So that’s Volume 8 in its entirety. This was an incredibly important volume that sets up the tone of the next volumes. What’s important to know is that Hachiman knows he was wrong, but he still won’t admit it during the first half of Volume 9. Instead, he does the exact opposite. He continues digging himself deeper and continues lying, not only to Yukino and Yui, but to other people that are close to him as well.
I apologize for making you read through almost 30 pages of an entire volume, but I think this was necessary, because I’ve always gotten the impression that this was where a lot of people stopped understanding what has been going on in the series. Sadly Volume 9 is going to be long as well, but I’ll try and keep it as short as possible. Emphasis on try, but it’ll probably be very long as well. Sorry.
Volumes 7, 8 and 9 deal with the fallout of the Service Club. Volume 7 served as the set-up. It introduced the reason why the Service Club fell apart: Hachiman self-sacrificing himself to solve the petty problems of others.
Volume 8 is where the Service Club fell apart. Yukino tried doing whatever she could to try and stop Hachiman from hurting himself, Hachiman (and Yui) wanted to pretend like nothing was wrong. Because Yukino absolutely forbade Hachiman from self-sacrificing, Hachiman instead started lying, deceiving, manipulating people and using underhanded methods to solve problems. Since it has been Yukino’s intentions to change him into becoming a better human being, you can see that Hachiman is headed in the wrong direction and Yukino is starting to blame herself for this. Hachiman is too stubborn to let go of his “cool loner” image and admit that there are people he cares about and doesn’t want to lose. Later on he does want to protect the Service Club, but that’s exactly the problem: he wants to protect the Service Club. He accomplishes this by deceiving and lying to the people closest to him/that mean the most to him. One of them is fine with it, the other one not so much. Hachiman is too stubborn to admit that he is wrong. A lot of this could have been avoided by him just apologizing and saying that he won’t continue self-sacrificing. Instead he continues making the problem bigger and tries to sweep it all under the rug, until he hits a dead end. That’s essentially what Volume 9 is about: the first half deals with the aftermath of Hachiman’s deceit, the second half with Hachiman wanting something genuine and the Service Club being restored in a proper way. Volume 9 essentially concludes the “fallout of the Service Club” story arc and from then we move into the last volumes that are mostly centered around Yukino.
Hachiman saying he wants something genuine is an incredibly important moment, for several reasons:
1. The series can be divided as follows. The first three volumes are mostly Yui-centric. Volumes 4-6 are mostly Yukino-centric. Volumes 7-9, all the way up until Hachiman says he wants something genuine are once again mostly Yui centric (with Iroha taking over for a bit).
2. The moment Hachiman tells Yukino that he wants something genuine is where Hachiman’s character development/arc takes a backseat and Yukino’s character development/arc takes over. Pretty much everything from that moment onward is either directly or indirectly Yukino-centered.
3. Hachiman saying he wants something genuine is also important for a lot of other reasons, but before we get to all of that, let’s first start with the events of Volume 9.
S2E6-10 (or at least the first half of episode 10) covers Volume 9.
S2E6: Hachiman, Yukino and Yui are in the Service Club. Everything seems to be normal, but it’s not. Hachiman and Yui have turned their group into Hayato’s Group 2.0 and, feeling defeated and unwilling to go against her friends, Yukino is forced to play along with this charade.
What’s important to know is that during this entire time Hachiman is unable (or has trouble) to look Yukino directly in the face. He is fully aware of what it is that he has done and is doing. Yukino’s frozen smile is a constant reminder to him of his lies, deceit and trying to keep things “normal”.
Actually, Hachiman has started avoiding Yukino ever since fake confessing to Ebina. That’s where all of it started, Hachiman’s unwillingness to change, his unwillingness to admit he was wrong, his unwillingness to admit that he is hurting himself and others etc.
>Hachiman reluctantly shows up to the Service Club.
>There was something I used to share with someone.
>Everything is “normal”. Yui is forcing the three of them to keep up appearances. They’re still communicating, it’s all the same as usual.
Yukinoshita normally wasn’t the talkative type, so a short response like that wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.(!) But that smile was something I just couldn’t look directly at.
Ever since the student council election, not a single thing had changed as we spent time in this room. As we continued with conversations that felt out of place which could only be called emptiness and the time we spent was as if we were walking on thin ice.
I thought Yuigahama had gotten better than before at looking for ways to prolong a conversation.(!) No, that might be a bit wrong. It was probably before she had joined the Service Club that she was good at this.(!) It was her ability that she had cultivated to this day, the ability to read the mood, fill up the silence, and to superficially smooth over things as if it was nothing.(!) This may have been similar to how I would open a book only to not read it.
But no matter how hard I tried to not look, that expression of hers would float right back in my head and wouldn’t disappear.(!) That smile that had not changed since that day.(!) I strongly pedaled away on my bike to drive that away.(!) You get used to it, you act friendly, and you become a shell of your former self.(!)
>Yui keeping up appearances.
>Hachiman realizes that all the things he wished for and wanted he no longer has. He also doesn’t deserve them anymore.
As I flew to downtown with my bike, the illumination that decorated all the houses caught my eye. As Yuigahama said, Christmas was almost here. Back when I was smaller, I recognized it only as a day where I could receive the presents that I wanted.(!) Well, it was something like a lesser version of a birthday. However, that was different now. I was no longer a small child and there weren’t any presents prepared.
Above all else.(!)
All the things I wished for and wanted, I no longer have them.(!) And surely enough, I wasn’t even allowed to desire anything.(!)
>Komachi gives Hachiman a letter/Christmas card in which she says that the most important Christmas present she wants is her brother’s happiness. Since Komachi has already been in a fight with Hachiman, she now knows better not to ask him questions about the way things concluded with the SCP election. Hachiman starts wondering about what it is he desires. What if he was allowed to wish for something?
But still, for Komachi to give me a letter, it looked like she may have had something in mind. The chain of events regarding the student council election the other day was something that concerned Komachi as well.(!) Or rather, I was the one who asked Komachi for her cooperation. Whether that was a good thing or not, I still wasn’t sure. Komachi didn’t pester me for the details of the outcome as if she was being considerate of how I was feeling.(!) Well, even if she asked me persistently, I didn’t think I would’ve been able to explain it well and I’d probably just get irritated instead.(!) And then, if we ended getting into another fight, I wouldn’t stand a chance.(!) I suppose it was because Komachi was aware of this that she was being considerate even if it was roundabout.(!) As expected, a top-notch little sister. Since it’s a request from my little sister, granting her wish was Mountain Mountain, but unfortunately, I didn’t have any money. To top it off, I couldn’t even grant one her of wishes that she mixed in as a joke either.(!)
Hikigaya Hachiman’s happiness(!), Hikigaya Hachiman’s wish(!), and Hikigaya Hachiman’s desire.(!)
To this day, I had never given them too much thought before. So, what was my happiness and what was it that I wanted?(!) I didn’t know any of them, but here I was today. If I had something I could wish for just like how Komachi wished something for me.(!) If that wish of mine would actually be heard.(!) And if that wish was allowed.(!)
If it was me…
>Hachiman is looking at Hayato’s group. Yumiko Miura isn’t energetic because she saw Hayato on a date with the two girls: Orimoto and her friend (and Hachiman). Hachiman is worried about Yui not being able to feel at home in the Service Club anymore. The Service Club is Yui’s special place that Hachiman preserved for her.
As expected, if Miura wasn’t energetic, then the entire group would be gloomy. But Miura wasn’t the only one out of place. Yuigahama wasn’t her usual self as well.(!) She’d smile as she quietly listened to the conversation Tobe and the others had and she’d take turns listening to Miura and Ebina-san as they talked. Yuigahama was different from when she was in the club room.(!) She wouldn’t assertively try to speak up or force the conversation to continue.(!) Above all else, she didn’t behave in a way that looked like she would try to read into the responses and expressions of the other party.(!) It’s possible that being with Miura and the others gave Yuigahama peace of mind. Surely enough, the club wasn’t a place she could feel at ease anymore.(!) That fact left a huge burden on my chest.
>Why was Hachiman looking at Yui? Was there something he needed from her? Or was he looking at something else? Hachiman doesn’t want to concern Yui, so he lies to her. Don’t worry, Hachiman doesn’t consider it a lie, so that makes it ok. It’s alright as long he lies to Yui this one time.
“Anyway, why were you looking over here? Did you need something?”
Although I thought that there really wasn’t any reason why I was looking in response to that question, but it pulled at my heart somewhere.(!) Why was I looking at them?(!)
“…No, not really… Well, you guys stick out so I couldn’t help it.”
Yuigahama’s response gave off a weird feeling that she was both convinced and not convinced at the same time.(!) However, it wasn’t like I had said a lie.(!) Hayama’s group stuck out. Things that stood out naturally attracted your eyes. That’s why unintentionally looking wasn’t anything odd. However, the reason I was watching them definitely wasn’t because of just that.(!)
(It’s not a lie as long as Hachiman is able to justify it internally.)
Just how were you supposed to fix something that came unstuck and dropped to the bottom? If it was Hayama’s group, then I felt they would’ve given me the answer to that.(!) The key point behind human observation wasn’t just to watch other people. Instead, it might’ve been to emulate what they did as well as reflect on your life.(!) The reason I was watching Hayama’s group was probably because despite being aware that in that group there existed the relationship I thought was superficial and deceitful(!), I was assimilating that into my current self.(!)
By slowly reconciling the slight differences in opinion and feelings of discomfort, Miura, Hayama, Tobe, and Ebina-san would regulate how they would act with each other, looking for a universal compromise that they would all agree with. That was how I saw it. Even that kind of relationship existed. They, too, had actual doubts about their own communication, worrying and fumbling about.
--In that case, what exactly was fake?
Just as I was about to be entrapped in my own thoughts, Yuigahama’s voice brought me back. I raised my face and Yuigahama was looking at me with a slightly worried face. Before realizing it, our faces were close enough that I could distinctively feel her warm breath and sense her moist eyes on me. I jerked back onto my chair and took some distance. Now wasn’t the time to show an expression that would get Yuigahama anxious. There was no doubt she was also at a loss about the Service Club’s current situation. I was the cause behind it as well, so I should at least try to conduct myself properly. I stopped thinking for now. I thought it was a problem to think about only when I was alone. And those times were abundant. This was where being a loner was convenient.
>Hachiman was staring at Hayato’s group because he wanted an answer on how to smooth over the cracks of an artificially restored relationship. By observing Hayato, Hachiman is slowly starting to become Hayato.
>Saika Totsuka greets Hachiman and Yui. Saika points out how unusual it is for Hachiman and Yui to be talking to each other in class. Hachiman finds it odd, but he doesn’t think too much of it. The point is: Yui doesn’t interact with Hachiman in the classroom, she can only interact with him in the Service Club. Since the mood in the Service Club has become dour, now all of a sudden Yui has to come up to Hachiman in class and talk to him. She has to make up some excuse so that other people don’t notice. Saika asks if something happened. Hachiman and Yui both lie to Saika, telling him everything is alright. First it’s Yui that lies to Saika, then when Saika isn’t entirely convinced, Hachiman joins in and goes the extra mile to convince him. It’s okay as long as Hachiman and Yui lie to/deceive/are insincere towards Saika this one time.
Once he said that, that certainly did bring it to my attention.(!) It was rare for Yuigahama to come talk to me in class.(!) Aah, that reminded me. Even though she went to the lockers in the back, she didn’t bring anything along, did she?(!) If she suddenly came up to talk to me, it was likely people would think what was going on. So that’s why she added a cushion to avoid that. I guess that’s expected of her consideration…(!) Still, even with that kind of consideration, if the people watching actually paid attention, they’d notice how unnatural it was.(!)
“…Did something happen?”
Totsuka looked at Yuigahama and me in turn and asked with a worried tone.
“No, not at all…! W-Well, it’s just something to do with a request for club, I guess.”(!)
(What request? So, Yui came over to talk to Hachiman because of a new request?)
“Aah, club huh?”
Yuigahama mumbled in a panic(!) and Totsuka looked convinced as he clapped his hands. Yep, not knowing to suspect others was a virtue.(!) For someone as pure as Totsuka, there was the possibility that those who attempted to deceive him(!) would end up dying from the guilt of their good conscience instead.(!)
(Why does Hachiman bring up people dying from the guilt of their conscience when trying to lie to Saika? It’s not like Hachiman and Yui are lying to him, right? That’s kind of odd.)
“But if you can do your club like before, I’m glad.”
Totsuka smiled as he said that and I thought he was saying it innocently. Totsuka was involved in the chain of events regarding the student council election as well. It was likely that the sight of Yuigahama and me talking about the club from the side was proof that everything went perfectly well.(!) However, Yuigahama’s expression stiffened.(!)
“Y-Yeah… Ah, I know! If you have any other problems, you should come again, Sai-chan!”
Yuigahama momentarily choked up on her words(!), but quickly smoothed it over with a smile(!) and spoke. I wasn’t sure if you could say “like before”. We were definitely talking with Yukinoshita and by all means, it wasn’t a serious situation at all.(!) No one was getting ignored and there weren’t conflicting opinions. Nothing happened. No, there was nothing at all. That was all there was to it.
Totsuka tilted his head to our sporadic exchange and he sent a dubious stare.(!) His eyes were asking if something had happened.(!) But I felt like I wouldn’t have been able to explain it properly. I quickly shifted the direction of the conversation.(!)
(Hachiman quickly shifts the direction of the conversation. Look at his facial expressions in the link below. Does that look like regular Hachiman to you?)
“No, see, it’s basically that. It’s just there’s nothing happening that we’d totally be up for anything that came along! We’ll welcome it anytime, yeah!”(!)
“You’re more motivated than usual!?”
Yuigahama’s eyes opened in shock. Wait, do I normally look that unmotivated…?
“Ahaha. Okay, then if something comes up, I’ll go.”
Totsuka smiled amusingly and peeked at the clock. It was almost time for the homeroom teacher to come.
“It looks like homeroom’s going to start soon.”
“Oh, you’re right. Okay, then we should get going.”
I’d say this is a pretty big adaption miss here. Without Hachiman’s inner monologue, there is no way you’re able to figure out that Hachiman and Yui are lying to Saika and that Hachiman feels awful about it. I guess Feel assumed everyone was supposed to figure it out by looking at the facial expressions of Hachiman and Yui, but apparently no one picked up on that, so that’s kind of an adaptation miss.
I’d say that this entire segment of Hachiman and Yui lying to other people, especially Yukino, has been poorly translated to the anime. Without Hachiman’s monologues, it just seems like Hachiman and Yui are being a bit awkward around each other. It’s also the reason why most of the events that happen during a good chunk of the second season don’t make that much sense.
>Yui remembers the reason why she came over to Hachiman before Saika interrupted them. She asks if they can go to club together. Hachiman doesn’t want to go to the Service Club, his current self isn’t able to face Yukino. He believes that he doesn’t deserve to be in her presence anymore. Yukino is a constant reminder to him of his deceit. He would rather run away.
After they spoke, Yuigahama and Totsuka went away from my seat. And in that moment.
“…Ah, that’s right, Hikki.”
Yuigahama quickly turned around and stealthily moved her mouth to my ears. A light, floral scent drifted by and a soft breath hit my ears. When she unexpectedly got closer, the warmth that I felt during that time in the evening after school in the cold room where something had ended came to mind. My heart suddenly jumped. Yuigahama whispered in a quiet voice.
“…Let’s go to club together, okay?”(!)
After saying those few words, Yuigahama dashed for her seat without waiting for my response. As I watched her off, I was squeezing my chest without noticing. My heart wasn’t jumping around anymore. In fact, it felt like for how much my heart was jumping around, it was eating away inside of me and I was only able to barely keep it at.(!) The reason Yuigahama went out of her way to say that was because she felt it was hard to go to club.(!) I felt the same way. I just didn’t feel inclined to go. Even though we went every day without fail, it felt cruel somewhere. Even though the three of us probably didn’t even want to go there.(!) However, we didn’t want to admit that we would still go.(!) It’s because we just couldn’t admit to how big the things that we lost were.(!) Or possibly, we were going only out of obligation, only out of a sense of duty as if we wanted to preserve it and maintain it, similar to how different living things would try to preserve its kind as well as themselves.(!) Days where you just went about it so you weren’t running away.(!) These were the days that you lamented over the deceased.(!) In order to not make excuses for the things those were lost.(!) In order not to accept giving into irrationality. That’s why, we would brace ourselves and behave like we usually do more than we would before. That was surely deception.(!) However, the one who chose that was me.(!) (and Yui)
>Hachiman and Yui, accomplices in crime.
As sadly as ever, it was after school with me not having absorbed a single thing from class. I finished the preparations to leave and was the first one to exit the classroom. Just before sliding open the door, I glanced in Yuigahama’s direction. It looked like Yuigahama was still talking about something with Miura and the others. Well, considering she told me to go together with her, then I should be waiting.(!) Even so, there wasn’t a need to wait in a conspicuous area. I walked into the hallway and after taking a few steps, I leaned against the wall. A whole minute had yet to pass when Yuigahama came rushing out of the classroom. When she looked around restlessly, she quickly noticed me. She approached me with an upset face.
“Why are you going ahead!?”
“I didn’t. I’m just waiting here.”
“I can see that…! Huh? Okay, that’s good then.”
After Yuigahama was conveniently convinced, she took a small breath and readjusted her backpack with some vigor.
“…Shall we get going?”
We exchanged glances in the hallway and began walking in the direction of the special building. Accomplices in crime came to mind when we exchanged looks.(!)
>Hachiman wants to know what Yui does for lunch. Perhaps when Hachiman isn’t around, Yukino and Yui are able to interact normally. Apparently not.
When I answered, silence emerged again. Once we turned the next corner, we would arrive at the club. To me, the club was just part of my day, but I wonder how it was for Yuigahama. Yuigahama should’ve been eating lunch with Yukinoshita in there even now. It suddenly interested me and I asked about it.
“Oh yeah, what do you do for lunch?”
“Eh? Mmm, the same thing I’ve been doing like usual.”(!)
Yuigahama thought for a little and made a troubled smile when she said so.
After hearing that, I felt convinced enough. There’s no doubt that what they talked about were all pointless things.(!) Yuigahama would say something and Yukinoshita would answer.(!) That exchange was what they had been doing all along. Thinking on it, just the sight of it was the same as it always had been up until now.(!) That’s why Yuigahama choked on her answer. The same members spent the time together at the same place at the same time yet there was no way you could think of it as the same thing.(!) Ever since that day, I was still looking for the mistake that I had commited. Still unable to find the answer, I put my hands on the door.
What is important to know here is that during this entire period of time, Hachiman and Yui are able to grow closer to each other. They’re both lying to/deceiving/being insincere towards other people, especially Yukino. They’re doing and discussing all sorts of things behind Yukino’s back. Hachiman and Yui’s relationship is able to grow, because both of them are committed to lying to others. Hachiman, because he doesn’t want to admit his mistakes. Yui, because all that matters to her is staying close to Hachiman so she can become his girlfriend.
Yes, I know this sounds like an incredibly awful thing to say and I apologize, but this is the way it played out. If you want to understand the build-up to “I want something genuine”, then it’s important for me to spell all of this out.
This is where the OP plays its part. Hachiman and Yui are shown walking towards the Service Club. “Do you want to go to the club together?” with the words: “I don’t want an ideal replica” shown.
Yui joined the Service Club so she can be around Hachiman. The Service Club is Yui’s special place, because Hachiman is there. Not only that, but she can freely interact with him there, grow closer to him so she can eventually become his girlfriend.
There is a strong “I’m fine with a lie” motif going on for Yui’s character:
1. From the anime/Yui's diary entry.
2. Hello Alone (Yui’s song)
Before the setting sun
disappeared into the ocean,
I should have at least have said a lie. Wow
3. Everyday World; this line is sung by Yui:
Rather than the truth, please give me a gentle lie.
4. Christmas song.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself: “What are you talking about when you say Hachiman and Yui were able to grow closer to each other by lying to others? Yui has never lied in the series. I’ve never noticed that while watching the anime.”
Well, no and yes.
No, as in: Yui has most certainly lied during the series, especially during Volume 9, mostly for Hachiman’s sake.
Yes, as in: the anime did a rather bad job at portraying that.
Let me put it this way: Watari didn’t just randomly decide to associate the word “lie” with Yui. There has been a very good reason for this and I’ll try my best to illustrate it.
For now, let’s take a look at the other meaning of the OP.
While the Service Club may be Yui’s special place, it is also the place where Hachiman feels like he belongs, albeit for a different reason. If you remember, near the very beginning of this part of the analysis, I mentioned how “for some reason” Hachiman is always drawn to the Service Club. By now you should be aware what that reason is.
>Yukitoki (Season 1’s OP) is a song from Yukino’s perspective.
That small room I kept safe still has that empty space.
I never knew that I was fine with it being just the two of us.
(The two of us being Hachiman and Yukino.)
>Yukino is the character to be shown in the Service Club, as in: Yukino is the heart, soul and embodiment of the Service Club.
Also important to keep in mind: just because Hachiman internally convinces himself that he isn’t lying, doesn’t change the fact that he is lying. Hachiman is going to justify a lot of his lies as “vague words where he couldn’t find the right thing to say” or with something else, but he’s lying to pretty much everyone.
Back to the story.
>Yui wants to continue talking about meaningless things. When she hesitates, Hachiman jumps in for her. Hachiman and Yui have both committed to this, so they’re going to see it through to the end. Hachiman wonders how long they’re going to be able to keep this up? What happens if they can’t keep this up any longer?
I opened the door and upon taking a step inside, the room felt terribly deserted.(!) Was there really a club like this with absolutely nothing at all in it?(!) The same desk and chairs and the tea set(!) that had not been used at all recently(!) were still there. And Yukinoshita Yukino was also there, unchanging as ever.
Yuigahama energetically greeted her back and sat in her designated seat. I nodded lightly and arrived at my seat. These unmoving seats seemed like they were stakes fastened to the floor. Yukinoshita sat in her seat, always sitting up straight as she returned to reading her book. Yuigahama took out her cellphone while I took out my paperback book from my bag again. These actions were as if they were a set of rituals that we had adhered ourselves to.(!) I even thought we could return back to before if we tried to the same thing as before.(!) But, no matter how satisfied the conditions for activation were, that was impossible.(!) If we tried to only superficially emulate it(!), then eventually, things would get worse. A sigh wouldn’t come out.
“You know what, today, Sai-chan?”
Yuigahama suddenly spoke up. The way she was speaking resembled a little child trying her best to talk with her mother. However, that wasn’t it. All Yuigahama was trying to do was to shoot out words in succession in order to do something about the stagnating mood.(!) This resembled the same Yuigahama who read between the lines(!), but was unable to say the things she wanted to say. Noticing that, I decided to jump on board with Yuigahama’s conversation.(!)
The endless exchange. Just how long was this going to continue? Just how long could this go on? If this couldn’t go on any longer, what would happen? I’m sure today, just like yesterday, would go by in the same way.
>Iroha being in way over her head with her new position as the StuCo president, barges in demanding Hachiman to take responsibility for forcing her into this position.
>At first Hachiman isn’t interested, until he remembers:
In the first place, Isshiki didn’t start as the student council president voluntarily. I was partly to blame for leading her into it.(!) That’s why I had some feelings of guilt(!) and my attitude sweetened up.
>Iroha presents the problem, they need to collaborate with another school and organize a Christmas event. Iroha didn’t really want to do it, but Sensei forced her into it.
>After Iroha explains the situation and Hachiman and Yui both talk to her about the details, Hachiman notices Yukino hasn’t said a word. He wonders if Yukino had really wanted to become SCP. Hachiman doesn’t know what Yukino’s true feelings are, but he thinks it would be cruel to let Yukino interact with the person that took something that should and could have been Yukino’s.
After Isshiki’s detailed explanation, Yuigahama and I let out a short sigh. Not even an amazed voice came out. It must’ve been one of those types of sighs. When we went silent, the peaceful time continued on. That silence, however, wasn’t only because of us.(!) It was also because Yukinoshita, who to this day would assertively inquire about the details of the circumstances, had said nothing.(!) Noticing that, I looked at Yukinoshita.(!) Her long eyelashes were softly lowered and she looked at Isshiki, no, at us(!) with eyes as clear as the surface of a lake. Instantly, I came to realize what that feeling of discomfort was.(!) It was that feeling of discomfort that emerged from that feeling of relief when Isshiki came into the room and being relieved afterwards.(!) It was in regards to the fact that nothing had happened when Isshiki and Yukinoshita confronted each other face to face.(!) What if Yukinoshita had earnestly wanted to be the student council president?(!) The one who had prevented her from doing so was Isshiki and above all else, me.(!) If so, then wasn’t this request somewhat cruel? If we accepted the request, then that was equivalent to being a substitute for the student council president. I still didn’t know what Yukinoshita’s true feelings were(!), but I thought that it was really heartless to drop the duties of the student council in front of Yukinoshita.(!) Having something you wanted, but couldn’t grab a hold of dangled in front of you was surely nothing but cruel.
>Yukino has been defeated. The Service Club existed to nurture Hachiman into becoming a better human being, but he has shown her that he is unwilling to change. Yukino has essentially given up. It doesn’t matter to her whether they take on this request or not. It’s pointless. Yui wants to take on the request, hoping that it will make things go back to normal. Hachiman still wonders about what Yukino’s intentions were. He doesn’t want to risk the Service Club deteriorating any further. If he has already become a liar to preserve this special place, he may as well see it through to the end.
Isshiki looked like she was fully ready to ask for help, but I was curious as to what Yukinoshita was going to say. I wanted to wait for her words, but Yukinoshita didn’t give an answer.(!) But as if sensing the stares from me and Yuigahama(!), Yukinoshita gently put her finger on her chin and started to think.
“I see… I understand most of the circumstances, but…”(!)
Although she took a considerable amount of time to speak, Yukinoshita didn’t give a conclusion and her words were vaguely muddled. She then glanced at Yuigahama and me.(!)
“What should we do?”(!)
Was this the first time?(!) For Yukinoshita to ask us whether we should accept the request or not.(!) To this day, she would’ve decided using her own judgment.(!) If you took that as a good change, then she was making a compromise. However, I felt that wasn’t it.(!) Conversely, Yuigahama’s answer was clear.(!)
“Why not? Let’s do it.”
Yukinoshita gazed at Yuigahama, asking why with only just that.(!)
“I mean, it’s been awhile since we’ve gotten a request, right? I mean, recently, there wasn’t anything like this. And we’re somewhat free so…”
With Yukinoshita’s calm eyes on Yuigahama, her words gradually slipped and slipped.(!)
“That’s why I thought maybe we could try our best like, before, or something…”(!)
The words “like before” pulled at me. Yuigahama probably wanted to use it as a trigger.(!) A trigger that would do away with this atmosphere as we concentrated on handling the consultation and request.
“I see. In that case, I think that’s fine too.”(!)
However, Yukinoshita’s transparent voice rejected that possibility. Her faint smile that questioned us wasn’t a compromise.(!) This was giving in.(!) A conclusion upon resignation. It was simply a concession that left the issue to the judgment and conclusion of someone else’s.(!) My voice came out on its own. Considering the state of the Service Club right now, I didn’t think the club could do anything.(!) Furthermore, I wouldn’t expose the existence of the student council president right before Yukinoshita’s eyes.(!) I didn’t know what Yukinoshita’s intentions were.(!) However, I felt I probably wasn’t that far off the mark. I couldn’t let this space degrade any further.(!) We shouldn’t be taking any risks. If I was moving to protect it(!), then I had to keep doing so until the end.(!) Even if I didn’t know exactly when the end was and where the goal was.(!)
>Since Hachiman manipulated Iroha into wanting to become the SCP, Hachiman feels responsible for setting things right with Iroha. However, since he lied to both Yukino and Yui about his involvement with Iroha’s previous request, not wanting Iroha to reveal how it was actually him that solved Iroha’s problem and because he thinks it would be cruel to let Yukino deal with something which might have been hers had she won the election (which Hachiman still wonders if it was what Yukino actually wanted to do of her own volition) he can’t have Iroha interacting with them since that could make an even bigger mess. He pretends to push Iroha away and says that the Service Club can’t solve her problem.
>It’s a bad idea, Iroha solve it yourself. There’s another person I need to do right by.
>The club can’t help you. I’ll help you, but the Service Club can’t see me helping you.
But there was no other way except to meet off-campus to keep the fact that I was helping out Isshiki by myself from being disclosed to Yukinoshita and Yuigahama.(!) To accept a request connected to the student council right now in front of Yukinoshita was a cruel thing to do.(!) That being said, it would be irresponsible to outright reject Isshiki’s request.(!) There was also the choice to exclude Yukinoshita, but that felt like a terrible betrayal. Considering how the Service Club was at the moment, choosing to take on this request as a personal favor should’ve been the best choice of action.
>Instead of being honest with Yukino, Hachiman once again goes behind her (and Yui’s) back, excludes her from solving the problem together and continues lying to her. Hachiman goes back into the club and they proceed to act as if nothing happened.
>What did Iroha say? She whined. (Lying to Yukino #2) (Of course, he’s also lying to Yui, but later on it will be revealed that Yui is fine with a lie.)
>Hachiman talks to Komachi for a while about changing his pace: helping Iroha behind Yukino and Yui’s backs (he obviously doesn’t tell her that). Just like during Sagami’s arc, Yukino distracted herself with Sagami’s request because the atmosphere in the Service Club had become awkward. Hachiman didn’t allow Yukino to explain. Now Hachiman, being unable to face Yukino because of all his screw-ups (mostly his lies and deceit), is looking for a distraction as well.
“Okay! That was a good change of pace.”
“I’m glad for you…”
“Onii-chan, changing your pace’s good for you okay? Like, if you get driven to a corner, it’d be better to distract yourself(!) with something else, you know?”
“That’s… Well, yeah, that’s right.”
That’s just an excuse to run away(!), wasn’t it? I tried to say that. However, when someone somewhere who averted his eyes in that same way came to mind(!), I was unable to say it willfully.
In the LN the chapter where Hachiman is constantly wondering whether or not he’s doing the right thing is called: Chapter 3: Repeatedly, Hikigaya Hachiman questions himself
>Hachiman has to at least keep up appearances with Yukino and Yui. Don’t worry, it’s not like Hachiman is lying to/deceiving Yukino and Yui. As long as Hachiman is convinced that he’s not lying, everything is okay.
My assistance with Isshiki was wholly kept secret from Yukinoshita and Yuigahama, so I had to at least show my face at the club. If I suddenly took some days off, it wouldn’t be very good to have them be suspicious of me.(!)
>This is where Tamanawa and Iroha’s committee arc happens, nothing important to the overall narrative happens here, so I’ll breeze through it. The entire point to this arc is that both Tamanawa and Iroha are newly appointed student council presidents that are inexperienced and neither of them is willing to commit to take the lead. Instead all they’re doing is needlessly discussing things without actually doing anything. The point is: they’re all just talking for the sake of talking, without making any progress, while the deadline slowly approaches.
>And Kaori Orimoto and these other three guys.
>What is going on? We’re brainstorming. Iroha is keeping her face in a permanent smile to keep up appearances as if she knows what she’s doing.
Tamanawa’s group is supposedly the “idea” group. If they’re the group that comes up with the ideas, then Hachiman’s group is the one that needs to do the actual work, sounds fair right? Iroha allows Tamanawa to give their group extra work, however it’s not Iroha that has to put in the work, but these other three student council members. That’s why they’re constantly sighing and looking downwards as Iroha keeps accepting all of Tamanawa’s proposals.
>Could you guys do the work for me. I know I’m the one that accepted it, but still.
>It’s okay as long as Hachiman lies to/deceives Yukino and Yui this one time. (Lying to Yukino #3)
“Aah, right… Do you mind if I leave early today?”
As I said that, I quietly closed my book. When I did, Yukinoshita and Yuigahama stopped their conversation and looked my way.
Yuigahama looked out the window as if checking the time. Evening had come slightly earlier. If it was like always, then we’d continue to stay in the room. As if remembering a feeling of discomfort from that, Yuigahama asked with a mysterious expression.
“You’re leaving rather early today, huh! Do you have something to do?”(!)
“…Aah. I was asked to reserve a party barrel.”
When I answered, Yuigahama nodded convincingly.
“Haa, a reservation, huh?”
“Yeah. It’s for Christmas at home. It’s actually pretty popular so it looks like I’ll need to do it as soon as possible. Apparently Komachi did it last year too.”
“I see. Komachi-san’s in the middle of tests, after all.”
“That’s exactly it. Anyway, I’ll see you later.”
“Uh huh. See you tomorrow.”
Yuigahama called to me as I stood up. Yukinoshita added a “give my regards to Komachisan” as well. I waved my hands to them and left the club room. Behind me was Yuigahama who started to talk about various things regarding Komachi’s tests.
>I’d like for us to make a big splash. What are we talking about? No idea. Are you cool with that Iroha? Sure.
Tamanawa and co. want to leave a big mark. They want to show off how amazing they are, however none of them are taking into account the manpower, time or money required to host such a big event. Because Tamanawa and co. are afraid of failing, they want to bring in even more people. Iroha is simply accepting all of their proposals, because she has no idea what is going on.
>Let’s bring in even more schools. Hachiman tries telling Iroha to tell Tamanawa that they don’t have enough time or people to host a big event. Remember when Hachiman accused Yukino of creating a puppet candidate and then asked her if she was willing to support said candidate for the rest of her life? That’s essentially what Hachiman is doing here.
>Hachiman can’t reject them directly, so instead he plays their game. So high schools are a no go? What about colleges then? No? What about nearby grade schools? Sounds like a win-win situation to me. Preach it!
>Can you guys take care of it? Iroha gladly accepts. She’s not the one that has to do the work after all.
>While Iroha tries to stay cheery around others, Hachiman notices that her incompetence and all of these meetings being such a mess does have an impact on her.
>What it comes down to is: Hachiman tries helping Iroha out himself during the Christmas event, but quickly realizes that he can’t take on the committee with Tamanawa, Orimoto and others on his own. Tamanawa, Iroha and the others are too afraid to commit to something or take the lead, because if the event turns into a disaster, the blame will be put on the person taking charge. Instead if everyone fails, then at the very least the blame can be put on the group, not just one individual. Tamanawa’s group is making all these grand plans that they are never going to be able to achieve. They haven’t even started doing a single thing. All they’re doing is discussing things. However, by getting everyone involved, if the event fails, then the responsibility doesn’t just fall on one person (like what happened to Sagami).
The time those two had been student president was shallow. That’s why their lack of experience was something that couldn’t be avoided. The problem was that as leaders, they didn’t have a vision. They couldn’t see a vision for success. But, instead, they could see one where they failed.(!) They became the president and once they failed the burden with the big task of cooperating with another school and for the region, it would be over.(!) They were probably afraid of that.(!) For those with a considerable imagination, they easily understood that there were things that they shouldn’t fail at. It was likely that both Tamanawa and Isshiki were capable of that. That’s why they sought for people’s opinions as well as incorporated them.(!) All for the sake of sharing the responsibility when they failed.(!)
They are unable to shoulder the responsibility themselves which is why they attempt to obtain the opinions of others.(!) And that was the reason why this event was stagnating right now.(!) Who at the top or who at the bottom would shoulder the burden?(!) For that not to have been decided was a mistake in the first place.
>It’s okay as long as Hachiman lies to/deceives Saki this one time.
After jumping into her arms, Kawasaki affectionately caressed Kei-chan’s hair. After that, she shot me a suspicious stare.
“…Why are you here?”(!)
“Er, well, work…”(!)
In fact, I was the one who wanted to ask her why she was here, but she managed to say it first. She made a discrete look behind me.
“Uh huh… What about Yukinoshita and Yuigahama?”(!)
I knew she was going to ask that. If it was work that I mentioned, that would imply activities of the Service Club. For Kawasaki who had been involved with us before, that was a natural question to ask. However, there wasn’t a need to explain the details to her.(!) It’s not like she asked about it and telling her the specifics would just be a bother to Kawasaki too.(!) That’s why my answer was simple.
“…They’re on another job.(!)
(No, they’re not.)
It’s just me by myself.”(!)
>It’s okay as long as Hachiman lies to/deceives Saika this one time. Well, technically he did go to the Service Club (after Yui convinced him with her puppy dog eyes) to tell Yukino and Yui that he wouldn’t be able to attend the Service Club anymore for a while.
While the outbreak of negative ions from Totsuka’s smile brought about a placebo effect on me, Totsuka readjusted his tennis bag.
“Going to club now?”
“Yeah! Hachiman too, right?”
Because of the odd pause there, Totsuka slightly tilted his head. I made an effort to make my voice energetic to try to hide it.(!)
“Well, do your best at club.”
“Hachiman too. Do your best, okay?”
>Yui waited until Hachiman was finished with his conversation with Saika so she could approach him. Yui asks Hachiman if he’s going to the club, the place where Yui can freely interact with Hachiman. Hachiman doesn’t want to go, but Yui uses her puppy dog eyes to convince him.
Totsuka did a little wave in front of his chest and left the classroom. I returned his wave with a smile. Still, even when Totsuka disappeared down into the hallway, I didn’t feel like standing up at all. I rested my back against the chair and looked up to the ceiling. And in my line of sight was Yuigahama.(!) Further away, she was nervously peeking in my direction.(!) It looked like she was waiting for the right timing for when I was done talking.(!) I moved my body and looked at her with eyes that indicated it was safe to come over here.(!) When I did, Yuigahama awkwardly walked over.(!) She stood opposite of me and peeked at me with an anxious face.(!)
“…Are you going to the club today?”(!)
When she asked me, words got lodged in my throat.(!) Did I make Yuigahama worry because I went home early yesterday? When I looked at Yuigahama’s face, the words “I’m not going” wouldn’t come out.(!) Don’t look at me with those puppy eyes(!)… I got it, I got it, I’ll go.
“Yeah. Well, I guess we should get going…”
“Got it! I’ll go get my bag.”(!)
Instead the anime turned this scene into the following:
Like I said before, this is a pretty big adaption miss here. Instead of Hachiman lying to Saika and Yui acting incredibly suspicious, you get these two scenes. This makes it seem like Hachiman and Yui are just being a bit awkward around each other and Yui is concerned whether or not Hachiman is going to the Service Club. At least they show you how important it is to Yui that Hachiman needs to be in the Service Club and that she uses her puppy dog eyes to convince him. However, it’s likely that you didn’t pick up on why it’s so important to Yui that Hachiman shows up there. They also don’t show Hachiman’s inner monologue of how he doesn’t actually want to go.
>It’s okay as long as Yui lies to/deceives/is insincere towards Hachiman this one time.
“…Ah, about today, I might need to leave early. Actually, it’ll be like that for a while.”
When I said, Yuigahama nodded once and spoke.
“Helping out Iroha-chan?”(!)
The words she spoke startled me.
“Just watching you is enough to tell.”(!)
Yuigahama brushed it off with a laugh. Well, leaving club early alone and looking tired in class would make you think there was something going on, huh? My own shallowness got the better of me. If Yuigahama saw through that(!), then it wouldn’t have been odd for one other person to have noticed it too.(!)
“Does Yukinoshita know too?”(!)
When I asked her, Yuigahama moved her eyes outside the window.
“Hmm… I wonder? We don’t talk about Hikki after all.”(!)
I couldn’t see past Yuigahama’s expression.(!) However, her overly quiet voice made me think she wouldn’t allow for me to press any further about it.(!) Her answer that was left vague reflected the situation we were in. It felt like she was only thinking about how she wanted to avoid saying the few words that made that definite.(!)
From thereon, we stopped talking as we continued down the hallway. Only the sound of footsteps echoed. Yuigahama was still looking outside.
>Busy helping Iroha? You knew? Everyone knew. Even Yukinoshita? We don’t talk about you. If Yui was able to figure it out, then Yukino most certainly figured it out as well.
>Hachiman comes to the conclusion that instead of owning up to his mistakes/lies, opening up to Yukino and Yui and asking them for help, he should just continue doing what he has been doing and dig himself deeper.
…Did I make a mistake?(!) Ever since then, I continued to ask myself that question that I already had an answer to. I definitely did make a mistake.(!) The days following the student council election gave weight to that reality. Yuigahama was showing this lonely smile.(!) Yukinoshita stabbed me with those eyes full of resignation.(!) That’s why I had to take responsibility.(!) Owning up to your actions was a natural thing to do.(!) You shouldn’t rely on someone else when fixing your own mistakes. What good would it do to be a bother to them too? To easily rely on someone, make a mistake, and waste the efforts of the trust of that person was something I could only see as a betrayal. I thought about the actions I needed to take that were grounded based on the correct rules and principles for the sake of not failing any more than I already have.
>Are you going to do it all on your own again?
>It’s okay as long as Hachiman lies to/deceives/is insincere towards Yui this one time.
For now, I had to do away with Yuigahama’s needless worries.(!)
“You have other things to worry about other than me, don’t you?”
After a small sigh, I spoke up and made a loose smile.(!) I changed the topic fully well aware of how cowardly it was.(!)
>Do you think Yukino really wanted to be SCP? Beats me. Yahallo!
This is actually a pretty cool Yui moment. She’s showing concern about her friend. Mostly because she just wants things to go back to being normal, but it still counts.
Unfortunately, this entire moment gets nullified, because immediately afterwards Yui openly lies to Yukino.
>Hachiman and Yui are both openly lying to Yukino here. It’s okay as long as Hachiman and Yui lie to/deceive Yukino this one time. (Lying to Yukino #4)
(Are you getting sick of this? Good, because I am. Hopefully I’ve managed to showcase how much Hachiman and Yui are lying to other people all for the sake of preserving that “special place”.)
There was something I needed to mention to Yukinoshita before we would pass the frozen time.(!) I had already passed it on to Yuigahama(!), but I had to say I was going to leave early from club for a while or else.(!)
“Hey, do you have a second?”
When I called to her, Yukinoshita’s shoulders twitched. I wasn’t intending my voice to be that loud, but it may have reverberated quite well in this quiet room. Yuigahama straightened her posture as well and looked my way. Yukinoshita looked at me and stayed still for a moment. She then let out a breath, closed her book, and spoke up.
“……What is it?”
Her composed voice and her intellectual eyes faced my way. I probably had the same face as well.
“Do you mind if I leave early for a while?”(!)
When I said, Yukinoshita blinked two to three times.(!) She then placed her hand on her chin and took a thinking gesture.
“Let’s see, it’s not like we’re particularly busy with anything…”
I waited for her words to continue, but they didn’t seem to come out.
“Well, that’s, you know… I just have some stuff on my plate… Komachi’s in the middle of her tests too.”(!)
My added reason wasn’t at all random.(!) But I just couldn’t tell her the actual reason.(!) It should’ve been fine if I didn’t say it and she didn’t know about it.(!)
Yukinoshita gently rubbed the cover of the book she had in hand.(!) It looked like she was still thinking.(!)
(Yukino is thinking. About what? It has become very clear to Yukino that Hachiman doesn’t want to be in the Service Club anymore and that he’s simply forcing himself to be here. She also knows that Hachiman is helping Iroha behind her back and lying to her about it, all for the sake of looking out for them, or more specifically Yukino. She is possibly also aware that Yui is lying to her.)
Even if I waited for her to come out with a clear conclusion, it looked like it was going to take a considerable amount of time.(!) But Yuigahama who was watching things unfold continued the conversation.(!)
(Yui lies to Yukino for Hachiman’s sake.)
“…But that might be better, huh? We can’t really do anything for Komachi-chan after all. That’s why Hikki will have to try his best for the both of us too. Right, Yukinon?”(!)
>Hachiman and Yui are lying to Yukino. He’s taking time off for Komachi.
(This is probably the only moment where Hachiman and Yui are lying to someone that Feel left in the anime. However if you weren’t aware that Hachiman and Yui were doing this the entire time up until now, you’re probably not going to pick up on this either.)
>Hachiman apologizes for lying to Yukino. Yukino shakes her head: “It’s alright, no problem.” Hachiman feels guilty about it, but sadly, he has been all-in for quite some time now. There’s no turning back.
I apologize for skipping over a bit here, but I was trying to illustrate a point.
>Before Hachiman enters the Service Club for this conversation, this pops up in his mind.
Yukinoshita’s attitude when Isshiki came that time was different from how it was long ago. It felt like she had lost the tenacity in dealing with requests and consultations.(!) Even now, beyond the door, she was probably quietly sitting like before as if she had given up on something(!) and as if she had forgotten something.
What has Yukino given up on?
Her goal of trying to change Hachiman into a better person. It’s pointless. What’s worse is that Hachiman is now lying to her and going behind her back all for the sake of preserving the Service Club.
>If you’ve read the LN, the moment Hachiman enters the room, he mentions a book Yukino has finished reading. This is a rather insightful Easter egg.
I looked to see how Yukinoshita was doing, but she didn’t look any different from yesterday. If there was one change to notice, then it would be the addition of another book she had finished reading on the stack.(!) It was as if that was like The Children’s Limbo.(!)
>One of the central themes of this book is: both expressed concern for the salvation of ordinary people.
“….If that’s how it is, it wouldn’t solve any problems or save anybody.”(!) As Yukinoshita spoke the word ‘save’, her expression was that of bloodcurdling anger. I inadvertently flinched. I was on the verge of apologizing by blurting out a ‘S-s-s-s-sorry!’ if needed be. Talking about salvation isn’t usually something a mere high school student would do.(!) I just can’t understand what it is that is driving her this far.(!)
That’s what Yukino has given up on. Hachiman isn’t going to change, Yukino has lost her sense of purpose. As you may have noticed, Watari is incredibly subtle when telling you the motivations of characters (or just the overall story in general. Sometimes too subtle to its own detriment), but this Easter egg confirms what Yukino has given up on.
Speaking of the books Yukino reads during Volume 9, there is one other Easter egg that is pretty important, it pretty much encompasses the entire story of Yahari (or at least from Volume 6-9) and Hachiman and Yukino’s relationship as a whole. I’d say, it’s truly the central and most significant message Yahari as a whole has to offer. It’s the play where Rumi plays the main character. That story truly describes Hachiman and Yukino’s love for each other and how far they are willing to go for each other, but we’re not there yet. I’m simply introducing the importance of said Easter egg. Once we get there, you’ll know that you have to pay extra attention to it.