Season 1 ends. Let’s do a quick status report on the relationships between the trio. As you may be aware, the three of them act significantly different when there’s only two of them than compared to when all three of them are together.
Yui and Yukino’s relationship: They never talk about anything that matters. They never talk about Hachiman. Yukino is a rather difficult person to approach and have a conversation with. Yui is forcing herself on Yukino and not giving her that much breathing room, which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. It’s good because she’s trying to crack Yukino out of her shell, but at the same time she’s not approaching it in the best way possible. Yui is trying to get closer to Yukino on a physical level (not in a sexual way) by hugging her, trying to sit closer to her etc., but at the same time isn’t actively pursuing to get to know the real Yukino on an emotional level. She’s waiting for Yukino to be ready to make the first move.
>Yui talks about meaningless things, she tries to keep up appearances as if everything is alright.
Yui and Hachiman’s relationship: The two of them have no chemistry or anything in common. Their conversations are always either about the Service Club and Yukino or it’s Yui attempting to get closer to Hachiman because she wants to be his girlfriend. Hachiman and Yui hardly ever talk about themselves personally or try to get to know one another. (See “Promised date” analysis)
It took Yui up until volume 9-10 (the events of the Christmas Drama CD to be precise, but those events are after the Christmas event) to find out that Hachiman likes sweet things (and MAX Coffee, I guess), which may seem unimportant at first, but it does show that Yui doesn’t know even the more trivial things about Hachiman. They have known each other for almost an entire year now.
Yuigahama looked into my face apprehensively and asked, “Huh, you don’t seem too interested… Hikki, were you bad with sweet things?”
Just as I was about to open my mouth to answer, an individual did so before I could.
“Not at all. As a matter of fact, he likes them.”
“Why did you answer, Yukinoshita…? Was this self-introduction time or something? Well, I do like sweet stuff though…”
Yukinoshita flicked away the hair against her shoulders and looked at me with a composed expression. “It’s not something we need to check. Coffee that sweet isn’t something you can drink unless you have a considerable sweet tooth, right?”
Yui always waits for when she’s alone with Hachiman before she makes her move on him (a lot of times this means until Yukino walks away to go do something), which is exactly the reason why it took Yukino up until Volume 11 to realize that Yui was also in love with him (or maybe Yukino still doesn’t know, at least in the main series. In ANOTHER, Yukino finds out during Hachiman and Yui’s version of the infirmary scene, which takes place near the very end of Volume 10 in the main series. Since said scene doesn’t happen in the main series, it’s possible Yukino is still unaware of Yui’s feelings).
>Yukino leaves the room. Hey, how does this dog collar look on me?
>Let’s go see fireworks together. Komachi says she can’t go, but she wants us to buy stuff for her. Let’s go.
>Did Yukino tell you anything? No, what’s with that timing? Do you want me to walk you home?
>Even if the car accident hadn’t happened, I would have been sent to the Service Club. You would have helped me and then I-!
>I don’t want Sagami and Yukino to hang out with each other (if you remember from the first few pages of this analysis, this conversation is longer in the LN and it’s not just about Yui’s concern about Yukino, Yui also doesn’t want Hachiman to see Yui in a bad light).
>Hachiman wants to find out something about Yukino. Yui instead turns that around and makes Hachiman promise her to take her out on a date. I’ve decided to wait for Yukino, but I won’t wait for you. Instead I’m going to actively pursue you. Promise me you’re going to take me out on a date, so you can repay me for the honey toast.
>Hachiman wants to pay Yui back on the spot. I don’t want your money. Go out on a date with me.
>The entirety of Volume 7. Yui pulled some strings to make sure Hachiman and Yui would spend a lot of time during this trip (Read “Promised Date” to understand this).
>Hachiman tries leaning away, Yui leans in more.
>Come spend time with me, it’s for our job.
>Let’s go into all of these shrines for Tobe and Ebina’s sake. Let’s spin this stone, what did you wish for? I already know what my wish is. (LN exclusive)
>Let’s drink from the same water, your love life will be blessed apparently.
>Hachiman instinctively extends his hand. He realizes the implication and tries retracting his hand. Yui grabs onto his hand.
>M-me and Y-Yui aren’t in a r-relationship.
>This is the perfect place to confess to someone.
>Hachiman confesses to Ebina, preserving Hayato’s group. Yukino leaves.
>The Service Club has to survive, I’m in love with this club.
>Yukino is going to report to Sensei and Meguri. Yui is thankful that Hachiman preserved her special place for her even if he had to lie, deceive and use underhanded methods.
>Let’s go to the club together.
>Hachiman and Yui both lying to Yukino.
>After genuine, hold my hand, let’s go look for Yukino together.
>While Yukino is picking out Komachi’s present, Yui makes her move on Hachiman. Remember our promised date?
>*whisper whisper* Brings back memories, huh? Yukino is standing right next to us.
(Taken from the drama CD: When the lights of those Christmas candles flicker) (Takes place after Volume 9/during S2E10)
>The gang is buying presents for each other. They split up, but Yui goes after Hachiman. They start talking about putting in consideration for what present to buy. Yui turns the conversation into how she wants to repay him for his gift for her birthday (the dog collar). Yui doesn’t want the “gift giving” to end. Their conversation goes silent. Yui brings up Yukino’s birthday. Yui is using Yukino’s birthday as an excuse to go on a date with Hachiman. When Yukino approaches, Yui says that Hachiman and her will continue the conversation some other time.
“Right? It’s one thing to have the person you’re giving a gift to be considerate towards you. If that’s how it’s going to turn out, even if I don’t want to, I’d have to seriously consider what I want to pick.”(!)
Once you gave the gift and after a slight pause, they told you “…Th-Thank you?”, forcing themselves to be energetic, that’s the moment when you’d want to die. With those imaginative thoughts being drawn in my mind, I scavenged through the shelves in dejection. Yuigahama broke into a smile.
“You’re so serious about the strangest things… In that case, I’d better think a little harder about what to pick too.”
“Right, you do that. We won’t know who gets what, after all.”
“I guess so,” said Yuigahama. Both Yuigahama and I placed the tableware and accessories in our hands back on the shelves. Yuigahama then reluctantly opened her mouth.
“…But it’d be nice if it did go to the right person. That is, returning the favor for my birthday, I haven’t really properly given one to Hikki yet, so…”(!)
“Eh?” I asked back, but what that was referring to came to mind. Although it felt like a rather long time since then, it was at most only half a year ago. It’s likely she was talking about that present I gave to her back then. However, I felt that was just a gift I used as an excuse to settle my entirely selfish sentiment using her birthday as a cover.
“Aah, no, it wasn’t that kind of thing, so don’t worry about it. It was just my return gift in the first place. If we keep going back and forth, it’ll never end.” I felt this was also a part of my selfish reasoning. However, since I had no other reason as of now, this was the only way I could put it. But, Yuigahama wasn’t looking at me and instead gently whispered, “It’s not like, it has to end though…”(!)
Those casual words pulled at my heart.
“…I, guess so.”(!)
Both of us were quiet. A relationship that didn’t end was something I couldn’t imagine at all.(!) It was probably just a dream, a delusion, or possibly an ideal; something that I didn’t think could ever be real.(!) For how beautiful it was, it was painful, and I couldn’t find the words to say back to Yuigahama.(!) The silence was destroyed by Yuigahama’s bright smile. “Ah, that’s right. Actually, it’s almost Yukinon’s birthday.”
“Oh yeah, I remember hearing about that.” I wasn’t sure of the specific day, but I believe it should’ve been in winter. Yuigahama grabbed something from the shelf and quickly put it back. After doing that a few more times, she glanced at me. “When it was my birthday, um, my present, you went to buy it with Yukinon, right?”(!)
“Pretty much. Komachi was there too though.”
“U-Uh huuh.” Yuigahama responded nonchalantly. The miscellaneous item she had in her hands, she placed it again back on the shelf and stared at it. “Then, it’d be nice, iif you could go out, with me…(!) Um, shopping that is…”(!)
I looked at the shelf as well and somehow tried toying with the item Yuigahama had in her hands from earlier. If it was just “shopping”, there wasn’t a reason to refuse. I think. Just like the time when I went with Yukinoshita before, the objective this time was clear as well.(!) We did make the promise of going out together at some point, but that, too, should’ve been something else.(!) So it might be okay to be a little more easygoing regarding this.(!) I let out a quiet, unnoticeable sigh and lifted my face. “Mm… Shopping, huh…? Well, if it’s just shopping, then whenever works for me.”(!)
“Okay…” Yuigahama gave a short reply and looked away in embarrassment.(!) Ahead of where she looked, she noticed Yukinoshita(!) who seemingly came to this store to choose presents too.
“Ah, it’s Yukinon. Okay, let’s leave this talk for later.(!) Heeey, Yukinooon!”
Yuigahama spoke quickly and she dashed off towards her.
“Oh, Yuigahama-san and Hikigaya-kun.”
Yuigahama placed her hands on Yukinoshita’s shoulders after she turned around.
“Yukinon. Have you decided what to buy?”
>*whisper whisper* So, when are we going on a date? I mean, for Yukino’s birthday present of course.
(To be fair, she did invite Komachi as well, so it’s not all that bad.)
>We’re definitely only shopping for Yukino’s birthday.
>This is the first moment where Yukino becomes aware that there might be something between Hachiman and Yui.
>However, since the two of them went shopping for her birthday presents, Yukino doesn’t think too much of it. Yukino has never received birthday presents from friends before, so she’s really happy. When Hachiman compliments Yukino in front of everyone, Yui shows a hint of jealousy. This essentially shows the difference between Yukino and Yui, whereas Yui often times does things behind Yukino’s back, Yukino doesn’t.
>Yui realizes Hachiman and Yukino are in love.
(Seriously, try and point out one moment before Volume 11 where Yui openly shows her affection for Hachiman when Yukino is present.)
Yui also never stands up for Hachiman or Yukino in public (when there are more people around them), but this has more to do with Yui succumbing to peer pressure in social situations and not because she doesn’t want to. She does however stand up for them when there’s just one or two other people in the same room trying to insult or mock either of the two. She also tries standing up for Yukino when it involves Haruno and Yukimom in Volume 11, but she quickly gets shut down.
Yukino on the other hand isn’t fazed that much by crowds (at least not when it comes to standing up for someone) and is therefore able to stand up for her friends even if it’s in a crowded room/if there are a lot of people surrounding them.
Hachiman feels an attraction to Yui’s body and he definitely cares about her, but not in the way Yui would want him to care about her.
(In the conclusion to ANOTHER, which is Yui’s route, it is implied Hachiman enters a relationship with Yui, but Hachiman can’t tell Yui that he loves her. He also isn’t sure if what he has now with Yui can be considered the genuine thing he has been looking for. Hachiman realizes the distance between himself and Yui.)
Hachiman is consciously aware Yui has feelings for him, but he constantly keeps telling himself that he’s either just imagining things or that it would never work out between them. S1E9, when they encounter Sagami, is a perfect example of how a relationship between Yui and Hachiman would work out.
Yui, at her core, is still very much a social butterfly. She wants to be “friends” with everyone, regardless of how fake those relationships are. When they encounter Sagami, Yui (being a person that is very susceptible to peer pressure) immediately folds and starts socializing with Sagami and her group. The girls openly mock Hachiman. Hachiman knows what the deal is, so he leaves. Yui later on rushes to him and apologizes.
Now hypothetically imagine the two of them ending up in a relationship and we skip forward ten years from now. Yui would still want to socialize with everyone and Hachiman would still rather avoid these types of situations. How long do you think Hachiman would endure going to these social events and talking about sports, the weather, his job etc. with people he could not care less about? Not very long.
During the Destiny Land episode, Yui chose going with the group, which led to Hachiman and Yukino being left alone. During S2E10, Yui chose to go with Miura and the gang, instead of going home with Hachiman and Yukino, but she did feel conflicted about this.
The point of all of this being: socializing and being happy, friendly with everyone, regardless of how superficial those relationships are, is still a very big priority in Yui’s life. Even after two seasons. This is not something that is going to change. This is something that is ingrained in who she is.
Hachiman, the way Hachiman has been depicted in the anime and in the main series, would never find true happiness being in a relationship with her.
(Like I mentioned before, in ANOTHER it is implied Hachiman and Yui start a relationship by the end. There’s no other way to say this, but ANOTHER kind of ignores the development of the previous 9 volumes and has the characters acting out of character, but that’s besides the point. What is relevant however, is that in this timeline Hachiman gives up on wanting something genuine.
Hachiman’s idea of wanting something genuine is a long lasting meaningful relationship where two people never have to doubt each other’s affection for one another. A relationship that doesn’t need to be defined by words, but is instead understood/felt. At the same time what he wants is a relationship where he and the other can share the most intimate of thoughts with one another. However, he turns his back on that in ANOTHER. There are also a lot of other hints that illustrate that the HachiYui pairing is not one that is built to last, but you’ll have to read “Promised date” to understand what I mean by that. Basically the point is: the HachiYui pairing is not a relationship that falls under Hachiman’s definition of “something genuine”.
>Probably, her and my story was one that could be put into words, however I still can’t tell her the words she wants to hear other than promise that someday I will be able to.
>It’s not mere words that I want, I want to know people inside-out.
In some sense you could see this as Yukino achieving her goal of making Hachiman a more social human being and making sure he gets a girlfriend, but Yukino doesn’t reveal the Service Club’s existence to him, so Hachiman ends up in a relationship with Yui based on a lie. Hachiman said he didn’t want relationships that were given to him or in his own words:
If what I wished for was granted to me(!), if what I wanted was given to me. Then, as I thought, I wouldn’t wish for anything nor want anything.(!) Because the things you were granted and the things you were given were surely shams that would one day be lost.(!)
I didn’t need things like a fake understanding and a deceptive relationship.
Hachiman only cares about genuine things, but in ANOTHER Yui’s love has been pretty much given to Hachiman without him having to fight for it, which ties into Hachiman turning his back on wanting something genuine in that universe.
Yui also achieves her goal, which is getting Hachiman to be her boyfriend and Yukino to be her best friend. Yui is fine with a lie, as long as she gets what she wants.
The final thing to be taken from ANOTHER could be that Yukino supports Hachiman and Yui’s relationship, whereas in the main series Yui is going to leave them.
It’s likely that the guilt Yukino was trying to push on Yui is in regards to the car accident, but because Yukino is Yui’s friend, she chooses not to bring it up, because that could risk Hachiman and Yui’s relationship from taking off. If Hachiman were to find out that the Service Club exists because of the car accident, he would have come to the same conclusion as he came in Volume 3. (To fully understand this, you’ll need to read Part 5)
>In Volume 3, during the conversation Hachiman, Yukino and Yui have about Hachiman and Yui starting their relationship over, Hachiman considers the possibility that Yui’s feelings may be something more than just pity, worry, concern etc.
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.)
>This is another one of those situations where Yukino doesn’t say anything, because she believes that this is what Hachiman and Yui want. So she goes along with it.
Hachiman has given up on wanting something genuine and Hachiman had once told Yukino that he didn’t want to know the reason why the Service Club exists.
Yukino concludes that it’s best not to tell them the truth either. Bringing up the car accident and the real reason why the Service Club exists would make Hachiman not want to be in a relationship with Yui (more on that in Part 5). Yukino accepts that she is able to bring her two friends together. She has fulfilled Yui’s initial request of Yui being able to give her cookies to Hachiman and Yukino has achieved her goal of making Hachiman a better more social human being that is able to talk to girls and even get a girlfriend. The “lie” Yukino is trying to cover under the snow isn’t just Yukino swallowing her feelings, but also the truth about the Service Club, for Hachiman and Yui’s sake.
If you want to know what Watari was trying to say with the conclusion to ANOTHER, then read “Promised date”.)
Hachiman and Yukino’s relationship: This is not a Yukino-centric analysis, so I’ll leave it at that. (Read Part 4)
Moving on to season 2:
>The relationship of the members of the Service Club is a lot stronger. There’s a very calm and soothing atmosphere. They’re in a relatively healthy place.
>Ebina’s confession arc happens.
>Hachiman and Yukino have their falling out because of the way Hachiman solves problems.
>Yui doesn’t like how Hachiman fake confessed to Ebina. Not only does it show how meaningless romantic gestures like that are to him that he could say something like that when he clearly doesn’t mean it, she also just did not want to see him doing that, because she has feelings for him. Probably just like Yukino, Yui just doesn’t see how Hachiman could do something potentially so embarrassing/derogatory/use such underhanded methods to solve such a petty problem. Yui was guided by her feelings there, but afterwards she realized that this was something that Hachiman did all the time.
>The atmosphere in the Service Club becomes tense. Hachiman and Yui want to pretend like nothing is wrong. Yukino wants to address the way Hachiman clearly doesn’t care about himself and the way he’s constantly screwing himself over to solve the petty problems of others. The two of them aren’t on friendly terms.
This is obviously a problem for Yui, because the Service Club is the place where she can freely interact with Hachiman. At the same it’s also the place where her new best friend Yukino and the group as a whole feels at home.
>After Yukino tells Hachiman that he can show up to the Service Club voluntarily, Hachiman decides not to show up anymore. The day after Yukino gave him the option to show up if he wanted to, Yui asks Hachiman if he’s coming to the club. It’s important to Yui that Hachiman is in the Service Club, because that’s the place where she can spend time with him and get closer to him so she can become his girlfriend.
>Iroha stuff happens. Yui keeps forcing Hachiman to go to the Service Club. Yui keeps her cheerful face on to pretend like everything is alright. Hachiman starts observing Hayato’s group to find an answer on how to fix the cracks in their currently broken relationship. Unable to stop Hachiman from self-sacrificing, Yukino decides to take matters into her own hands and become StuCo president herself. Yui fears that this will mean that the Service Club will fall apart and with it their relationship. Yui decides to run for StuCo president herself, but most importantly she expresses how much she loves “the club”.
So, Hachiman is selfish for trying to solve all problems with self-sacrifice (because he has too big of an ego) and because he’s unwilling to admit that he was in the wrong. Sure.
Yukino is selfish because she wants to stop Hachiman from hurting himself, but she doesn’t fully express what it is she wants to do and why she wants to do it. Ok, sure.
Yui is the one being selfless, because she wants the Service Club to stay intact and the three of them to remain together.
Could you remind me one more time why it’s important that the Service Club survives?
I apologize for the repetition, but once again, the main reason why Yui wants the Service Club to stay intact is because it’s the place where she gets to interact with Hachiman and it’s also the place where she can grow closer to him so she can eventually become his girlfriend.
(Without any context you’re not going to understand what I mean by this, but hopefully once you reach this part of the story in Part 4, a couple of things should be clearer. Season 2 could have done a better job at showing this.)
>Komachi also gives Hachiman a reason for trying to save the Service Club, but she tells him that he needs to discuss it with Yukino and Yui first.
>Instead of self-sacrificing himself, Hachiman decides to take a different approach. He manipulates Iroha into actually wanting to become StuCo prez. He does it behind Yukino and Yui’s backs. He forges pre-election votes to make Yukino and Yui stand down. Yukino asks him if he had a hand in this. Hachiman says he didn’t.
>Yui wants to check the website with the results to confirm what Hachiman is talking about, however she realizes that he must have done some incredibly underhanded stuff to get these results and she abstains from checking. Yui is fine with a lie. To her what’s most important is preserving the Service Club at all costs.
>Yukino has been defeated. Hachiman essentially won. He “saved” the Service Club with lies and deceit, because saving the Service Club was what was important, not saving their relationship with one another, right? (You’ll see what I mean by this once you start reading Part 4.)
>Yukino leaves. Yui thanks Hachiman for saving the club for her.
>While Yui doesn’t want Hachiman to hurt himself, she comes to the realization that this is the way Hachiman has solved all of their problems up until now. This is the Hachiman (“the hero”) she fell in love with.
>She apologizes for making him do that, but that’s alright, since it was all worth it if things will be back to normal tomorrow.
“You protected my important place for me.”
Those words were extremely gentle that I ended up closing my eyes. The slight and faint warmth that was transmitted to me caused me to strain my ears.
After Yuigahama let out a small sigh, she slowly continued her words.
“You see… I really did understand. That I probably wouldn’t win against Yukinon and even if I did win, I wouldn’t be able show up to the club anymore.”(!)
She spoke awkwardly without the slightest hint of nonsense. That’s why I silently listened.
“That’s why,” Yuigahama continued.
“It’s all thanks to Hikki.”(!)
Suddenly, Yuigahama spoke up.
“Hikki did his best!”
“What’s with you so suddenly?”
She was sitting right next to me, yet her voice was loud. I reflexively turned to face Yuigahama and after she nodded, she exclaimed again in a loud voice.
“Hikki did his best!”(!)
“Stop it. I didn’t really do anything.”
Really, the only things I did were type away on Twitter and talk with Isshiki. I didn’t do anything meaningful of the sort. In fact, I could only think of what I did as hindering the productivity of others. That feeling of reflection may have been heard somewhat in my voice. Yuigahama weakly nodded and smiled faintly.
“…I guess so. You didn’t do anything that could be seen.”(!)
I nodded only my head. However, Yuigahama shook her head in response to that.
“But if you could see it, then I think there’d be a lot of unlikeable things that were done. I’m sure even if you wanted to change it, Hikki’s methods are things you can’t change.”(!)
It was as if she understood the things that I did. Or could it be that she knew the truth behind those accounts?(!) Whatever the case was, it wasn’t a praiseworthy method. In fact, it was just that much worse given how it wasn’t exposed. But if no one could see it or knew about it, then there was no problem.
“If you couldn’t see it, then you wouldn’t really know what it is that I did.”
That’s why let’s put this incident to rest. It was better to dig its grave now. That was what I wanted to say.
However, Yuigahama didn’t avert her eyes as she continued her words.
“But even if you couldn’t see it and criticize it, wouldn’t Hikki think about it?”
“…The feelings of guilt won’t go away.”(!)
Yuigahama interrupted me halfway through and spoke. Yeah, that was true. It really wouldn’t disappear. Undoubtedly, there was always something I had mistaken and I would continue to live on with that feeling of anxiety. That’s why regardless of what I did, the feelings of guilt would find its way back.
“I… couldn’t do anything, but… Even so, I start to think if this really was good enough. That’s why I think Hikki would think about it even more.”(!)
Yuigahama gently said. She looked slightly sad as she smiled. But even so, she would be considerate of me.
That’s why that kindness was extremely painful. Even though I thought I didn’t want there to be any pain. Even something as simple as that wouldn’t come to pass.
“…We weren’t wrong about this, right?”
That question she asked was something I couldn’t answer. Even though I already knew how to.
As I sat there saying nothing, Yuigahama continued with a heartfelt voice.
“With this, we’ll be able to go back to how we normally are, right?”(!)
“…I don’t know.”
>However, things aren’t back to normal. Hachiman and Yui have successfully Hayato-fied the Service Club. Everyone is pretending like everything is alright, but none of them are being honest with one another or even talking to one another.
>Yukino doesn’t want to lose her friends, so she goes along with their charade because she believes this is what they want. Another thing that’s important is that during the fallout of the Service Club, Hachiman and Yui are able to grow closer to each other, because the two of them have something they’re sharing: both of them are lying to/deceiving/being insincere towards others around them and even to each other. (You’ll have to read Part 4 to understand what I mean by this, the anime does a poor job at portraying this.)
>Hachiman and Yui are both openly lying to Yukino about how Hachiman needs time off so he can help Komachi study, instead of help Iroha.
(You could compare Yui to demon/devil Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion; as in her love is rather selfish, or in a Matrix fashion: Yui is the blue pill and Yukino is the red pill. Yukino is trying to “save” Hachiman and turn him into a better human, while Yui is essentially feeding into his heroic self-sacrifice (and his lies), because that’s the Hachiman she fell in love with. The most important thing Yui cares about is becoming Hachiman’s girlfriend. This sounds incredibly harsh, but that’s the way it played out in the LN and one of the reasons Yui calls herself unfair.
“Reality is cruel, so I’m sure lies are a form of kindness. Thus, I say that kindness itself is also a lie.”
But then again, maybe that’s not entirely fair, because Yui doesn’t necessarily have any bad intentions.)
(I’m going to extremely simplify all of this, since Yui doesn’t play a big role here. I’m not going too deep into Yukino’s motivations etc. This is still meant to be a Yui-centric analysis.)
>Iroha, being in way over her head, barges in demanding Hachiman to take responsibility for forcing her into this position.
>Hachiman, not wanting Iroha to reveal how it was actually him that solved Iroha’s problem and because he thinks it would be cruel to let Yukino deal with something which might have been hers had she won the election (which Hachiman still wonders if it was what Yukino actually wanted to do of her own volition) tells her that they can’t help her and pushes her out of the Service Club. He tells her that he’ll help her himself. Hachiman does feel responsible for manipulating her.
>He goes back into the club and they proceed to act as if nothing happened.
>Hachiman keeps forcing himself to go to the club (because Yui keeps asking him to go), so they can sit there awkwardly pretending like everything is alright.
>Because he promised to help Iroha, he makes excuses about how he needs time off from the Service Club so that he can help Komachi study.
>Near the end of S2E7 he encounters Yukino at the mall. Yukino confronts him about how he has been lying about not helping Iroha. Hachiman proceeds to lie to her again. Yukino tells him that if he’s forcing himself to be in the Service Club so that he can look out for them, that he doesn’t need to do that because it’s only making him miserable. She tells him to not come to the club anymore.
>This shows what type of relationship Yukino and Yui have without Hachiman around.
>Hachiman has his talk with Sensei. Hachiman goes to the Service Club. He gives the genuine speech. Yukino rushes off. Yui tells him that she has never seen Yukino act this way and that they need to go after her.
>They reconcile and come to the conclusion that by talking and spending more time together, they’ll eventually find what’s genuine.
During the conversation the trio has, right before Hachiman tells them that what he wants is something genuine, Yukino tells Yui that she is being unfair/plays dirty. Later on, while they are outside, she tells Yui once again that she plays dirty (S2E8). A couple of episodes later Yui calls herself unfair as well (S2E12+13).
What Yukino meant when she called Yui unfair is:
1. Yui uses her puppy dog eyes/tears/emotions to get what she wants.
>Yukino is an individual (due to her upbringing and past) that hasn’t been able to emotionally flourish. Turning down emotional appeals, especially from someone that she considers her close friend, is difficult for her. (See the last episode of season 2, where Yukino struggles with giving up her feelings for Hachiman, until she finally caves in.)
In the face of well-established logic and words, Yukinoshita was quick to turn people down. But whenever she was pressured by sentimental words and gestures(!), she’d cave in surprisingly easy.(!) Source: Yuigahama’s usual exchanges with her.(!)
Yuigahama looked at Yukinoshita with puppy dog eyes and Yukinoshita let out a sigh, eventually giving in.
“…Haa, just this time only.”(!)
What did I know about Yukino Yukinoshita? She was easily coerced by Yuigahama(!), that she liked cats, that she spent her weekends watching cat videos while hugging a Pan-san plushie.
>Yui using physical contact (or her puppy dog eyes/an appeal to emotion) to convince Yukino to do something. (She also does it to Hachiman.)
(Whether intentional or unintentional, Yui is a rather emotionally manipulative person. There are other examples, but I think this should suffice.)
“Oh, I can’t have you looking down on me. I’m making sure to learn myself,” said Yukinoshita, showing an unyielding smile. But midway, it lost its spirit. “…Yuigahama-san, she may not look like it, but she can be really stubborn, so there are times when turning her down is pointless.”(!)
“That’s not learning, that’s being whipped…”(!)
Well, Yukinoshita and Yuigahama’s slightly unhealthy relationship was in its own way a sign of progress, so that’s fine, yes. Or so I was thinking until Yuigahama shot up her hands. “Ah, I know!”
“It looks like you have something in mind. Can we hear it?”
Once Yukinoshita was ready to hear her out (fully whipped), Yuigahama lifted her finger. She spun it and opened her mouth not looking very confident.
“Umm… W-We can all eat chicken together, or something!”
2. Ever since Hachiman and Yukino’s second falling out, while the three of them are together, Yui pretends like everything is alright. She puts on a forced cheerful smile, but behind Yukino’s back, Yui essentially gives Hachiman the green light to continue lying, deceiving and using underhanded methods as long as the ends justify the means: preserving the Service Club. She also starts lying with Hachiman to other people. (See Part 4. The anime did a poor job at showing this.)
Now obviously Yui doesn’t want to see Hachiman hurt himself/solve problems at the expense of himself, however she doesn’t draw a line in the sand to try and stop him from continuing like this either. At the most she tells Hachiman to take her feelings into consideration or that what he is doing isn’t “nice”. Because Yui wants to become his girlfriend, to her it’s very important that Hachiman continues to see her in a positive light. Yui would not ever do something that would upset/jeopardize her relationship with Hachiman, because that might push him away/lead to them growing apart (this changes in the final stretch of Volume 11, this is the one moment where Yui puts herself on the line and actually does something, coincidentally it’s also the final moment of her character arc). Her biggest priority is preserving the Service Club, Hachiman eventually becoming her boyfriend and Yukino being her best friend.
Directly opposing either of them can only lead to conflict and them falling apart, which is why she prefers the Hayato approach of solving problems.
>Yui admits how she’s unfair. She doesn’t like seeing Hachiman in pain, but she never tries stopping Hachiman or helping him. Yukino on the other hand does. Yukino is willing to sacrifice her relationship with Hachiman if it means stopping him from inflicting pain to himself. Yui isn’t. Yui would never do something like that, draw a line in the sand and give Hachiman an ultimatum, because she wants Hachiman to continue seeing her in a positive manner, she wants to become his girlfriend after all. (LN exclusive; Volume 10,5 which takes place after Volume 10)
“…I don’t really like seeing you in pain, Hikki.”(!)
“Saying that is unfair.”
Despite my outburst, I could tell how soft my tone was. Perhaps it was my exhaustion. Being told something like that with such a gentle voice along with the shoulder massage only caused my shoulders to relax. Simultaneously, I tensed my shoulders again. For a wonderful girl to give me those kinds of words, this was nowhere near the time to give up and run away. It’s when you were given these kind and sweet words that you mustn’t rely on them and abandon yourself to. That’s why it only gave me less of a choice to resign here no matter how idiotic the circumstances are or how difficult the problem is.
“You think so…?” Yuigahama stopped her hands and rested them on my shoulders, eventually lifting them up slowly.
“Oh, uh, it was more like a figure of speech.”
I chose the wrong words when I called the person who was worried for me unfair. I rotated my chair and turned my body towards Yuigahama. I sat there while digging around for the proper words to tell her. Yuigahama, however, didn’t give me the time and nodded.
“…Yeah, I think I am unfair!”(!) Yuigahama said, her voice cheerful and as though she was convinced of something. I didn’t quite catch the meaning behind her response, but I wanted to get the right nuance across to her and opened my mouth.
“I didn’t mean it like that, but uh, in a good way…”
Yuigahama, however, shook her head and interjected. “I think… I really am unfair… It’s because I can never stop you or even help you.(!) And also… for a bunch of other things.”(!)
Yuigahama’s words were in a jumble, perhaps because she was trying to think while she talked. But it’s due to that that I felt her words were from the bottom of her heart. In the same way she’d laugh to hide her embarrassment or mumble her words and look away, I’m sure she wanted to play it off somehow. But even so, she looked straight at me, as though wanting to tell me everything.(!)
“That’s why… That’s why, when something like this happens again, I’ll make sure to do it.”(!)
(“When something like this happens again” = her actions in the last episode (S2E13).)
Long story short: after the events of Sagami’s arc, when the entire school turned against Hachiman (which hasn’t been shown in the anime, see Part 4), it was Yukino that stopped the rumors about Hachiman, not Yui. When Hachiman decided to go on a self-sacrifice spree, it was Yukino that tried stopping him from doing that, to the point where she told Hachiman to take a break from the Service Club (trying to create a distance between them, trying to release him from his “responsibilities”). Yui on the other hand didn’t want to risk Hachiman distancing himself from her. Not only did she support Hachiman’s lying and going behind their backs, but she also participated (once again, read Part 4). That’s why Yui is calling herself unfair. She doesn’t want Hachiman to hate her, so she just lets him do whatever he wants (hurting himself), because if she tried stopping him, he might start disliking her and start pushing her away. For as much as Yui claims to love Hachiman, she never does anything to help him or to stop him inflicting pain on himself. That’s one of the differences between Yukino and Yui.
>Yui is the “sweet fruits”; she is sweet, warm, comfy on the exterior and tells you the kind words you want to hear, but when things get real, she’s not the “genuine article” Hachiman wants, because she puts up a facade, trying to cover things up, instead of actually dealing with them. Basically, Yui is mostly kind words, without any action behind them.
I didn’t want mutual understanding, friendship, dialogue, companionship; none of those things. I don’t want to be understood. I already know that I’m not and I don’t dare to think I want to be. I wanted something far more cruel and relentless. I wanted to understand. I want to understand. I want to know, I want to gain peace of mind for knowing. It’s because I’m terrified of not knowing these things. It’s terribly self-righteous, egotistic, and arrogant of me to wish for complete understanding. It’s truly wretched and repulsive. It just makes me absolutely disgusted myself for even wanting that. However, what if… what if we felt the same way? What if a relationship where we could force that unsightly self-satisfaction onto each other, a relationship that could allow for that arrogance existed? I know that’s absolutely impossible. I know it’s out of my reach. The grape that my hands couldn’t reach was, without a doubt, sour. But I don’t need fruits that were so unbelievably sweet.(!) I don’t need a sham of an understanding nor do I need a deceitful relationship.(!) What I wanted was that sour grape. Even if it’s sour, even if it’s bitter, even if it’s disgusting, even if it’s poisonous, even if it’s nonexistent, even if it’s untouchable, even if I couldn’t wish for it.(!)
I could tell my voice was shaking.
“Even so, I…”
I desperately held in the feeling of wanting to break into a sob. Even though I had swallowed my voice and words, they continued to come out in bits and pieces. My teeth would grind noisily and the words were squeezed out on their own.
“I want something genuine.”
What Yui meant when she called herself unfair is:
The two aforementioned reasons, but more importantly for one other reason. Ever since the infirmary scene, Yui has come to the realization that Yukino may be in love with Hachiman and vice versa. Up until that point, Yui didn’t consider Yukino to be a romantic rival, especially after they cleared the air about it in S1E6.
In S2E12, just after confronting Yukimom, Hachiman offers to walk Yui home. Yui, who joined the Service Club so she could be close to Hachiman and has continuously made moves on Hachiman when it was just the two of them, after finding out that her new best friend is also in love with him, feels conflicted about this and says that it would be “unfair of her” to continue doing this and take advantage of the situation, especially now that Yukimom and Haruno are applying pressure on Yukino.
Yui says that she’s not the nice girl Hachiman makes her out to be. All this time Hachiman has been trying to ignore Yui’s feelings with a “she’s just nice to everyone, that’s why she’s nice to me as well” state of mind. This is Yui saying that the reason why she’s been around these two is not simply because she’s a nice girl, but instead because there was something that she’s been after since the beginning of the series.
Moving on to episodes post S2E8:
>A lot of Yukino stuff happens, skip.
>Volume 11/S2E12+13 happen. This is Yui’s final character arc in the main series, the part where her goals change for the last time and align themselves with the role she fulfils in the story: being the glue that holds Hachiman and Yukino together and brings them together.
>Throughout the episodes (starting from the infirmary scene), Yui slowly starts realizing that Yukino also has feelings for Hachiman and vice versa. She eventually comes to the realization that the two of them are probably a much better fit than YuiXHachiman.
>Yukino’s problems somewhat come to the surface with Yukimom and Haruno constantly applying pressure on her.
>Yui knows that time is of the essence, so she uses the promised date to go out with them one last time.
>Yui wants it all, Hachiman as a boyfriend and Yukino as her best friend, she would be fine with a lie as long as it meant that the three of them stayed together, but she knows that this scenario is not going to happen and that neither Hachiman nor Yukino want that.
>Yui’s diary. Yui is afraid to take the step, she would be fine with a lie as long as the trio stays together.
There’s something I want. It’s something that probably means a lot to me. There are other things I find important, but lumped together, you could say they were necessary. The thing I want isn’t tangible, so I really don’t know if that’s the right idea or not. I do have an idea of its shape, but I’m not that good at thinking nor am I diligent, so I’m not confident I’m on the right track. Maybe if I was smarter or purer, I could come up with an answer that would convince myself and those around me. If only I could properly explain and convey what I wanted. If only I could engross myself in it to the point that nothing else mattered to me. In the end, I’m not the smartest person around, and I’m unfair, so I could come up with only one answer. It’s just one, yet my idea of something genuine somehow doesn’t feel realistic. That’s why, it doesn’t matter if I understand it, if I don’t understand it, if I’m dumb, if I’m unfair and cruel, I keep thinking of one idea after the other about what that genuine thing truly is. But it feels like no matter which one I choose, I’d be completely wrong. The thought that I could possibly end up with the wrong answer and be unable to take it back makes me incredibly scared.(!) I don’t want to be wrong. I don’t want to lose it. It doesn’t have to be right because I want to take those hands.(!) But I’m sure that’s not the answer that they want.(!) What I want and what they want are so similar, yet why are they so different?(!) But if that’s the only answer I can come up with, then I want to make sure I understand it no matter how hard it is. If it’s for that, I think I can hang in there. But I get scared that the more I try, the more it’ll get farther away from me.(!) The truth is, I’d be fine with a lie.(!)
>Yui essentially pulls a Hachiman, sacrificing her own ship, to force a reaction out of Hachiman and Yukino. At first she directs her attention towards Hachiman (she gives her cookies to him) but she gets no reaction.
Then she points her attention towards Yukino, promising her to solve her family problems but also the problems the Service Club currently has (which is a bluff, Yui has no actual plan to help Yukino out, she is merely trying to get these two to react), however if this happens Yui will take “everything” (Yui is intentionally being vague here, but it is implied that Yukino would need to give up on her feelings for Hachiman so that their group can stay together).
>Yukino being pressured by her family over the last couple of days and not wanting to lose the only two friends she has in her life,
struggles internally about giving up her feelings for Hachiman, until she finally gives in. Yukino always caves in when it comes to emotional matters especially when it involves something her best friend Yui wants, believing that this would be the best/easiest outcome that would not only fix everything (her family issues, keep her friends in her life) but also make everyone else happy (except for herself of course).
>Yui is essentially making Yukino choose between her feelings for Hachiman or them staying together as a group.
>Hachiman, seeing Yukino struggling, intervenes and says that it doesn’t matter to him how much they have to think, writhe or struggle, the only thing that matters to him is finding something genuine.
>If you think back to what happened at the beginning of season 2, it was Hachiman sacrificing himself to preserve Hayato’s superficial group from falling apart. Hayato’s group was afraid of dealing with something real (Tobe confessing, getting rejected and their group falling apart) because they wanted to preserve the status quo.
>By rejecting Yui’s idea, Hachiman is pretty much saying that he doesn’t care about the consequences or if their group falls apart, he wants the genuine article he’s been looking for this entire time.
>This fills Yukino with the needed courage to come back to her senses.
>At the exact moment in time where Hachiman intervenes for Yukino’s sake, it becomes very clear to Yui which of the two of them means more to Hachiman.
>However, Hachiman doesn’t want Yui to bow out either, that would be deceit. It’s time for all of their feelings to be revealed and Hachiman to choose who he is in love with while rejecting the other.
So, basically, Yui herself would be fine with a lie; Hachiman becoming her boyfriend and Yukino staying her best friend as long as they can stay together, but because she knows neither of them want this, she pulls this stunt to get a reaction out of them, to see which of the two girls means more to Hachiman.
That’s the meaning behind Yui’s: “Why is it that what I want and what’s expected of me are so similar, yet so different?” and “What I want and what they want are so similar, yet why are they so different?”
And thus concludes Volume 11, Yui’s character arc and overall role she plays in the main story. Once again, it seems like my text is incredibly against Yui, but I’m merely trying to point out in what ways or what moments in the series Yui could be seen as not-genuine/disingenuous, while also pointing out a couple of things you may have missed out on. I mean, this is how Watari chose to write her character.
I’d say her willingness to put HachiYuki’s happiness over her own in volume 11 is easily her coolest moment in the entire series. It’s the one time she puts aside the thing she has been chasing for the entirety of the series and shows an incredible act of selflessness. Except unlike how Yukino swallows her feelings for her friend in ANOTHER and the trio stays together, Yui doesn’t choose to stay with Hachiman and Yukino in the main series.
In that sense, Yukino is Yui’s real friend, whereas Yui is Yukino’s friend as long as she gets what she wants: Hachiman as her boyfriend.
So, to summarize:
Yui joined the Service Club primarily for Hachiman. Yui acted overly nice towards Yukino to make sure she could have a place in the Service Club. When Hachiman figured out Yui was involved with the car accident, he tried distancing himself from her. When Yui saw Hachiman and Yukino on their “date”, she wanted to leave the Service Club under the assumption that Hachiman and Yukino were a couple. Later on, Hachiman and Yukino explain the situation to her. From this moment onwards, Yui is fully convinced that there will be nothing between Hachiman and Yukino and she is able to grow closer to both of them. When it comes to Hachiman, she usually waits until she’s alone with him, which is why Yukino didn’t figure out that Yui has feelings for Hachiman until way late into the game (or maybe she still doesn’t know, but she probably does). Yui figures out Hachiman and Yukino have feelings for each other during the infirmary scene. From there on out, Yui feels that what she has been doing is unfair for the reasons I’ve mentioned above. Yui uses the promised date to sort out their feelings.
Also, I kind of feel like I need to point out that Yui isn’t some kind of “evil mastermind” or anything. At worst she’s a girl that fell in love with a boy. However, that doesn’t change that this is who Yui is as a character and these are the actions she has taken. While a lot of what I say may come across as negative, I hope that this does shed some light on a couple of things and perhaps adds a couple of layers to her character.