Now that the relationships between the Service Club members have been healed and now that they’ve come together to collectively solve Iroha’s situation there will finally be some progress made in the student council situation, right? Well, not quite. While Yui and Yukino certainly set foot into one of the meetings, no progress is actually made in regards to the problem at hand. Instead, the Service Club, along with Iroha and Hayato’s clique, end up visiting an amusement park. While there is some talk of this being “research” for the Christmas event, the episode moreso focuses on the relationships between the characters, and particularly those of the Service Club members. Overall, it is a fun outing, although things don’t end on a positive note for a couple characters.
The episode opens quite comically, with Hikigaya agonizing over his open display of emotion in front of Yui and Yukino. While this is the only part of the episode to be so openly comedic, the majority of the content is fairly upbeat and positive, as we get to see the Service Club spending time together and bonding, which hasn’t happened since the first couple of episodes in this season. On the one hand, this is a nice reprieve from the more oppressive atmosphere that has dominated the majority of the season; on the other hand, it would have been nice to finally see Yui and Yukino (or, more precisely, Yukino) tackle the situation with the Christmas event. At the very least, it would have been preferable to see the two girls’ reactions to the shenanigans in the student council meeting. Regardless, the lack of this doesn’t detract from the episode—it could have only added to its enjoyment.
Of course, not everything is fun and games. Effort is certainly put forth to exemplify the fact that Yukino has issues that have yet to be resolved, and it is questionable whether these things can be wrapped up before the season is out, but it is clear that the deeper issues these characters suffer from are far from being healed. Perhaps the whole purpose of this series isn’t to see all of the issues resolved, but rather to show how we can better deal with our problems when we let others help us, rather than going it alone. In any event, we get to see more of Yukino in this episode than we have for most of the season, and of course there are enough hints dropped to keep up the mystery of who Hikigaya will fall in love with in the end (provided we don’t get the typical ending where he doesn’t choose either girl).
The Hayato subplot also has its progression in this episode, albeit to a much smaller degree. Perhaps it would be more fair to even refer to it as the Iroha subplot. Either way, the characters from Hayato’s clique don’t get a whole lot of screen time, and it is only worth mentioning because the episode sort of ends with something kind of major happening between two of the characters in the clique. Earlier in the season, Hayato had stated that he isn’t the nice guy everyone things he is, and perhaps this will serve as the beginning to a better understanding of that statement. Of course, this can only be speculation until the show progresses, but hopefully it will serve a greater purpose than to provide a shocking ending.
At the end of the day, this was a nice change of pace from the general tone the show has adopted for most of the season. With that said, hopefully the Christmas event plot will pick back up in the next episode and begin moving towards a conclusion, because it has been drug out for a while now. Also, it is just plain curiosity that wants to know how the involvement of the full Service Club will ultimately turn the tides. One thing is for sure: if the character development that has been displayed thus far continues into the coming episodes, then OreGairu could be on its way to making a strong, lasting impression.
A Christian Perspective:
To be honest, I don’t have anything particularly “Christian” that struck me from this episode. What I do have is a reflection on the importance of reconciliation. Granted, reconciliation has its place within Christianity (God reconciling the world to Himself through Christ, anyone?), but the general idea of reconciliation isn’t solely applicable to Christians. Nevertheless, the fact that Hikigaya finally humbled himself in the previous episode and not only confessed his need of Yui and Yukino’s help but also confessed his desire for something genuine among the three of them is what opened the door for today’s episode. Now, for the first time since at least the beginning of the season, we see the three Service Club members happily spending time together, complete with Yukino acting uncharacteristically excited over a panda. Their relationship went from being almost destroyed to being at least what it previously was (if not stronger) only because Hikigaya humbled himself and opened the door for reconciliation.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we can probably think of moments in our lives where we needed to reconcile a relationship with a friend, family member, co-worker, etc. (or perhaps there is a relationship that needs reconciling right now). Those with memories of past reconciliations can probably attest to the healing that came as a result, along with how refreshing it was to have a restored relationship. Those who need to reconcile can probably attest to the pain associated with broken relationships.
I don’t really have a clever or profound way to close this out, so I guess I’ll just leave it with this: if you think a relationship isn’t worth reconciling, just remember that God thought it worth reconciling sinful, rebellious humanity to Himself. If God sought to reconcile with what were essentially His enemies, then certainly we can seek to reconcile with the people in our lives.
Spiritual Content: None
Language: 1 “h*ck”, 1 “d*mn”
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Violence: Komachi grinds her foot into the back of Hikigaya’s leg