly changed when she saw the effect it had during Volume 6,5 (the Sports Festival) with Sagami and her friends spreading rumors about Hachiman.
>During the Kyoto trip, Yukino got nervous being around Hachiman. Yukino shows this twice; the first time when Hachiman sits next to her when she is with her group of admirers (not friends, but more like a Yukino fan club), the second time during their walk to the hotel. Since after the Sagami incident, all the girls in her class were grilling her on whether or not Hachiman and Yukino were going out/what their relationship is. Yukino was spending a lot of time with Hachiman during the Cultural Festival (after they made up of course, a lot of it is LN exclusive; Yukino was wearing a class t-shirt with Hikigaya on the back while she was performing (however this is just fan art and not canon), the two of them went patrolling together and were checking the classes together (while Hachiman was taking pictures), the two of them got pushed into the same trolley ride/“rollercoaster” ride etc.).
>Yukino wearing the class 2F t-shirt.
>Season 1 screwed up on this, but season 2 fixed it.
>The meaning behind Yukino wearing that t-shirt. (This is not canon, but I’ll just leave it here, because why not.)
>Yukino and Hachiman being pushed on the same trolley/roller coaster ride.
>The girls inquiring about their relationship bothers Yukino a lot, because she has firsthand experience as to how a relationship can be broken because of gossip and rumors (Hayato).
“…My classmates pulled me into their discussions. Why do they like talking about those things so much?”
W-What kind of conversation could that be… It wasn’t of any interest to me, but it felt like she’d get angry at me if I asked about it so I kept it to myself. Instead, times like this were where I should say something to ensure my well-being.
“Well, you should consider getting into it yourself if you’re going to get asked about it. Not a bad thing, right?”
“You talk like it has nothing to do with you. In the first place, during the Culture Festival, you…”(!)
The stare that looked down on me turned into a sharp glare that pierced at me halfway through.
“M-Me…? No, wait. I’m not at fault here.”(!)
I hadn’t a clue what she was referring to(!), but for now, I made sure to be insistent about it.
When I did, Yukinoshita pressed against her temples and closed her eyes. She opened her mouth in resignation.
“…It’s nothing. So, what are you doing here?”
“Nah, I don’t think it really matters if I go on ahead or not. It’s right over there anyway.”
“…Maybe not for you, but it does for me.”(!)
I couldn’t help but respond with an inarticulate answer. Well, it’s considered good manners to act like you didn’t hear anything if the other party looked like they were having trouble saying something.
“Um… this late at night… being seen together is a bit…”(!)
It wasn’t all that cold yet Yukinoshita was retreating back into her coat while hiding her face.
Now that she mentioned it, I calmly began thinking about our current situation. Sure, all we did was meet with each other almost near night time. It was definitely something not to be so conscious of and not to be worried about and even weird either. Totally nothing at all.(!) I should note that this is the first time I’ve seen Yukinoshita like this.(!) She would keep her eyes peeled to my feet just so she wouldn’t get lost all the while being cautious of her surroundings. The way she’d embarrassingly hide her eyes and the way she’d slightly extend her hands out to me to stop me from going too far ahead only to pull them back were things I’d never seen her do before.(!) Those awkward gestures were infectious and I unconsciously started to move my right hand and foot in unison. Because of that, the inn felt far. Both Yukinoshita and I were by no means walking alongside each other but as we walked, it felt like we weren’t at all close yet we weren’t at all far away from each other either.
Now, Hachiman already has a bad reputation at school after the whole Sagami incident took place. The entire school hates him, however it started to blow over. If Hachiman would have pulled another stunt like that, who knows what kind of effect it would have had. Yukino went through so much trouble during the Sports Festival arc to redeem Sagami to make the problem go away and here Hachiman is: trying to paint a giant bullseye on his back again. Luckily, Ebina’s confession was something that took place in a secluded environment, so not a lot of people knew it even happened in the first place (unless Tobe (yes, I am aware that Hachiman excludes Tobe from the people willing to start gossip about this below, I’m not saying Tobe would deliberately start gossiping, but more like something could accidentally slip out), Yamato or Ooka would start gossiping about it). It did showcase how little Hachiman cares about his own well-being.
Since my classmates didn’t react to me at all, it seems that the fake confession from the other day didn’t go public. Well, that seems about right. Just thinking about it logically, there wasn’t a person who’d want to spread rumors about it. I’m sure Tobe, Ebina, and even Hayama wouldn’t feel particularly pleasant about it if it became talk of the school.
Throughout the first two episodes of season 2, Hachiman and others are making all kinds of arrangements to make sure that Tobe spends time with Ebina so he can confess to her. He interacts with the important members of Hayato’s group and finds out from each of them individually what it is that they want. What is important here, is that Yukino has been out of the loop for this entire request. She is in a different class, so she isn’t able to help out with this request. Yukino provided a list of famous spots in Kyoto that girls may like, but other than that she has no idea what has been going on for the entirety of this trip. Yui had pulled some strings to make sure she could spend time with Hachiman during this trip, so by all means this request is something Hachiman and Yui are taking on together.
>I’m sorry I can’t help out a lot because I’m in a different class.
>I’m sorry for leaving it all in your hands. No problem, I got to spend time with Hachiman.
This was the stage prepared for the sole sake of Tobe. What made this possible was because everyone had told small lies. The one who was in charge of calling out Ebina was Yuigahama.(!) She likely tacked on some arbitrary reason but her role was to guide her here. Even Ooka and Yamato were lying about something as well.(!) That is, their intentions weren’t pure. Instead of being here to support their friend, they were here just for their personal enjoyment but they were holding themselves back, evident by their meek expressions. As for Miura who wasn’t present, she was without a doubt pretending to act ignorant of the current situation; she wouldn’t ask about it, try to stop it, or pay attention to it.(!) Hayama couldn’t support his friend even if he wanted to.(!) Even so, he was still here. Everyone told a lie.(!)
But within this group of liars was just one person who didn’t lie. Yukinoshita, with an expression colder than usual, was here as well.
>Hachiman knows Tobe is going to get turned down. He’s glad the two girls don’t dig any deeper in what he intends on doing.
“It’s not like that, like really. At this rate, Tobe’s going to get turned down.”
When I answered back, their expressions sank slightly.
“That might be right.”
However, I had a response ready for that particular situation.
“For the time being, I’ve thought of something that’ll settle everything peacefully.”
“What is it?”
Yuigahama tilted her head and asked. But, I honestly didn’t want to talk about it.(!) She may have had noticed my slight hesitation but Yukinoshita let out a short sigh and wore a small smile.
“…Well, we’ll leave it up to you.”
Yuigahama also nodded in agreement. I’m quite grateful that they didn’t dig any deeper.(!)
>We’ll leave it to you, because we trust you.
Yukino and Yui both trusted Hachiman and thought that he was capable of solving this request in “some kind of way that would not be at the expense of himself”, which is why they gave him the ok. Hachiman solved it, but he threw himself under the bus. Yukino, who had only heard about how he solved the Sagami incident before, now got to experience first-hand how Hachiman solves problems (now being fully aware of the consequences they have). Hachiman basically solved this problem by self-sacrificing himself/hurting himself/hurting his own reputation to preserve the shallow bond of Hayato’s group. She tells him: “I can’t quite put it into words, but I hate the way you solve problems.”
>Yukino wants to tell Hachiman how she feels, how much Hachiman means to her, but the words can’t quite come out.
The only ones left were Yukinoshita, Yuigahama, and me. There was a small distance between the three of us. Now that it was over, I felt a surge of relief and I walked in the direction of the two, looking to go back to the hotel. However, Yukinoshita stood planted in her position and glared at me. It was an interrogative, cold stare and that alone caused my legs to grow weak. Hey, hey, don’t tease me too much. I already took a surprising amount of damage from what Hayama said to me earlier. But there was no way that would get across to them. Regardless, the sharpness in her eyes did not dull for a second. On the side was Yuigahama who was looking down not knowing what to do.
“…I hate how you do things.”
It wasn’t only until a little after I approached them did Yukinoshita say something. Yukinoshita pressed against her chest and continued to glare at me. Her eyes seeped with anger that had no direction.
“I can’t explain it very well and it’s really irritating but… I really hate how you do things.”
The one who looked upon Yukinoshita’s heartbreaking appearance was Yuigahama. The gulping sound coming from Yuigahama sounded as if she swallowed something down and returned to looking back at the floor. As I stood there without responding, Yukinoshita tried to say something in return as if this was a verbal argument but no words came out.(!) She brought her lips together as if she was biting on them.(!) The red leaves danced in the wind. Yukinoshita averted her gaze from me as if following after those leaves.
“…I’ll be going back first.”
Yukinoshita stated with a cold tone and turned around to leave. She left in a quick pace as if she wanted to get away from here as fast as possible.(!) Even if I ran after her, I wouldn’t have been able to catch her.
>I’m having trouble putting it into words, but I hate the way you do things.
>There are people who’d be hurt by watching you get hurt.
>One of Yukino’s biggest problems (due to her upbringing) is not being able to openly share her feelings with others. She is constantly suppressing these emotions she’s experiencing for the first time.
(Yukino’s character song: A Crescendo To You)
I wasn’t able to be honest
Because of these feelings that I pushed away
All of these are really precious to me
>Yukino leaves. Yui tells Hachiman how at first she thought Hachiman was being serious with his confession, then she tells him how she didn’t want to see something like this and that he hurt her as well by solving the problem this way, because she cares about him as well (also because she wanted to confess to him during this trip).
>S2E3: Hachiman reluctantly shows up to the Service Club. You can tell something is off about Hachiman; he’s not getting along with Komachi, he responds “normally” to Saika, he doesn’t buy MAX Coffee.
>Chapter 1: It doesn’t need to be said that even Hikigaya Komachi can get angry.
“Oh you. So, what happened?”
Komachi tilted her head dubiously, rested her chin on her hands, and jokingly laughed. As cute as the posture she was in, there was a strong sense of purpose behind it. It was a stance that wouldn’t allow the conversation to end on a vague note. But, at that point, it was starting to get a little grating. Normally, I wouldn’t get irritated at this level of nosiness from Komachi. Typically, I’d laugh it off and go with the flow and just say something random only to confuse her. But if we’re talking about normally, then Komachi wouldn’t be this obstinate about her business. When I tried to act like I always did with Komachi, consciously trying to enact how I should be, I grew aggravated.
“...You’re being annoying. Enough already.”
My words unintentionally sounded rough to Komachi’s surprise. However, she was only shocked for a split second and her shoulders started to shake. She suddenly opened her eyes wide and yelled out in a loud voice.
“…W-What’s with that tone of yours!?”
“I don’t sound any different than usual. Truth of the matter, you really were being annoying.”
These words definitely weren’t the ones that I wanted to say. I definitely wanted to just play it off. But once the words came out, I couldn’t take them back. No matter when and where, you couldn’t take anything back. Komachi narrowed her eyes and glared at me. Eventually, she dropped her eyes to the table.
“…Hmph, okay. Fine, I won’t ask about it anymore.”
After that, there were no more further conversations at the dining table. We both continued to eat in silence and the time that passed slowly felt like it was frozen.
“I’ll be going first. Make sure to lock the door.”
I gave her a short answer and Komachi slammed the door closed. In that moment, I could hear a small voice.
“…Something did happen.”
Left alone in the living room, I grabbed my tea. The tea already lost its warmth and when I sipped it, it was lukewarm. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Komachi act like that. It was too late but I wonder if I got her mad…… I got worried. Komachi doesn’t get angry very often. But when she does, she was the type to stay angry for a while. In addition to that, she was a girl right in the middle of puberty. When she comes home, I don’t know what kind of face she’ll make.
>I’m your dear sister, you can tell me everything, open up to me so I can help you out.
>Drop it already, you’re being annoying.
>Hachiman starts observing Hayato’s group. He greets Saika normally. Don’t worry, everything is “normal”.
Hayama’s group was the same as always. I felt slightly relieved seeing that. It was the world that they wished for; a stagnating world that never changed. This world of theirs was eventually going to decay and rot, but that’s not to say it wasn’t already. So maybe that was its true form after all. Both Hayama and Ebina didn’t interfere with this side.
>Hachiman buys another drink instead of MAX Coffee, because “something isn’t right”.
The point is: even Hachiman is aware that his actions were wrong, you can tell that from his behavior, but he stubbornly won’t admit it.
>The tension in the Service Club is awkward. Yui brings up how Hayama’s group is acting like normal again. This conversation about “acting normal” slowly becomes about their own group and how Hachiman (and Yui) want to carry on like always, pretending like nothing happened.
“...I don’t really know what they’re thinking about anymore.”
Exactly who were those words directed at? The chance that the word everyone included people not limited to Hayama and his groupies startled me.
“Even if people knew what each other were thinking, whether we’ll understand or not is a different problem.”
Yukinoshita stretched out her hand to the tea cup she was looking down on. Although the tea should’ve been cold by now, she drank it slowly and carefully and silently placed the cup back on the saucer without making any noise. It was as if she hated the sound. The silence questioned me. Regarding the meaning of her words, that is.
“...Sounds about right.”
There wasn’t a need to think about it since the meaning was obvious. What Yukinoshita said was absolutely correct and there was no fault that I could nitpick. It was indeed the truth. I let out a short sigh and straightened up.
“Well, you don’t need to worry about it too much. As long as we act like normal, then that would be the best thing, right?”(!)
If we wanted to continue in the same way without changing, then we should do the same with our surroundings too.(!) The bonds between people were easily breakable after all.(!) It was a combination of internal and external factors. Yuigahama repeated my words slowly.
“We should act normal too… yeah…”
>Yukino asks Hachiman if him sacrificing himself is what he considers normal.
Yuigahama repeated my words slowly.
“We should act normal too… yeah…”
She nodded despite not looking too confident and convinced. I nodded as well in response. This was our decision. No, it was my decision. But just one person didn’t show signs of consent. Yukinoshita Yukino gazed directly at me. As I sat there feeling the pressure from her gaze, Yukinoshita slowly began to speak.
“Normal, huh…? That’s right. To you, that would be normal.”(!)
When I answered, Yukinoshita let out a small sigh.
“...Nothing will change, right?”
I felt I was told that at some point. But, the words spoken just now had a completely different meaning.(!) The words had a feeling of resignation in it and a feeling that something had ended.(!) They were words without warmth in them. Those words pricked at my chest.
Yukinoshita looked like she had trouble trying to say something as her words were cut off abruptly.(!) Her eyes wandered around as if she was trying to look for the words she wanted to say(!) ....Aah. This was probably the continuation from before.(!) She was going to tell me the words that she swallowed that one time.(!) I relaxed my body that grew stiff unknowingly and waited for Yukinoshita to continue.(!) Yukinoshita gripped at her skirt. Her shoulders slightly shook. Finally looking determined, her throat began to move.(!) But, the words just wouldn’t come out.
“Yu-Yukinon! U, Um, um you see……”(!)
Yuigahama forcefully placed her mug on the table and hoping to talk, interrupted the conversation.(!) It was as if she had a feeling that what Yukinoshita was going to say were words that shouldn’t be said.(!) But that was nothing more than procrastination.(!) The way she acted as if she was trying to pretend she didn’t notice could only be seen as if she was trying to keep a secret under wraps.(!)
>Yui cuts Yukino off before Yukino can finish what she has to say. Yui wants to follow Hachiman’s suggestion of pretending like everything is normal.
Yui is basically choosing her side: Hachiman > Yukino.
In the anime, Sensei immediately comes in and interrupts them, so it doesn’t seem like Yui is trying to prevent Yukino from bringing it up. The anime makes it seem like Yui is just being concerned or a bit awkward, but in the LN Yui is the first person that interrupts Yukino from saying why it’s so important that Hachiman needs to stop self-sacrificing himself. I’d say this is an adaptation miss, because this is the exact moment where a line gets drawn between Yukino and Yui and the payoff to this is essentially this moment:
>Yukino tells Yui she plays dirty.
Without any context, you won’t understand why exactly Yukino calls Yui unfair. Feel could have done a better job at showing this, but I’ll try my best to explain why this moment is important and what all of the build-up to “I want something genuine” is.
Like I said, this is the exact moment where the distinction between Yukino and Yui gets made:
Yukino wants to address Hachiman’s willingness to self-sacrifice and she wants to solve it. By the end of this entire arc (S2E7+8), Yukino is willing to distance herself from Hachiman if that’s what it takes to stop him from hurting himself.
Yui goes along with Hachiman and turns a blind eye towards the things Hachiman does. Not only that, but she supports his lying, deceiving and using underhanded methods from this point onwards. (Yui also participates in Hachiman’s lies, but we’ll get to that.)
Now obviously Yui doesn’t want to see Hachiman hurt himself/solve problems at the expense of himself, however she doesn’t draw a line in the sand to try and stop him from continuing like this either. At the most she tells Hachiman to take her feelings into consideration or that what he is doing isn’t “nice”. Because Yui wants to become his girlfriend, to her it’s very important that Hachiman continues to see her in a positive light. Yui would not ever do something that would upset/jeopardize her relationship with Hachiman, because that might push him away/lead to them growing apart (this changes in the final stretch of Volume 11, this is the one moment where Yui puts herself on the line, coincidentally it’s also the final moment of her character arc). Her biggest priority is preserving the Service Club, Hachiman eventually becoming her boyfriend and Yukino being her best friend.
Directly opposing either of them can only lead to conflict and them falling apart, which is why she prefers the Hayato approach of solving problems.
>Yui admits how she’s unfair; she doesn’t like seeing Hachiman in pain, but she never tries stopping Hachiman or helping him. Yukino on the other hand does. Yukino is willing to sacrifice her relationship with Hachiman if it means stopping him from inflicting pain on himself. Yui isn’t. Yui would never do something like that, draw a line in the sand and give Hachiman an ultimatum, because she wants Hachiman to continue seeing her in a positive manner, she wants to become his girlfriend after all. (LN exclusive; Volume 10,5 which takes place after Volume 10)
“…I don’t really like seeing you in pain, Hikki.”(!)
“Saying that is unfair.”
Despite my outburst, I could tell how soft my tone was. Perhaps it was my exhaustion. Being told something like that with such a gentle voice along with the shoulder massage only caused my shoulders to relax. Simultaneously, I tensed my shoulders again. For a wonderful girl to give me those kinds of words, this was nowhere near the time to give up and run away. It’s when you were given these kind and sweet words that you mustn’t rely on them and abandon yourself to. That’s why it only gave me less of a choice to resign here no matter how idiotic the circumstances are or how difficult the problem is.
“You think so…?” Yuigahama stopped her hands and rested them on my shoulders, eventually lifting them up slowly.
“Oh, uh, it was more like a figure of speech.”
I chose the wrong words when I called the person who was worried for me unfair. I rotated my chair and turned my body towards Yuigahama. I sat there while digging around for the proper words to tell her. Yuigahama, however, didn’t give me the time and nodded.
“…Yeah, I think I am unfair!”(!) Yuigahama said, her voice cheerful and as though she was convinced of something. I didn’t quite catch the meaning behind her response, but I wanted to get the right nuance across to her and opened my mouth.
“I didn’t mean it like that, but uh, in a good way…”
Yuigahama, however, shook her head and interjected. “I think… I really am unfair… It’s because I can never stop you or even help you.(!) And also… for a bunch of other things.”(!)
Yuigahama’s words were in a jumble, perhaps because she was trying to think while she talked. But it’s due to that that I felt her words were from the bottom of her heart. In the same way she’d laugh to hide her embarrassment or mumble her words and look away, I’m sure she wanted to play it off somehow. But even so, she looked straight at me, as though wanting to tell me everything.(!)
“That’s why… That’s why, when something like this happens again, I’ll make sure to do it.”(!)
(“When something like this happens again” = her actions in the last episode (S2E13).)
(For a more in-depth analysis on Yui, read her part.)
You can tell that this distinction between Yukino and Yui is made during episode 3, because that’s when the intro to the series changes and gets replaced with the actual intro.
>The OP of the first 2 episodes has Yui as the genuine one and Yukino being the ideal replica, but from episode 3 onwards it’s Yui that’s the ideal replica and Yukino that’s the genuine one.
>The OP S2E1+2 have Yui as the genuine one, because not only is it a placeholder, those two episodes also cover Volume 7, which for all intents and purposes is a Yui-centric volume.
>Hachiman is alone because of his actions near the end of S2E2.
>The actual OP of season 2.
At the same time this is the central conflict the entire series has been building up to:
On the one hand you have Hachiman, the boy willing to throw himself under the bus (as first shown by him throwing himself in front of a car to save a dog) at the expense of others. The person, who because of his past experiences and traumas, is unable to believe or admit that anyone can care about him. Hachiman’s existence and feelings don’t matter to other people, his actions don’t impact other people. He is alone, because he has always been alone. Hachiman thinks of himself as the lowest member of society, he has no self-worth, that’s why he has the ability to go this far to “save” people.
On the other hand you have Yukino, the girl that has been trying to “save” Hachiman since the very first moment of the series. Out of concern, Yukino’s initial intentions were to straighten Hachiman out, to make him a better person, to help him make friends. At first she was simply trying to make amends for what happened during the car accident that caused Hachiman to miss out on the first three weeks of school, which guaranteed he would become a loner. However, Yukino quickly warmed up to Hachiman from Volume 3 onward and started developing a crush on him from Volume 6 onward. At this point in time it clearly isn’t just about the car accident anymore (as evidenced by the car accident plot not being brought up anymore from Volume 6 onward). Yukino legitimately cares about Hachiman and doesn’t want to see him get hurt, especially not for something as superficial as preserving Hayato’s fake group. Yukino, the person who because of her past experiences and traumas, hasn’t been able to emotionally develop due to a lack of warmth, caring, emotional stability and nourishment from her family, has trouble expressing to Hachiman how much she cares about him and how she doesn’t want to see him get hurt.