Tag Archives: My Teen Romantic Comedy Too!

Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy Too!, Episode 13: Spring, Bound Beneath the Thick Snow, Begins to Sprout.

Review:

Some shows go out with a bang, and others fade out with a whimper. Sadly, My Teen Romantic Comedy takes the latter route for its swansong episode. To be fair, the show does follow the light novels, and as I understand it the show has pretty much caught up to the plot of the light novels at this point. While the show could have gone with an anime only ending, doing things this way does leave the show open for the possibility for a third season once more source material is available. Sadly, this means that we get what might as well be “just another episode” as a finale.

The episode begins almost as if it is introducing a new story arc—Yukino is faced with the fact that her sister will now be living with her. Hikigaya ultimately disarms the situation, and the three friends retreat to Yui’s house, where Yukino decides to spend the night per Yui’s suggestion. The episode does continue to explore the idea that Yukino is unable to think for her self, as evidenced during this portion, specifically when she uses Hikigaya’s exact words to justify to her sister why she is not coming home. Even the climax of the episode builds on this theme, as Yui confronts Yukino with a “solution” to all of her problems, one which will cost Yukino “everything”. Yet again Hikigaya has to step in for this, and while it seems to push Yukino into some kind of progression, we don’t get to see the fruits of this, as it is the very end of the episode.

To be fair, this was a good episode of OreGairu. It continued the focus on Yukino that had begun a few episodes ago, and made an effort to show evidence for some of the claims that have been made about her. Had this simply been another stepping stone in OreGairu’s second season, there would be no complaints, but it really does not do anything to wrap up the story or provide a satisfying end. The episode does present content that seems to further the possibility of romance between Hikigaya and either of the female leads, but again nothing definitive is put in place to suggest which route he will go. Yui’s statement at the end is probably the closest thing to a declaration that has been made throughout the entire season. Of course, there is also the reoccurring vague-speak for which this season has been notorious, making it difficult for the viewer to understand what is being discussed at some points.

Overall, this episode’s biggest weakness is the fact that it is the season finale. It would have received a much warmer review had it been a normal episode, but it does nothing to round out the season or provide a satisfactory conclusion to everything that has happened thus far. At best, it leaves the viewer with an imaginary “To Be Continued?” in his/her mind, and since there is no guarantee that a third season will be made (especially since more light novels will have to be written first), the fact is that we may never have closure. OreGairu was one of the stronger shows I reviewed this season, and I honestly wish it would have gotten a better send off than it did.

A Christian Perspective:

James 5:12 – But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. (ESV)

So I’m not usually a fan of changing up versions for the sake of better wording (I typically post from the NIV only), but honestly this is how I know this verse moreso than the NIV translation (which is ironic, since the NIV is what I read during my own devotions, although maybe the version I read is older than the one online). At any rate, I found myself thinking about this verse in conjunction with this episode, and it occurred to me that you might be able to take James’ statement as, “Say what you mean.” Now, my friend tells me that this is a bad paraphrase, and that what James is saying is to not let your opinions be swayed by other people… but I really don’t get that from this verse, and I still feel like, “Say what you mean” is one way to take his statement to “let your yes be yes and your no be no”, so I will move forward with that train of thought.

In this episode, as with several others this season, we have the characters saying a lot of things that are less than clear. Whether the characters themselves understand what is going on or not is uncertain, but the viewers are certainly left confused (I felt better at my lack of understanding when I read similar thoughts in the Crunchyroll comments). One such example is Hikigaya’s statement that he wants the “real thing”, yet he never actually explained what he meant by that. Haruno even asks him if this is the “real thing” he wanted at one point. This episode ends with similarly vague statements by Yui—statements that at least seem to be understood by Yukino, if no one else.

Clear communication is important. In entertainment, it helps the viewer to understand what is going on with the story and what the motivations of the various characters are. In real life, clear communication is essential to making sure people understand pretty much anything. Just think about how hard explaining salvation through Christ would be if all we did was beat around the bush with vague terms. The point is, we need to make sure that we are communicating in such a way that others can comprehend what we are saying and, if necessary, act on it.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “Oh G*d”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None

Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy Too!, Episode 12: Still, The Thing He Seeks Is Out of Reach, And He Continues to Mistake What’s Real.

Review:

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.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “h*ll”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: A girl’s top shows some cleavage

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None

Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy Too!, Episode 11: Hayama Hayato Always Responds to Everyone’s Expectations.

Using a picture of Hayato for an episode named after him would have made more sense, but come on... Yukino is just too cute in this screenshot. Screenshot taken from: http://www.crunchyroll.com/my-teen-romantic-comedy-snafu/episode-11-hayama-hayato-always-responds-to-everyones-expectationsc-678759

Using a picture of Hayato for an episode named after him would have made more sense, but come on… Yukino is just too cute in this screenshot.
Screenshot taken from: http://www.crunchyroll.com/my-teen-romantic-comedy-snafu/episode-11-hayama-hayato-always-responds-to-everyones-expectationsc-678759

Review:

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.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “h*ll”, 1 “p*sses”, 2 “d*mn”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: There is a bit of blood on the knee of Hikigaya’s pants and on his knee itself

Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy Too!, Episode 10: The Thing That the Light in Each of Their Hands Shines On.

Review:

This episode brings us what we’ve finally been waiting for: the conclusion to the Christmas event arc that has been running for several episodes now. As we all knew, including Yukino and Yui (but mostly Yukino) in the plans was the trump card that everyone needed. Before we get to that, though, we have to deal with the fall out of Hayama rejecting Iroha, which honestly isn’t as bad as it could have been. The writers do take the time to remind us that Hayama isn’t really the good guy that everyone thinks he is (a fact that seems to be further hammered home in the episode’s conclusion, when Hayama is seen with Haruno as she forces Yukino into a situation that Yukino herself did not want any part in). Iroha is clearly dejected as one might expect, but she bounces back fairly quickly, even going so far as to have the usual exchange of banter with Hikigaya. Of course, there are the usual hints that she may be developing feelings for Hiki, as well, and to be honest Iroha is starting to win over even this writer.

Once the drama from the previous episode is over, the preparations for the Christmas event finally get under way. Unfortunately, this portion of the episode is almost over before it even starts. This portion of the episode begins with the Service Club and the school council meeting to discuss their plan of action for dealing with the other council. This is all well and good, as it goes along with what one would expect for a “final confrontation”, of sorts. Unfortunately, the resolution to the whole even isn’t nearly as dramatic as one might think. Both Hikigaya and Yukino confront the other student council, which seems to basically break them and get them to agree to the idea of having each school do a different event. To give you a better idea of how fast this all happens, the first half of the episode contains the fallout and resolution to the Hayama/Iroha situation, the meeting between the Service Club and student council, the final confrontation with the other student council, and the actual Christmas event. While it is nice to have this plot point finally resolved, it felt a bit rushed, as opposed to being an epic battle of wit between Yukino and the other school’s student president. Regardless, the situation still wraps up nicely, and the Christmas event would have been a nice way to end the episode altogether, but ending an episode of OreGairu on a positive note doesn’t seem to be the thing this season, so the plot marches on.

After what would have been the break, we rejoin the Service Club, along with Komachi, as they visit a shrine (presumably for the New Year). This portion of the episode really only seems to serve two purposes: to push the Hikigaya/Yukino relationship (and, to a lesser extent, the Hikigaya/Yui relationship) further along and to set up the next major plot point. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the love triangle device was pretty evident from the beginning, yet there hasn’t been a lot of development between Hikigaya and Yukino (after all, they did spend most of this season being somewhat hostile towards each other), and watching Komachi set them up to be alone was amusing in its own right. Having this followed up with Hikigaya’s outing with Yui seems to further cement the direction the “romantic” side of this story (which has been woefully neglected) is going (that being the love triangle). Of course, as with other moments in this series, the fun, lighthearted interactions don’t stick around for long, as Hiki and Yui encounter Haruno and Hayama while out shopping. Haruno invites the two of them for coffee, which ultimately serves as a pretext for dragging Yukino out into public, and subsequently into a confrontation with their mother.

This portion of the episode is really the only negative part (other than the kind of rushed conclusion with the student councils), because it is evident that there is some kind of tension between Yukino and her mother—or, at the very least, some reason that Yukino does not want to be around her mother. While there are comments made among the characters, they are comments that seem to hinge on possessing other knowledge that, quite frankly, the viewer does not possess at this time. While this may ultimately be explained later, it does sort of leave the viewer in a weird position: on the one hand, we certainly want to know what’s going on (which will bring us back next week); however, on the other hand, it makes it hard to truly be impacted by what we’ve just seen when we are not capable of clearly understanding what we’ve just seen. Since OreGairu has not seriously disappointed this season, it is probably safe to assume that the situation will be handled in a way that will ultimately answer all of the viewers’ questions, but only time will tell if that is true.

A Christian Perspective:

1 Peter 5:6 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

I quote the above verse because I want to talk about humility. I think it is safe to say that we’ve seen the fruits of this discipline played out in this episode. Remember how Hikigaya was originally bent on handling Iroha’s situation on his own, and how that ultimately failed for him? Eventually, he was lead to set his pride and whatever else he had aside, and to ultimately bear his soul and true feelings to Yui and Yukino. While we know this embarrassed him, we also get the opportunity to finally see the results in today’s episode.

Simply put, Yukino was the silver bullet that Iroha’s team needed. Once the Service Club was working together, they were able to formulate a plan in conjunction with the student council and stick to that plan, even under the pressure of the opposing student council. Perhaps my initial comment gave Yukino too much credit, because Iroha certainly stuck to her guns, and Hikigaya didn’t hesitate to throw in his two cents, either. It’s also worth noting that both Yukino and Hikigaya get reprimanded by Iroha for coming on too strong. Either way, the point still remains the same: this result was only reached because Hikigaya was willing to be humble and, despite the embarrassment of it all, open himself fully to his friends.

Humility may take many forms, be it setting aside your pride for the sake of a better outcome (or fixing a friendship, congratulating a coworker who got promoted above you, celebrating the accomplishments of someone else instead of drawing attention to your own accomplishments, or any other number of scenarios, but the point is that God wants us to be humble. Let’s try to learn from Hikigaya’s example and be more humble as we go about our days.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “Oh, G*d”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None

Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy Too!, Episode 9: And, Yukinoshita Yukino Is…

Review:

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.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “h*ck”, 1 “d*mn”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: Komachi grinds her foot into the back of Hikigaya’s leg

Blood/Gore: None

Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy Too!, Episode 8: But Still, Hikigaya Hachiman Is…

Review:

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.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “d*mn” in the episode preview

Alcohol/Drug Use: Shizuka smokes cigarettes; beer is mentioned in the episode preview

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None

Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy Too!, Episode 7: Yet, That Room Continues to Play Out the Endless Days

Review:

Hikigaya’s frustrating school council experience continues as the date of the event looms ever closer with no concrete plans set in place. This episode does serve to reintroduce Tsurumi Rumi (a season one character) back into the plot, albeit with very little function or influence on the overall progression of the plot, although there is a bit of enjoyable interaction between her and Hikigaya in one scene. For the most part, the episode continues to focus on the continuing stress of the student council situation and Hikigaya’s relationships with the people around him. It is particularly interesting to watch his interactions with Iroha, as the potential for another love interest is clearly cropping up.

My Teen Rom-Com (OreGairu, in its Japanese abbreviation) continues to be an interesting creature, because despite its title, there is still very little comedy to be had. Outside of Hikigaya’s banter with Komachi (which may also be the most genuine emotion we see from him) and his meal with Totsuka, there really isn’t anything “comedic” about this episode, just as there hasn’t been for pretty much the entire season. What the show excels at is weaving the overall thread of the show just below the surface of the present story arc, so that the viewer’s attention is kept on the problem at hand while simultaneously never being far from the problems that have developed amongst the three members of the Service Club.

For maybe the first time in the season, we also see Hikigaya begin to question the effectiveness of his methods, and to wonder if perhaps he is not going about things the wrong way. This type of gradual self-realization is another high point for the show, as it doesn’t force character progression (lets not forget that we have a whole season plus seven episodes under our belt at this point), but it also doesn’t keep characters as they are simply to milk whatever comedic aspect it can. A good example is the ending of this episode, which finally takes all of the underlying pressure that has been building between Hikigaya and Yukino and puts it into action. Granted, like anything else in the show, it gets a slow start, and probably won’t come to a head until later in the series, but the progression is there.

OreGairu continues to be one of this reviewer’s top shows for the Spring 2015 season. The combination of likeable characters with a genuinely interesting plot makes it something that you will want to come back to week after week in order to see what happens next.

A Christian Perspective:

At one point in this episode, Hayama comments that he isn’t the good guy that Hikigaya thinks he is. At this point in the story, we really don’t know what that means, but that statement made me think of the Pharisees. In Matthew 23:27, Jesus say, “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” Despite looking good and righteous on the outside, the Pharisees were really anything but. Their holiness was only skin deep. Whether or not Hayama’s true stripes are as bad as the Pharisees is as of yet unknown.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “h*ll”, 1 “p*ss”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None

Other: There is a scene with Hikigaya having inappropriate reactions towards Totsuka

Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy Too!, Episode 6: Without Incident, The Congress Dances, But Does Not Progress

Review:

The student council arc may be over, but Iroha’s involvement in the plot certainly isn’t.

On the surface, things seem to have returned to normal in the Service Club: Yukino sits quietly in her seat, entertaining Yui’s endless chatter, while Hikigaya sits silently at the other end of the table. From Hikigaya’s own comments, though, we can easily discern that everything is not alright, especially with the end of the previous episode. This is pretty well alluded to in the tension between Hikigaya and Yukino. On the other hand, things may finally be progressing between Hikigaya and Yui (however slowly), as the two end up walking to the Service Club together, which is certainly not in Hikigaya’s character.

In any event, the focus on the Service Club is fairly minimal in this episode (although Hikigaya’s actions seem to be largely motivated by the Club, and quite possibly Yukino specifically). Remember how I mentioned that Iroha’s involvement in the plot wasn’t over? Apparently, she has been roped into planning an event with another school’s student council, and she wants to enlist the Service Club to help her because she has absolutely no clue what she is doing. Hikigaya instead takes the task upon himself, while making it appear to Yui and Yukino that he rejected the job altogether. Thus starts another crazy adventure for our beloved social misfit.

If you end up feeling confused when the student council meetings actually start do not worry, because you are not alone. The other school’s council president offers a bunch of fancy sounding ideas, but nothing constructive is actually being said. To make matters worse, Kaori (Hikigaya’s middle school crush) is also on the other school’s council, which means Hikigaya will get to spend even more time around her. Ultimately, the plot doesn’t progress very much, other than to show Iroha and her council getting laden with a bunch of work, but that’s more than likely the point. This show rarely has one shot episodes, so we likely won’t see what the point of all of this was until the next episode. If the point of this episode is to create intrigue and make the viewer ask questions, then it does so very well, and it plants that seed of curiosity that makes coming back for more a desirable option.

A Christian Perspective:

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. – Ephesians 5:6

Seriously, is this not a great verse to apply to the other school’s student council president? Throughout the entirety of their meetings, he throws out sentences and phrases that sound constructive and intelligent, but that are ultimately meaningless and fruitless. Hikigaya eventually catches on to this and tries to “speak their language”, but it backfires on him. At the end, it just seems as though Iroha and her council have been laden with a bunch of work, and that Iroha’s fellow council members are thoroughly annoyed with her. It’s true that we don’t know the true motives of the other school yet, but it is fairly evident that nothing is actually being accomplished in these meetings. Essentially, the other student council is good for nothing besides blowing hot air.

During our Christian walks, we will inevitably meet people like this. Whether it’s a prosperity preacher who wants to convince you that Jesus died so you can have a Corvette, or whether it’s someone less obvious who subtly twists Scripture to make it sound like you also need to do x, y, or z in addition to faith in Jesus for salvation, the result is the same: someone who sounds like they know what they’re talking about, but their words are empty because they don’t convey truth. They will lead us astray down unknown paths.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “h*ck”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None

Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy Too!, Episode 5: The Scent Of Tea Doesn’t Fill That Room Anymore

Review:

This episode finally brings to a close the student council president story arc. Upon reconciling with his sister, Komachi, Hikigaya finds himself in a bind: how does he stop both girls from running and ultimately breaking up the club while also handling the issue of finding a student council president? While initially feeling like there’s nothing he can do, Hikigaya eventually finds inspiration after Komachi rounds up some support (in addition to Zaimokuza, whom Hikigaya had already recruited). Ultimately, he realizes that there is no way for him to fulfill his sister’s request to keep Yui and Yukino in the Service Club and to also keep Iroha from becoming the student council president. Komachi declares that Hikigaya’s first priority has to be to his little sister, which he agrees to. From here, the group hatches a plan that relies heavily on deception and reverse psychology to convince Iroha to accept the role as president while also convincing Yui and Yukino that they cannot win.

On the one hand, this episode was a nice change of pace from the recent tone of things. Hikigaya is shown with a much more positive attitude (well, in terms of Hikigaya moods, at least), and the overall mood of the episode felt much lighter than it has in a while. At times, Hikigaya almost seemed friendly. On the other hand, much of the plot’s resolution relied on deception and manipulating Iroha’s desire to maintain her self-image. It certainly doesn’t leave a lot of room for pulling a Christian message from the episode. As things wind down and wrap up, we also see a brief scene between Hikigaya and Yukino that suggests that things aren’t exactly fixed between them with Hikigaya’s solution.

Overall, the episode was enjoyable in terms of the story and seeing how the situation resolves. It certainly requires the viewer to actually pay attention, because the exact details of Hikigaya’s plan aren’t spelled out step-by-step—you have to really observe what he is doing to connect the dots. Unfortunately, when you stop to think about the episode from a morality standpoint you realize that the direction the plot took leaves a lot to be desired, even if the ending is as close to a “happily ever after” as we could possibly get. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t watch the episode or that you should disown the show, just that you shouldn’t necessarily expect a positive message in the end.

A Christian Perspective:

In keeping with the general conclusion of my review, the focus here is on integrity. While Hikigaya does manage to bring about an agreeable solution to all of the problems presented, his solution isn’t really moral. He relies on deceit (creating multiple support accounts for various ghost candidates, before changing all of the names to Iroha’s) to convince Iroha that she has a lot of support for the presidency (hence why she should take it) and to convince Yui and Yukino that they should just give up. A popular saying is that “the ends justify the means”, but I personally don’t see that as a biblical concept. True, a lot of bad stuff happens in the Bible, and God uses them for good things (see Romans 8:28 and Genesis 50:20), but that doesn’t mean that the people who did the wrong or bad things were justified in doing what they did.

A couple of examples: Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Now, God ultimately used this to bring Joseph into power in Egypt, so that he would be able to prepare Egypt for the coming famine and ultimately save his family (which would ultimately lead to the Israelites living in Egypt, as well), but that doesn’t mean that Joseph’s brothers got off scott-free for betraying their own flesh and blood. If you recall the story, Joseph punishes them quite a bit for their treachery. Another example is Moses. If you recall, he kills an Egyptian who is beating a Hebrew, only to later be found out, which ultimately leads to him living in the desert for 40 years. Again, God used Moses for great things: he lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he spoke to God as a man speaks to a friend, he was given the Ten Commandments, he wrote the first five books of the Bible, etc., but Moses was still punished for the wrong that he did (not to mention the fact that he was ultimately denied the right to see the Promised Land because he disobeyed God and struck the rock instead of speaking to it).

The point is, let us consider the whole of our actions, not just the end results, because while dubious methods could produce favorable results, they may also come with undesirable side effects. Instead, we should seek to employ methods that uphold the values and integrity that we as Christians claim to believe in, so that we keep out consciences clean throughout our entire ordeal(s).

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “p***es”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None

Other: The methods by which Hikigaya solves the problem of who will be student council president involves a lot of deceit

Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy Too!, Episode 3: Quietly, Yukinoshita Yukino Makes A Decision

Review:

The darker, dramatic tone that began with last week’s episode continues into this one, as Hikigaya’s typical approach to handling situations begins to wear on Yukino, as evidenced by her staunch rejection of Hikigaya’s proposal for handling a new job that has been brought to the Service Club. It turns out that a fellow student has been nominated to run for Student Council President as some sort of prank, and since she’s the only candidate her election is basically assured. The problem is, she doesn’t want to be the SC president, so she turns to the Service Club to help her out. Hikigaya immediately jumps to a plan that appears to be headed in the usual direction: take the brunt of the bad stuff onto himself so that the client can get out of her problem without having her social life negatively impacted. Yukino harshly rejects his plan, moving to instead suggest a direction of her own.

In all reality, the set up for this kind of plot was done at the end of season one, with Shizuka (the Service Club adviser) lamenting that Hikigaya always hurts himself to help others. It makes sense that these feelings would eventually boil over and start affecting his friends, as well; however, starting on that path almost immediately at the beginning of the second season is a bit jarring. As far as this writer can recall, the first season ended on a relatively positive note—which is understandable, especially if a second season wasn’t initially planned. The disconnect is in having a relatively content group of individuals suddenly fall into contention over Hikigaya using the same motives he has always used. Using the first portion of the season to build up the tension before having it finally boil over would have seemed like a more balanced approach.

None of this is to say that the show is bad; on the contrary, it is actually enjoyable to watch a high school anime that isn’t a constant barrage of flowers and sunshine, with a male protagonist who isn’t typical of a romantic comedy (although, calling this a romantic comedy almost seems like lying at this point, as both the romance and the comedy currently seem to be absent). In any case, the current events make one want to see how this conflict is resolved, as Hikigaya cannot possibly continue on the same path anymore—at least, not without severely damaging or even losing the friendships he has finally made. Perhaps that’s what needs to happen, though. Maybe he has to lose it all to realize how much it means to him, since his usual cynical attitude may not place much value on friendship. That’s just a theory, of course. How this will play out is still too far off for anyone to tell, so one can only hope for a satisfying conclusion.

A Christian Perspective:

Proverbs 26:11 – As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.

Sorry guys, no positive perspective this week. I think it’s fairly obvious where I’m going with this, but I’ll go there anyway. As we have seen, Hikigaya’s methods for solving problems (basically, putting himself on the line for the sake of sparing others any personal embarrassment) are starting to hurt those closest to him, and they are starting to get vocal about it, and yet Hikigaya continues to use this approach. While this plot point is still in its infancy, it stands to reason that if he doesn’t change his ways, then he may lose his friends—not because they dislike him, but because being around him would become too painful. Grant you this is all speculation, but it is a likely scenario based on what we’re given.

The verse above makes it clear that to persist in your folly is foolish, and at this point it is pretty clear that Hikigaya’s methods are foolish. He takes the brunt of anger, embarrassment, etc. onto himself, which of course sets the stage for contention between himself and others. It’s true that he doesn’t seem to have too much trouble with his fellow classmates, although it is also obvious that he doesn’t exactly have a friendly relationship with them. Ultimately, though, it is never wise to continue making enemies for yourself, and that is precisely what Hikigaya’s methods have the potential of doing. Instead of being wise and looking at other methods, though, he is obstinate and insists on using the same tactics over and over again. Whether this is simply because they work, because he doesn’t care what people think of him, or because of some other variable that we do not yet know of, I cannot say. As Christians, though, let us practice wisdom and actually consider our methods of doing things, especially when they are clearly hurting those closest to us.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “Oh my G–”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Hikigaya stares at a girl’s chest

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None