Nobuyuki HiyamaMai NakaharaTakashi KondoNozomi Sasaki
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax, i.e. Season 3
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2020: M
Also known as: Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabu Kome wa Machigatteiru Kan
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2020
Director: Kei Oikawa
Original creator: Wataru Watari
Actor: Ami Koshimizu, Aoi Yuki, Ayane Sakura, Chado Horii, Haruka Tomatsu, Mai Nakahara, Mikako Komatsu, Nao Toyama, Nobuyuki Hiyama, Nozomi Sasaki, Ryoka Yuzuki, Saori Hayami, Takashi Kondo, Takuya Eguchi
Keywords: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, anime, favourite
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Season Three: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2020
Review date: 21 September 2022
Damn, it's good. It's also a bit uncomfortable, because you know a perfect happy ending is impossible. It is, though, one of the sharpest, subtlest anime you'll see. The character animation blows me away. It had two strong, sometimes tough seasons in 2013 and 2015, in which Hachiman, Yui and Yukino got strong-armed into forming their school's Service Club and helping people. They're extremely flawed people. Hachiman is a dead-eyed cynic with no self-respect who'd talked himself into believing that his natural place was outside the social hierarchy, alone. Yukino used to be even spikier than him, a cold beauty with zero social skills who patronised anyone less intelligent than her (which was everyone).
Then, finally, there's Yui, who's sweet, friendly to everyone and in touch with her emotions. She can talk to people. This makes her the freak of the group and she doesn't fit in at all... except that she does anyway, despite not being on the other two's intellectual level. She loves Hachiman and Yukino.
Therein lies the problem. Yui's been in love with Hachiman since Season 1 and at times it's been painful to watch. This show has teeth. Yukino, though, has been in repressed love with Hachiman since... ooooh, well at least Season 2, but Yukino's so self-possessed that it's impossible to say.
And, frankly, Yui's also in lots of love with Yukino. Just look at them. Yui's a cuddle bug for Yukino and completely open about her feelings for her, in a way she's never been able to be with Hachiman. This show's ideal romantic outcome would be for Japan to pass a law allowing three-person marriages, but we know that won't happen. Furthermore, this is the final season. (It's in the title.) The triangle will be resolved and there will be a loser. Theoretically, more than one loser is possible since there are other girls in the universe... but no. It has to be Hachiman-Yui or Hachiman-Yukino.
And it'll hurt. If it's Yui... yow. I didn't even want to imagine it. Three seasons' worth of accumulated pain might destroy her. I really wanted it to be Yui... but, at the same time, at least she'd be capable of finding someone else. (Theoretically. One day.) Yukino, no. If she didn't get Hachiman, she'd never get anyone.
What's more, I knew who it was going to be. You can tell, by watching the flow of the storytelling choices.
The plot's straightforward, ish. There aren't lots of different problems for the Service Club to solve. It's just a prom. Isshiki Iroha wants to put on a prom. (Isshiki is trash, e.g. her hilarious advice to Yui in ep.12, but she's also the Service Club's friend even if Hachiman calls her the second most rotten person in the world. He puts himself at number one.) The complication, unfortunately, is that Yukino's decided that her relationship with Hachiman and Yui is a problem that needs solving. She's dependent on them. Her sister thinks all three of them are codependent, in fact. Yukino wants to solve this problem on her own and explicitly tells the other two to back off. Hachiman, though, is both an astute observer and a self-sacrificing busybody. Oh, and Yukino's family are a bit poisonous.
It's a playful season. The committee meeting rap in ep.7 is mental. It's often funny. What really hooked me, though, is the subtlety of its characterisation. The character animation is staggering. I could watch Yui's faces all day. There's a ton of subtext in almost every scene and the animators know it. At the same time, though, the writing never stops adding more layers than you'd expect. Much of this show's cast are too clever-clever for their own good and often prone to damaging levels of self-analysis. Time and again, what in synopsis would have been a straightforward scene with a clear emotional objective gets undercut and deepened by what the characters are saying.
And, importantly, ep.12 is happy. The resolution's happened... and our heroes embrace it. They say what they'd never managed to say out loud, simply and directly. You have no idea what a huge deal that is. I wanted to cheer. There's still hope for SPOILER (thanks, trash girl) and Komachi made me laugh. Hachiman drags in a bunch of old faces for one last job and the result is an episode that makes me want to rewatch it. It's warm. It made me want the Season 4 that won't happen. Damn, Komachi is the greatest (and she also fixes the biggest thing that had been broken in plain sight).
It's a strong show. I love it, but sometimes I'd be a little nervous of the next episode. I love all the cast... Isshiki and her subtly evolving but always crushingly rude rejections. Hiratsuka-sensei and her flirting with Hachiman. Komachi's everything. The main three and their banter. There's often as much subtext and hidden emotion in one scene of this show as there is in entire episodes of other anime.