The purpose of this analysis is as follows;
1. To showcase that the “promised date” is exactly that: a promise. A promise Yui sprung on Hachiman as early as Volume 4. A promise Yui constantly keeps reminding Hachiman of. A promise Hachiman has been postponing for 7 main volumes (+side volumes), which comes down to months in the Yahari universe. It also shows that Hachiman and Yui’s relationship consists of Hachiman feeling the need to fulfil Yui’s promise, regardless of what his feelings may be. Another thing to keep an eye on is Hachiman constantly telling Yui: “One day perhaps” or “Some day I promise I will”.
2. To show that when Hachiman and Yui are together, they never try and get to know each other. They always either talk about Yukino, the Service Club or how Yui wants to go on dates with Hachiman so the two of them can make fond memories together.
3. To show the strong fireworks motif present in Yui’s character. If you’ve read the end of Part 4, you should be aware what the fireworks stand for. I’ll repeat it once more in this analysis.
4. To show that Yui has been putting in a lot of effort to become Hachiman’s girlfriend, or to be more exact: forcing herself on him. Like for instance in Volume 7. Yui and Hachiman were supposed to solve Tobe’s request, but instead that entire volume is pretty much Yui and Hachiman doing things together that couples would do. Naturally, because Yui pulled some strings to make sure that the two of them could spend time together on this trip.
If you feel like you already understood this from the story or if you feel like you can take my word for it, then you don’t necessarily have to read through this one.
(I do address the ending to ANOTHER in this part, so perhaps you’d want to read this to understand what Watari actually meant to say with ANOTHER.)
If you’re still not convinced or simply just want my thoughts on this, then let’s go.
>Yui has “loved” Hachiman as early as Volume 3, possibly even earlier than that.
>During the “nice girl” speech (end of Volume 2), Hachiman thinks that Yui is hanging out with him out of concern or feelings of guilt. These are his thoughts at the beginning of Volume 3 (S1E6).
I regained my peace of mind by pressing the reset button and Yuigahama was free to return to her riajuu life, no longer constrained by her sense of guilt.(!) By all accounts, it was not the wrong choice to take. You could even say it was the right choice.
There was really no need for her to be nice(!) to me over saving her dog. That was just a thing of chance. It was on the same level as picking up someone’s lost wallet or giving up a seat for an elderly person. Afterwards, you’d smile to yourself and say, “Whoa! I did a super good deed! Now I know how all those idiotic showoffs feel!” That was all it amounted to. There was no need to keep on worrying over a coincidence of that scale, and since I was fated to become a loner anyway after enrolling, that was all the more reason not to worry(!) about me. So I would end the matter here. Hitting reset and going back to our ordinary lives was for the best. Life has no reset button, but you can reset your relationships. Source: me. Not a single classmate from middle school ever contacted me… wait, that was a deletion, not a reset. Heh.
>Yui doesn’t show up to the club anymore. Yukino wants to celebrate Yui’s birthday to thank her. Yui was the “first” friend she made. Hachiman realizes that it was because of his actions that Yukino is now feeling down.
“That’s why I want to celebrate Yuigahama‐san’s birthday. Even if she never comes back to the Service Club…(!) I would like to thank her properly for everything she has done,” Yukinoshita said blushingly, her eyes lowered furtively.
There was no doubt that to Yukinoshita, whose personality left much to be desired and whose high specs continued to inspire flames of envy on a daily basis, Yuigahama was the first friend she had ever made.(!)
I doubted her desire to thank Yuigahama was a lie. Much as her words were coated with self‐defeat, she was probably desperate not to lose that friendship.
…ohhhh. So did all of this happen because of what I said to Yuigahama?(!)
(This is important, because it explains why Hachiman went out of his way to reconcile with Yui; because of Yukino.)
Feeling slightly guilty(!), I peered sideways at Yukinoshita, who recoiled in discomfort, having noticed I was looking at her. Ahh, she’d probably tell me not to look her because I was a disgusting creep all over again. With that on my mind, I averted my eyes quickly before she could say anything. I coughed, my cheeks reddening somewhat.
>Hachiman and Yukino go on their date, they encounter Yui. Yui thinks they’re dating. Yukino says the following to Yui, but it can also be applied to Hachiman, since it’s about the car accident.
“…I wasn’t able to convey this to you because of the way I am.” She paused, searching for the right thing to say. “But I want to talk straight with you.”
>Later on in Volume 3, Zaimokuza mentions Hachiman spending time with his girlfriend. Hachiman says he has no girlfriend. Yui asks him about it. Hachiman and Yukino clear the air. Later on Yui says the following:
Yuigahama opened her mouth tentatively. “You know…” she said slightly uncertainly. “I don’t really get games and stuff, not in detail, but…”
Besides Yuigahama, nobody raised their voice to interject. It was simply that her serious, deliberate expression drew everyone’s gazes towards her. I waited for Yuigahama to continue speaking. Yuigahama, who had been concentrating her gaze on her cards, raised her head abruptly. Then she looked me squarely in the eyes.(!)
“Even if it’s not the right way to start doing things, even if you can’t follow through ‐ as long as it’s not a lie(!) or fake(!), it’s not wrong to be moved by feelings of love… I think, yeah.”(!)
I wondered whom those words were directed at.(!)
>Hachiman is happy that Yukino and Yui are friends again.
Anyway, it was a good thing Yukinoshita and Yuigahama had gone back to how they used to be, I guess…
Hachiman is always happy when he sees Yukino and Yui getting along.
“You are warming up to Yuigahama quite a fair bit recently, aren’t you?”
Was this world so yuri yuri? Which publisher? Is it that, time something? Yukinoshita didn’t seem to know what I mean. Her face had a puzzled expression on it.
“It’s nothing like that, it’s very normal.”
Seeing my gaze that was implying that it was ‘totally not normal’, Yukinoshita lowered her gaze as though she was hurt.
“……. Sorry, Hikigaya-kun has never had any normal interactions with anyone and so he wouldn’t know. This is called normal, please remember it.”
Thinking back, for Yukinoshita, Yuigahama was her very first kind of friend while Isshiki was her very first kind of underclassman. Seeing her act somewhat like an upperclassman was a pleasant sight to behold.
>Hachiman confronts Yui about the car accident and him saving her dog. Yukino is present during this conversation and these words are actually meant for Yukino (minus the “me saving your dog” bit and other Yui-specific stuff naturally), because it’s Yukino that has been looking out for him since the beginning.
“I did a bit of thinking. How do I put it? We’ll call it even with this, okay? Me saving your dog, you expending effort over me ‐ that’s all water under the bridge,” I told Yuigahama, and then without looking at her reaction I went on without stopping for breath. “I mean, there was really no reason for you to look out for me. I got compensated by the insurance company the person who hit me was in, plus the lawyer and the driver apparently came over to apologise. So you weren’t even in the picture to begin with. Same with your feelings of sympathy or concern.”
“Besides, Yuigahama, it wasn’t like I saved the dog because of you.”
For a moment, Yuigahama looked at me with deep sadness in her eyes, but then she immediately cast her gaze to the floor.
“It’s not like I give out special favours, so there’s no need for you to give me one in return. But, well, how do I put it…? I want to pay you back for the worrying you have done over me. With this we’re back to zero and we’re even. You don’t have to care about me anymore. So we’ll end this here,” I finished, letting out a heavy sigh.
>Near the end of Volume 3, Yui tells him that it was never because of pity, concern, sympathy or guilt. Hachiman considers that Yui’s feelings for him may not be feelings of guilt or concern etc., but something different.
Since the beginning was all wrong, it stood to reason that the results would be all wrong too. No matter what feelings came over me, the answer would certainly not change.(!)
Fake.(!) It would be the same as those feelings being fake. Even if those feelings were something special.(!)
Feelings that sprouted from a random accident, becoming the object of sympathy thanks to self‐sacrifice(!), love that could possibly have been born no matter who saved her(!) ‐ I could not acknowledge any of this as the real thing.(!) If I had saved her without knowing her for who she was, then she had been saved by me, not knowing me for who I was.(!) In that case, her feelings and gentleness were not directed towards me. They were directed at someone who had saved her.(!) That was why the last thing I wanted was a misunderstanding.(!)
I was done with being selfishly entitled and being selfishly disappointed. I wouldn’t expect anything from the start, nor would I expect anything afterwards. I would not expect anything, even to the day I die.
(The real thing = genuine.)
>Volume 4, before the camping trip, before encountering Yui and Miura, Hachiman considers cutting things off with her-
I mean, I had a real feeling the world would keep spinning properly even if Hikigaya Hachiman did not exist. I remembered the quiet tranquility of it all. An irreplaceable existence is a scary one. I mean, if you lose it, you can’t get it back. Losing is impermissible as well. It is a point of no return. And so, relatively speaking, I quite liked the relationships I was currently building, which couldn’t even be called relationships. If something happened, I could cut things off lightly and no one would get hurt.(!) Without touching or stepping on any toes, I could deal with her‐(!)
The voice cut through the midsummer traffic. It was only really a murmur, but it reached my ears because I had been thinking about her.(!)
>Volume 4, before the camping trip, during his encounter with Yui (and Miura).
“Ah, if you don’t want a party, then let’s all hang out together, okay?”
“Who do you mean by ‘all’?”
“Yukinon and Komachi‐chan and Sai‐chan, I guess?” Yuigahama suggested.
I see how it is. So Zaimokuza was filtered out, huh. Well, it was natural he would end up that way. I’d be the first to filter him out as well. I didn’t answer for a few seconds.
Then Yuigahama said, “I‐if you don’t like that, then… we can go together…”(!)
She peered up at me, playing with her fingers as she did so. When I saw how she looked at me, my heartbeat quickened. My eyes darted to the side and I lifted my head. “It’s not like I’m totally against it. More like I’m all for it, especially the Totsuka part!”
“Just how much do you like Sai‐chan?!”
“I‐I don’t like him at all! I’m just kinda attracted to him!”
“That’s almost the same thing!” Yuigahama cried, burying her head in her hands.
Oh man… I lost focus and got swept up in Yuigahama’s pace.(!) I’d been consciously trying to maintain distance between us to prevent misunderstandings, so this was quite worrying.(!)
“So what do you wanna do?” I asked.
“The fireworks display!”(!) Yuigahama answered brightly. “Let’s go to the fireworks display!”(!)
“I can see the marine fireworks from home. I don’t wanna go all the way outside.”
“How selfish!” She pointed her finger at me accusingly. Yuigahama let out a drawn‐out groan, and then thought for a while. “Then how about a test of courage!”
“I’m scared of ghosts, so no.”
“That’s your reason?!”
Even though I had rejected her(!), Yuigahama went on, undaunted. “Well okay then, how about the beach…? Or maybe the pool?”
“…er, uh, that’s kinda, you know. It’s too embarrassing, so let’s not go there.”
“Yeah… I’d be kinda embarrassed too…” Yuigahama shuddered and looked down, blushing. Oh come on, don’t suggest it if it’s embarrassing. It did make me feel less embarrassed, though.
“I’ve got it! Camping!”
“There are bugs, so no way in hell. Just the bugs rule it out, honestly. Sorry.”
“You’re so picky! And you’re a couch potato! I give up! You’re a stupid idiot!”
Yuigahama delved deep into her shallow vocabulary to tell me off. With a huff, she turned her back on me crossly and started stomping off.
“…you know, we don’t have to do anything all summer‐ish. Just something normal.”
Yuigahama’s feet ground to a halt. When she looked back over her shoulder, all her anger had been washed away, replaced by a faint trace of a smile.
“Ohh… I see. ‘kay, I’ll call you later.”
“Uhh, that ended up being vague,” I told her.
Yuigahama had already swung back around and was sprinting off towards Miura.
>Volume 4, after the camping trip, when the gang set off fireworks. Hachiman has to make that part of his promise to Yui, where the two of them go see fireworks together, come true as well.
“They’re pretty much the same, so yeah!” She paused. “Plus, we’re watching fireworks together.”(!)
“Well, there’s that.”
“Everything came true. So that means… you have to make the part where we hang out together true as well.”(!)
Lost for words, I gazed at Yuigahama as if I was being pulled towards her. When our eyes met, Yuigahama laughed. The fireworks came alight. Even though she had said that to me, my answer was decided.
“…one of these days, I guess.”(!)
>Volume 5 (episode 9) is a very Yukino-less volume, as in Yukino the character doesn’t appear, except near the end. Near the beginning of the volume Hachiman concludes that he doesn’t “know” anything substantial about Yukino. Hachiman spends his summer holiday interacting with a lot of the other characters and with every single one of them he talks about Yukino in some shape or form. Sensei tells Hachiman the following:
“It sounds like you won’t be attending the fireworks festival then.”(!)
Hiratsuka-sensei’s words cut my train of thought.
“Yeah. You know about it, right? It’s the one being held at the port tower. Aren’t you going?”(!)
“I don’t have any particular plans on going(!), but what about you, sensei?” I asked.
She let out a long sigh. “I suppose you can call it my job over summer vacation. But it’s more accurate to say I’m going to watch people instead of the fireworks…”
I gave her a look requesting an explanation as to what in the world she was talking about.
“I’ve been put in charge of watching over students. That includes during festivals and the sort. But actual jobs like these tend to be left to the young folk. Gosh, there wasn’t much I can do about that, hahaha. After all, see, I’m young.”
“Why do you look so happy…?”
Hiratsuka-sensei was in a good mood and continued as if she didn’t hear my mumble. “If any of our students happen to get out of hand, that would be a problem. Since the festival is a municipal event, there’ll be quite a few VIPs present as well.”
“That’s right, families like the Yukinoshita should be attending.”(!)
Indeed, the Yukinoshitas were essentially local celebrities and were a family of a high pedigree. They had a seat in the prefectural assembly as well as owned a local business. So it’s possible they had provided assistance with the event. In that case, it wouldn’t be out of the question if they were invited.(!)
>Volume 5, after Yui comes to pick up her dog, Hachiman says that Yukino may be at the fireworks festival. It could be that Hachiman agreed to go because he thought Yukino would be there.
“Anyway, please come over again. I’ll be waiting for you.”
“Okay, thanks,” said Yuigahama, expressing her gratitude. She then picked up her other luggage with Sabure.
It was probably about time for her to head home. There, I remembered something.(!)
“Oh yeah, about Yukinoshita. She might be at the fireworks festival.(!) Hiratsuka-sensei said it’s a locally sponsored event, so a lot of big wigs are attending with their families or something.”
“Oh I see… Okay. I’ll try go?” Yuigahama paused for short moment as if something had come to mind. She then let out a small breath and quietly turned her gaze towards me. “U-Um… Hey, do you wanna go to the fireworks festival together? Like, it’ll be my thanks for taking care of Sabure, my treat.”
“So she says, Komachi. Let’s go.”(!)
“Go with just the two of us” was a choice I immediately eliminated from the start.(!) And since it’s her way of thanking us, I think it’s only proper that Komachi tagged along since she did most of the work.
Komachi placed her hands on her waist seeing through my intentions and sighed in resignation. It sounded like she mumbled, “Good grief, what’s wrong with my trashynii-chan?”, but I ignored it.
She then turned her face towards Yuigahama with an apologetic look. “Ahh, I’m really happy for your invitation, but see, I’m actually stilll in the middle of my exams. I’d love to take you up on your offer, but I can’t exactly go out anywhere right now…”
“Oh okay… Not much you can do there.”
“Yes. I’m sorry. Oh! But see! But see, there are a lot of things I’d like to buy, but… Argh, I just don’t have the time! There are things I want, but there’s no time to go out and buy them at all! What ever am i going to do, huh? There’s a lot of stuff too, so it might be too much for Yui-san by herself, you know?”
After she said all of that in monotone, she totally glanced at me…
Realizing the meaning behind her gesture, Yuigahama leaned forward. “Oh! No kidding! Hikki! Why don’t we buy some of Komachi’s stuff then!? I mean, I do owe you two a lot for the help!”
>After Hachiman and Yui meet up, they don’t really have a lot to talk about. Hachiman mentions wanting to go home. Yui checks her phone to see the instructions Komachi sent them.
Komachi’s Shopping List:
Yakisoba - 400 yen
Cotton candy - 500 yen
Ramune - 300 yen
Takoyaki - 500 yen
The memory of watching fireworks - Priceless
What’s with that last one…?
When I visualized how she might’ve typed this with a triumphant look, onii-chan felt a little embarrassed…
Yuigahama took my expression as if I was annoyed and let out an awkward “ahaha”. So embarassing! Onii-chan is SO embarrassed right now! But still, there she goes again with her meddlesome tactics…(!) I thought for a bit, but well, I could see that Komachi was trying to be considerate in her own way. I wasn’t that dense that I’d be missing the obvious planning she had in mind.(!)
Rather, I was sensitive. So sensitive and perceptive that I was prone to overreacting. After all, eighty percent of the boys in the world were always living their lives with the thought, “Could it be this girl likes me?”(!)
And that’s exactly it’s necessary to reprimand yourself. You needed to be calm and collected, so you could look at yourself with an indifferent attitude and say, “Fat chance.” I didn’t believe in others all that much, but I absolutely didn’t believe in myself at all. I let out a sigh and adjusted my mood. “Alright, I guess we should just buy them as we go…”
>During his date with Yui, Hachiman thinks about Yukino. (Season 1 exclusive)
>Hachiman and Yui encounter Sagami. Sagami openly mocks Hachiman. Hachiman takes the hint and leaves.
So, who the heck is this?
They apparently had the same thoughts as me when they looked at Yuigahama for an explanation.
“Ah, right. He’s Hikigaya-kun in the same class. And this is Sagami Minami-chan in our class.”
Ohh, so she’s in our class. Now that she mentioned it, I vaguely recall her. I thought, giving her a small bow.
In that instant, our eyes met.
For a moment, Sagami’s expression had a smirk.
“Oh, so that’s how it is! So you both came together, huh? Jeez, just look at us, it’s just a fireworks festival of girls for us! That’s so nice, I wanna live my youth, too!”
“…Ahaha! What are you even saying, we’re not at a swim meet or anything! We’re really not doing anything like that~” Yuigahama hesitated for a moment, but quickly went along and laughed. But I wasn’t in the slightest mood to laugh.(!) Just seconds earlier, that smile Sagami had. It was something I was all too familiar with. It wasn’t a smile nor was it a laugh. It was a commanding laugh of scorn.(!) This girl, after seeing “the boy that Yuigahama Yui brought”, was undoubtedly sneering at her.(!)
“Ehh, oh c’mon, what’s the big deal? It’s summer and all, so that’s totally cool.”
Her smile retained its shape, her gaze taking that moment to evaluate me. That was enough to make me understand that her earlier warmth was a lie, a coldness that made my heart congeal over. The more my heart froze over, the more clear my head became. My thoughts gradually became more vivid as if liquid nitrogen was poured down my spine. My reasoning, my logic, and my experience all assimilated and bumped heads with my emotions. My emotions were quick to surrender, not bothering to wait for a proper outcome. Once again, I was on the verge of misunderstanding. Sagami Minami and I wouldn’t get along. We didn’t know a thing about each other. So what’s the fastest way to understand people you didn’t know very well? That’s to label them. The material she needed to understand a person like me was “my affiliated caste”. Obviously, that wasn’t limited to just Sagami; it applied to anyone else. Before even trying to know someone personally, they’d start first with their affiliated group, their locations, their positions, and their titles. In school and society, it’s commonplace to have your human qualities be judged based on those things alone. I stopped hearing about this recently, but when you were out job hunting, you were wrung through a filter regarding rumors about the plausibility of your academic record. It had completely slipped my mind that Yuigahama was someone that could handle inter-group communication, but she was originally someone who had belonged to the top caste in class, in school even. Then you had me; I belonged to the bottom of the barrel. Putting aside Yukinoshita who was outside of those castes, a simple look from the sidelines would tell you that unless there’s some kind of charity, Yuigahama would never interact with someone like me. Crap… At a prominent fireworks festival like this, students from nearby high schools would definitely gather here. I wasn’t being attentive enough. The current situation was something like a social exchange between ladies. The man they brought along would likely serve as their status symbol. At the same time, the bag they carried and the brand of clothes they wore would be used to measure their value.
Suppose if I were Hayama instead, it’s likely their reactions would’ve been completely different. It’s possible they might even call Yuigahama onto a heroine interview tonight. But with me, I’d be treated as defaulting at a court-martial trial. I won’t think that the worlds we lived in were different. Imagine how comfortable it’d be if we did. This world’s a pain because we’re living in it so half-heartedly. I could be all smiles, but with me still here, only Yuigahama would look pitiful smiling.
“Looks like there’s people lining up for yakisoba, so I’ll be going over there.”(!)
“Ah, okay. I’ll be right there.” Yuigahama answered with a seemingly apologetic smile.(!) I left the area and quickly went on my way. The faster I could eliminate any possible factors that could lead to Yuigahama being laughed at, the better. While I could still hear Yuigahama and Sagami talking behind me, I paid them no attention and continued to move my legs.
After paying for the yakisoba, Yuigahama came over.
“Sorry…” said Yuigahama, looking a little awkward. She had no reason to apologize to me, however. Because of that, I wasn’t sure how to respond.
>Hachiman wonders about his behavior. Hachiman, fully consciously, indirectly rejects Yui.
“Yikes, sure is crowded, huh?” said Yuigahama, making a problematic laugh. You got that right.
“Had I known how ridiculous this would be beforehand, I would’ve prepared a vinyl sheet.”
“J-Jeez. You make it sound like it I’m at fault here… Sorry, I should’ve told you, huh?”
“…That’s not it. I’m not used to this, so I didn’t think that far ahead. My bad.”
If only I gave it some more thought, I should’ve been able to anticipate this. I was a bit depressed at my own incompetence. I’m sure the so-called popular men were the guys who could be perfectly considerate of others and be thoroughly prepared in a situation like this. Management of these little details was far more important than how good their face looked and so forth. For example, sending sincere mails, looking things up prior to going out, or being able to hold a tasteful conversation while waiting in line.
…Ehh, what’s with that? Sounds like a total pain.
If you had to do all that just so you could be popular, I’d rather just stay unpopular. Seriously. Also, why was it the guy who always had to do the courting? Where did gender equality go? …Wait! Was it because they did the courting that they were popular!? Wow, talk about worthless. But I loved myself for being able to say stuff like this.(!) Well, you know. Wouldn’t it just be a lie if I forced myself to be someone I’m normally not when I’m by myself?(!) Could you really call the affection you earned from all your efforts actual affection towards yourself as well as towards who you really are?(!) Whether it was okay to say you were still “you” after changing so you could be liked and loved or not, I wasn’t sure. If that’s something you created by lying and pretending, it was likely to crash and burn eventually.(!) If something essential changed in you, you certainly couldn’t really call that your true self.(!)
>During the train ride home, Yui starts talking about Yukino just as they reach Yui’s stop. Hachiman decides to get off here and walk her home because he wants to finish the conversation. They talk about Yukino, but Yui quickly turns that into an attempt to confess her feelings. Hachiman intentionally avoids it.
Both of us had been quiet the entire time until Yuigahama opened her mouth. I looked at her in response and after taking a moment, she said, “Hikki… Did you hear from Yukinon?”
Her question was the type that already knew the answer, but had to be asked regardless.
“No, I didn’t hear a thing.”
“Oh, okay. U-Um… Ah.”
The train jerked to a sudden stop. The door slid open and the cool night air flowed inside the train. Yuigahama contemplated as she looked outside and at me. But a bell rang indicating the immediate closing of the door.
There wasn’t any time at all to think or worry about anything. I spat out a short sigh and got off the train. Yuigahama followed me off and asked me with a slightly surprised face, “Are you sure you should be getting off here?”
“It’s kind of awkward ending the conversation there… What’s with that? Did you time that on purpose?”
“O-Of course not! It was just hard to say something!”
It didn’t look like it was intentional judging by her flustered excuse. How sly. You’re so sly, Yuigahama-san.
“…I’ll walk you home.”
“Thanks…” she slipped out a word of gratitude.
“Did you hear anything from her?” I asked her, continuing from our conversation we had earlier.
Yuigahama weakly shook her head. “…But you know? I think there are some things you just can’t say. And when you miss your chance to, it gets even harder to… I mean, it was like that for me, too…”
Certainly. Regarding the accident, Yuigahama had only confessed to it a year later, but only when it was revealed to me.
“When you try to prepare yourself or think about it more, you just end up pushing it back farther and farther away.”
Yeah, I could slightly relate with that. That happened much more easily when you wanted to say something formally. And for apologizing or repenting, it’s even more difficult. Not only was it already hard to say, the more time you took, the more trouble you had trying to find the right words. But there were also things you could say in the heat of the moment.
“Besides, maybe Yukinon couldn’t say anything because of stuff with her family. I’m not really sure what’s going on though. Haruno-san is kinda scary, too…”
She wasn’t exactly defending her. However, it’s certainly true that given Yukinoshita’s enclosed environment, it’d be generally difficult to say anything. The high pedigree of her family, her older sister, and surpassing even that older sister that she had alluded to, her mother. I felt there had to be something going on. That’s what I felt, but, well, it wasn’t the business of an outsider to be concerned about the affairs of another person’s family.
“I don’t think we should be getting involved with other people’s domestic problems,” I said.
Yuigahama thought for a moment. “D-Dome, stic… Oh, you mean like DV.”
“Don’t say something you have no clue about. I’ll smack you.”
“So it is DV!?”
Nope, not DV at all. This was just V, the visual kind.
“Well, look. Shouldn’t we just pretend we don’t know anything about the accident or her family?”
That is, we shouldn’t be open about it. If Yukinoshita didn’t want to touch on those things, then it should stay that way. It’s not like we could understand each other, and if we pretended to, that would just be irritating.
There were all kinds of situations where indifference was something to be grateful for. Just like how slipping in the rain with lots of luggage or being lectured in front of the entire class, you really wanted everyone to not talk to you afterwards. Everyone should realize already that calling out to people with kindness and friendliness would only serve to hurt them, let alone not save them. There, too, were times where compassion and mercy could act as the finishing blow.
“Should we really stay like this and pretend not to know…?” Yuigahama looked at her feet, seemingly not convinced.
I stood still to stay in line with Yuigahama who had stopped walking.
“I don’t think things you don’t know are bad. The more you know, the more annoying things can get.”
To know was just carrying the burden of risk. There were many things you could be happy about as long you didn’t know about them. And the most obvious one of them all was how people were actually feeling. Everyone lived their lives cheating and deceiving others to some degree. That’s why people were constantly hurt by the truth. Its only purpose was to destroy someone’s peace. A few seconds of silence. Using only that time to think, Yuigahama gave her own answer. “But… I want to know more… I want us to know about each other more and I want us to get closer. If we’re ever troubled, I want to be able to help.”
Yuigahama walked ahead as if leading the way. A step late, I walked after her.
“Hikki. If Yukinon’s ever in trouble, help her, okay?”
I couldn’t find the words to answer that request. A few seconds, double that, or even ten times that, I don’t think I could ever come up with the same answer as Yuigahama. It’s because I had no intention of stepping over my boundaries.(!) I hadn’t done so to this day and I wouldn’t from now on.(!)
“No, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Whether it was Yukinoshita being in trouble, her asking for help, or me taking that step over that line of my own accord.(!) When I stated my remark packed with numerous meanings, Yuigahama looked up at the starry sky. Her wooden sandals clacked and she kicked a rock near her feet. “Even so, you’ll definitely help her, Hikki.”(!)
“There’s no way you’d know that.”(!)
Before I could question how she could be so sure of that, Yuigahama turned around to me.
“I mean, you helped me, didn’t you?”(!)
“I said it before. That was just a coincidence. I wasn’t doing knowing that it’d be helping you. That’s why, I didn’t help you at all.”
That’s why. That gratitude, that trust, or whatever beyond those. They were all just illusional misunderstandings. An assessment of something that anyone other than me could do wasn’t something to affirm myself. Evaluating someone’s actions and someone’s personality were entirely different things. Just like how a good person wasn’t judged as such on a single good deed alone, basing my personality on a single act was a problem to me. Therefore, Yuigahama’s sentimental trust was wrong.
“Don’t expect things like that from me.”
Because you’d definitely be disappointed. That’s why you shouldn’t expect things from me from the very start. Yuigahama and I continued walking with a fixed distance between us. The sounds of our footsteps tapping the earth echoed alternatively in the night city. The mismatched dissonance continued, that miniscule distance of a step never getting smaller. And suddenly, it shortened. Yuigahama abruptly stopped in her tracks and I fell forward, our bodies inevitably getting closer. She turned around to me and was illuminated by the gentle light of the moon.
“Even if the accident didn’t happen, Hikki would still help me.(!) And like, I think we’d still go see the fireworks together like this.”
“No… it wouldn’t… In the first place, I have no reason to help you.”(!)
There’s no meaning to a supposition that didn’t happen. There’s no “if” in life. Life was only “then”. Yet, Yuigahama gently shook her head. At the corners of her moist eyes, I could see the reflection of the street lights.
“No, that’s not true. You said it yourself, Hikki. That even if the accident didn’t happen, you’d still be alone… And you know what I’m like. I’d start worrying about something some day and then I’d get taken to the Service Club(!) and that’s when I’d meet you, Hikki.”(!)
That pipe dream that could potentially happen was so oddly entertwined with reality that I couldn’t just plain reject it or argue against it. If Yukinoshita, Yuigahama, and I had all met each other in another way, would we have been able to develop another kind of relationship?(!) As I was thinking, Yuigahama continued, her voice filled with passion. “After that, Hikki would come up with a worthless and dumb solution again. Then you’d help me for sure. And then?”(!)
An interrupting sound. It could’ve been from me or perhaps from her. The sound of swallowing or maybe even the intensifying of palpitations. For a moment of time, a vacuum of words. Curious about her interrupted voice, I looked up and my eyes met with Yuigahama’s.
“And then, I’m sure I’d…”(!)
I could hear the sound of rumbling. Her cellphone was vibrating. “Ah…” Yuigahama glanced at her purse in her hand. But she ignored it and tried to continue. “I’m sure I’d…”(!)
“Are you sure you shouldn’t pick up?” I said, stopping her from continuing.(!)
Yuigahama casted her eyes downwards to her purse near her hands and squeezed it. But she only did that for a moment before she took out her phone and let out an embarrassed laugh as she raised her face.
“…It’s from my mom.”
She told me to wait for a moment, took a few steps away, and answered her phone.
“Uh huh. Uh huh. I’m almost home already. Uh huh. Okay. Huh? That’s fine! I don’t need that! I’ll be right home, jeez!”
Yuigahama talked on the phone on and on about something and then one-sidedly hung up. After glaring at her phone for a little, she placed it back in her purse.
“My house is right over there, so I’m fine here. Thanks for walking me back… S-See you later!”
“Uh huh, bye. Good night.”
She waved her hands with a “bye bye” and I answered back with the raise of my hand.
>Near the end of Volume 6, Hachiman wants to know if Yukino and Yui had talked about the car accident. Yui says that they didn’t. She says that they only watched a movie and ate together. Yui is willing to wait on Yukino, but she’s not willing to wait on Hachiman. She once again makes a move on Hachiman. Hachiman wants to pay her back on the spot. Yui says that he should take her out on a date. Hachiman tries to refuse, but Yui insists.
Yukinoshita let out a small breath after finishing the discussion about the countermeasures with the representative. When she lifted her face, her gaze was directed my way for just a moment. But she quickly averted her eyes and walked away. She probably had another job to deal with.
As we watched her leave, I spoke to Yuigahama sitting next to me, “Hey, can I ask you something?”
“Hm? What is it?” Yuigahama rested her chins in both of her hands on the desk and answered without turning.
“When we went to Yukinoshita’s place last time, did you guys talk about something?” I asked.
Yuigahama mumbled while thinking and then spoke, “Nothing at all.”
“Huh?” I asked for an explanation with a gesture.
Yuigahama then narrated the continuation of that day. “This was after you went home, Hikki. We got hungry, so we ate dinner together. Then we watched some kind of DVD. After that, I went home… So I didn’t ask her anything you wanted to know, Hikki.”(!)
Her last sentence was almost as if she was refusing to say.
“…Well, it’s not like there’s anything I wanted to know.”(!)
“Really? I wanted to know some things though.”
“Huh? So why?”
-didn’t you ask her? I tried to ask, but when I looked at Yuigahama’s profile, my voice withered away. Her expression as she watched Yukinoshita in the distance turn the corner of the hallway was so sincere that I hesitated from going any further.
“You see, I’m going to wait for Yukinon. I think she’s trying her best to talk to us and get closer to us…
That’s why I’m going to wait for her.”(!)
It was an answer you could expect from Yuigahama. Yuigahama would definitely wait. It’s because she had been trying to get closer all this time. Yukinoshita fully understood this and that’s why she was trying to respond back by trying to take a step forward herself.
“But I won’t wait for people that aren’t going anywhere.”(!)
“Huh? Well yeah, there’s no point in waiting for a person like that.”(!)
Yuigahama smiled lightly. With her cheeks cupped in her hands, she slightly twisted her body my way. In front of the idling class, the traffic of people accelerated. Students walking in the hallway were going back and forth, heading for their next destination or trying to solicit more customers. The commotion didn’t need to discriminate between every individual in a frantic rush nor us. It was just one with the background, the sounds of the environment.
That’s why I could hear her voice so clearly, a voice that was much more soothing and mature than normal.
“That’s not it. I won’t wait… but I’ll go instead.”(!)
My heart jumped. It was a pain that could away at me internally.
When I looked at Yuigahama’s moist eyes, it made me want to think about the meaning of those words. But if I were to think about them, I will be at a dead end. And ultimately, I will likely be mistaken. I’ve come this far being mistaken about a lot of things. But this time, I don’t want to be mistaken, I’m sure. That’s why I didn’t have the words needed to answer her at this moment.
“Uh huh, really.”
I gave her a meaningless and vague response and Yuigahama returned a shy smile. Her embarrassed smile was telling me that the discussion was over. Both of us let out a small sigh and averted our gazes. It was then my eyes spotted a plastic bag resting on the table.
“Anyway, what’s with the bag?”
“Oh, I forgot. You didn’t eat lunch yet, right?”
The honey toast was pretty big even though there were two of us eating it. Well, it was an entire loaf of bread…
It had to have been expensive then. It was nothing like a burrito.
“Oh yeah, how much was it?” I took out my wallet and asked.
Yuigahama stopped me. “It’s okay. It wasn’t much.”
“No, I can’t have that.”
“I said it’s fine!” Yuigahama stubbornly refused. At this rate, we’d go back and forth…
“I may have the desire to be raised, but I don’t intend to take charity!”(!)
“What’s with that bizarre pride of yours!?”
Yuigahama groaned and took some time to think. She then whispered quietly, “Jeez. You’re such a pain, Hikki… Fine. Why don’t you treat me to honey toast next time then…? Say, Chiba’s Pasela.”(!)
“You’re going to choose the place too….?” I spoke bitterly, but even I knew what the meaning behind that was.(!) Because of that, I found myself gauging my distance with Yuigahama again.(!)
I really do think we’ve gotten closer compared to before. I’m not so immature that I would deny that fact out of desperation.(!) It was like that for the written application too. If it was just filling it in, I really could have just asked anyone. But I went out of my way to find Yuigahama and even relied on her. I was allowing that.
It was really easy to rely on Yuigahama. However. That’s exactly why I needed to keep myself in check.(!)
To blindly place unrestrained faith in someone is dependence.(!)
I mustn’t rely on Yuigahama’s kindness. I mustn’t let Yuigahama’s good will spoil me.(!)
Her kindness was something that created painful memories, made you worry and agonize over them, and wring them out. And I knew all of that. That’s why I mustn’t place my trust in her so easily. On the slim chance that all of that weren’t due to her kindness or good will(!), but due to much more different
emotions(!), then I had to be even more careful.(!) Because that was simply taking advantage of a person’s weakness.(!) Feelings should be managed appropriately. Distances should be maintained suitably.
--So is it okay for me to take at least one step forward again?(!)
The Cultural Festival is a festival. A festival is extraordinary.
It’s that extraordinariness that causes your judgment to be off more than normal. But well, I’m sure even I would make the wrong judgment, at least for today.
“…Can we do another place?”(!)
“Uh huh, sure,” Yuigahama smiled. “So when should we do it?”
There was a strange intensity behind her smile. “U-Um, I’m sorry. May I just have a little more time to think it over…?” I found myself speaking politely.(!)
Yuigahama replied back with a reluctant sigh to my answer. There was just one day left of the Cultural Festival.
However, without a doubt, the end will come. The clock that continues to tick moment by moment was indicating that even this moment, too, will eventually end.