The reason why I bring this up, is because I want to take a look at how volume 12 ends and then see if volume 13 properly deals with the cliffhanger of volume 12.
The plot picks up again once Yukino’s mother shows up at the school. Several of the students have uploaded pictures of the rehearsal prom onto social media. Some of the parents have seen these pictures and want the prom to be cancelled out of fear that there might be sexual activity or high school students drinking alcohol at the prom. Yukino and Iroha try arguing with Yukino’s mother, but it has no effect.
Yukino says she wants to be the one that will convince her mother and members of the PTA to allow for the prom to go through. Hachiman wants to help, but Haruno intervenes.
After the meeting, Hachiman tries going home, but is ambushed by Haruno. Haruno asks what type of relationship Hachiman thinks he has with Yukino and Yui. This is a continuation from the conversation Hachiman had with Haruno near the end of volume 10.
The next day, Hachiman and Yui are walking back home. Yui checks her phone and sees that the prom is being cancelled. Hachiman calls Sensei to ask what’s going on. Sensei tells Hachiman that Yukino didn’t want Hachiman to know about the prom’s cancellation, because then Hachiman would try and help out. Sensei tells Hachiman that she will only allow him to come and help, if Hachiman tells her what his actual reason is for wanting to help out with the prom. Hachiman initially gives some insincere answers, but Sensei won’t accept those. Hachiman then tells Sensei that he promised that he would help Yukino one day. Which technically also isn’t his actual reason, but at least it’s a lot closer than his previous answers so far. (His actual reason being his feelings for Yukino.)
Volume 12 ends with Hachiman rushing back to school, leaving Yui behind crying. Yui knows that if Hachiman had seen her cry in front of him, he wouldn’t have gone to help Yukino. Yui is glad she was able to suppress her tears, however deep down she also wishes that her tears hadn’t stopped. Hachiman on the other hand thinks about the meaning behind Yui’s tears as he is rushing towards school.
So, how does volume 13 pick up from where volume 12 left off? Keep in mind that there has been a year between the release of volumes 12 and 13.
Hachiman shows up at school and has a talk with Sensei. Sensei informs him about the situation.
Hachiman asks Sensei if there’s any truth behind what Haruno said, if Hachiman and Yukino’s relationship is codependency. Sensei tells him that she’s not sure, but that it feels like an overstatement.
Hachiman then goes to the student council room and tries to enter, but is stopped by Iroha. Iroha doesn’t want Hachiman to enter the room, because she is taking Yukino’s feelings into consideration. However, she ends up allowing Hachiman to go inside anyway, so what was the point of this scene other than to give fans of Iroha some fan service?
Iroha also tells Hachiman not to be so overprotective and that he should allow Yukino to handle it herself. Out all of the characters, it’s Iroha, the character that isn’t able to do anything herself and constantly asks other people to do things for her that tells Hachiman this, because that makes sense.
Once Hachiman enters the room, he sees that there’s no actual emergency. Yukino has already written out a plan on how to convince the PTA to allow the prom to go through. Yukino plans on toning down on some of the more questionable parts of the prom, like for instance the dress code.
However, Hachiman is convinced that this will not be enough to get rid of the bad stigma surrounding the prom. Hachiman says that the PTA already plans on cancelling it. Hachiman wants Yukino to allow him to help her, however Yukino still insists on not relying on Hachiman. If Yukino doesn’t want to accept Hachiman’s help, then Hachiman proposes that they turn it into a competition. Hachiman brings back the bet from the first volume and says that whoever wins this competition, gets to decide what the other has to do. Yukino accepts Hachiman’s challenge.
Hachiman encounters Yui at school. However Yui pretends like nothing happened yesterday.
Which raises the question, what was the point of ending volume 12 on a cliffhanger where Hachiman rushed off back to school to help Yukino? When he arrived, there was no immediate emergency. Couldn’t he have waited until the next day? What was the point of leaving Yui behind crying and Hachiman internally agonizing over whether or not he had made the right decision?
From chapter 3 onwards, volume 13 also loses its focus.
The rest of the volume Hachiman spends time trying to create a fake prom. His goal is to make the fake prom look so bad in comparison to the prom Yukino is doing, so that it’s Hachiman’s fake prom that ends up attracting all of the negative stigma. This way the PTA will reject Hachiman’s fake prom and choose Yukino’s prom instead.
Hachiman spends the rest of the chapters talking to Saki, Zaimokuza, Totsuka, Orimoto and Tamanawa. Hachiman and Yui work together with the guys from the gaming club to make a website for the fake prom. Hachiman and Yui go to the beach with Yumiko and Ebina to take pictures for the fake prom so that they can put those on the website and make it look legitimate.
That’s the majority of the middle part of volume 13, because clearly this is where the focus of the final arc should be.
The plot picks up again in chapter 6 when Hachiman and Hayama have a talk about Yukino’s past. Hayama explains how he tried to help Yukino, by making Yukino join a group of girls that were bullying her. However this ended up only making it worse. Hayama essentially did the same thing with Rumi in volume 4.
Later on Hayama and Haruno have a conversation about Hachiman, Yukino and what happened in the past between Haruno, Hayama and Yukino. Hayama asks Haruno why she told Hachiman that his relationship with Yukino is codependency, to which Haruno replies that it’s the truth. Hayama tries sticking up for Hachiman and Yukino, but Haruno isn’t having any of it. Hayama is reminded of the past and how he wasn’t able to help Yukino. Hayama wonders if he would have been forgiven had he helped back then.
Hachiman arranges a meeting with Haruno. Hachiman asks Haruno to upload the website for the fake prom on the internet so that the PTA and parents will see this. Haruno confronts Hachiman about how he is still trying to help Yukino. Hachiman and Yui leave, however Yui goes back to Haruno after saying goodbye to Hachiman. Haruno and Yui have a conversation about codependency. Yui has never heard of the term before, but emotionally she can’t bring herself to agree with what Haruno is saying. At the same time, this definition of their relationship is filling Yui up with rage and doubt.
In the last chapter of volume 13, chapter 8, Sensei escorts Hachiman out of the classroom. People have found out about the fake website and Yukino’s mother wants to have a talk with Hachiman. At first Yukino’s mother isn’t very cooperative, until Yukino’s mother finds out what Hachiman’s name is. Yukino’s mother makes the connection that he is the boy from the car accident and from that moment onward, she is a lot more cooperative. Another thing that stands out, is that for some reason, Sensei was desperately trying to prevent Hachiman from revealing his name.
After his talk with Yukino’s mother, Hachiman goes to the Service Club to talk to Yukino. Yukino is aware of what Hachiman did. Hachiman once again did something behind Yukino’s back to help her. Yukino realizes Hachiman will never be able to stop being codependent/feeling the need to solve problems for others. Yukino tells Hachiman that she had fun during all of the time they spent together, but that she is unable to give him the genuine relationship he yearns for. Instead she tells Hachiman to go fulfil Yui’s wish.
Volume 13 ends on Yukino’s interlude, where she thinks about how this will be the last time the Service Club’s door will be opened again. The volume ends on Yukino thinking about how she will never look back again.
If Watari is a “logical” writer who sets up cliffhangers and then deals with them the next volume, that would mean that volume 14 would have to deal with Yukino’s past, Hayama and Haruno, codependency, “something genuine”, Yukino’s family drama, Yukino’s mother finding out that Hachiman is the boy from the car accident, Hachiman fulfilling Yui’s wish (or at least make an attempt at it) and Yukino putting an end to the Service Club for good.
So, what happens in volume 14? Keep in mind that there has been a year between the release of volumes 13 and 14.
Hachiman goes to a karaoke place with Hayama, his group and the other people that helped with the fake prom where they take turns singing songs. Hachiman goes grocery shopping with Yui and her mom, so they can bake a fruit tart for Komachi’s graduation party. They work on the prom for the graduates. Yukino’s mother acknowledges that Yukino did a good job. Hachiman goes to a batting cage with Sensei where they have a very brief conversation about codependency. Haruno uploads the fake prom onto the internet and later on Hachiman takes responsibility for it. They spend half a chapter working on the fake prom. They all go to a sauna together. Hachiman doesn’t accept or reject Yui’s feelings. Instead he tells Yui that he doesn’t want to lose his relationship with Yukino. Hachiman and Yukino confess their feelings to one another and start dating. They host the second prom where Hachiman dances with Sensei. Near the end of the second prom, Yukino tells him that she loves him. In the final chapter Hachiman and Yukino are sitting in the Service Club. Komachi, Iroha and Yui enter the Service Club and that’s how the story ends.
You don’t get any real closure on Hayama or Haruno. You don’t find out what happened in their past that has affected them this much. You also don’t find out what happened to Yukino. You don’t learn what Yukino’s family situation is like. The codependency plot only gets brought up once in volume 14, during Hachiman’s talk with Sensei. “Something genuine” doesn’t really end up happening. Yukino had to “give up on a lot of things in order to grow up” in volume 12, but by the end of it she didn’t really give up on anything. Yukino closed the Service Club and ended her relationship with Hachiman, only to undo those things in volume 14.
Near the end of volume 13, Sensei desperately tried to stop Hachiman from revealing his name to Yukino’s mother. Why? For what purpose? Apparently there was something that Sensei wanted to prevent from happening. By revealing his name, Yukino’s mother made the connection that Hachiman was the boy from the car accident. So apparently Sensei didn’t want this to happen. However this doesn’t get addressed or brought up again in volume 14. Chances are that it won’t be included in the anime, because this entire scene/interaction makes no sense now.
Besides Hachiman confessing to the girl he likes and Yukino somewhat resolving her family issues, did anything really happen in volume 14?
Just to recap some things.
Did Hachiman find something genuine by the end of the series? Sensei asked him this question, to which he answered that it’s not that easily found. Instead he tells her that he’s basically a “riajuu” or “normie” now. Did Hachiman get to know people inside out? Did Hachiman “honestly and without any deception” either accept or reject Yui’s feelings? Did Hachiman stop being codependent? Did Hachiman “end up with nothing and regret all of the things he lost”? Did Hachiman “think, writhe and struggle”?
Sensei at this point may as well be a walking plot device. Instead of allowing Hachiman to “think, writhe and struggle” and come up with any conclusions on his own, it’s Sensei that tells him what he should do every step of the way.
Apparently all it takes is a couple of words from her and everyone’s fears, traumas, mental problems etc. disappear.
If that’s the case, then why didn’t Sensei call out Haruno in volume 12 regarding the codependency? Haruno was messing with their heads right in front of Sensei and she just stood there and didn't say anything.
We spent three volumes on the codependency plot.
Codependency was enough to drive a wedge between Hachiman and Yukino. It made Hachiman doubt Yukino’s feelings for him and he tried to distance himself from her.
Yukino rejected Hachiman’s help several times, because she didn’t want to rely on him.
Yukino even put an end to the Service Club as well as her relationship with Hachiman.
It made Yui rage and doubt herself, to the point where she was “driving her nails into her flesh”, but then in volume 14 she never brings it up again.
Apparently all it took was a really short conversation with Sensei, where Sensei says that it’s “just Haruno’s opinion” and now it’s resolved. Everyone’s doubts are alleviated.
Haruno played a really huge role in volumes 10 to 13, only to kind of get sidelined in volume 14. Did we ever find out what her deal is? Did we ever find out what happened in her past to make her act this way?
In volume 14, Haruno most likely uploaded the fake prom to create a scenario where Hachiman and Yukino would be forced to interact with each other again after ending their relationship. If that’s the case, then why was she messing with them to the point where she broke their relationship? Was it to prove if “something genuine” exists? In volume 10 and 14, Haruno asks Hachiman if “real things” really do exist. Did by the end of the story anyone prove her right or wrong? Did anyone ever put Haruno in her place or tell her to stop?
So, in the end Haruno was just a plot device to create some temporary separation and anxiety between Hachiman and Yukino. Haruno gets to say and do whatever she wants and there are no consequences to any of her actions. Sensei said that Hachiman and Yukino’s relationship is not codependency, so Haruno’s opinion ends up not mattering anymore. That’s the end of Haruno’s character arc.
In the first 11 volumes, Hayama was like this.
Even in volume 13 Hayama thinks how he never got the chance to atone, so instead he pushed it onto Hachiman and used Hachiman to restore his relationship with Yukino and possibly Haruno.
Did Hayama ever get any closure in volume 14? By the end of volume 13 he was still wallowing in self-pity and regret. Did Haruno ever end up forgiving him for what he did back in the past? Yukino did in volume 10. Did we ever find out what Hayama’s plans are for the future? Did we ever find out who Hayama’s “Y” is?
Hayama went from hating Hachiman, to going to a karaoke bar and a sauna with him. While in the sauna, Tobe asks Hachiman if he is dating Yukino. Hachiman doesn’t give an answer and Hayama leaves the sauna. That’s the end of Hayama’s arc.
In the first 11 volumes, Yukino’s mother was described as incredibly scary and manipulative. Yukino would freeze up at the mere mention of her mother.
Even in volume 12, Yukino’s mother is portrayed as scary and very difficult to convince.
In volume 14, Yukino’s mom is giggling most of the time she is onscreen and she is just going with the flow. Yukino’s mother barely shows any resistance to anything that happens in volume 14. So either the first 11-12 volumes portrayed Yukino’s mother in a very negative and exaggerated way or something about this doesn’t make sense.
Iroha never really became a competent student council president. She is still asking other people to do her work for her as well as a bunch of other things. However Iroha’s manipulative behavior was already severely toned down with the adaptation of the second season.
Yui never got to confess her feelings to Hachiman. Yui kept getting increasingly darker and more selfish interludes towards the end of the series, but those never went anywhere. Yui saying she “wants it all” apparently means that she is fine with Hachiman and Yukino dating as long as she gets to be with them. If it was this easy to get Yui on board, then what was all of the drama in season 2 about?