My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!
by Nick Creamer,
SNAFU pulled an unfair trick this week - the dramatic OP-as-insert-song montage. What's worse, it wasn't even this show's opening song; it was the one from the first season, whose lines are all about how happy endings only exist in fairy tales, but still we try to seek them. It was a blatant pull for nostalgic emotional resonance, and dangit, it worked. I love these characters, and they've worked hard and come so far for themselves. They've earned this victory lap.
In spite of following directly on Iroha's unsuccessful confession, this episode was almost universally positive. We opened with an exchange between Hayato and Hachiman that essentially encapsulated the one key lesson Hikki's been struggling to learn this season. After listening to Hayato confess that he felt guilty about rejecting her, Hachiman replied, “if you're going to feel guilty, you shouldn't have rejected her,” which Hayato countered with the obvious “it doesn't work that way.” Iroha's confession was a direct echo of the attempted confession from the first three episodes, and this time, the players involved took the healthy and necessary route forward. You can't avoid the friction of people having uneven expectations and desires, and lying to preserve stasis will only hurt you in the end. Hikki snarks, but he knows this, now - in fact, as the next scene revealed, it was Hikki making his speech about genuine engagement to Yui and Yukino that prompted Iroha to try and move forward.
From there, the episode moved towards the final battle with the buzzword council, a scene that demonstrated basically all the characters at their best. At Hachiman's suggestion, Iroha opened by directly engaging with and countering the other president's empty statements, proving she'd become far more adept at actually steering a discussion. As the conversation began to sink into meaningless phrases again, Hachiman spoke up, saying how his own use of verbal games was really just a ploy to conceal his own failings. And then Yukino and Yui pulled off a good cop/bad cop one-two punch, with Yukino bluntly asking them to “refrain from wasting any more of our time” and Yui offering a final positive suggestion for the party. When this team's working together, there's no stopping them.
Reflections of growth and friendship continued through the rest of these scenes, as Hikki and Yukino returned to their old comfortable banter and even Hikki's old classmate admitted she'd learned from Hayato's actions. The party preparations ended with Hikki demonstrating his new faith in people to Rumi, as he offered her a spot in their play, "apologizing" in his own way for the nearsighted failure of his earlier actions. A gesture like that won't solve Rumi's immediate problems, but it opens a door forward, and that's far more valuable. And then the insert song cut in, and we got to see all the team working together again, looking forward and smiling for once. And yeah, maybe I stifled a tear, no big deal.
The rest was a parade of tying-up and end-of-year scenes, with the most notable likely being Hikki thanking his friends for saving him (an echo of Yukino's line last week, which together demonstrate the way each of them have learned to trust). The episode ended in some drama, as Haruno conspired to bring Yukino and her mother together for her birthday, but that didn't dampen the overall warm tenor of this episode. There weren't as many sharp dramatic peaks or standout scenes as some other episodes, but it seems almost unfair to compare even this show to its own best material. We're essentially running through the denouement to two seasons worth of drama and character growth, and at this point it's just nice to see happy moments between good friends.
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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