Well here we are boys and girls. The best part of the week. Working on these writeups is honestly kinda regularly stressful, but OreGairu definitely makes me appreciate the way 23 minutes can stretch to an hour. There are many shows that I love, but OreGairu is pretty close to the one I would actually want to make.
Okay, I’d actually emphasize the romance more, and there’d probably be an FLCL-esque fantastical metaphor for some of the underlying personal themes, and I’d let more scenes rise to cathartic release and not cut them off with harsh, realistic anticlimax. But still!
Many weeks ago, someone mentioned how the festival we’re now in the thick of would probably mark the halfway point of the light novels. Narrative-wise, that feels about right – Hikki still has a long way to go, and the character turn Yuki’s about to hit isn’t going to “fix” everything, or possibly anything. But it will certainly change things.
Both their viewpoints have always been naïve and hypocritical, but they’ve always managed to distance the contradictory elements of their philosophies and personalities from each other. Right now, Yuki’s caught deep in the lie of her need to be better than her sister – she can’t accept that she’s just a very different person with very different strengths. If things had gone normally, she’d probably be willing to rely on Hikki to help her at this point – he’s the one person who understands her well enough for her to act shields-down around. But right now, he’s also the person most representative of her hypocrisy. And so, with no escape route that doesn’t require giving up her pride, she’s fled from the situation.
Hikki’s viewpoint is less complicated – he’s convinced he knows the rules and hates the game, so he refuses to play and tells himself it’s better that way. Last week proved he’s not so callous as all that – he deliberately made a fool of himself for the sake of Yuki’s pride. He tells himself he can’t forgive her, but I think he already has, and the only reason this charade is going on is because he’s too attached to his fraying viewpoint as well.
Honestly, it’s freaking poetry watching this house of cards crumble down. They could certainly take an easy route out here – since Yuki accepted Hikki’s rescue with relative grace, they could conceivably have Hikki continue to resolve this situation – but that’s pretty much the last thing I want to see. Yuki needs this more than Hikki does. Bring on the blood.
1:19 – Jeez Hikki, calling Yui? You are terrible at not caring about this situation
5:41 – Aw man, they’re being such good friends here. No defensiveness at all – “I won’t tell you some idealistic nonsense, but this can’t be the right way to handle this.” “What is the right way, then?” “I don’t know”
6:10 – Yesssss. “Not ‘someone,’ or ‘everyone,’ rely on us.” Yui ain’t playing games with their philosophical bullshit – this is about whether they can trust each other
6:11 – And of course Yuki can’t possibly respond to that
7:16 – Hikki’s signature move – leaving the room when the other two express an honest moment, uncomfortable and assuming he’s not meant to be a part of it, the way it’s always been
7:38 – “They say if you change yourself you can change the world, but that’s a complete lie.” God, he’s such a fuckin’ prick. He’s being offered the open door here, but he’s still determined to stick to his pride. That’s understandable, of course – he articulated his fear of getting betrayed during the Yui fight. Still sucks to see it, though
9:20 – “If you look at it closely, one side is just relaxing.” Goddamn, Hikki. I doubt Yuki wants this – this is all yourrage here
10:40 – Nope, she’s cool with it! I don’t think initial Yuki would have taken kindly to being supported this way – she may not be willing to rely on them, but she certainly won’t reject their support
11:09 – And it really did help – Hikki’s attack put Sagami incredibly off-balance, allowing Yuki to regain control of the meeting and the committee. Damn, Hikki!
11:34 – “You make excuses for the dumbest things, but you won’t do it when you actually need to, will you?” Looks like he’s more of your ideal person, then you thought, eh Yuki? NOW KISS
12:29 – Oh my god they’re adorable. Okay, so Yuki wasn’t actually forced to clear up the initial problem, and Hikki did in fact make a tremendous peace offering. So the conflict didn’t force the Yuki breakthrough I was hoping for, but either way they’re back to bantering again
15:53 – Man, how is Sagami gonna fuck everything up? They’ve spent an entire episode having her make vindictive pouty faces
16:52 – “Vice-Chairman… we can all hear you flirting with Hikki.”
17:42 – This might be the first time I’ve actually laughed at Trap, purely because Hayama hamming it up is just amazing. Hayama is so great
19:16 – They share a look yet again. This is actually worrying – this episode is pressing Hikki and Yuki’s relationship so positively and aggressively that it’s pretty much guaranteed something is going to go horribly wrong
19:41 – “So I haven’t heard anything about what you want to know.” Seriously. She’s not an idiot, Hikki
D’awww. All three of these characters are so adorable when they’re actually getting along. The resolution to Yuki getting cornered ended up requiring fewer concessions than I’d expected, but of course, this show is always more about subtle changes in perspective than groundbreaking paradigm shifts. And this episode certainly changed some perspectives – Yuki in particular was much more honest than before, and her confidence is beginning to come across as less brittle and more natural. There’s no edge in her humor any more – she and Hikki are perfectly comfortable with each other (so comfortable they were making everyone else uncomfortable, which was a nice gag), and Hikki’s “inability to forgive her” certainly has a strange way of expressing itself, what with his casting himself as the villain specifically to rescue her. Granted, that’s something that’s always come naturally to him, but as opposed to his work with the club, this time there was no possible pretense involved – he was just working hard to help a close friend.
And yeah, “close friend.” This episode had Yuki regularly smiling, openly admitting her friendship with Hikki through that “see you tomorrow,” and pretty much overtly flirting with him. Meanwhile, Hikki makes an incredibly obvious pass at seeing how she feels about him, and gets encouraged to admit his feelings for himself. With two episodes to go, a traditional ending would dictate a final act of desperation from Sagami that throws everything in jeopardy, a temporary break in Yuki and Hikki’s current trust, and an ultimate reconciliation that wraps up all the loose ends. But this isn’t a traditional show, and it’s an adaptation of an ongoing series anyway. I’d personally be perfectly happy with Live Alive Redux followed by a full episode of smooches, but something tells me it’s not gonna be quite that simple.
Welp, time to not watch more OreGairu for seven days…