Leave it to My Teen Romantic Comedy to never stick to the stereotypical approach. This time around, our cast tackles Valentine’s Day. While there are a couple girls who want to give Hayato chocolate, it is revealed that he doesn’t accept chocolate for the sake of keeping the peace. Meanwhile, Yui seems to have some interest in giving Hikigaya chocolate, although this theme remains more in the background. Instead, the Hayato theme is brought front-and-center as both Isshiki and Yumiko approach the Service Club for help in giving chocolates to Hayato. These requests, along with a third, separate request, ultimately result in the Isshiki organizing an event with the other school council from earlier in the season. While the event goes off without a hitch and everyone seems to enjoy themselves, a heavy atmosphere is brought about when Haruno shows up and throws a wrench into the atmosphere between Yukino, Yui, and Hikigaya. On top of this, the three Service Club members encounter Yukino’s mother on the way home, which results in Yukino receiving a weighty lecture. Ultimately, the episode concludes with Hikigaya reflecting on whether they really know who they are at this point.
The hook thrown in this episode is quite effective, as the majority of the events lead the viewers to believe that they are (finally) getting a lighthearted episode, especially as the end of the series is approaching. While most of the episode is, in fact, sugary and sweet, the ending manages to bring us back to the fact that some of these characters are a bit messed up and have issues (both external and internal) that they need to work on. It also continues to raise questions as to what, exactly, Haruno is trying to do. She seems to be friendly with Hikigaya, but she also seems to show up and ruin moments for him, at least when those moments involve Yukino. This episode is no different. While Yui and Yukino are presenting Hikigaya with their chocolates, Haruno shows up and suggests that what they are feeling may not be “real”, which completely tarnishes the mood.
It is also nice to see the conflict of Yukino’s mother finally brought back into the picture, even if it is (again) thrown in at the very end of the episode. At some point, it would be beneficial if we could actually get a full explanation of Yukino’s home situation, as her mother certainly seems to be a point of strife, but we are ultimately left in the dark far too often. Add to that the fact that whenever the issue comes up, it is quickly dropped (see the end of episode 10/beginning of episode 11), and it is easy for the viewer to feel like they are on the outside looking in, instead of fully understanding these characters. This would be fine if the purpose was to build up to the overall conflict, but there is only one episode left in the season, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for introducing and resolving new conflict, unless another season is planned after this one.
That’s not to say that re-introducing Yukino’s mother was a bad thing. It has already been shown to be a conflict, so it is better for it to be brought back up and addressed than to be left as a loose plot thread. It would just have been nice to see it addressed more thoroughly throughout the season, but given that most of the season focused on Hikigaya, there wasn’t a whole lot of room to fit it in. Perhaps it would have been better to hold off on transitioning to a focus on Yukino until a potential third season. In any event, what’s done is done, and this episode does not leave one hopeful for a happy ending for our protagonists. After the ending of this episode, it does not seem likely that every bad situation can be neatly wrapped up into a happy ending, at least not in a way that would be satisfying and realistic.
A Christian Perspective:
At the end of the episode, Hikigaya makes comments about they have yet to find their true selves hidden behind their personas. This could be said about the vast majority of humanity. If we read the beginning of Genesis, then we can see that God had originally created man to be in communion with Him, a relationship that was tarnished by sin. I would argue, then, that our true selves are meant to be in God’s image, living in relation to Him. Sin tarnished that, but thankfully God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us, which allows our relationship with God to be restored if we trust in Him as Lord and Savior. Christian metal band “Becoming the Archetype” once said that their name was based on the fact that since Jesus was the only One to ever be sinless, he was the archetype of humanity, and the band’s name reflects that belief. If we use their reasoning, then we can start there and build on it with the fact that, as Christians, we are supposed to become more like Jesus (hence, becoming the archetype), and if Jesus represents how we all should be, then we don’t really know who we are until we have come to meet Jesus.
Okay, so maybe that was a bit wordy and sloppy. The too long, didn’t read version is that humans don’t truly know who they are supposed to be until they come to know Jesus, because sin has tarnished our relationship with God and the purpose for which He created us.
Spiritual Content: None
Language: 1 “h*ll”
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: A girl’s top shows some cleavage