Where’s my SNAFU post, huh?!!
It’s just a little late, so let’s dive right into episodes eight and nine of the wonderful SNAFU.
First up we have the conclusion of Rumi’s arc. As it turns out, Hachiman’s solution to the problem is to break the whole group of girls apart so that everything sort of starts over from square one. With the social structure obliterated in this way, Rumi can easily squeeze back in without facing any organized “opposition”. And while this plan certainly has the potential for getting the job done, there’s no denying that it will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the girls. It’s interesting to note that Hayato, every the nice guy, acknowledges Hachiman’s plan, but believes that the girls will stand together against whatever common threat Hachiman decides to throw against them. I guess it just goes to show how strongly he believes in the good in mankind, even if he might be a little naive. That said, what actually happens is not quite what either of the two schemers expect. Things appear to be progressing according to Hachiman’s plan at first, but before the group of girls completely falls apart, Rumi intervenes and saves them all from the “big bad high schoolers”. It’s not quite Hayato’s uniting against a common threat, but things certainly didn’t turn out exactly as Hachiman had envisioned either.
I guess the moral here is that while Hachiman and Hayato represent what can be interpreted as extremes views of mankind’s inherent nature, reality lies more in the gray area in between. The girls did start to turn on each other, but a complete falling apart was halted just short. And I have to wonder if perhaps Rumi realized that the whole situation was set up by Hachiman. Her intervention certainly came at just the right moment, so another logical question would be whether she acted only to reestablish her position amongst her group of friends, or whether she acted out of genuine concern for her fellow classmates. Hachiman’s own analysis was that Rumi truly cared for her friends even despite having seen their darker side, and I tend to agree with this assessment. There is the question of why she waited until another girl was singled out for a scapegoat, but we’re talking about elementary schoolers facing off against high schoolers here, so I think some degree of hesitation is to be expected. Whatever the case, it’s clear that she did realize Hachiman was responsible sometime during the confrontation or perhaps not long after, and I think that it’s well that she didn’t acknowledge him in the end. That moment of silence as she walked by was probably more meaningful than any thanks would have been.
With Rumi’s arc all wrapped up, we progress seamlessly into the next. The gang are just arriving back from the summer camp when they run into none other than Haruno, who has come to pick Yukino up. And it just so happens that her ride is the family’s black luxory car, which, also happens to be a match for the car that hit Hachiman on that fateful day. Hachiman and Yui realize this almost instantly, but while Yui tries to bring it up, Hachiman brushes things off yet again as though it doesn’t concern him. I understand that he doesn’t want to dwell on the past, but surely he realizes the implications this has on Yukino. She must have known all along that he had been hit by the car she was riding in, and there’s no way she doesn’t in some way feel guilty. Not only that, but she’s had to mediate a conflict between Hachiman and Yui on exactly this same accident not too long ago. That must have been hard on her. If Yui felt bad for being the owner of the dog that got Hachiman in front of the car, imagine how Yukino must have felt as the person in that very car. And then Yui goes and makes a big deal about it? It must have taken a lot for Yukino to still keep quiet about her own involvement.
Beyond her involvement in this ever important accident, we also learn a bit more about Yukino’s family circumstances from Haruno. When Hachiman and Yui run into the boisterous sister at the fireworks, she explains to them how she basically gets all the good stuff as the older sibling, and how their mother controls every aspect of their life, which Yukino has trouble dealing with. And after teasing the two for a bit, Haruno proceeds to cryptically remark how Yukino wasn’t chosen once again. The conversation then takes a more serious turn as Haruno reveals that Yukino has always been trying to match her accomplishments, yet she is the one who continues to receive favorable treatment from their mother. If it hasn’t been clear before, it’s made pretty obvious now that Yukino does have a sort of inferiority complex towards her sister, and is suffering from not having her efforts recognized. It also doesn’t help that the extra effort she puts in to succeeding has only alienated her from her own peers, who have instead grown jealous of her. And while Hachiman’s accident doesn’t directly relate to these hardships she’s purportedly been going through, it would only have served as yet another weight on her back.
I guess in the end SNAFU is unable to escape the typical RomCom’s pattern of delving into more somber drama. But this is just fine. At this point, the show has injected just enough drama to weave a compelling tale without appearing too contrived. And it’s certainly high time that Yukino has gotten some proper attention of her own, after all that’s been given to Yui. We see that despite her cool and uncompromising exterior, she is actually rather vulnerable underneath, and under a lot of emotional strain. Indeed, in spite of Hachiman’s angelic image of her in the first episode, she’s just an ordinary girl. And while Hachiman may have scoffed at the idea of her turning to him for support, it’s almost guaranteed to happen somewhere along the line. I just hope that he’ll be willing to lend a hand when the time comes.