After being turned down by his unrequited crush, Hachiman Hikigaya is determined to live out the rest of his high school life single and socially tuned out to avoid the folly of youth. But Hachiman's resolve is lacking compared to his guidance counselor, a woman determined to change the boy's ways. So, much to his dismay, Hachiman is soon forced to reach out to those around him by joining a club dedicated to serving others. Alongside the cold, but beautiful club president Yukino, eager Yui, and other new friends, Hachiman will try to stomach his new volunteer work and survive his ultimate fear: being involved in a typical high school romantic comedy.
Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, as I Expected
All People Surely Have Their Own Worries
Sometimes the Gods of Rom-Coms Do Nice Things.
In Other Words, He Doesn't Have Many Friends
Once Again, He Turns Back on the Path from Whence He Came
His Beginning With Her Finally Ends.
Anyway, Getting No Rest, Even Though it's Summer Break, Just Isn't Right.
One Day, They Will Learn the Truth.
For the Third Time, He Turns Back on the Path from Whence He Came.
The Distance Between Them Remains Unchanged as the Festival is Becoming a Carnival.
And So the Curtain on Each Stage Rises, and the Festival is Festivaling Its Very Best.
Thus, His and Her and Her Youth Continues to Be Wrong
Want a good comedy that takes a more realistic view on life? That is what you get right here with Yahari while the main focus is on comedy and the incredible relationship between Hikki and Yuki with the unfortunate 3rd wheel Yui it tackles some serious issues in life that people are likely going to have to deal with. While the story might be regarded as slow to some. Including the development with the slowly building romance between Hikki and Yuki. This is a much easier romance to relate to for a viewer and is needed in an anime industry full of harems or many rushed romances with little to no development at all. A famous example would be Asuna and Kirito of how not to do a romance. The true appeal behind this show though is Hikki and despite this show making a mockery of most harems by being one itself... Well sort of but I will explain that later. Hikki being a cynical ass and the dialogue between Yuki and Hikki is brilliant and doesn't stop being amusing. Definitely a must watch series for anyone who loves a decent comedy and in terms of the harem/romance/comedy genre this series has a solid place in my top 5. STORY The main story revolves around Hachiman Hikigaya and Yukino Yukinoshita being introduced to one another. The teacher Shizuka Hiratsuka is seriously concerned for Hikki and tries to set him back on the right path. Despite her behaviour and being responsible for most of the arcs in the series Shizuka sensei is a caring individual who is subtly and slowly helping Hikki improve his social life and have an impact at school. Yui Yuigahama is shortly introduced to to both Yuki and Hikki. Is important character that is the key to the bonding of the three of them. While some arcs are more entertaining than others and a couple of minor characters like Saki really needed more screen time considering she was given a whole character arc. The story overall is strung together well and should be easier for most viewers to relate to. The comedy is well constructed and Hikki's progression is slow and steady. The story ends incredibly well as Hikki is becoming more noticed than he thinks. In the final episode it is shown that he gets caught cheating because people who would have previously ignored him, and his prescene started paying attention to him. The most important thing about the series that makes it stand out though is how the anime shows that in life its important not to always tackle every problem with a kind attitude as Hikki's foil the extremely kind Hayato Hayama finds out. The conflict between Hayato and Hikki is clever and well constructed as they both play roles of blue oni and red oni as Hikki always takes the path of cynical and cruel but tackles the problems efficiently despite being hated for it. This causes Hayato to both admire and hate Hikki at the same time for taking the lonely path of isolation and choosing to improve others lives at the cost of his own. ANIMATION Pretty solid not really any major issues but with this kind of series there is nothing that difficult to animate so it doesn't do anything outstanding but keeps a pretty solid quality that doesn't really drop at any point. SOUND I enjoyed both the opening and the ending with a lot of good sound effects and BG music but the best part was probably the Voice acting of Hikki and Yuki. The back and forth banter between the two of them was incredible. CHARACTERS Now as someone who has been doing reviews with one terrible main character after another its a real joy to do a review with an incredible main character and one that there needs to be more of but with variation of course. Definitely the series strong point as the character interactions and the roles in the series are done extremely well. I know that the otaku character wasn't liked much by a lot of people but he really came through in the final episode for me and the anime continues to show the importance of every character in their respective roles. There are a lot of characters as shown on the main page so I will only cover a few. Hachiman Hikigaya Sometimes in life you just have to be bad to achieve good things and Hikki's idea of kindness is far more realistic. It is easy to relate to for viewers than most pretentious rubbish that a lot of anime tries to ram down your throat these days. It was like the author got sick of all the hammy rubbish that is in a lot of anime. Then proceded to create a main character who is very cynical but is actually a pretty nice guy despite being so damn lazy. It is rare to see a male in a harem style series become more popular than any of the heroines but to be fair this isn't really a typical harem. As the one he has the hots for is a trap but its okay all the guys like him too, while Yuki is going to be the one for him eventually that might take a while and poor Yui might have fallen for the wrong guy. Basically in a nutshell this main character is great and this should be a base for more romcoms to have as a main lead instead of plonkers who are completely obilivious or cowards that run away from the problems they have caused. Even worse 'nice' guys who get into perverted situations all the time. Yukino Yukinoshita Now this is the kind of tsundere I can actually like and she is far more realistic too than other tsunderes who either punch you on a regular basis (Taiga), Shoot at you, (Aria) or try to blow you up with magic (Louise). They are also extremely high pitched and very ungrateful and the funniest thing is all the examples are done by the same VA. I hope this is the new standard for tsundere characters so the characters above can die off because they are awful and no one wants a partner that beats them up on regular basis unless... Okay I won't go there. Back to the topic at hand Yukino is also an outcast like Hikki but she is for completely different reasons and is unfortunately stuck in her sister's shadow. Despite being a very talented individual herself her sister is even more incredible. The problem with Yukino is her brutal honesty which doesn't go down well in a lot of social situations however Hikki and her get on very well as a pair since he doesn't care about it at all. Had a harsh past of a lot people thinking that Yuki is conceited and arrogant but this time round Yui and Hikki are there to support her so her progression as a character is well done and heart warming. Yui Yuigahama I have to be honest at first I thought I was going to hate her character a lot since she just seemed very weak willed and got pushed around a lot and appeared to be the typical genki girl. Yui thankfully was a bit of a genki girl but she is a much deeper character than that. I am going to feel sorry for her when she eventually loses Hikki to Yuki but at least the relationship is very sweet between the two girls so I guess she will be okay in the end. The poor girl wasn't weak willed its just she is too kind and while it is obvious she is not happy with the way she is being treated by her so called friend she is just someone who wants to get along with everyone. She was afraid of falling out with her so Hikki saves the day by straight up telling her 'good' friend to stop being a bitch basically so he takes the crap from her while Yui ends up with an improved relationship. At first she was just repaying him for being kind which was quite clear from the story progression but as things developed she realised that despite the way he behaves that Hikki is probably the kindnest guy she knows. It is clear from the later arcs she develops feelings for him but at the same time has to deal with all the social kind of crap at school which I have seen happen many a time in real life because social hierarchys do exist. Thankfully the snarker later gets her rump roasted and handed right back to her but as someone who treasures friendship she is still slightly controlled by the social hierarchies in school but is slowly becoming a much stronger and kinder person thanks to both Hikki and Yuki. A real sweetie overall and a particular moment in the anime was very painful to watch but she is essential to the cast and a weclome member as she connects the 3 of them together. Shizuka Hiratsuka There need to be more teachers like her really and while she is quite forceful to Hikki and comes across as perhaps a potential harem member as her relationship is bittersweet her and Hikki compliment one another well. Since she is concerned but being a well crafted character she isn't large ham full of cheese so she helps Hikki out indirectly getting him recognised and more involved with school life. At the same time she knows by placing him in these situations she is fixing other problems that can't really be fixed by a teacher. She is definitely more intelligent than she comes across and is another very kind individual despite her joking around a lot and getting angry at Hikki. One of the best teacher characters I have seen in anime full stop and I hope to see more well crafted characters like her in anime. Saika Totsuka Super trap there is more I could say but unfortunately I have written too much already that is the problem when the cast is so good. He is the male harem member lol. Hayato Hayama The foil of Hikki a perfect example of why misplaced kindness is a bad thing and can be extremely cruel. The author does an excellent job of showing why text book kindness is not always the correct path to take and sometimes you need to give people some tough loving to set them on the right path in life. The clash between Hayato and Hikki hits its pinacle as Hikki trolls a certain female extremely hard to the point he was going to give a minor mental break down but was stopped by Hayato. Hayato seems to probably understand Hikki better than anyone else in the series but unfortunately the anime didn't last long enough to fully explain that. This is why he thinks Hikki is wrong to take the martyr route to solving most problems. Hayato is another well done character and a nice guy its just sometimes he misreads situations and he does the wrong thing. Another superb character though. Minami Sagami A final special mention to you and while the other characters are also extremely well done I decided to give this wonderful individual a write up. The reason why is because her character had a huge impact with me as I have had to deal with her kind at school and they are not pleasant. Using the social hierarchy to their benefit they use others to skip out on hard work while taking the credit for it and at the same time belittle others to improve their relationship with Mr. popular basically Hayato in this case. She is a right bitch basically and despite how awful she is as a person Hikki nearly gave her a minor mental break down from trolling her so hard and while she did deserve it, even I felt a little sorry for her. A very well constructed character and I am sure that most people have come across someone like her in their life. Well there you have it, I should have probably written something about other characters like the otaku and Hikki's sister as well as Yuki's sister as they were all very well done as well. However its a review and not a book so I wrote about the characters who had the most impact on me. It is disappointing that this great series is beaten by far too many others on this site it offers something so many slice of lifes are missing. This series is incredible and will be one to remember so I am more than happy to approve this great series to anyone who likes something that is more than just a comedy. However if you are looking for fan service you won't find any here though. I am more than happy to give this series a rock solid 9/10. I hope anyone else who watches/watched this enjoys/enjoyed it as much as I did.
When this anime was first announced, I didn't know what to expect from it, exactly. Brains-Base is a studio that as of late has been doing superb romcoms (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun) and vomit-inducing terrible reverse harems (Amnesia). More importantly, the ''loner protagonist'' theme is used more than it may seem at first, but often just as a schtick for comedic relief and/or an excuse for yet another average romance/school-life anime with a naïve pretension of being different. So, was that the case for Yahari? Absolutely not. Granted, the first episode gave me the impression of this being a more clever, mature version of the likes of Haganai (with the general premise, snarky humor and apparent character types), but by the end of it I found Yahari to be much closer to programs like NHK regarding its main focus, as well as character development and interactions. Sure, the protagonist's personality and views on the world and society (especially reflected through his outstanding inner monologues) may make for plenty of intentional, very good comedy which had me laughing and chuckling throughout, but, much like NHK, there is a serious backdrop to the characters' issues which is not passed off as a joke and is managed immensely well through their dialogues and even body language. If you are looking for an average romcom in this, or some kind of harem-ish comedy, you are in the wrong track. As the title suggests, this anime is pretty much a deconstruction of the romcom genre which effortlessly makes most of its unnerving clichés crumble down. The story does not follow a frequently used formula of presenting each new heroine with a particular problem, followed by a character arc to solve said problem and after which she gets a cheap, melodramatic catharsis of sorts and is then added to the regular cast without ever actually delving into the character again, as if that issue they solved were the only major point to their thoughts and worries.This is about an ensemble cast, and it is very dialogue-driven - much to my enjoyment. Each arc serves the purpose of dealing with different aspects of social life as a whole, while at the same time developing different nuances of all the characters' personalities by having them participate as an active part of the discussions at hand and thus making their own ideas and views and related personal issues and quirks shine seamlessly, rather than artificially passing down a huge blatant spotlight from one to another. These social deliberations are made in a realistic, true-to-daily-life manner, in which every character has something relevant and different to contribute instead of just taking a side in a black-or-white debate. All the situations presented are easily relatable. For example, in one arc, you have several children forming a closer group by way of feeding off their collective bullying to a lone girl, who as a result of this grows more and more aloof and is in a dilemma about giving up her social life entirely so as not to feel bad about it, but she doesn't want to be left alone, and there's also the pressure of the parents' expectations mixed into the equation ("make lots of photos with your friends during the summer camp, we want to see them!"). The actual ramifications of this kind of aggressive, excluding group mentality are effectively portrayed, as well as the decisions the shunned girl comes to when the protagonist lay an abstract crossroad before her. Or in another episode, you have this other bunch of four highschool buddies chatting lively and having fun together, but when the ''main guy'' who is in fact the glue that keeps the group together goes away, suddenly the cheery talk ceases and the three other guys start minding their own business: fleeing to their mobile phones, looking away, etcetera. Who in the world cannot relate to this kind of situation, especially in this day and age with technology taking over most social interaction?What's even better, all the situations are dealt with rather effectively, but also subtly. There is a catharsis of sorts to be had for every given situation, but the package does not include overblown melodrama, screams and crocodile tears, and the characters do develop but ever so slightly, just like a person in real life does not change their mind completely about people and the world and the way they behave from one day to the next. Everything is also grey-shaded, with no solution being perfect and without some kind of negative consequence. Now, for a closer overlook at the characters... Hikigaya Hachiman, alias Hikki, has been arguably the best male lead of the current season by a mile. His aloof, detached, distrustful, pessimistic personality has won over most of the viewers rather than alienating them, and there's a good reason for it: his character is in fact very well constructed and coherent with reality (and being right up there in skepticism and social paranoia as I am makes me very prone to relate with him). His experiences regarding his social life are depressing but plausible. His somber monologues are harsh, yet well-founded and their content rings terribly true for the most part (and when it doesn't, it's because the show is trying and succeeding at making me laugh). And most importantly, his offbeat actions and the very awkward way in which he interacts with other people is perfectly coherent with the way he thinks. He's true to himself, has solid beliefs, his sarcasm is freaking hilarious and he never comes off as an obnoxious twat - in fact, he can be exceptionally frank and severe for the greater good while being hurt himself, which makes him some kind of incredibily endearing highschool Batman. Even with all this, he does have subtle character development to speak of. Deep inside he wants to be able to trust people again, to have close, sincere friends, and while reality is often not as simple and makes him regress to his lonely path more than once, he slowly learns to cope with the fact that no frienship is perfect and maybe, just maybe, not everything is so bad after all. The protagonist girls are also very good, even if Hikki decidedly steals the show. Yukinoshita is calm, intelligent, very honest: she pulls no punches when it comes to expressing what she thinks and feels. She's also had bad experiences in the past, but her way of confronting the hardships of life is different from Hikki's, which makes them very different and very similar at the same time. The way they get to know each other is slowly built up, natural and absolutely rewarding, and overall she's also a very interesting, admirable yet flawed, as well as funny character to follow on her own. Yui on the other hand is more cheerful and socially extroverted, but actually has problems expressing her own opinions and avoiding to follow a group mindset and the existing social hierarchy. Hikki's way of behaving around her is similar but their conversations are fundamentally different in tone, flow and content. Still, their budding, hard-to-describe relationship is just as lovely, believable and adorably imperfect. The supporting cast is naturally less prominent, but the narrative never lets them stay as one-dimensional side characters. They participate in the social disputes as much as the main cast members do, and their input on things comes from varied perspectives and ways of life, keeping things open-minded and thought-provoking. Similarly, what these characters do or say may often not have a clear-cut meaning, you're frequently left on your own to figure out exactly how these characters are underneath their appearance, which is then proved right or wrong by their later developments. Hayato, Yukino's older sister Haruka and the teacher are the most remarkable ones, but other than a couple slightly annoying individuals, the secondaries are often compelling to watch.(Also, Saika, please stop messing with my until now well-defined sexuality) As a last note content-wise: just like in the way the story and characters progress, the show has close to zero otaku catering, and this feels endlessly pleasant. Hikki has a little sister and for once actually behaves and thinks of her in a way most siblings 'round the world can honestly relate with: no excitement/blushing bullshit if she's changing clothes near you, actual annoyance at her shrill, hyperactive demeanor, etcetera. Similarly, the closest you'll get to the loathed beach/swimsuit episodes are three or four minutes of the characters having fun on a riverside, with a very toned down, not-in-your-face fanservice element. The visual value is honestly not as big: animation is simplistic, and so are the backgrounds and effects. However, they all do their job well, and I have to give praise to the character designs (Hikki's especially so) for actually feeling sort of fresh while at the same time retaining many aspects of the genre the anime is deconstructing. Other than some inconsistencies (sloppily drawn faces here and there), they're pretty and memorable.As for the OST, it is equally simplistic but does its job perfectly in complementing the scenes, and in this case I must congratulate the show for the voice acting, which conveys the characters' personalities and feelings almost as well as their actual lines do. Hikki's half detached, half jaded tone is marvelous to listen to - almost addicting. As for the opening and ending, I'd have to mimic what I've said earlier: they sound like your typical romcom fare, but they're actually rather beautiful to listen to, and I don't think I've ever skipped them (often replayed them, even).Overall, this is my second favorite anime out of everything in the Spring season, and it will probably rank very high in my yearly top list as well. With a very different from norm focus, clever gags, a delightfully slick narrative, wonderful characters and an unusually mature approach to school life and interpersonal dynamics, Yahari is perfect for big fans of the genre, for former fans who are losing hope in it, and even for people who aren't really fans at all. This is only the adaptation of the first half of the original light novels' story, so sadly it doesn't have as strong a conclusion as we the viewers would have loved it to have. Still, most of it was brilliant and I'm willing to bet what's ahead only gets better. Here's hoping for a second season a few years from now.
Secret Santa Review - This youth romantic comedy was boring as I expected. Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru was a series I dropped when it first aired, as the first episode didn't stand out to me. But after hearing positive things and seeing it highly rated on this site and others, I was optimistic when it came up as one of my three Secret Santa picks. In future, I'll trust my first impressions a bit more. Story I've seen a lot of 'high school club with a poorly defined purpose'-type anime series over the years, to the point where I’ve grown a little tired of them, so this one was going to have to have something good going for it to stand out. Haruhi Suzumiya for example had the sci-fi/paranormal element, while others like Haganai made me laugh so much it hurt. But unfortunately, Oregairu didn’t have many new things to offer. If it was supposed to be a comedy, it didn't appeal to my sense of humour. And the attempts at drama didn't impress me either, as the situations and misunderstandings they made such a big deal over were so small and insignificant! I mean sure, I've lost sleep over stupid little things in the past, but that doesn't mean I'd want to watch a series about it. Still, I give it a 5 because while it didn’t do anything to impress me, it didn’t leave my blood boiling with rage either. There was virtually no fanservice throughout, aside from one moment when main character Hachiman inadvertently walked in on the two girls changing, commenting that this is how a high school rom-com should go (one of the few jokes that did bring a smile to my face). Characters I get the feeling that the characters were supposed to be the show’s most important feature, with the episodic antics there to force them to interact with each other. But, they weren’t exactly original either. Yukino was a ridiculously wealthy ice-woman, Yui was airheaded but optimistic, and Hachiman an internal monologuing Kyon wannabe. The side characters featured a generic perfect and popular bishonen, a generic popular girl who bullies and isolates those she doesn’t like, a generic delusional chuunibyou-sufferer, a generic fujoshi, a generic otokonoko … okay, ‘generic’ doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Saika and Ebina are largely to thank for pulling this series up from 5 to 6, it’s just a shame they didn’t get more screen time. Though Hachiman’s monologues and discussions with others about the benefits of being a loner weren’t exactly riveting, it was obvious that a lot of thought had been put into the dialogue. Sacrificing his own popularity to unite the rest of the group in hatred against him... that’s something I don’t think I’ve come across in anime before, and possibly the one original thing this series had going for it. So while I didn’t particularly LIKE his character, I’ll bump my rating up further to a 7. Animation and Sound This wasn’t an action-packed series, so the animation didn’t have to be great, and it wasn’t. Average at best. Character designs were nice, if not overly original, but Saika was quite the convincing trap… okay, have a six. Voice acting was competent, though none of my favourite seiyuu worked on this series. I tend not to pay attention to a series’ BGM; if it’s particularly awesome or particularly inappropriate, it’ll force me to pay attention, but as it didn’t, I assume it was either fitting, average, or non-existent. I’ve already forgotten the OP theme, wasn’t my kind of music, and the regular ED was only slightly better. However, I really liked Yui’s version of the ED that played at the end of the episode which focused on her. Again, if only they’d used it more! Overall It’s possible I may have enjoyed Oregairu more if I hadn’t watched so many similar series in the past. Or maybe since comedy is subjective, I just didn't ‘get’ its style of humour. As it stands, it was fairly boring, but otokonoko and fujoshi have the uncanny ability to make anything better in my eyes.
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