My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 6 of
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax (TV 3) ?
Last week, after failing to get Yukino to accept his help with the prom, Hachiman instead got her permission to work independently by citing the challenge they agreed to in the first episode. This week, Hachiman starts putting his plan together.
After spending some time with Iroha and Komachi, Hachiman has had an epiphany about human nature: When given the chance to choose between two things, people will—even if they like neither option. Thus, he simply has to make a second, worse proposal for the prom and then have the PTO choose between them.
Luckily, due to the school's focus on student autonomy, Hachiman suspects that the school administration will force the PTO to do this rather than cancel the prom outright. The tricky part is that he has to tread a thin line: his prom proposal has to be legitimately doable while being less appealing than Yukino's. Moreover, it can't appear any less real than the other prom plan—lest his scheme be brought to light—which means that he'll have to quite literally plan his own prom with no budget and an even tighter schedule than Yukino's.
At first glance, the overall situation with the prom greatly resembles the last time Yukino and Hachiman were directly at odds with each other: Iroha's election bid. However, it is in the details that we can see Hachiman's growth since then.
Back in season two, Iroha had been nominated by her peers to become the school president as a prank. The problem was that she technically had been running unopposed which meant any vote wouldn't be against another person but on whether people thought she could do the job. Losing that would destroy her reputation and make her a laughing stock—which is what Iroha was afraid would happen.
Therefore, the most logical option was to have someone run against Iroha and win—namely Yukino. Like with the prom, Yukino saw the election as a chance for her to do something on her own—something that even her sister and parents would have to take note of. However, Hachiman assumed Yukino was sacrificing herself to solve the problem—just as he would have done—so he decided to resolve things on his own by tricking Iroha into withdrawing her request and deciding to become the student council president.
The big difference between these two events is that for the prom, Hachiman actually knows what Yukino wants and why she is doing things the way she is—because instead of just assuming, he actually had an adult conversation with her. Moreover, this time, they are actually working towards the same goal (as opposed to last time where Yukino's goal was to fulfill Iroha's request while Hachiman's was to make her withdraw it). Both of them want the prom to happen.
The big issue Hachiman is really facing this time is to support Yukino without undercutting her own accomplishments. Yukino desperately wants to do it on her own—to prove to herself and others that she can. She feels that depending on Hachiman in any major way would make her actions moot.
And herein lies the brilliance of his plan. Nothing he is doing in planning his own (objectively worse) prom has any effect on her prom or any of the hard work she has poured into it. Everything she has done for it has been born of her own mind without any input from him. Any successes or failures will ride on her shoulders alone.
All Hachiman is doing is changing the context of how the prom is viewed by its most vocal detractors. It's a fine line, to be sure, and whether Yukino will be able to accept his actions is the big question going forward.
The other important aspect of the episode is the ongoing storm of desires raging within Yui. Two episodes back, Yui broke down with the realization that Hachiman had chosen Yukino over her (whether he knew it or not). Yet just because she knows this doesn't mean her feelings are suddenly resolved.
Using the excuse of helping out Hachiman, Yui spends much of this episode “playing house” with him. She serves him dinner (even chiding him to eat the healthy food he doesn't like), holds his hand to give him the confidence to reveal his true plan to his friends, and “falls asleep” on his shoulder while watching a movie. Yui knows this pretend romance is bad for her own mental wellbeing but can't resist because she is torn between three different wants.
The first is that she wishes for everything to be as it has often been between the three of them—an inseparable, balanced friendship. The second is that she wishes to be in a romantic relationship with Hachiman. The third is that she wishes for Hachiman and Yukino to be truly happy—which in Yui's mind means a romantic relationship between the two.
Only one of these three things can become reality—and she certainly believes the third will soon come to pass. However, in this fleeting moment before the other shoe drops, she is still able to pretend that the other two are possible—that she can still be friends with both of them or even end up dating Hachiman. On an emotional level, she is torturing herself—clinging to momentary happy delusions and beating herself up for it later. Still, it's more than a little understandable. After all, she's far from the first person to do something she shouldn't even though she knew better.
• Despite his challenge to Yukino last episode, Hachiman is actually setting himself up to lose. He doesn't care about their bet or the prize that comes at the end. He only cares that she is happy.
• Using your “big boy words” is a major theme this season. First Hiratsuka makes Hachiman use them, then Iroha, then Yukino, and now Saika. And surprise-surprise, actually doing that not only helps people understand him but him to understand them as well!
• Iroha is Hachiman if he chose to play the high school popularity game instead of removing himself from it. Moreover, she has been able to use him as a mirror to see her own flaws and in doing so learned many of the same lessons he has without nearly as much external melodrama.
• It's not hard to understand why Iroha cares so much for the members of the volunteer club. While she is popular with many “friends”, it's only amongst our heroes that she is able to let the mask drop and show her true self. And most importantly of all, none of them think less of her when she does.
• Next week on My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax: the return of wild gesturing and nonsensical buzzwords.
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