Which brings me to the other part of how volume 11 ended.
>Yeah, I am being stupid. I know how this will end. I’ll be left with nothing. Even so, I want us to think, writhe, struggle, and find… something genuine.
Since early on in the volumes, Hachiman has always been thinking to himself that one day he would lose everything and regret it. However, by the end of the story, did he really lose anything?
In volume 12 Hachiman thinks to himself how he might lose everything, but he still wants to find an answer. An answer to what exactly? Their feelings? He didn’t lose anything after confessing his feelings. Perhaps an answer to something else? Did he end up finding an answer?
Volume 12 begins with an interlude that could belong to either Hachiman or Yukino.
From volume 12:
>I never wanted something genuine that is only cold, cruel and sad.
Something to take note of, is that the person the interlude belongs to realizes that there’s not a lot of time left. Another important thing is that the person believes that the “answer” should be spoken, even if it brings about regrets.
If the interlude belongs to Yukino, then that’s fine because then all it means is that she doesn’t want to hurt her friends.
However, if the interlude belongs to Hachiman, then this idea of genuine would be drastically different from what his initial idea of it was.
Let’s compare Hachiman’s version of “something genuine” of the previous 11 volumes to the one in volume 12.
From the first 11 volumes:
>What I desired wasn’t to get along with someone just for show. It was surely the desire for something genuine. Anything else I didn’t need at all.
>It’s not empty words I’m after. There was something else I desired all along. Not mutual understanding, friendship, companionship or any of the sort. I don’t care about being understood. I simply want to understand. I want to know people inside out.
>I don’t need false understandings or deceptive relationships.
>I wanted something far more cruel and relentless. What I wanted was that sour grape.
>Anything that’s given to you on a silver platter is a sham that will someday be lost.
Even in ANOTHER Hachiman’s desire for something genuine was for the three of them to get closer and know everything about each other, but he gave up on that.
And then finally near the end of volume 11:
>I don’t want any vague answers or superficial relationships. I know how this will end. I’ll be left with nothing. Even so, I want us to think, writhe, struggle, and find… something genuine.
>If in the unlikely future, we are able to live as we like, then I suppose no one would have to suffer. However, I want to discard away all those ideals. I do not possess the strength to continue living in these delusions. On top of self-doubt, I had no wish of telling any lies to those that I care about greatly. That’s why, the answer that I want. I want to obtain the answer I desire without lies.
So, let’s take a look at how volume 12 begins again. Volume 12 came out 2,5 years after volume 11 came out, but canonically speaking it should be about 10-30 minutes after volume 11 ended.
>I never wanted something genuine that is only cold, cruel and sad.
That’s quite a difference. It also doesn’t really help that by the end of the story “something genuine” comes down to “confessing to the girl you like”. In any case, did “something genuine” ever really happen in the main story?
Hachiman wished for a relationships that isn’t conventional in society.
Hachiman and Yukino technically did confess their undying love for each other in volume 14, which is good. However did anything else happen? Like for instance, did Hachiman get to know everything about Yukino? Did Hachiman ever learn about Yukino’s past? Her relationship with Hayama? Her relationship with Haruno or her mother? Did Hachiman ever find out why Yukino is so traumatized or neglected by her family? Did Hachiman ever find out what Yukino’s intentions have been towards him since the beginning, namely that Yukino wanted to save him? Did Hachiman ever find out who Hayama’s “Y” is? In these final three volumes, did Hachiman really learn anything new about any of the characters?
In volume 12 Hachiman admits that the three of them know barely anything about each other’s personal lives. Did Hachiman learn more about that by the end of the series? Yukino’s family situation has barely been addressed.
(Yukino’s anthology came out on 18-3-2020. The first 5 chapters are random side stories/what if stories written by other people. The last chapter however is written by Watari. Hachiman gets invited to the Yukinoshita household to meet Yukino’s father. Depending on whether you consider this to be canon or not, it turns out Yukino’s family has always been fairly supportive and understanding. If that’s the case then that means that there was never anything to really “find out” about Yukino’s family issues in the first place. I’ll come back to this later.)
So, Hachiman said that he doesn’t want any vague answers or superficial relationships. He doesn’t want to get along with someone just for show. He only desires something genuine. Anything else he didn’t need at all. However in the final three volumes, Hachiman spends a lot of time with Hayama and his group. Hachiman goes to the beach with Yumiko and Ebina to take pictures for the fake prom. Hachiman goes to a karaoke bar with Hayama, his group and the other people that helped with the prom. Hachiman and the group go to a sauna. So instead of learning more about the characters, dealing with their pasts etc. Hachiman hangs out with Hayama’s group for a fairly large portion of the final arc.
That can either mean one of two things. Either Hachiman now has a “real” relationship with Hayama, Yumiko, Ebina and Tobe or Hachiman’s character arc and his desire for something genuine have been abandoned.
>Even so, I want us to think, writhe, struggle, and find… something genuine.
Did the characters really think, writhe and struggle in these final three volumes? Yukino has definitely struggled. You could also say the same about Yui. But what about Hachiman? Did Hachiman really struggle all that much in the final arc or has he kind of been acting like a generic harem protagonist for most of it?
There are also moments where Hachiman spends time with Orimoto and Tamanawa, goes to the beach with Yumiko and Ebina, goes to a karaoke bar with Hayama’s group and the people that helped with the fake prom. Hachiman goes shopping with Yui and her mother so that they can make a fruit tart for Komachi’s graduation party. He goes to a batting cage with Sensei. He also ends up going to a sauna with Hayama, his group and others.
Speaking purely from a tonal standpoint, does any of the above feel like it belongs after the cliffhanger of season 2? Or does most of it feel like it’s a bunch of harem fan service?
In his interview, Watari said that since volume 2, the direction of Oregairu had been decided and that it was going to be bitter. Watari also calls himself a “dark” writer. Does any of the above feel like it’s “bitter” or “dark”?
Anyway, the second half of chapter 1 and chapter 2 of volume 12 are solid chapters. Yukino slowly reveals to Hachiman and Yui what her request is and what she wants to do. Yukino wants to prove to her mother that she is capable enough to work at her father’s company. She also says that she wants to do it on her own, to prove her independence and to have Hachiman and Yui just be bystanders and watch her.
Yukino invites Hachiman and Yui over to her apartment, where they bump into a possibly drunk Haruno. Once they’re inside the apartment, Yukino begins to talk with Haruno about their future plans, but it seems more like it’s something that only the two of them know about. Yukino plans on going to live back home with her parents and to discuss her future aspirations. Haruno says that it will be difficult to convince their mother, but Haruno might help out and try to convince her.
The thing that stands out the most is that Yukino wants to talk about “us in the future”. Initially Haruno thinks that Yukino is talking about her relationship with Hachiman and Yui, to which Haruno replies whether she should be present during this conversation. However, Yukino quickly adds that she means that she wants to talk about Haruno, their mom, herself and their family situation.
Haruno isn’t really all that interested in that (or at least not at first) and she makes an attempt at Yui to probably stir up some trouble. However Yukino jumps in front of Yui to protect her friend from Haruno, which once again shows that Yukino is very protective of her friends.
In the second half of chapter 2, Hachiman is walking back to the station while Haruno accompanies him. Haruno waited for him because she wants to talk to him about Yukino.
Haruno tells Hachiman how he has always been a good brother towards Komachi, but Haruno isn’t towards Yukino.
This basically ties into “Haruno toys with the things she loves until she destroys them”.
Haruno talks about how she had to give up on a lot of things in order to become more mature. She says the same thing about Yukino and that Yukino will also need to give up on certain things. Near the end of volume 13 it turned out that Yukino had to give up on Hachiman, however in volume 14 that got undone.
So, why would Yukino need to give up on certain things? It likely has to do with which of the two sisters will become the heir to their father’s company.
In volume 6, after the girls had their performance on stage where they played some songs to stall for time so that Hachiman could find Sagami, Haruno came to Yukino after the performance and said that Yukino did a really good job. Then Haruno left after saying that their mother will be really surprised after hearing about this, which caused Yukino to stiffen up.
Basically, for Haruno (and Yukino) it’s important that Yukino succeeds at big events like this, so Yukino can impress their mother. All of these moments have something to do with Yukino impressing their mother.
In chapter 6 of volume 12, Haruno tells Hachiman not to interfere and that Yukino needs to solve this on her own, so she can impress their mother.
Haruno’s entire life has been planned out by her mother and Yukino has pretty much been neglected.
Yukino sees her family (or at least her sister) as her closest strangers.
What the Yukinoshitas want from Haruno, is for Haruno to take over their father’s company. So basically Haruno has no freedom of her own and Yukino has been given all of the freedom (by her parents basically not caring all that much about her). Haruno hates that Yukino has been given this freedom, while she has none.
A possible explanation as to why Haruno is pushing Yukino into all these big events and positions, is so Yukino can show their mother that Yukino is even more capable than Haruno at heading these types of projects. If Yukino can achieve that, then Yukino can become the heir to the company and Haruno can get the freedom Yukino has.
During their walk, Haruno says how it doesn’t really matter if Yukino manages to convince their mother to change her plans, because ultimately, it’s still the same outcome for Haruno. In both cases, her life is planned out for her. Either she becomes the head of the company or most likely she will be forced into an arranged marriage.
So it’s possible that the reason why Haruno hates that Yukino depends on others (in this case Hachiman), is because if Yukino depends on Hachiman to get things done, Yukino will never be able to prove that she is capable enough on her own to be the head of the Yukinoshita company. Because of that, Haruno will never be able to get the freedom she wants.
However, Yukino’s family dynamic hasn’t really been elaborated on, so it’s also possible that the reason why Haruno pushes Yukino this hard is to prevent Yukino from ending up like Haruno.
Instead what ends up happening in volume 14 is that Yukino manages to impress her mother and Yukino gets some recognition from her mother. After the first prom, Yukino tells her mom that she is interested in her father’s line of work and that she wants to work with him at the company. Yukino’s mother says she will think about it, but if that’s what Yukino wants then Yukino’s mother will support it.
In the second half of volume 14, the fake prom resurfaces because Hachiman made Zaimokuza and the other two update the site two times. Hachiman shows up to a meeting where the three Yukinoshitas are so he can explain the situation. Yukino’s mother asks what the meaning behind this second prom is. She thought it was merely meant to make the other prom look good. Hachiman ends up convincing Yukino’s mother that he can host the second prom and he asks if Yukino can help him, without a budget or any manpower. Yukino accepts and Yukino’s mother goes along with it. Hachiman, Yukino and the others then spend half a chapter working on the second prom and everything works out, without anything going wrong or any setbacks. Then during the second prom, Yukino’s mother shows up again and says that she acknowledges Yukino’s abilities.
That’s all the convincing it took to get Yukino’s mother to change her mind, two short conversations that last about 5 minutes. In volume 12 Haruno said that it wouldn’t be easy to change their mother’s mind, but turns out it wasn’t really all that difficult.
Near the end of the volume Yukino’s mother invites Hachiman over to their house. That wraps up the Yukinoshita family storyline. (However there’s another chapter in Yukino’s anthology.)
Which raises the question, if all it took was for Yukino to successfully organize a big event like this and to tell her mother what her future plans are, then why wasn’t this done around volume 6 after the festival arc?
At least this somewhat got wrapped up, however far too easily. In the previous 11 novels Yukino’s mother has been described to be way more controlling and manipulative. Yukino would freeze the second her mother would show up or be brought up, but apparently that was an exaggeration.
Anyway, after chapter 2 is where volume 12 loses its focus.
In chapter 3, Hachiman sits in a café with Saki and her little sister, which doesn’t really lead to anything. It’s probably just to remind people that Saki is still a character in this series or fan service for the fans of Saki.
Komachi shows up after finishing her entrance exams and they go home. You get a brief moment where Komachi thanks Hachiman for all of his help and Hachiman starts to cry. This would have probably been more effective if the entire chapter was spent on Hachiman and Komachi’s relationship, but people like Komachi and the sibling relationship between Hachiman and Komachi, so people will probably like this scene.
In chapter 4, Hachiman arrives at his high school where he encounters Totsuka. Totsuka asks Hachiman if they plan on recruiting new members for the Service Club. Hachiman says how he doesn’t know how the club was formed and that he was merely forced to join. Hachiman says that it’s up to Yukino and Sensei to decide what happens to the club and that he has no say in that.
In the manga however, Hachiman doesn’t have this talk with Totsuka, but instead he ends up thinking about this stuff after overhearing a group of students talking.
Hachiman comes to the realization that neither him nor Yui have ever touched the key to the Service Club. Hachiman notices how for some “reason” the key seems to be very important to Yukino.
In a later chapter, Hachiman realizes how Zaimokuza is the only person Hachiman knew before joining the club.
Which raises the question, why would Watari make Hachiman think about the origin of the club, the importance of the Service Club key as well as how Zaimokuza is the only person he knew before joining the club this late into the series, when eventually it never gets addressed or explained in volume 14?