Recap: After swimsuit shenanigans, Hachiman comes up with a plan to help Rumi… by showing her the harshness of reality?
I’m having a hard time figuring out how much we’re supposed to be rooting for Yui. The usual rule for romcoms is that if they aren’t a childhood friend, the first girl is usually the main heroine. Despite that, Yui has far and away been the main focus of any typical romance tropes. She is the one that gets misunderstandings, she is the one getting awkward compliments from the MC. I even like her more than Yukino by a mile. Now, in this episode, she’s once again at the forefront of the fanservice and I can’t help but wonder if we’re supposed to buy into how much she likes Hachiman or if this is all some kind of huge feint to throw us off the trail. I’ve even heard the kinda funny idea that the show could subvert the genre entirely and have him end up with the pretty boy. It’s even joked at in this episode, but that’s probably all it is.
Back to the story, that was definitely not the route I saw Hachiman taking. From what we’ve seen so far, he actually has had a general desire to help people, even if it is in a strange way. This time, it seems his cynicism might have finally gone too far. Sure, children will need to know the cruel nature of this world, but breaking up a whole group of friends to do it seems a bit harsh. I think I’ve also seen all I’ve needed of Hachiman’s pitiable childhood. Even the parts that don’t remind me of my own grade school experiences are just continually depressing. I suppose it all helps to reaffirm your faith in humanity at the end, when Rumi helps out her friends, even after what they did to her. Hachiman is right, such an easily shaken friendship is sure not to last, but at least they all have been given a good lesson on how far they are from real friendship.
By the end of this episode, it definitely seemed like what Ms. Shizuka wanted was accomplished: Hachiman and his band of misfits cooperated with the popular kids, and actually got something done. I’m really glad it didn’t end up with some kind of mutual appreciation, too. Hachiman’s tactics are ugly, and you can tell Hayama pities him more than anything for the way he views life. Would things have changed if Hayama was in Hachiman’s school? Probably not. Even for the everyman kids, there are some people that can sink their reputation. Hachiman would have still been a loner. It’s also the wrong way to think about it. Instead of dwelling on the past, what’s more important is to build Hachiman’s trust in his friends so that hopefully he’ll never have such brilliantly cynical ideas again.