Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru – 07

Shizuka-sensei is scary…

This week’s SNAFU takes us on a trip to the mountains, where the Volunteers club deals with troubled kids and Hayato’s posse. The show has recently taken a focus on more serious social matters, and I’m liking this direction.

 

Bullying and Exclusion

First up we have the troubled elementary school girl, Tsurumi Rumi. At first glance, she just appears to be a loner shunned by her classmates, but the ugly truth is soon revealed. The situation results from an innocent yet malicious practice amongst the elementary schoolers of excluding a targeted classmate just for fun. I say “innocent yet malicious” because I want to believe that the elementary schoolers are too young to fully understand what exactly it is that they are doing.1 But I’m sure subconsciously they have an inkling that what they’re doing is wrong and just choose to ignore it, just as Rumi did before she became the next victim. Actually, the whole situation is reminiscent of a one shot manga I had read recently, Koe no Katachi. The fall from bully to bullied is present just the same, but in Koe no Katachi the initial bullying was instigated because of a disability as opposed to on a whim. Which makes SNAFU’s case all the more sour. Now that’s not to say that bullying because of disabilities is any more acceptable. But just the thought that the elementary schoolers here move from one victim to another like a pack of wolves strikes me as far worse than the kids in Koe no Katachi settling upon a victim because of a certain characteristic. At least the latter seems to have marginally more “logic” to it, in spite of the fact that any bullying for any reason is just as unacceptable.

But I’m not here to talk about Koe no Katachi, so let’s get back to SNAFU. Bullying is a tough topic to address as it is more pervasive than we would like to think, and I have to give props to SNAFU for tackling it. Understandably, this is just an extension of the usual “loner” spiel we’ve been getting about Hachiman and the Volunteers club. But it is a logical next step in the theme of social troubles and group psychology. Isolation, misunderstanding, conflict; it’s all there. And watching Hayato repeatedly try and fail to correct the problem only reminds us of the bitter truth that oftentimes bullying goes unresolved because outsiders tasked with breaking it up don’t understand what they should do. Directly confronting the bullies might have the reverse effect of aggravating their treatment of the victim when they blame him/her for getting them in trouble. From my own experiences and as Rumi herself mentions, it usually takes the bullies themselves deciding to move for the bullying to end. Otherwise, the only way to end it prematurely is to simply remove the source of the problem by moving away. And that’s not so much a real solution as it is giving up. As an analogy, consider how declaring bankruptcy is not simply a get out of jail free card; there will be a black mark on your credit history.

So just what can Hachiman and co. do fix the problem? The bullies are unlikely to listen, and Rumi herself is not welcoming any help out of a sense of guilt. Honestly, I don’t know. It’s a good thing I’m an engineer and not a counselor. We know this much: trying to reintegrate Rumi by forcefully pushing her in with the group isn’t going to work. Yui suggests that maybe they all really want to get along, but they’re being forced to play out the roles they’ve placed upon themselves of the bullies and the bullied. This being the case, I hazard that it might just be possible to get them back together with a bit of group activities and some strategic nudging, but the preview for next episode alluded to this much. Maybe some of you more discerning readers have a better idea of what needs to be done, but I’m afraid I myself fall into Hayato’s position. I’d want to help the girl out, but I just wouldn’t know what to do. If this were a shounen, the answer would obviously be to beat up all the bad girls, but SNAFU isn’t that kind of show.

Some Usual Programming

Rumi’s predicament aside, we have yet more development on the part of Yukino. Near the end of the episode, Hachiman comes across a pensive Yukino gazing at the stars. In spite of his attempt to make a strategic retreat, he is spotted and the two engage in a rather interesting conversation. Yukino mentions that Rumi might be similar to Yui in that the latter probably went through a similar experience. We know that Yui has had trouble fitting in, but at least she isn’t outright ignored like Rumi is. But that’s just an ancillary observation. The exact form of treatment the two received is irrelevant; what matters is they aren’t being accepted. And as Yui has provided the most useful insight on Rumi’s situation so far, I’m guessing she will play a pivotal role in fixing things next episode, despite her bird-brained nature. Moving on, Yukino proceeds to casually inform us that she and Hayato are childhood friends and their families are longtime friends and business partners. The immediate and cliche complication of this is that SNAFU might pull some arranged marriage drama somewhere down the line. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Finally, there’s very brief mention of Haruno. It was clear from last time that Yukino doesn’t exactly like her sister, and here the reason is made apparent: she feels like she lives in Haruno’s shadow. In her own words, she’s just a substitute for her larger than life older sister.

Extras

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In spite of the strong language and word fencing between Hachiman and Yukino, I really get the impression that the two bonded a lot during their brief conversation.2 And to be fair, they also did spend the majority of the episode observing Hayato’s failures and making snarky remarks about the situation. While Yukino may not have directly gained any “romantic points”, I’m sure the exchange helped close the distance between the two outwardly hostile teens. And if I may be allowed to indulge in a bit of shipping, it’s almost as if Yukino’s outspoken and unapologetic nature complements Hachiman’s nonconfrontational and evasive personality. The two would certainly make for an entertaining couple.

1i.e. bullying.
2The whole thing lasted just over 2 minutes, with plenty of silence in between.

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An aspiring mechanical engineer who spends too much time watching anime and reading manga.
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17 Responses to “Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru – 07”

  1. PanzerJäger says:

    This episode was good, it provided some good insight to Yukino and how she feels about her status with her sister but more improtantly how she is connected with Hayato. I wouldn’t be surprised if their family’s had plans for them. This will be interesting to see it pan out. I also think because of the connection Hayato stopped Yumiko and Yukino from verbally absuing each other.

    The loli bit was defiantly the best for me. Goes to show what could happen when you miss hear a word. We also got to see some more of the bromance between Tosuka and Hachiman. I wonder what will come of that.

    • Bonk says:

      >> I also think because of the connection Hayato stopped Yumiko and Yukino from verbally absuing each other.

      I think the guy just has that much influence on Yumiko, meaning that either they’re a couple of Hayato is something deeper than simply a nice guy. Don’t forget, she complied to his orders twice in the same scene without so much as a complain.

  2. Bonk says:

    >>the answer would obviously be to beat up all the bad
    girls, but SNAFU isn’t that kind of show.

    It’s not the answer either. Remember all those times when you complain to your parents about bullying, your father comes and teaches them a lesson, and it’s all worse since then? Honestly, I have expririenced isolation and bullying at school, and this is one of the reasons I like the show(that, and Hachiman’s colclusions about life match my own at the time). The thing is, I hadn’t got a solution in my school days. Hope the volunteers’ club does.

    >>And if I may be allowed to indulge in a bit of shipping, it’s almost as if Yukino’s outspoken and unapologetic nature complements Hachiman’s nonconfrontational and evasive personality. The two would certainly make for an entertaining couple.

    Though I think it will take a whole lot of time for them to confess. Like, go to the same university, then become partners on X-Files , expirience ten years of bickering and UST and then finally confess. And I’d watch the whole nine seasons of that.

    • PanzerJäger says:

      I actually think that they’ll confess a whole lot sooner, since previously Yukino asked Hachiman to “date” her to go shopping. Normally you would ask someone to accompany you, not date. Plus I think Hachiman will crawl outta his shell due to Yukino and start being more proactive with girls, especially her.

      • Sumairii says:

        I think in Japanese “go out” and “date” use the same words, so I don’t believe Yukino meant “date” in the sense of becoming a couple.

        • Highway says:

          I dunno, “tsukiau” is pretty exclusively used for dating or associating with, I think. She could easily have said something more like “go shopping with me.”

          • Sumairii says:

            Doesn’t tsukiau just mean “accompany”? I thought that was the case, but you’re the one studying Japanese so maybe I’m mistaken.

            • Highway says:

              It might, but every time I’ve seen it (admittedly not a whole lot) it’s more “accompany (wink wink nudge nudge)” if not outright “be *the* person I am with.” There’s a subtext to the word that ‘issho ni kaimono’ doesn’t have.

    • Sumairii says:

      Maybe I’m interpreting your comment incorrectly or you’re interpreting what I wrote incorrectly. In any case, I wasn’t being serious about beating up the bad girls. It was supposed to be a joke about the shounen genre, which SNAFU does not fall under.

      I have to agree about Hachiman and Yukino taking their time though. As they are, these two still have a long way to go before they can get into a serious relationship. Which would make it all the more worthwhile to watch.

  3. skylion says:

    I agree that this was a good episode. They’ve taken a very modern viewpoint of a problem and cast light on it without being overtly preachy.

    But, I still think we’ve gotten over-sensitive as a society about the issue. Which is not to say we shouldn’t be sensitive.

    Kids are born greed machines. They have to be, it’s how they survive. It’s how we survived coming into growth and emerging as adults. We learn over a period of time the empathic bonds that link all of us.

    Bullying can be abusive, and can turn ugly in a heartbeat. But I still think it a needful part of social growth. If you’re a bully, you get confronted with why you did it in the first place and how you resolve that. If bullied you learn about standing and running.

    It may be an unpopular opinion these days, but I cannot help but feel that it’s part of the emotional fabric of society. We mark the instances, however, there is a thin line between learning to push and shove, and out-right abuse.

    • Sumairii says:

      You bring up an interesting point, but I still think we should aim to minimize bullying as opposed to accepting it as a normal part of growing up. One might argue that bullying teaches the participants a valuable life lesson, but the counter argument is that there are some things kids just shouldn’t go through. And of course, where you draw the line can become hard to determine.

      • skylion says:

        All you’ve said is very true, and something I am happy to see drawn out from my original post.

        My main concern with this is that labeling people as bullies may be more harm than good, as much harm as a bully can cause; such as when disagreements come up, and someone gets labeled as such without really “earning it”

        • Sumairii says:

          I see. I’ve never personally witnessed this sort of “reverse abuse”, but I understand how this would be the next logical step since we give the title of “bully” so much significance. In this case, I guess we would have no choice but to trust that the kids aren’t being so devious. Or we could simply let it be from the very start, as you suggest.

          Perhaps in the end the quest to end bullying will be as futile as a quest to end trolling in a game (believe me, I’ve tried). But we can always try.

  4. skylion says:

    Bad spammy.

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