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Anime Review: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru
Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru which roughly translates into "My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU" is a 12-episode anime based on a light novel series of the same name. It is a high school anime but don't let the title fool you into thinking it is generic, far from it.
The story follows Hachiman Hikigaya (often referred to as Hiki) who is a loner that wants nothing to do with any of his class mates. One day his teacher forces him into joining the "Volunteer Service Club" after turning in a future dreams assignment where he wrote "not working".
When he enters the club room he finds only a single member in it, a girl named Yukino. The two immediately dislike each other yet it is clear even at the start that they are very similar in attitude but go about their problems in entirely different ways.
Yukino is amazing at everything she does and is a true leader yet this also leads to people being jealous of her. She never has had any real friends yet this doesn't stop her from helping others and she even made the Volunteers club to further her goals.
While Hiki purposely avoids making friends as he was shunned too many times in the past. He chose to stop making an effort and to live only for himself. As the series progresses, these two characters constantly argue (to an entertaining and comedic effect) yet still give it their all to help people out with their problems despite Hiki's reluctance to do so.
Eventually another girl, Yui, joins the club and with her bubbly personality, she somehow works her way between Hiki and Yukino's cold demeanor and becomes a true friend to the both of them.
Yui's role in the series is to be the normal person compared to Yukino and Hiki. She is friends with virtually everyone which leads to conflicts brought about by Yukino and Hiki's involvement.
This isn't a typical romantic comedy, sure there is a love interest and a few comical events here and there but the leading force of this anime is how relate-able the protagonist is. A lot of anime characters fall into stereotypes, especially in a high school setting. And all too often, a male protagonist has the depth of a puddle and any "problems" they encounter are superficial at best.
However, Hachiman Hikigaya, is a lead that is believable. He is a pessimist, he sees the worst in people, and is the true definition of a loner. He has no interest in being friends with other people and in turn, he is ignored almost entirely.
What really makes this series is Hikigaya as we see the world through his eyes. Even if he doesn't want to get involved with anyone, he isn't heartless. He helps when he can but not to the point where it sways away from his character.
There are also times where he tries to speak up but says something stupid and regrets it. You can really feel the awkwardness of the situation and we have all been there before. His actions also have reason to them, especially when it comes to the girls around him.
Often in anime a male character with have 2+ love interests and they will never end up choosing a girl, or if they do, it won't be until the very end. Realistically speaking, it is unlikely that a real guy would not go out with one of the girls and there is often no real reason in an anime as to why they would chose not to.
However, Hiki has a reason for blatantly ignoring these advances on him. He has a traumatized past when it comes to women and he chooses not to fall for the "nice girl" routine as he calls it and really believes no girl would ever approach him. He is self-defeating in his attitude but it really fits his character.
Finally I just love to what extremes this character will go. He purposely will make himself the bad guy or take the fall for everyone else. A few characters notice this, but for the most part, everyone sees him as a bad person. Yet he does it all for the best reason, I will not spoil any plot elements but you will see what I mean if you ever chose to view this anime.
Although it isn't blatantly stated in the series, there certainly is a bit of a satire of popular kids in high school. As Hiki and Yukino are outsiders yet Yui is in with the popular crowd.
The popular kids themselves have a fair amount of screen time in the series and it really shows them in all sorts of lights. The typical "evil" popular girl who seems to make others suffer around her. The charming guy who seems to want to help everyone but never seems to realize the messes he can cause because of it. And the "drones" that follow the queen bee.
Yet after showing a very negative side to them, it also shows them being genuine good people at times. Rarely do you see this in any high school show be it an anime, sitcom, or drama. The popular kids are usually shown as entirely rotten people but reality isn't so black and white and this series understands that.
There are a lot more characters to mention but I wouldn't want to spoil any more of the story as each relates to an initial plot line.
I really loved this anime, to the point where I watched it all in one sitting. It really drew me in as I could really relate to the protagonist which is just so very rare in anime. The other characters are written fairly well, the comedy is good for the most part, and the artwork is top notch. It is also refreshing to see that there is no fan service either, it takes a more realistic approach to the high school genre.
My only qualm about this series is the ending. This serves as a warning, since this is based off of a light novel, the anime doesn't really have an ending. The novels are still ongoing and the anime simply chugs along and suddenly ends with zero resolution. I can only hope it continues on or I shall be waiting patiently for the novels to be translated into English. Still I'd give the series a shot, I do not think you will regret it.