I had not expected to like Oregairu as much as I do. The low-key aspirations of the show proved to hide some really good stuff that rewards the astute viewer. Despite the questionable title and reputation of light novel shows, Oregairu turned out to have a bunch of things that pushed my buttons in the right way.
1. Making friends
Oregairu portrayed friendship arguably better than that Making Friends show. I read one post claiming how Haganai was better and I ended up scratching my head. Please. Haganai’s characters are caricatures, designed to play off on each other. Their setup is carefully construed to make you laugh, and that’s pretty much it. The weakness rears its ugly head every time Haganai tries to do something other than comedy, which comes out as trite.
I think it’s a blessing that Oregairu’s three main characters aren’t, well, made for each other. They aren’t finishing each others’ sentences or providing punchlines to them. When they interact, there’s a sense of restraint in their conversations. They sound like real people, who can bicker without sounding too loathsome.
Don’t you feel like that, sometimes? That you know this person and wonder how the two of you became friends, when at the first meeting it had seemed unlikely? The fact that our three main characters struggled together makes their budding friendship all the more beautiful. Hachiman still has a long way to go, but it’s a big, big start. They don’t cure each others’ neuroses right away, but it’s evident that they have each other’s back.
2. Handling rejection
The uniting experience between Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui is rejection. They’ve all been rejected by social cliques, so they take refuge among each other. (Of course there’s the accident that brought them together in the first place, but they thankfully don’t base the entirety of their relationships on it.) While Yui is sociable enough, her “friends” harass her too often that she finds herself gravitating to Hachiman and Yukino instead, who never go out of their way to hurt her.
I really like the story arc where Hachiman pushes Yui away. Hachiman did so by framing the situation in terms of his flawed value system. He doesn’t hate her, but he believes her kindness towards him is some way of atoning for getting him into an accident.
To Yui’s credit, she doesn’t erase Hachiman from her life, and they begin their relationship anew, having learned a little of each other. Rejections in anime are a big deal and are often final, but I’m surprised and pleased to see a character accept her rejection and in spite of that continue to befriend the very same person who rejected her. After the incident, Yui becomes warmer towards Hachiman, who begins to tolerate her.
3. Learning to live with other people
It’s a central theme in the show. The nature of the Service Club dissuades it from being insular–the show wouldn’t be half as fun to watch if our main characters weren’t running around and trying to help people with amusing results. True, you don’t need to harbor strong feelings towards everyone you meet. But you can learn to tolerate them, to maintain a sense of space wherein both parties could do what they like without getting in each other’s way.
Hachiman and Yukino are antisocial, and while the show often portrays this as a shortcoming, it’s precisely the reason why and how they help others. Hachiman’s experiences allow him to think in the place of people who are down and lonely, while Yukino’s distance from others allows her to make read the situation well. It’s the loneliest people who are also the kindest.
As a Service Club, they actually get shit done.
4. Being vulnerable
Doing good things makes us vulnerable. It gives other people the opportunity to take advantage of our kindness and generosity. Even so, I don’t believe we shouldn’t be good. People who are strong are aware of their vulnerability and still do good anyway. We are mighty, because we are not afraid of showing weakness.
Hachiman learns this at the cultural festival arc. He lets down his armor of loneliness and does something drastic, getting hurt in the process. In the end, what drove him to look for the errant Sagami was a sense of responsibility to Yukino. He couldn’t let her hard work go to waste.
Yukino understands this, and gains a better appreciation of Hachiman’s nature. And in learning about him, she also opens up. She also learns to rely on Yui, the first real friend she made. What is trust, but believing that the other person won’t let you down?
5. Nobuyuki Hiyama playing a character with every excuse to scream
Yeah. Wish he’d get more roles, though.
6. The Little Prince being turned into a BL play
It was a thing. But it’ll take more than that to ruin my childhood.
7. A little sister character who is kind, caring, and most importantly NOT A LITTLE BITCH
I really like Komachi and how she clearly cares for her brother without putting up some bullshit tsundere act. Makes up for the awfulness of Oreimo! (I love my Oreimo, but I’ll be the first one to admit that it is TERRIBLE)
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So, what did you like about this show? Tell me about it!