Hikigaya Hachiman Changes, Whether He Likes It or Not


My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU was a pleasant surprise I had originally written off. In spite of its excessively light novel title and its school romance setting, the series exhibited a great deal of maturity. I recently finished the second series, and while I won’t go too into detail about it (my first review still applies in a lot of ways), I did want to talk about what I find to be the most notable aspect of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!, which is the willingness to let its main character, Hikigaya Hachiman, grow.

You might be thinking, “What’s so special about character development? That’s what stories typically do.” In a way, there is indeed nothing impressive about how Hachiman changes. However, given his personality, that of the cynic and outcast who observes human interaction in order to point out all of the unnecessary niceties that people throw out in their daily lives, I would have assumed that he would forever remain in that capacity. However, the second series really shows Hachiman being affected by the different people he helps out and interacts with, to the point that he begins to question how he approaches solutions and how he categorizes people, allowing bits of optimism and consideration for others to seep into his way of thinking.

The most fascinating to me about this change in Hachiman is how he processes these small changes in his values through his hyper-logical, hyper-pessimistic outlook, and has to struggle with where it seems to contradict his preconceived notions. What really hits home is the way he realizes that his actions potentially hurt not only others but himself as he increasingly values his friendship with Yuigahama Yui and Yukinoshita Yukino, the other central characters of the series.

The fact that there’s no clear favorite in the love triangle is also really notable. How often does that happen?

13 thoughts on “Hikigaya Hachiman Changes, Whether He Likes It or Not

  1. > The fact that there’s no clear favorite in the love triangle is also really notable.

    Pretty sure it’s very clearly favoring on behalf of Yukinoshita.

    > maturity

    Not saying you are wrong, but I am always curious what people think about this show that is considered mature or what. To me the whole series feels like a lesson on truly how to be passive aggressive. It’s extremely East Asian culturally. I suppose what defines maturity (especially in the emotional sense) is not a set thing between individuals and cultural settings.


    • Part of what I mean by maturity is that it shows how to be passive aggressive for sure, but doesn’t exactly present it as a good thing. There are clearly problems that happen when you take certain routes, and the solutions, while flawed, present alternatives.


  2. What I like about the second season is that even though Hachiman (and the others) grow, they’re still not “there yet.” Hachiman is slowly shedding his pride and learning to reach that something “genuine,” which can only happen through humility and kindness and vulnerability, but it’s very much a struggle.

    I also think that they’re not necessarily favoring a girl in the series – omo says Yuki, but I felt like the anime was leaning maybe a little bit more towards Yui! The light novel seems to be more clearly aimed toward Yukinoshita, though.


  3. I dunno. There’s a couple of things that just annoy the hell out of me about the show, despite the fact that I like it. The primary thing is this: I feel like Hachiman has to do all of the work to understand how other people think and feel but absolutely NONE of them have to do any of that themselves.

    Yui is a great example. She has absolutely no idea WHY Hachiman is the way that he is. She doesn’t really put forth much of an effort to understand. She simply doesn’t comprehend the events in his middle-school years that transformed him into the pessimist that he is. When one of his middle-school “friends” (I use that term loosely as hell) runs into him, she comes off as an extremely two-faced bitch, ostentatiously patronizing and yet unoriginal in her ideas and utterly sycophantic at the meetings for the Christmas event.

    Also, the fact that he wants something genuine is actually a slap in the face to the superficial relationships he sees between everyone else because they’re all so busy with tatemae that they rarely display any honne, hence they cannot be genuine. It is possible that NONE of the characters are actually capable of being genuine EXCEPT Hachiman. He is up front with his feelings, thoughts, expectations, etc. What the show is really about is how harmony (wa) is maintained through everyone being fake. Hachiman learning to want something genuine despite his pessimism may be the actual struggle here–he can see through all the tatemae and knows it is B.S. but that desire for something genuine requires hope and some degree of optimism. These are somewhat contradictory.

    Both Hachiman and Yukino have to basically look like wa-wrecking assholes at the meeting to get any decisions made or have any actions taken because everyone from the other school is all talk, no action, all tatemae and synergistic management solutions (i.e. bullshit). They upset the apple-cart, ruin wa, make everyone uncomfortable in that oh-so-Japanese way when harmony is disrupted but given the situation THEY HAD TO. In a way, nobody seems to really recognize that both Yukino and Hachiman throw themselves upon their proverbial swords in order to have something done.

    Another example is when Hachiman pretends to confess to the fujoshi girl to spare the feelings of another guy. He totally sacrificed himself to preserve someone else. Yui’s reaction to it just puzzled the crap out of me and demonstrated to me that she has absolutely no clue because she’s basically a luftkopf and can never seem to grasp a thing about how Hachiman sees the world or why. She makes no effort to either.

    At least Yukino seems to get him, even though she dislikes a lot about him (probably because she reminds her of the worst parts of herself). Ironically, Hachiman, up until now, has basically been totally fine with himself and who he is.

    Oddly enough, no one else seems to realize or appreciate that because they have their heads jammed up their own asses.

    I see the show as being EXTREMELY critical of tatemae but also very pessimistic about honne. There’s that sliver of hope that keeps the show positive, but remember, hope was in Pandora’s Box along with all of the rest of the evils in the world.

    Okay, I could go on, but I already wrote more than you have about the show.


    • It seems like you relate to Yukino and Hachiman more than you do Yui, or at least see things more from the former two’s perspectives. Call it “wa” or whatever you’d like, but from the start it’s clear that Yui’s desire to avoid conflict is both her strength and her weakness as a person, and it’s what I think makes her an important part of the main trio.


      • I won’t argue with you there. She’s the glue that holds the trio together. I just find it utterly frustrating that she seems constitutionally incapable of putting herself into Hachiman’s shoes and understanding where he’s coming from. The show is very clear–he didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to be the way he is. It’s a decision born from years of trial and error. If people want him (and Yukino, too) to unlearn what they have learned, perhaps those people need to look not only from Yukino’s and Hachiman’s perspectives and see what they see and understand why they see what they do. I see Yui make no effort to do that and it frustrates the heck out of me. I feel like she’s trying to get them to be “normal” but doesn’t understand that they CAN’T be normal–they’ve seen the proverbial elephant and it cannot be unseen.

        By the way, you are 100% right about me relating to Hachiman and Yukino.


  4. > I just find it utterly frustrating that she seems constitutionally incapable of putting herself into Hachiman’s shoes and understanding where he’s coming from.

    Uh… most conflicts in this story would be a lot less interesting if all the characters did just that. No reason to expect that out of Yui if you don’t expect it out of everyone else?


  5. I enjoyed season one. Good to hear that the character grows throughout the next series. It can get dull when an anime’s cast fails to develop.


  6. Character development is one of important point in Oregairu.

    I’m doing analysis in characters of this yahari series just to want to understand some characters who have problems, who are suffering, who are wearing image to survive in society.


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