My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 1 of
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax (TV 3) ?
How would you rate episode 2 of
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax (TV 3) ?
Before we get into this review, it's best you know where I am coming from with this series—it is the third season after all. In my opinion, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is a masterpiece of coming-of-age drama, especially the second season. On a purely emotional level, I have never empathized as much with a fictional character as I do with Hachiman and am completely invested in his struggle.
But beyond that, I love that this story as a whole doesn't go out of its way to explain things to you. It respects its viewer by showing you the dots but leaves it up to you to connect them, just as Hachiman himself must do. It is a show that needs to be watched more than once to piece together not only what is happening to Hachiman in the foreground but to everyone in his periphery as well. And I do understand that some people would view this as a negative; I'm just not one of them.
So as this episode is a direct continuation of the final episode of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!—and it's been 5 years—let's start with a bit of a recap regarding Yukino and her arc.
Yukino is the second child of an affluent family, so even before she was born, the family already had their heir in Haruno, Yukino's older sister. Moreover, Haruno always reached, if not surpassed, her parents' expectations. Thus, Yukino grew up with zero expectations placed upon her. She had no goal in life nor a way to find one. This parental neglect eventually grew into codependence on those around her, letting the expectations of others form her identity.
But when she entered high school, Yukino set out to find herself, without so-called “friends” or family telling her who she should be. She moved into her own apartment and joined the Volunteer Club, likely hoping that by helping others achieve their dreams, she could find one of her own.
However, last season, she grew close to Yui and Hachiman and began to fall back into her codependent ways. Wherever they led, she would follow, even if it caused her physical discomfort or had major implications in regards to her future. And in the climax, Yui offered to solve Yukino's problem, to create for her a path into the future without all the thought, struggle, and soul searching. All Yukino would have to do is give up on her own scant wants—i.e., her love for Hachiman—and give into her codependency fully.
On the brink of Yukino accepting, Hachiman objected, and Yukino decided after some thought that she wouldn't surrender her agency to Yui. Instead, she would request that her friends aid her in fixing her problem. This way, she would at least be the one making choices in her own life.
Continuing directly on from this emotional, character-based climax, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax begins with Yukino explaining what she wants from them going forward: their emotional support.
As aimless as Yukino's life has been, she did have a dream once: she wanted to take over her father's job. Of course, her sister was already on that path and Yukino, no matter how perfect she was, was never able to surpass her sister, so she eventually gave up on it, leading directly to her current problems.
However, it is at this point that she comes to terms with the fact that she never really fought for her dream outright. She never even told her parents that she wanted to succeed her father. In the end, Yukino has come to the decision that to find out who she really is, she must return to fighting for the last thing she remembers wanting with all her soul.
Now, Hachiman and Yui know that Yukino's fight to follow in her father's footsteps is a long-shot. Haruno has been groomed since birth to be the family heir and her parents are unlikely to change that view. However, the two choose to support Yukino anyway. They can only hope that even if this ends in failure, it will help her move forward in the long term.
The other big thing to continue on from the previous season is Hachiman's own request: to have something “real” between the three of them. Hachiman has long been the observer, watching the shallow friendships of those around him that are more about not rocking the boat than truly sharing who they are with each other. While he may be jealous of that (far more than he'd ever admit), what he really wants is a personal connection where he can truly understand the other person.
At the time he revealed his request, Yui responded positively while Yukino reacted in terrified confusion (which makes sense when you consider that she doesn't understand herself and is afraid what would happen if people—especially Hachiman—discovered how empty of a person she believes herself to be).
However, in this episode we learn that, deep down, Yui was lying when she agreed with Hachiman and said she wanted something “real.” She fears that if Hachiman and Yukino get past their hang-ups and truly get to know each other that closely, that they'd realize their feelings for each other. This in turn would rob her of any chance of being with Hachiman herself. And while she's done her best to ignore this because she truly cares for Yukino as a friend, finding that Yukino keeps a picture of her and Hachiman hidden behind her favorite stuffed animal hits Yui particularly hard.
All in all, these two episodes form a perfect start to the new season. We ended the last season on a moment of character growth and continue now seeing the results of that growth, both the intended and unintended. Each character feels like they're heading towards an inevitable climax and the impending chaos of an American-style prom is the perfect stage for all kinds of personal drama.
• My interpretation of what Haruno means by saying Hachiman can't get drunk? He'll never be able to turn off the part of him that cynically analyzes the world, so he'll never be able to fully experience the happiness around him.
• Haruno often comes off sociopathic. All she cares about is her own happiness—i.e., that her life is interesting. She cares nothing for the pain she causes others. She's rich, powerful, and plays her parents' game as the perfect family heir—all while manipulating her sister and her sister's friends for her own amusement.
• The Komachi/Hachiman stuff was great as usual. With Hachiman's (apparently) absentee parents, it seems that Hachiman basically raised Komachi and, later, she took care of him in his darkest years in return. She is the one person he can truly let down all his walls around and never fear judgement. And watching them straight out show how much they value each other is long overdue.
• That Saki flashback of Hachiman throwing out a jubilant “I love you” for her help in the climax of season one is cute—and painfully bittersweet when you remember that just minutes later he became the most hated guy in school.
• Yukino's codependence—and her struggle to get away from it—is likely why she refused to be Hachiman's friend back in season one.
• Yukino wanting to do the prom is a way for her to step out of her sister's shadow. It's not only something that her sister didn't do during her time at school, it's something that is coming about as a direct result of Yukino's own actions in the Volunteer Club—i.e., the election of Iroha.
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