Things pick up shortly after the previous episode’s ending. Hikigaya is picked up by Shizuka-sensei some time after his encounter with Yukino, and the two of them end up on a bridge where Shizuka gives Hikigaya some advice on how to deal with the situation between himself, Yukino, and Yui. This ultimately leads to Hikigaya spending the entire night agonizing over the situation, trying to assess his own motives and reasoning. What this ultimately leads to is a quite surprising encounter between the three members of the Service Club.
Not much happens this time around in regards to the current story arc. In fact, Iroha only makes a brief appearance near the end of the episode, long enough to inform Hikigaya that there is no meeting for the day and to tell him where to find Yukino. Instead, the focus is placed on the subplot that has run through all of the various arcs this season: that of the growing tension between the Service Club members due to Hikigaya’s methods and approaches. This all comes to a head in this episode, and really does lead to some decent character progression on Hikigaya’s part. Oregairu has done a good job this season of rising above the stereotypical high school anime, presenting characters with issues that go beyond the ultimately superficial teenage drama. Realistically, the issues being faced by Hikigaya and company could realistically be experienced by people in all stages of life.
Without spoiling anything, the growth in Hikigaya’s character in this episode is truly shocking and unexpected, and yet long awaited. There is one moment in particular that is very well executed, and its shock is conveyed on both Yukino and Yui’s faces, not to mention that of the viewer. Unfortunately, the things that Hikigaya says during this part of the episode are hard to make sense of. He speaks of wanting “the real thing”, but what this “real thing” was wasn’t very clear, at least not for this viewer. Whether Yukino and Yui fully comprehended what he was saying is unclear, although it certainly provoked a reaction in Yukino. Whatever the case, it doesn’t seem that this issue is fully resolved. The episode certainly ends on a positive note, but one could reason that there is still plenty of distance to cover in repairing the relationships between the Service Club members before continuing to take the relationships further, which may be what Hikigaya was referring to in this episode.
A Christian Perspective:
Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Luke 6:45 – A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
When addressing both the issue with the Christmas event and the issue between the Service Club members, Shizuka states that both have arisen from heart issues. She eventually charges Hikigaya with the task of agonizing over the situation to figure out why things are the way they are. We get a glimpse of what was going on in Hikigaya once he finishes his analysis of himself and ultimately confronts the Service Club. It is probably safe to say that Hikigaya has made some pretty dumb decisions during this season, and Shizuka tying the problems back to a heart issue only makes sense in light of what Scripture says. Ultimately, Hikigaya was operating in defiance of what he really wanted, yet he didn’t believe that was what he wanted. As complicated as that sounds, it just goes to show how much we can be deceived by our hearts.
Spiritual Content: None
Language: 1 “d*mn” in the episode preview
Alcohol/Drug Use: Shizuka smokes cigarettes; beer is mentioned in the episode preview