If you expected this episode to pick up from where the previous episode left off (Yukino being tricked into a situation where she has to be around her mother), then prepare to be disappointed. Not only do we not see how that situation played out, we also don’t even get a single mention of it. This wouldn’t seem so odd except for the fact that it seemed to be a pretty big deal, it had all the trappings of a continuing plot, and, for the most part, everything this season had linked together fairly well. That’s not to discredit this episode before it’s even reviewed, but to simply state that the direction it went in seemed to not make sense.
With that less-than-positive introduction out of the way, lets discuss this episode. As the title suggests, much of the focus is put on Hayato this time around. Of course, while “focus” might typically mean we see more of that character, that’s not necessarily the case here. Certainly Hayato is featured more than normal, but he doesn’t dominate the screen time. Instead, the “focus” here involves Hayato dominating the other characters’ conversations and motives. It would seem that the students at this high school have to choose a “track” of sorts, with the choices being either Liberal Arts or Science. Yumiko, a member of Hayato’s clique, ends up approaching the Service Club because she wants to know which option Hayato will choose. While it doesn’t appear to be an “official” request, Hikigaya ends up taking it on.
To be fair, the episode does a good job of exposing a little more of who Hayato is. It still doesn’t feel like we have a clear picture of his personality by the end, but we get to see more of him besides the “nice guy” sheen that he typically wears. His initial reaction to Hikigaya’s inquiry, though played off as a hypothetical, is quite harsh in comparison to the usual warm demeanor that he seems to adopt. Other comments made during the race scene (where Hikigaya plots with Totsuka to hold up the rest of the racers so that he can approach Hayato alone) suggest that Hayato may be the type of person to use others for his own gain. Hikigaya suggests that this was done with Yumiko to keep the girls off of Hayato. If this is true, it certainly raises questions in the viewer’s mind, such as why Hayato bothered to help Hikigaya earlier in the season (and even more so when Hayato says that he could never like Hikigaya). Overall, while the episode does provide some additional insight into Hayato’s character, it ultimately leaves more questions than answers in regards to who he truly is, especially when you consider his conversation with Hikigaya at the end of the episode.
One last thing to note is that, while the situation with Yukino from the previous episode seems to just be dropped this time around, there is a minor plot device that results from it. Apparently a rumor starts after Yukino and Hayato are dating after they are seen together (presumably at the end of the previous episode). While this doesn’t really play much of a role in the episode’s overall plot, it is at least a nod to the fact that the events happened. Yukino is also credited as having moved out of her sister’s shadow, but again this is something that doesn’t feel played up as much as it could have been (and, again, focusing on how she handled the situation presented at the previous episode’s close could have been a good springboard for that). Well, there is one “minor” Yukino development near the end of the episode that should have most fans holding their breaths, but we’ll just leave that for you to see.
In the end, this wasn’t a bad episode, per se, although it might be deserving of the “filler” title, as Hayato honestly isn’t that prominent a character to really warrant so much attention. Once Hikigaya had sorted out his issues, the focus began to shift towards Yukino, and keeping it there would have felt more natural instead of suddenly pulling away to focus on a secondary character. While it doesn’t make this episode bad—it still has all of the elements that make My Teen Romantic Comedy deeper than most high school anime—it does make it feel a bit inconsistent with the story that has developed thus far.
A Christian Perspective:
2 Corinthians 11:14 – And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
Okay, this may be going a bit extreme, but it was the best option I could think of. I have previously compared Hayato to the Pharisees, based upon his statement that he wasn’t the nice guy everyone thought he was. We finally get to see a bit of that in this episode when he replies quite harshly to Hikigaya’s inquiry (though he plays it off as hypothetical), and even more when Hikigaya suggests that Hayato used Yumiko to keep the girls from bothering him. While Hayato does not confirm this accusation, he also does not deny it.
The point in using the above scripture to relate to this episode isn’t to call Hayato “Satan”, but to compare the reality of the two situations: as Hayato masquerades as a “good” guy while secretly harboring some less-than-friendly motives, so Satan—the embodiment of all evil—masquerades as an angel of the light, or something that is seen as pure. Whether Hayato is truly this bad or not remains to be seen; we only get a short glimpse into his character in this episode (as opposed to the two season we’ve spent exploring the main cast), but I think the more important lesson here is to not base our opinions on mere appearances. We can be deceived by both Satan and people, so it’s best to be discerning. A person’s true colors will eventually come to light.
Spiritual Content: None
Language: 1 “h*ll”, 1 “p*sses”, 2 “d*mn”
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Blood/Gore: There is a bit of blood on the knee of Hikigaya’s pants and on his knee itself