My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 10 of
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax (TV 3) ?
In this episode, the prom finally comes to fruition, Ms. Yukinoshita agrees to support Yukino's dream to succeed her father, and the Volunteer Club is finally ready to be disbanded. But that's not what the episode is really about: it's about the end of Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui's relationship and how Hachiman's fears are driving him to end it in the worst way possible.
For a large part of this season, Hachiman has been adhering to a certain premise: that it's better to end a relationship than continue on with something fake. In general, this is a good rule to live by. Relationships, by their very nature, change, grow, and often come to an end. Trying to hold on to one when it is already over helps no one and can even prevent those involved from building new, healthier relationships.
When it comes to Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui, it's safe to say that their friendship—at least in its original configuration—is dead. At this point, all they've been doing for the last few episodes is playing Weekend at Bernie's with the corpse. However, with the completion of the prom and the end of the Volunteer Club at hand, the trio have run out of excuses and must now finally admit to each other that it's over—no matter how hard that may be.
While ending their friendship officially is absolutely the best thing to do in this situation, the way they're going about it is where the flaws arise. There are many ways to end this friendship, but the “proper conclusion” Hachiman has chosen is perhaps the most damaging and meaningless option possible as no one will be better off because of it.
Hachiman wants “something real” yet any romantic relationship he could have with Yui at this point would be fake on his side. Likewise, Yui wants Hachiman to be with her out of love, not because he lost a bet. Yukino just wants her friends to be happy (even if she is not) as she starts a new chapter in her life, and doesn't realize her self-sacrifice won't bring that about. As things stand now, they will all likely end up unhappy and estranged from one another.
Now granted, given our main trio's numerous conflicting wants and wishes, it's impossible for all of them to be happy and get exactly what they want—but that doesn't mean that they all have to end up sad and alone either. However, while the premise that it's better to end a relationship than continue on with something fake is not incorrect, Hachiman is interpreting it in the most pessimistic way—i.e., that the ways of ending the relationship are all equal to one another. Furthermore, he doesn't even realize he is doing this.
Hachiman, at his core, is a pessimist, plain and simple. However, like many pessimists, he would refer to himself as a “realist”—implying that he sees the sad reality that others choose to ignore. From this standpoint, it can be all too easy to look down on everyone else as they “fool themselves” by pretending that trivial things in their everyday lives are actually important. Everything is much more straightforward than people are willing to believe and even human relationships can be summed up succinctly and simply.
But if Hachiman is the entry level version of this mindset, Haruno is the master. And that's why her words resonate within him—they play on his most pessimistic fears. Because they think so similarly, when she does something like label his relationship with Yui and Yukino codependent, he can't help but think it must be true.
Now while there are codependent aspects of the trio's relationship—especially in how Yukino all-too-easily gives up her autonomy to her friends—it is far from the end-all be-all of what they have built together. It's crazy to try to sum up such a complex relationship in a single word.
This is why having someone like Ms. Hiratsuka around is so important. She's there to point out the obvious: seeing something in the worst light doesn't make it true. By giving into his deepest fears about the relationship, he has charted a course destined to emotionally damage those he cares about most. Sure, an ending is needed but that doesn't mean the bad end he's been pursuing is the right one.
In fact, in this episode, Hachiman is given more than a few options for how to end the relationship beyond the terrible route he has chosen. Yui gives him the option to grant his own wish—to admit that he loves Yukino and wants to be with her. Iroha offers to let him and the other two join the student council and build a new-yet-similar relationship as they manage student affairs together. Yukino and Yui even give him the deciding vote on whether to end the club or not—giving them the possibility of starting over in the same old setting.
In the heat of the moment, he dismisses these options out of hand (or runs from them). However, maybe, just maybe, his (likely final) late-night conversation with Ms. Hiratsuka has opened his eyes to those possibilities where at least some of those he cares about come out happy.
• Haruno is a jaded nihilist and has imposed her own thoughts and fears onto Hachiman without truly realizing it. When she says they (she and he) can't get drunk, she means they can't get caught up in emotional situations—that they can't just turn their brains off and enjoy/despair in the moment. But this isn't true for Hachiman. We've seen him get emotionally involved numerous times—even be brought to tears. All they actually share beyond their self-delusions is a pessimistic worldview—and the secret desire for that worldview to be proven false.
• While Haruno predictably has the most pessimistic interpretation of her mother's reaction to hearing Yukino's dream for the future, Mrs. Yukinoshita doesn't strike me as someone to make false promises—especially in public. When she says she'll support Yukino going forward, I have little doubt that's true. However, her wording is designed to make Yukino do some soul-searching. She doesn't doubt Yukino could do the job, she questions whether Yukino truly wants to succeed her father deep down—and wants her daughter to think long and hard about that.
• Once again, Iroha puts her true feelings out there and Hachiman takes it as a joke.
• Iroha reads Hachiman like an open book. Saying “if I have time” is a yes and “I'll think about it” is a no.
• Yukino really is putting on a brave face for this whole thing. She could just unilaterally end things if that was what she truly wanted—Hachiman and Yui can't force her to be friends with them. Moreover, when it comes time to let him go, she literally can't—he has to gently pry her fingers off one by one. Actions speak louder than words but Hachiman's pessimism in the moment makes him deaf to them.
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