My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 9 of
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax (TV 3) ?
This episode is certainly a change of pace. Compared to recent episodes in the series, not much happens in this one as far as our main characters are concerned. However, that is kind of the point. This episode is treading water because that is exactly what our heroes are doing—though, that doesn't mean there isn't more than a little character development behind it.
This episode's key scene comes right near the beginning. Hachiman takes Yui aside and explains that the bet is over. Yui's immediate reaction is the same as Hachiman's last episode: She tries to prolong the group break up with some rules-lawyering. However, Hachiman shoots that down and asks Yui for her wish.
Now, Yui knows that he's asking because Yukino's wish was to grant Yui's own. So she tells him a half-truth: she has many wishes. She begins listing them, starting with the least important first. But all this is to buy time. She is afraid if she says aloud the wish locked away in her heart—for Hachiman to date her—he will do just that. The problem is she wants him to choose to be with her out of his own volition, not because of some bet.
So Yui instead makes one of her wishes for him to grant his own wish after fulfilling her myriad of small wishes—only then will she reveal her unspoken one. This way, she has put it in his hands to decide if he wants to be with her or not, despite her already knowing the answer deep down.
The rest of the episode is basically Yui showing Hachiman what his life would be like if he were to choose her. Rather than the date-like atmosphere they had in episodes past, this time it is more of a domestic setting as the two bake tarts for Komachi. Now, make no mistake, both of them know they are spinning their wheels and merely prolonging the inevitable. However, this brief reprieve from all the hefty decision-making serves a purpose: While Yui has managed to come to terms with what she wants—even though getting it all is impossible—Hachiman needs time outside trying to resolve one crisis or another to do the same.
Of course, as the episode clearly shows, part of him already knows his wish—even if it hasn't fully hit home yet. There's a reason he won't sit next to Yui on the swing, rejects going over to her house just to hang out, and has a mini-panic attack when he realizes that he and Yui are alone in her home without any kind of parental supervision: He doesn't want to lead her on.
At the same time, he doesn't want to make her sad. Just because he wants to be with Yukino doesn't mean that he doesn't care about Yui or even love her. Granting her wishes is a great way to make her happy—and perhaps assuage part of his guilt for the pain he will be causing her later.
But eventually he will have to make his decision and act upon it. As both Yui's mom and former school president Meguri point out, all things come to an end and time waits for no man.
• Komachi's worry when her brother doesn't devolve into wordplay is touching. Honestly, these two have the best relationship in the series. There is something valuable in having someone who understands you even when you do wrong, and will wait for you to be ready instead of pressing for answers.
• Yui started this series devastated at the idea of Hachiman talking to her in the classroom, fearing what her friends might think. Now, she's grown secure enough in who she is as a person to be annoyed at his attempts to hide his association with her.
• Yumiko has so often been painted as the stereotypical class princess but between this episode and the last one, we've seen that she truly does care about her friends and will step up when needed—whether that means taking beach pictures at the ass crack of dawn mid-winter or telling her friend's crush to stop leading her friend on.
• Hachiman and Yukino do not exchange a single word this episode. I like that Iroha immediately notices and calls them on their bullshit of arguing through her instead of talking to each other.
• Just as Hachiman unknowingly helped Yui bake her cookies for him in the first season, we now have her unknowingly helping him bake the tarts for her.
• Oh man Tobe, I feel you with the hay fever thing. Late February is the bane of my existence…damned Japanese cedar trees.
• Random cultural note to help explain the setting going forward. In Japan, graduation happens in the first week or two of March. However, school for the rest of the students continues as usual until the end of March (followed by a short break before school starts again in April). This is why Hachiman and the others will still be going to school even after graduation and why Komachi won't have started school yet.
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