OreGairu – Episode 3

This show is stressing me out.

With Crime Edge, I know it’ll be terrible, and that’s what I’m there for. With Aku no Hana, I’m fairly sure it’ll be great, but I’m not emotionally invested, so it doesn’t really matter to me if it spins off the wheels. With Gargantia, I trust Urobuchi enough to know he’s not gonna fuck up.

With OreGairu?

love this show. I have love love loved those first two episodes. But I have no way of knowing if it’s going to fall apart. And as the hour approaches, I find myself praying, “Please be good. Please, please, please be good. I want you to be good so badly.” Because goddamn do we ever need more shows like this. So one last time, OreGairu, please – continue to be this smart, continue to be written this well, and continue to explore both the vicious truth of young insecurity and the heartwarming passion and humanity that lies beneath it.

Please. Give me this one, at least.

Episode 3

0:43 – I always feel weird praising this show for its incredibly believable inner monologue, because really, the reason I find it so believable is that it almost perfectly represents a Younger Me. Applauding yourself for the combination of variables you’ve combined to excuse yourself from effort while still appearing eager to participate? Yeah. I’ve been there.

1:35 – Once again, mere minutes into the episode, I ask myself, “Why was I worried?” “Walls are a part of youth.” Profound wisdom from Best MC

3:30 – A nice little humanizing moment for Hiki here, enjoying a moment to himself where he doesn’t have to be on the defensive. Of course, all his actions humanize him – his motives and insecurities are transparent in all of his actions (kind of like “wall of Jericho” Asuka in that way – another one of my favorite written characters). But it’s nice to see him get to relax

4:15 – Wow, she’s got her Yuki impression down

4:20 – I like how Yuki’s easily-provoked competitive streak fits in so well with her superiority complex. It’s nice when personality quirks and deeper insecurities mirror each other like that

5:33 – Car accident. Our second clue, to accompany that flashback when Hiki saw the dog last episode

6:07 – “You’re making me blush, EHEHEHE.” I love how when Hiki’s engaged in conversation in a positive way, he reverts to that, “More like hot AND humid, AMIRITE?” artificial positivity

8:46 – Yuki’s anger seems far more deeply felt than Hiki’s. I can’t wait to see more honesty out of her

9:35 – I think it was xRichard in the last thread who mentioned a fear this show would become too “problem of the week” to maintain its initial strength? I think that concern’s valid, but I also think that, even more so than last episode, this episode has been expanding our understanding of the main trio while also containing a side story. I don’t have a problem yet, but this could certainly happen

10:50 – I really like that they didn’t feel the need to reintroduce our Chuuni friend – he just happened to be around, so he hung out with them for a while, and it wasn’t a big thing

12:00 – Hiki’s fighting back! I suppose he feels more confident with a few people already on his side

15:10 – “Worst case scenario: I’ll have to get serious.” Yeah, you don’t have any Chuuni instincts whatsoever, Hiki

15:42 – “I guess self-deprecation creeps people out if you don’t know them well enough.” Yep! That one took me a little while too

16:46 – “Though a certain someone calls me ‘The Ice Queen’… not like I care or anything.” Ah, youth

18:10 – “RAZE THEM TO THE GROUND!” I think I’m gonna like having this guy around

19:22 – “Lunch break will be over soon… usually I’d be in my favorite spot.” That same ocean breeze rustles his hair, and he smiles. See, this episode wasn’t about the side arc at all – it used that to create a concise little narrative arc about Hiki, and further develop the relationships between the main characters.

This is also just a well-crafted trick – the callback makes sense, along with the wind he unreservedly appreciates revealing his ultimately more optimistic nature.

And Done

Welp, it’s still doing it. At this point, the initial shock of a high school romantic comedy that treats smart, negative people as human beings has somewhat worn off, and I’m just enjoying how well these characters are written, how nicely they bounce off each other, and Hiki’s all-star narration. I like the various tones his narration took this episode – there was his default “I know high school sucks, but whatever” shield tone, there was his unshielded mini-ode to his favorite spot, there was the heightened, chuuni-recalling “high school sucks, and I’m a hero for surviving it” when he actually got passionate about the game and let his guard down, and there were his bitter, unguarded remarks towards the perfectly reasonable guy he was using as a stand-in for all the people who never thought to include him. This show knows this guy, and cares about him, but it never romanticizes him. And it’s smart enough to make sure that all comes through.

Maybe next week I won’t be so terrified it’ll all fall apart.