And finally, this brings us to Yukino’s intentions as well as the origin of the Service Club.
If you’ve read earlier parts of my analysis, Yukino’s intentions since the beginning have been to save Hachiman.
Taken from the English dub.
>Because that’s not going to solve anyone’s worries. Nor will it save anyone.
Only near the end of volume 9, does Yukino finally reveal what her actual intentions were for trying to run for Student Council president, namely to “save someone”. In other words, to stop Hachiman from self-sacrificing.
Since then, this has never been addressed or explained again. By the end of volume 14, Hachiman still does not know that Yukino has been trying to save him. Hachiman’s wish for something genuine was to know everything about a person, yet he never learns what Yukino’s intentions have been.
The reason for this, is because Yukino’s desire is tied into the premise of the story, the creation of the club and the car accident. Watari would have had to explain all of those things and deal with the consequences of it, but instead he chose not to.
I know that people think that’s a theory and especially now, since it hasn’t been addressed at all, but I’d like to show something. In order to do this, I have to draw a comparison to Haganai. Initially I didn’t want to do this, but there’s no other way to explain it otherwise.
So, Oregairu has been inspired by Haganai. Watari and Yomi Hirasaka (the author of Haganai and Imōto Sae Ireba Ii) are friends. Watari has worked on a side novel for Haganai. Yomi has made a couple of references to Oregairu in his works.
(By the end of the series, Kodaka dates Yukimura (a side character) for a while, but they break up, so that Kodaka can put the Neighbor’s Club back together. Kodaka doesn’t end up with anyone and it’s left open. Haganai also had its fair share of problems. The author of Haganai didn’t like how his fans only cared about shipping, so by the end of it he went with an open ended friendship ending.)
In Oregairu, Hayama’s group didn’t want Tobe to confess to Ebina, out of fear that this would affect their group’s dynamic.
Later on, Hachiman copied this same mentality as he tried to do what he could to keep the Service Club together in an artificial manner.
You’ll have to kind of ignore what is going on in the background for this scene and just pay attention to the dialogue, because Haganai had some pretty weird moments every now and then. In this moment you have Rika (another side character) confronting Kodaka about how he ran away from the club after Sena confessed her feelings to him. Instead of going to the Neighbor’s Club, Kodaka preoccupied himself with helping other people (in this case girls). She confronts him about how he says that he doesn’t want to lose the Neighbor’s Club, but he acts like an outsider or runs away when people get too close to him. They also talk about self-sacrifice and suppressing feelings, which also play a huge role in Oregairu.
In Oregairu, Hachiman was helping Iroha behind Yukino and Yui’s backs, while he decided to show up less frequently to the Service Club.
By the end of season 1, you find out that Yozora (one of the main girls) made the Neighbor’s Club specifically for Kodaka and herself. However, over time, other girls have gotten closer to Kodaka. The only thing that kept Yozora together was that she thought that the two of them had a special connection because they were childhood friends. However then it turned out Kodaka and Sena knew each other when they were kids as well. That and the other girls constantly getting closer to Kodaka, is what makes Yozora lose it and she runs away from home. She ends up in Kodaka’s home after Kodaka’s little sister invites her in. Kodaka eventually tells Yozora that he confessed his feelings to Sena. There is a moment of reflection where Kodaka realizes that he would have never made any of these friends without the Neighbor’s Club. Also Kodaka thinks about how Yozora was his first hero.
In the second visual novel game of Oregairu, Hachiman realizes that for reasons out of his control, he has become friends with people he should have originally never gotten into contact with.
In Oregairu you also have an emotional moment where one of the character’s admits how she saw someone close to her as her hero.
Anyway, there are other similarities between the two series, but that’s not really the point I’m trying to make here. If you want to look for some other similarities, you can obviously do so. For now I specifically want to focus on the premise and overall plot of Haganai.
I’m not going to force you to watch the entire first season of Haganai, so instead I’ll try and explain what happens. In the first episode of Haganai, Yozora decides to make a club and drags Kodaka along with her under the pretense that she wants to use the club to learn how to make friends. However, each time a new girl joins the Neighbor’s Club, this ends up agitating Yozora. For the next episodes they do a bunch of club activities and Kodaka starts having flashbacks about his childhood where he had a friend named Sora. (Similar to how Hachiman had flashbacks in the first season about the car accident.)
In episode 11, they go to a summer festival so they can set off fireworks. Yozora’s hair catches on fire and Kodaka manages to put the fire out by throwing a bucket of water over her, that ends up ruining her hair. Near the end of episode 11, Yozora shows up at school after cutting her hair. Because of the haircut, Kodaka recognizes Yozora as his childhood friend Sora.
Episode 12 is the last episode of Haganai’s first season (episode 13 is an OVA). Kodaka’s sudden realization that Yozora was actually his childhood friend is a huge plot twist, which ends up changing his dynamic with Yozora in season 2.
A very large part of episode 12 consists of a flashback, where you get to see everything from Yozora’s point of view. You find out what the real reason was for Yozora to create the club, namely that she wanted a club just for herself and her childhood friend Taka (Yozora’s nickname for him when they were younger).
>Hold on a sec. You knew who I was the day I transferred here?
>Yep. I knew from the very beginning.
>And I’m surprised yet again.
>Wait. Don’t you remember that day when we met in the classroom. I swear you said something about not remembering what my name was.
>I was pretty irritated that I recognized who you were, even though you didn’t have a clue about me.
>So you pretended you didn’t know me instead?
Let’s compare that to Oregairu.
Hachiman and Yui go to a fireworks festival, where they encounter Haruno.
After the festival, Hachiman and Yui walk Haruno back to her car. Haruno wonders why Yukino hasn’t mentioned her involvement with the car accident.
Volume 5 ends on Yukino trying to explain the situation, but Hachiman doesn’t want to know more about Yukino.
By the end of volume 6/episode 12, Hachiman and Yukino make up. Hachiman and Yukino sit in the Service Club. Hachiman asks Yukino if they can be friends, but Yukino cuts him off saying that can never happen. Hachiman then brings up the car accident and wants to know what Yukino’s response is. However, Yukino doesn’t give him a direct answer. The volume ends on Hachiman thinking about how one day he will think back on all of the things he has lost.
As you can hopefully see, this conversation between Hachiman and Yukino is very similar to the one between Kodaka and Yozora. Both Hachiman and Kodaka ask themselves the question why Yukino and Yozora respectively didn’t tell them who they were the first moment they met.
The difference between Oregairu and Haganai is, that in Haganai this got addressed and resolved in volume 7, whereas with Oregairu this didn’t actually get resolved in volume 6, because its revelation would have had bigger consequences. Instead it got pushed back and as of volume 14 it never got resolved.
By the end of Oregairu, you still don’t actually know why Yukino hasn’t told Hachiman about her involvement with the car accident.
In volume 1, Yukino said that she didn’t know who Hachiman is.
However, Yukino has shown that she knew that Hachiman was the boy from the car accident as early as volume 2. This conversation took place before either Hachiman or Yui had ever talked to Yukino about the car accident.
Near the end of volume 3, Hachiman and Yui make up, however volume 3 ends on Hachiman wondering what Yukino exactly meant. Yukino says that Hachiman and Yui were both the victims and that they can put the blame on the instigator.
(From the side story from Yukino’s anthology written by Watari Wataru that came out on 18-3-2020, there is a moment where the car accident is brought up again. Depending on if you want to consider this canon or not, Yukino’s father reveals that the reason why he let Yukino live on her own had to do with the car accident. Her father also says how the car accident must have been a considerable emotional shock for Yukino.
This was something I wrote in Part 1 several years ago.
While Yukino’s dad’s opinion doesn’t really explain anything, at the very least you get some closure that the car accident left a huge impact on Yukino and that she knew who Hachiman was the moment he entered the clubroom.)
Keep in mind that Watari said in his interview that the accident on the morning of Hachiman’s school entrance ceremony was his plot.
By not addressing this, the series is now left with a bunch of unanswered questions as well as character actions that don’t make sense.
Yukino’s intentions and motivation for trying to save Hachiman have now never been answered or resolved. Neither has her involvement with the car accident. All of Hachiman’s questions about the club throughout the entire series are all red herrings now. Watari made Hachiman think about the existence of the club in volumes 12 and 13, but that never went anywhere in volume 14. Yukino’s “lie” has also never been addressed.
In volume 5, Haruno wondered why Yukino didn’t tell Hachiman and Yui about her involvement with the car accident. In volume 11, Haruno brought up that Yukino doesn’t always tell the truth.
Near the end of season 1 Yui said that she would wait for Yukino to open up about the car accident, but that never happened.
The conversation between Hachiman and Yukino’s mother in the last chapter of volume 13 makes no sense. Sensei was desperately trying to prevent Hachiman from saying his name to Yukino’s mother, but this never gets brought up again in volume 14.
This means that the premise of Oregairu is now that Hachiman, Yukino and Yui get put together in a club and then later on find out that coincidentally all three of them were involved with a car accident one year ago. Also coincidentally Yui’s request happened to be the Service Club’s first consultation. (Taken from the final volume of ANOTHER.)
A couple of other things about Yukino that have never been addressed are how long she has been abroad. Where did she go? Why was she abroad? Did Yukino being abroad affect her in any kind of way?
Throughout the novels, Yukino being bullied was a recurring plotline. Did this get explained in the final novel?
1. “Sending chain messages… that is a despicable act that tramples over a person’s dignity. While they hide in the shadow of anonymity, they slander others for the sole purpose of damaging them. Spreading the slanderous words is no less of an evil thing to do. Healthy curiosity is one thing, but to continue spreading slanderous words… unless you eradicate the root cause, there won’t be any results. Source: me.”
“Is that from personal experience…?” I asked.
I wish she’d quit it with the loaded statements. Yukinoshita spoke calmly, but I could see a black fire flickering underneath her veneer. You might say she was exuding an evil aura.
2. “Really, I wonder what’s so amusing about spreading messages to show contempt for someone. And I do not think there is any merit in what Sagawa‐san or Shimoda‐san did…”
“So you took care of them all…” Yuigahama said with a rather strained smile.
It was stuff like this that affirmed how resourceful Yukinoshita was and how frightening she would be as an enemy.
“Man, your middle school sure was hip and up with the times,” I remarked. “Nothing like that happened at my school.”
“…that’s because nobody asked you for your phone address.”
3. “Indeed. Only like‐minded people would gather around someone who would take delight and comfort in tricking someone else,” Yukinoshita said as she peered into the distance. No, she said it as if she was looking into her past.
4. “In most cases, chasing after or cornering the person who started it all will probably turn out to be a huge problem if said person pretends to be innocent……”
5. “There are a lot of rumors that just don’t simply end in gossip. The people around you will play those rumors up, and the result is that you get people poking their noses into your business. When that happens, that’s when the personal attacks begin. Either out of jealousy or just getting carried away, because it’s only human. I don’t really interact much with people, so it affects me less but……”
6. I dare say that Yukinoshita probably had the same experience as Yuigahama. Or rather, she probably chose to get involved with people as little as possible as her self-defense measure.
7. Hayama too gripped the can for a short while, then proceeded to do the same as me and gulped down a mouthful. Then, with a small sigh, he opened his mouth to speak.
“……You said you wanted to talk. Is that about that rumor?”
In response to my short answer, Hayama gave a wry smile and replied “I see” in a small voice.
“That rumor is probably bothering both Yui and Yukinoshita-san as well. I am sorry but could you please apologize on my behalf?”
“So you say……”
“Even though I do indeed want to apologize, but to do so now would be a little…… That aside, it’s once again another irresponsible exaggerated rumor. I guess we can’t just leave it alone, huh.”
His way of saying it was evident that this was not the first time he had experienced such a thing. There was this vibe that he was reciting some truth he had obtained from past experiences. This was very similar to the self-defense measure that she took.
8. “Rumor? Huh, what’s that about, Iroha-chan?” Haruno-san didn’t let that word slide by and she directed a gaze to Isshiki.
“Ah, ummm…” Isshiki contemplated whether it was okay to tell her, making alternating glances between the discouraged Yukinoshita and Hayama who was chatting further away, and was at a loss for words. But Haruno-san placed her hands lightly on Isshiki’s shoulders as if pressing her for an answer.
“Tell me please?”
At that point, she couldn’t refuse. Those words were just as heavy. Haruno-san wore her usual smile while quietly waiting for Isshiki to act. After a few seconds of that, as if giving in, Isshiki whispered into Haruno-san’s ears while being mindful of the reactions around her. Haruno-san leaned her ear to one side as she nodded with an amused expression. Ahh, if this person gets wind of the rumor, there’s no telling what’ll happen… But Haruno-san’s attitude wasn’t as I imagined it to be.
“Oh, so that’s what it is… That’s something they’ve been through since a long time ago,” said Haruno-san, coldly.
After thanking Isshiki, she turned around as if dropping all of her interest.
“Meguri, let’s get going.”
In volume 12, Haruno said that in order for Yukino to grow, she will have to give up on things. What did Yukino give up on?
In the last chapter of volume 13, Yukino put an end to the Service Club as well as her relationship with Hachiman, only to undo both of these decisions in volume 14. In volume 14 you get no explanation as to why she did either. Instead Hachiman and Yukino decide to act “normal” as if nothing had happened before.
Since the origin of the Service Club has now never been addressed in the series, hopefully if you watch episode 12 of Haganai’s first season, you can at least have somewhat of an idea of what it could have looked like. Hachiman would have found out, then you’d most likely get a big flashback where Yukino explains everything from her point of view. This would have made Hachiman realize how much Yukino has done for him in this past year and it could have possibly had some other consequences. Basically, the idea of: “a club is introduced and it’s explained that it exists for one reason, but then throughout the series there are hints that said club exists for a different reason” is something Watari got from Haganai. However, it never got addressed, so it’s up to your interpretation.
Anyway, the point to all of this was to show that there really was a sincere attempt from Watari’s side to tell a story with some kind of drama, stakes and consequences. Volumes 12-14 are filler for the most part. The middle parts of both volumes 12 and 13 are filler, however the first and last couple of chapters of both of these volumes, still contain some elements/clues/plot points of the first 11 volumes. Volume 14 on the other hand, wipes away all character motivations, drama and character development from the first 11 volumes/first two seasons and pretends like it was never there.
At the end of the day, Watari had two options. Either he could stick to his guns and write a “bittersweet” ending, which would have most likely resulted in a lot of backlash, especially considering how many people were confused with what was going on in season 2 (or the whole series as a whole). If the ending would have been dramatic, it would have only caused more negativity towards the series and make people ask questions about the plot, character motivations etc. and it would have resulted in a similar experience as when season 2 was airing.
Or he could write an incredibly “safe” and “inoffensive” ending, give every character a bunch of fanservice and call it a day.
Watari basically got stuck between the expectations of his fans as well as publishers (and other parties) who want to keep the franchise safe for potential future merchandise sales as well as potential future books. (Apparently Watari has plans to keep writing more Oregairu. However, whatever he writes from here on out will most likely not be the same as the first 11 volumes, but more like volumes 12-14 and the anthologies: filler, fanservice, retcons etc.)
If something bad had happened to any of the characters, then that would have affected that character’s popularity as well as their merchandise potential. For example, by the end of the series, Sagami is the only character that has never been redeemed. Because of that, Sagami has never shown up in any of the merchandise or visual novel games.
However, by finishing the series in this way, it does raise a couple of questions.
Like for example:
If the original ending of Oregairu was always going to be incredibly safe and inoffensive, then why did fans have to wait 4.5 to 5 years for this ending? This ending isn’t really shocking or controversial and it could have come out several years ago. Also, this ending isn’t really all that different from the ending Yukino got in the second visual novel and that came out in 2016.
If it was never a problem for Hachiman and Yukino to end up together and there would be no opposition from Yui, Iroha, Haruno, Yukino’s mom and Hayama, then why didn’t they start dating earlier? Hachiman and Yukino could have easily started dating around volume 6-9, since it turned out there was never anything preventing them from ending up together.
Another thing to bring up is, what was the point of all of the drama in the first two seasons if by the end of it, it never went anywhere? Now you have a lot of plot threads and character motivations left unaddressed and unresolved.
If all of the things mentioned so far were “unimportant, overdramatized and exaggerated” then what plot does Oregairu have by the end of volume 14, besides which girl Hachiman ends up with?
In season 1 you have some drama involving a car accident that never got explained or resolved.
In season 2 there was some confusing drama about the club and Hachiman’s self destructive methods. There was also drama involving Yukino’s family issues, but that ended up going nowhere. Near the end of season 2 Yui gave Yukino an ultimatum and she said that if they figured out each other’s feelings, then they wouldn’t be able to stay the same, but that also went nowhere.
In season 3 there’s some drama involving codependency, but in the last third of the season that will get handwaved away (unless Studio Feel changes things about the adaptation).
If the ending of volume 14 was the ending Watari always had in mind, then that would mean that the majority of Oregairu (11 volumes worth of content, but you can include 12 and 13 as well, since they were also supposedly setting something up) is setting up plot points/character motivations that ultimately end up going nowhere. Characters are saying and thinking things (for example, what purpose do any of the interludes/inner monologues have now?), but at the end of the day they’re all words without any meaning, since no one acts on any of it and it never amounts to anything anyway.
Decide for yourself if you think this makes sense.
So, in conclusion, if you mostly care about Hachiman ending up with a girl and that by the end of it he is friends with everyone, then you’ll probably enjoy season 3. You’ll get to see the characters that you like again. You’ll hear the voice actors and actresses say their lines and have fun with their characters again. You’ll get a bunch of cute moments here and there for your favorite character.
If however you like consistent storytelling, stakes, consequences, characters acting on their motivations, a story coming full circle, plot threads being resolved etc. then it’s probably best to lower your expectations a little bit and try to enjoy season 3 for what it is.
Hopefully when you finish reading volume 14 or finish watching season 3 and you have all sorts of questions, this will have answered some of them and you can get some kind of closure.
On a final note, I’ll just finish this by leaving you with Watari’s words from his afterword from volume 14.
>Watari says that there are certain things that couldn’t be fully presented. He says that he leaves the interpretation up to his readers.
So if Watari says that he leaves everything up to the interpretation of his readers, decide for yourself what you think of the ending and just have fun with it. At the end of the day, it’s just an anime series.