Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru. Zoku Episode 5
“And here I was sure you’d understand.”
I was hoping for a resolution to the conflict with Komachi, and I got what I wanted. It was beautiful.
I seriously want to protect that smile. Hikki is really lucky to have such a great imouto – and he was man enough to make the first move to end their cold war and try for some sort of reconciliation. Hikki is certainly calculating enough to be a Russia. I don’t think what Komachi said was wrong – if she wasn’t related to Hikki, their personality clash would most likely mean that he’d stay as far away from her as possible. It’s because their siblings that he can act as naturally as he does with her. But that’s only a hypothetical, after all – the fact remains that they are siblings, and for siblings they’re quite close. For Hikki’s standards in general, they’re surprisingly close. You know, he’s been searching for something real all this time, and I bet what he has with Komachi is pretty real. It’s not bad at all. That said, Komachi was the excuse he used to preserve the Service Club. I’m not saying that Komachi played no part in influencing him at all, but I feel like Hikki also wanted to preserve the club as it was, but needed a reason to act given his principles. It reminded me of how Kaiki from Monogatari tried to come up with numerous rational reasons why he should help Senjougahara and Araragi -beyond helping for its own sake, that is- and ended up deciding to do it for Kanbaru. Hikki is nowhere near as alone as he thinks he is, and beyond Komachi there are people like Zaimokuza, Sakisaki and Totsuka who are willing to help him immediately when he needs it.
A Yuigahama administration would implement no uniforms, no bag checks and unrestricted rooftop access. For the sake of the school, it was probably a good thing that Yui didn’t run – regardless of her own beliefs of her chances against Yukinon, those sorts of policies are likely to be popular. Hikki won in basically everything this episode though, from his methodology to his Irohasu impression. That was comedic gold. Hikki, you genius.
Hikki moved well. It was initially a matter of deciding who should take some sort of fall, as this was essentially a zero-sum game. He couldn’t say no to Komachi, and preserving the Service Club is the ultimate aim. If he shot himself in the foot again, he would probably make Yui cry. So the best candidate was Iroha, whom he doesn’t really care about either way. And choosing Irohasu is actually a good thing when you think about it – Yukinon initially accused him of merely operating on the surface and not truly resolving the problem at hand. But if Irohasu wins the election, then she can even get revenge, which is better than merely losing. Irohasu initially wanted to merely tank all the blows, but now she can get back at all the girls who nominated her as well, while getting closer to Hayato and maintaining her ‘brand image’. The situation thus goes from zero-sum to win-win, and all it took was a bit of online fraud that served two purposes: (i) convincing Irohasu that she had enough backing, and (ii) persuading Yukinon and Yui to drop out. The fact that the backing was fake no longer matters after (ii) occurs, because Irohasu is now left as the only candidate. Hikki took an outstanding course of action this episode, and he did so in a way that wasn’t as self-sacrificing as his methods were before.
The icing on the cake was the hair-fixing scene with Yui. She hasn’t been of much use lately, and I think she even implicitly admitted this last episode when she said she was going to run for president as well, but Yui melts my heart and that’s enough. Her dazzling smile, coupled with “You did your best, Hikki!” and the soundtrack version of Yui Ballade made me feel all warm inside. The last time I felt like that was, well, during last week’s scene with Yui. This has to be the ultimate pairing, guys. Yui is so wonderful. It’s the first time she’s sat so close to Hikki as well – usually, Hikki and Yukinon sit at opposite ends of the long table, with Yui sitting close to Yukinon. I must admit that I began to waver ever so slightly when Iroha dropped her cutesy act – the fake version of her I can’t stand, but the real, bitchy Iroha has some fun banter with Hikki and I don’t mind her. Then the hair-fixing scene arrived, and I lurched well into the Yui camp again.
It is worth mentioning that Yukinon reacted completely differently from Yui. It’s hard to determine exactly what she’s thinking, partly because she gives almost no indication at all of her thought process or game plan. But I can guess. Hikki won yet again. And this time he did so in a way that Yukinon cannot complain about.
But from her perspective, she thought she’d done it – that running for president herself would be the best possible outcome. I can’t blame her, because all other things being equal, it was the best outcome. Meguri hints that she had regrets too, and the implication is that Yukinon’s end game involves both Hikki and Yui joining the student council as well, so that all three of them would still be together and that the status quo would be maintained. What Hikki did to upset that was to change the goalposts entirely in order to succeed in his way – goalposts which Yukinon considered immoveable when she acted. So would the outcome have been the same if he reloaded his save data to change his previous choice? It wouldn’t have been identical. Hikki did something questionable, and Yukino fails in her aim to get an edge in her power battle against Haruno. But if Yukinon had gotten her way, then the atmosphere of their relationship would still largely be maintained – and preserving that is really what they’re after. Like Hikki himself says, it would not have changed their lives.
So if things would have stayed the same either way, and what’s now left behind is an ever-growing rift between Hikki and Yukinon, then… did he make the right decision?