Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too! (Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabu Kome wa Machigatteiru)

When I was in elementary school I had a lot of friends. Or, well, maybe not a lot of friends, but I had a few and I wasn't worried about perceptions of me. Teachers knew of me and my folks. I was liked. Up until the fifth grade I even had the same teachers as my brother and I appreciated that connection. It kind of made me feel like I was part of a group. But when I was in the fourth grade I suffered the dawning realization that my friendships could very well be coming to an end because all of us would be shipped off to different schools.

There was a sense of finality. I was going to be alone. But when the school zones changed suddenly since a new elementary school had been built I found myself unready for the change in social climate. I was only going to be at this particular school for one year before starting sixth grade at middle school, too. I went from a fairly warm environment (my elementary school had been an old one) to an unintentionally cold one (that I often relate to hospitals as well) and I didn't take to it well. 

It was at this time that I sort of began to withdraw. I smiled when I had to, nodded my head at the right times when someone talked to me, and tried to laugh at the appropriate times if someone told me a joke, but I wasn't really in the moment.

This sort of behavior got worse in middle and high school because I refused to indulge in any sort of social behavior. I only indulged in a handful of social during high school. Since the I've had even less, but at least now the reasons are sort of different. I no longer feel uncomfortable around people. Now I just don't like most of them. See, it's different.

Honestly, if no one talked to me in middle school or high school I wouldn't have bothered to talk to anyone at all. Whatever ties I did have with elementary school companions were subsequently cut off because of my behavior. I try not to think about it, but every now and then I feel bad about how I just cut ties with what had been some good friends at the time. Childhood friends, you know. 

Being introverted, being coldly analytical, and always trying to live according to reason is tough to do and it isn't one of those things that can just be turned off. When my mind "came to" at times it would be somewhat sluggish like a computer recovering from a forced shutdown. I'd sometimes wonder, "Why the hell am I acting this way?" before pinching that thought off and plodding along through my solitude. 

A few folks sort of provided me with a tether to reality halfway through middle school, though. At a time when I just wanted to be left alone they wouldn't stop bothering me. And I'll always be grateful for that.

This group, like Hachiman's in a way, put me on the course toward wanting to find the "real thing." Of course, I don't have a "real thing" to this day, but I at least understand the concept of it. Or I think I do. 

Although things are a lot different now in some aspects my social skills are still lacking. It's tough to recover from. Really tough. 

I suppose virtually none of this seems to have anything to do with My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too on the surface. I guess this shouldn't even count as a review, but more as a "thoughts inspired by" kind of thing. But it's only thanks to an anime like this that I can truthfully relate my own experiences.

Hikigaya Hachiman is the anime hero no one deserves, but everyone needs and seasons two does him some justice. He grows like I wish I could have done back in the day.

This is one of the few anime that I felt like watching again immediately after finishing. For a number of reasons. The second season arrived about two years after the first season and I chose not to re-watch the first season before jumping into this one. That was a bit of a mistake. This anime thrives on subtlety and on the moments in between moments. It's not just one of those that can be easy to remember. There are certain little things that can so easily go missed. Watching just one episode each week isn't ideal because there's so much impact lost in the week between episodes, but watching the second season after two years of waiting made me forget most of the damn story.

This is one of those anime that deserve a full weekend of time. Set aside two days and just binge-watch the two seasons and feel purged for it.

Of course, I really wish the ending of this second season could have provided a bit more clarity. I really don't like being cliffhangered after two years of waiting. And I suppose the pacing could also have been tidied up a bit.

But the beauty of this anime is that it takes everyday school life and makes something fascinating from it. There was nary an explosion in this anime, but it was intense in its own way and I was left wanting more. Especially, after that ending that will be infamous if there isn't a follow-up.

Unfortunately, this season's ending catches up to the light novels so it could be 2017 before there's a third season. I don't really even know how plausible that sounds. It really was tough to wait from 2013 to 2015. Between that time the studios and the animation style changed. It was worth the wait, though.

I guess we'll just have to see about season three.

But if you love anime then buy the blu-rays, stream it on Crunchyroll, or maybe even try out the light novels if you can find them. If there's a proper translation I might even pick them up myself.

Just support this wonderful anime. It deserves it and you deserve it. 

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