Oregairu S2 – Episode 4

Yeah, Oregairu is brilliant. I’ve already written a couple thousand words about it today, so I don’t really have much left for this blurb besides: damn. This sequel is doing everything I could have hoped for, focusing on the show’s strengths, highlighting its strongest characters, and generally executing at a higher level than the original. We are very lucky to have it.

My full ANN post is here. Notes below!


Hayama asks Hikki to go out with him and his friends on Saturday. Hikki refuses, and Hayama slowly gets more insistent. I like how he starts with “didn’t you hear? We’re hanging out on Saturday,” moves to “oh, you should come along,” and finally resorts to “please come, as a favor to me.” He’s used to using the usual social tools, and also kinda used to getting his way

Uh oh, Haruno (Yukino’s sister) is calling him

“Are you fighting with your sister?” “Not much of one, compared to you and yours.” haha, Hikki

“Hayato never bows his head to ask for favors. He’s got more pride than you’d think.” Yep

And she baits him to go, wondering out loud why Hayato would go that far. She’s definitely a meddler, like in the festival arc

“I was just pushing my own desires onto her. It was a mistake. I couldn’t call it the real thing.” Hikki can look backwards and see his mistakes, but he can’t see he’s doing something similar with Yukino, as she is with him

“You’re like some kind of logic monster, you know that?” “What’s that supposed to mean? It’s nothing like that.” “Okay, then you’re a self-consciousness monster.” Yeeep

“I only came because Yukinoshita’s sister scares me.” hahaha

So Hikki’s dragged along with Hayama as he goes to see Hikki’s old crush and her friend. Walking a few steps behind them, yawning

This shot focusing on the distance between them in the movie seats. Ouch

Orimoto Kaori, that’s her name

“Now, I finally feel like I managed to end something that never started.” A good, true line. We build up relationships in our head over ultimately meaningless moments

Wow, she’s just calling him creepy to his face. Jeez. It’s nasty stuff, but it certainly happens – some people are just casually cruel to someone in their circles

He can’t banter back. He just sort of smiles and takes it. He couldn’t be less comfortable – scenes like this demonstrate how he really needs someone like Yukino to be comfortable, to be able to be his preferred self

Ebina and Yumiko (popular girl) are there at a store, and almost run into Hayama’s date

And then they run into Tobe and the girl who doesn’t want to be president (Iroha). Welp

Iroha is pretty scary too

Hayama commenting on Iroha generally wanting to be liked, but allowing herself to be her real self around Hikki. Hikki of course interprets this as “she doesn’t want me to like her,” but she wouldn’t drop her facade in order to push someone away

“We’ve probably never truly liked anyone – you and me both.” Hayama really reaching out to Hikki here. They act out their combined sensitivity and ego in such different ways

When pressed for an initial on who he likes, Hayama gives “Y”. So that successfully cuts it down to the only two relevant girls in the first place. I get the feeling Hayama’s aware enough to not be fooled by Yukino, though. Or maybe he admires her directness the same way? Maybe neither of these boys are mature enough to appreciate Yui’s actually legitimate actions

And the girls still keeping conversation going almost purely by ragging on Hikki

“I don’t like it when people do that.” AW SHIT HAYAMA’S GONNA DO IT

They keep trying to get the conversation back to the easy pace, but Hayama just refuses to play along. He’s doing what a more confident Hikki might do

And Yui and Yukino arrive! Hayama has set a trap!

“Hikigaya isn’t the loser you two think he is. He’s friends with girls who are much cooler than you.” This is incredible to see and so immature at the same time. It’s great. It’s perfect

“Could you stop making selfish comments after making only surface judgments?” HAYAMAAAA

And they don’t respond, and say they’re going home. What else can they do? Hayama’s been intentionally baiting them the entire day, and now is burning the bridge of conversation they were relying on while condemning them for using it. It’s really something

They planned to put Hayama in the running. A clear choice

“So you’re not going to be student council president, Yukino? I was sure that’s what you’d do.” Master meddler Haruno arrives, articulating last week’s baited decision

“The way you push things onto others like that is just like Mom. But maybe that’s fine for you. You don’t need to do anything, do you? Someone else will always do it for you.” Jeez, Haruno

“Why did you do that to Yukinoshita?” Hikki’s most important line this week, and the first time he’s stood up for anyone

“You’re so interesting. You always try to read what’s behind every word and action. It’s so cute, like you’re afraid everyone has evil intentions.” Haruno just can’t help herself

Hikki pressing Hayama on what he did to Orimoto. “I’m in a crappy mood right now. I never want to do that again.” It’s not natural for him to play the Hachiman

“You need to realize how much you’re worth. And so do the people around you.” Hayama feeling terribly guilty because his prompting made Hikki ruin his own friendships to save his. He doesn’t want Hikki to do that, and he certainly doesn’t want the responsibility of being the cause of it

“I wish I could have done it better. But this was all I could do.” Hayama’s plan was not a good one, but it required him moving far outside his comfort zone, so that’s not surprising

“Why don’t you stop making yourself a sacrifice?”

Hikki doesn’t like being treated like a sad self-destructive puppy, and lashes out, defending his behavior as reasonable. He’s probably also on edge because of Haruno’s critique

“Isn’t the reason you help people because you want someone to help you?”

“No. Don’t force your disgusting idea of sympathy onto me.” Everyone’s forcing ideas onto others, Hikki

“I don’t need your pity.”

“I won’t let you call it self-sacrifice. Why the hell would I sacrifice myself for any of you?” Struggling against himself. Hayama sees his hypocrisy and sympathizes with it, and he hates that

“Even if I didn’t say it out loud, I had my conviction. The one conviction I shared with someone else, and now I’ve lost it.”

That line, followed by Hikki alone by the bikes as a bright train rushes past in the distance

And now Yukino’s entering the running. Her sister really knows how to get to her. But she can never back down on her convictions

Sensei pushing Hikki to help save her from herself

“Objectively speaking, my doing this was the best choice.” Aw Yukino

“And I don’t mind doing it.” Speaking more personally, to her friends

“That may be, but not trying at all is also an option.” Ahaha Hikki

“Thinking that everyone concerns themselves with you enough to hate you is overly self-conscious.” Yukinooo

“I see. That’s what you’re going to do, Yukinon.” Aw dang, is Yui gonna fight back?

Yep, she’s gonna run too

“You can’t make a selfish decision like-” “It’s not selfish. It’s everyone else who’s selfish!” Yui’s right. Though every character this week might as well have articulated this line

“Just like with the cultural festival. You know Yukinon only focuses on one thing at a time.” Yep. Yui knows Yukino better than she knows herself

Aw, this great moment when Yui admits how much she cares about the club. She can’t do a real confession, but she can do this. Great framing and animation

“I mean, it’s me we’re talking about. People don’t expect much of me.” A counter to Hayama’s earlier lines about Hachiman valuing himself. Yui is hurting too, but doesn’t make a martyr of herself the way Hikki does

Hikki’s stunned by her. Great music here

12 thoughts on “Oregairu S2 – Episode 4

  1. Ebina and Yumiko (popular girl) are there at a store, and almost run into Hayama’s date

    When pressed for an initial on who he likes, Hayama gives “Y”. So that successfully cuts it down to the only two relevant girls in the first place.

    And if you go by surnames, as the Japanese are wont to do, there’d also be those who bring up Yukinoshita Haruno 😉

    And the girls still keeping conversation going almost purely by ragging on Hikki.

    The functionalist purpose of outcasts in teen settings, or twitter – you have something to talk about when you have nothing to talk about. Those “dates” or “confessions” in anime are often like that, even more than in real life, with the two sides not at all knowing one another. So, pick on Hikki as an ice-breaker.

    Of course, it probably didn’t hurt that Hayama didn’t stop them. I think this is one of the things he felt extra bad about, the deeply convoluted process where he invited them so they could rag on Hikki, and where he had to keep it going and not intervene until the time was ready, when Yukino and Yui appeared.

    “Could you stop making selfish comments after making only surface judgments?”

    It just hit me. He’s talking about Hachiman as well here.

    Hikki doesn’t like being treated like a sad self-destructive puppy, and lashes out, defending his behavior as reasonable. He’s probably also on edge because of Haruno’s critique

    It’s so much more. It’s the “I am a gamer!” speech from Log Horizon S2 episode 10, it’s being told his entire self-constructed personality is a lie, and to admit it outright, he’ll be left with nothing. So he must clutch at those shards of glass.

    Sensei pushing Hikki to help save her from herself

    Sensei pushing Mr. Hikki to help save him from Dr. Hachiman, too.

    • I’ve seen some people suggest that Hayama had a crush on Haruno, and Yukino had a crush on Hayama. A comment by haruno at the fireworks festival with Hikki and Yui suggests that Yukino was at some point on the losing side of a love triangle, and iirc Yukino also mentioned Haruno “taking someone away from her.”

  2. Aargh…good Lord, do I find the overpraising of Oregairu maddening!! Yes, I’ll concede that it’s better written than the average anime – certainly better than the average harem, which it most resembles – but that doesn’t make it any less of a godawful pile of overwritten wish fulfillment.

    Hachiman is the stand-in for kids who were smart, not too social or popular, a bit nerdy, and who deeply hated high school. Viewers seemingly identify with his outsider status, his heart-of-gold, and the fact that some really good-looking chicks deeply dig him. But poor guy, he just doesn’t realize it!

    Yes, teenagers can be unremittingly mean, like many of the people portrayed in Oregairu. And yes, teens can be given to elaborate persecution complexes, as Hachiman has.

    But they don’t talk ANYTHING like the characters do in Oregairu, and they sure as hell don’t ACT anything like the characters in Oregairu, with these incredibly complex action plans and making bonkers gestures like confessing to someone they don’t really like to spare someone else the pain of rejection. Or, for that matter, setting up and participating in double dates so that mean, petty girls can be dressed down and put in their place.

    Teens may DREAM about doing such things, but real life doesn’t function this way. Oregairu has set up some sort of overwrought revenge of the nerds fantasy that is every bit as targeted to its audience as the latest moe pander-fest or vampire shonen series. only without much humor (in this latest season) and with so much “self-awareness” that it comes back around to meet itself again as being almost painfully clueless as to how ridiculous it comes off.

    At least garbage like OreImo isn’t so oppressively pretentious…

    • You make an excellent point. For a show with a FAR more realistic portrayal of teenage speech and behavior and which at no point falls into incorrigible harem tendencies, I’d strongly recommend the Monogatari Series.

    • You assume that because something isn’t realistic or uses wish-fulfillment, it’s automatically bad. Yeah, sure, real teenagers may not be as calculating or as planning as the characters in Oregairu, and yes, cute girls fall for the main character, but who cares about any of that if the show as a whole is interesting? There’s actually complexity to the characters and their interactions, as opposed to most haremy shows, where the main character is a personality-less Gary Stu and the haremmettes are all one-dimensional stereotypes. I’m not going to argue that Oregairu is perfect, but it still has good qualities.

    • “Teens may DREAM about doing such things, but real life doesn’t function this way”

      This argument completely misses the mark. Breaking Bad is LITERALLY wish fulfillment for the emasculated American male in an era where traditional gender roles are continually under attack, especially in the first two seasons. Someone as meek as Walter White simply does not start cooking meth because he can’t swallow his pride and accept money from ex-friends. And the sort of shit he gets away with in the Season 1 finale is far less likely to occur than anything that happened in this episode of 8man. In real life, he’d most likely have gotten punked at some point in his life and killed in an anticlimactic manner. And you know what? That doesn’t make the show any less brilliant.

      Oregairu isn’t some flawless show, and no it won’t be hailed as one of the pillars of modern television like Breaking Bad is/ will be. But that doesn’t mean it’s not excellent at what it sets out to do. I don’t think at any point the show pretends not to be contrived; at least the happenstance of Yukino being involved in the incident with 8man/ Yui (and her dog) is purposefully designed to generate conflict. That’s what stories do. And hey, you can criticize it for not being so graceful. But its strengths are in the way it delicately handles its characters, the relationships, and its overarching themes, layering the dialogue with a level of complexity that is generally absent from similar shows.

      In fact, if you think Hikki being a “stand in” for the antisocial kids is evidence of its pandering, you might want to reconsider why the show has continuously rebuked his ideology, particularly in this season, even if it has been sympathetic towards the character (but not the attitude).

    • You lose some credibility with an argument the moment you begin with applying ad hominem to its viewership.

      With your critique, I don’t know what teen life you have led, but with the notable exception of Hachiman and Yukino, OreGairu captures the speech patterns and slurs quite well. Have you heard of a confirmation bias? You haven’t, obviously. Otherwise you wouldn’t have made such a redundant argument. For example, I can personally (not first hand always, or even second hand, but nevertheless) vouch for many of the solutions in OreGairu as possible. The Hannibal Lecture (there’s even a trope named after it for god’s sake) to Sagami I have seen many times, calling out on the committee bullshit happens very often in those kinds of meetings for me. Double dates where a person is casually odded out to be the butt of all jokes and finally having someone stand up for that person I have witnessed first hand (not much of a double date as a group outing, but it counts)

      Faking confessions for protecting a peer group sounds ridiculous when you put it in perspective (anything does), but then, this roots from the rather shoddy premise established in the very first episode. 2 beautiful girls and a loner guy in a club to help people.People who would have wanted to quit the show on that sole basis shouldn’t have stuck on till this point to criticize the show for that. Of course, I see how you can’t possibly comprehend how anything like this can possibly be good with your refined taste. This might sound surprising, but some people find the show to have standout qualities that lends it prospect independent of it’s origins. Not counting the fact that you are essentially asking for perfect realism in fiction (it’s oxymoronic), which is laughable in itself, you should note that even universally acclaimed works of literature are often based is shoddy premises, unrealistic dialogue and possibly ridiculous situations. If the show conveys something that is greater than the some of the parts, if it allows its audience to glean insights by putting events and situations that could only be entirely disjoint in real life, providing perspective and aesthetic or thematic substance, then how much the events are grounded in pedantic realism doesn’t matter, shouldn’t matter, because otherwise, these events would be trivialized and our engagement with the show minimalized. To cite an example, Crime and Punishment is one of Dostoevsky’s most acclaimed books, possibly his most read after Brother’s Karamazov, and it is acclaimed for its stunningly realistic portrayal of 19th century St.Petersburg along with the complexity of Raskolnikov’s character. Yet, if we look at it piece by piece, the sheer amount of logic screwed within the story, the feeling of falsification that permeates almost every dialogue – done for aesthetic purposes and for exploring the labyrinths of Raskolnikov’s conflicted mind trumps any other ‘wishfulfilment bullshit romcom’. It is nevertheless considered one of the milestones of modern day literature, because what the book lacks is in actuality sacrificed for enhancing and accentuating the finer points of its narrative. The case in OreGairu is similar, a lot of it is unrealistic, Hachiman’s character is a whole bunch of social inefficiencies bundled into one character, he finds himself in a multitude situations persons like him cannot hope for in real life. But that in itself allows the show to be more wholesome, consolidating a variety of social experiences, nuances of relationships and archetypes – some unique, some commonplace – but all rendered with depth and ingenuity. Real life is profound in here, but superficial there. For Oregairu, it is the unrealism of its setting that allows it to deeply ponder, analyse, criticize, empathise and explore both the ostracized and the glorified with such impartial acuity.

      I’m curious, you throw around the word wish fulfilment with such casual acrimony, I’m actually forced to entertain the notion that you consider that to be a bad thing. I’m not the kind of person to say that something is universal and definitive, yet if there is something I consider as such, it is the aspect of wish fulfilment to entertainment. It doesn’t matter what you are watching or enjoying, what insight or reflections you glean from the fiction, everything is wish fulfilment. If you are reading Shakespeare or Tolstoy or Kafka or Dostoevsky, so called art, and professing (either to an audience or to self) the insights, symbolisms, truths of life or even the entertainment you derived from them, that also means you are indulging yourself in teh self satisfaction from intelligent engagement in media. On the same page, if you are watching moe vampire fiction or Mahouka, that too means you are essentially giving into pandering. Wishfulfilment is an intrinsic part of every form of fiction. Condemning a show on that ground, especially when it takes such pains to not cater to a particular audience (I don’t think you watch Oregairu closely enough, the show doesn’t at any point endorse Hachiman or his worldview in any way)
      It’s ironic, you coin phrases like ‘oppressively pretentious’ to Oregairu, but going by that line of reason, a huge chunk of the greatest literary pieces are ones that pay no heed to logic, be it Shakespearean tragedies like King Lear or Macbeth, or stories rooted in portrayal of identifiable social dilemmas such as the aforementioned Crime and Punishment or in immediate anime terms, shows like Welcome to NHK!, are too ‘oppressively pretentious’, but their critical acclaim makes your adjective redundant, if it weren’t, in the first place. Point is, these works are primarily focused on conveying the thematic intents than an absolutely true to life, but otherwise hollow entertainment.

      Now here’re some ramblings. They’re essentially ad hominem, so don’t count this as part of my argument. It’s just a note to self.

      Imo, your type of circle jerking in counter elitism is the worst form of trying to build self esteem on the internet. I’ve seen only too much of your kind; pick a somewhat critically acclaimed but otherwise average work, call out on its audience as products of escapism and act all glib while at it, as if you are some superior breed with special insight. It’s distasteful. Please try to avoid rancid discourses like these until you have valid criticism at the show instead of insulting and slandering its viewers. Those who read this are only going to wince at your narcissism.

    • it’s tagged as shounen and harem so idk what op expected? i watched oregairu because i heard it was good but i never expected it not to be a teenage boy’s wet dream fantasyland. so it surprised me that it wasn’t. yukino is actually well-written and has agency and intellect and at no point does the relationship between hikki and his sister devolve into some gross pseudo-pedophilia. comparing that with every other shounen harem anime out there, it’s already 2 points in oregairu’s favor.

      and i don’t see the unrealistic speech or the convoluted plans as real flaws? have you ever watched an anime that is 100% realistic (hint: you haven’t bc it would be boring af).

      i’m not saying that oregairu is perfect. there are definitely a lot of fanservice-y moments (sucks that that’s the world we live in), but what i like about oregairu is that hikki draws you in by being completely relateable in how disillusioned he is with high school and society at large and then it tells you hey! grow the fuck up. and it doesn’t do this by having hikki conquer loads of girls or become the envy of every other male in the school. it just punishes hikki over and over again. you see the consequences of his actions. you realize that what’s holding him back isn’t other people or random situations he can’t control, but his own mistakes and his own immaturity.

  3. Hayama’s plan was the worst thing he could do to help Hikki.
    If he wanted to wrong him, he wouldn’t have done much different.

    But that’s why this scene was so great.
    Hayama is a descent person, with great social ability, but he’s still a teenager after all. He’s far from perfect, but taht just makes himall the more human.

    • Yeah, both in its overt cruelty and in its ultimately just making Hikki even more set in his beliefs, Hayama’s plan couldn’t have been worse. And yet he was trying! All these sad sequences just make me like these characters more.

  4. It is a brilliant show. And it has gotten better with the second season. This partly stems from the Light Novels becoming focused as they have gone on, but just as significant is what the studio have achieved with their animation.

    Tox mentions Breaking Bad and how the anime cannot be an equivalent but really Oregairu, in the way its presentation has evolved, has actually struck me as the anime equivalent of such tv. The tropes were there when the anime started, the panty shots, rare but there. The hint of a harem, even more prominent in the novels than in the show, all there. Just as the over the top drugs and the money and the drama and the sex are all there in such shows. Oregairu though, if it must be compared to great tv drama and increasingly it must, is more mad men than breaking bad. And i say that precisely because of the way the studio has started using stills, camera angles, deft shifting of frames, pointed pauses, character micro expression; essentially all these camera techniques to weave a subtext into the show. Its the added layer of nuance that a script like Oregairu deserved.

    Throughout the first season had always imagined that the novels were superior because of all that was being left out. After all there are moments in the light novel that border the poetic. There was this lack of potent indicators of mood and atmosphere that made the anime appear poorer in terms of overall sensibility. Was just resigned to the fact that all that subtlety was inevitably going to be lost in translation. Well not fucking anymore. There is still some part of the written word that kindles the imagination in ways that maybe the screen cannot. Probably why so many screen adaptations never live up to the book. But the anime has improved massively by utilizing that extra visual awareness. For me its jumped right up there as one of the memorable exceptions that can stand unabashed alongside its parent book.

    And damn it the nuances, the monologues, the hurt of self inflicted pain in the service of avoiding the very pain. The vulnerability that pretends invincibility, the fragility that breaks as life overpowers it, its all there. Stark, poignant. Not just in the dialogue and plot. Not anymore. Now its there in each shot. It’s there right down to the way that Yukinoshita’s fingers clench and the way Iroha’s eyes linger on Hayama. No wonder those episodes seem so short. Storytelling is happening even in the “throaway” shots of Hachiman eating his breakfast alone or the half-heard giggles of Orimoto at Hachiman’s expense, or the way Yukinoshita’s companions glare at Hachiman when he so casually talks to their idol.

    Also Oregairu’s main characters don’t talk like teens because they are supposed to not be your everyday teens, they are supposed to be the isolated, tortured dreamers. The ones who build up their self conscious image in defiance of the norm. Its clearly as maladaptive a way as any to go through high school. The massive insecurity that is being reacted against, obvious but oblivious. The misunderstood and the forsaken gather in that club room and the key thing is that its fleshed out. The lonely ones are different in their way of conversation, interaction and so on. The thing about Oregairu is that it doesn’t fetishize or idealize this isolation. Instead it confronts it. It forces evolution, but not through dumbing down the drama or trying to accelerate it. These are dumb kids doing dumb things, in intelligent ways. But crucially they make us empathize all the way. And thats the real achievement.

    Also Hachiman’s a reader. Something that shows up much more prominently in the Light novels. And the mention of particular books sort of hints at the undercurrent of the story. I think it also goes someway to explain the sort of awareness that he is able to exercise in coming up with his “plans” and in his dealings with people.

    Yep Oregairu’s a lie that reflects something of the truth. A beautiful and painful truth. Wouldn’t love it so much if its escapism wasn’t grounded in the nature of high school, which as Mr. Vonnegut pointed out is the nature of the world. Hope this season keeps it up. Some exciting episodes up ahead…

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