This episode is centered around the preparations surrounding the upcoming school prom. Hachiman has mostly tried his best to stay out of it—letting Yukino do this on her own as requested. Of course, that’s not to say that he at least a bit worried about her. After all, something all-too-similar happened before when a popular-yet-unexperienced student leader roped Yukino into helping with a major school event.
Back in season one, Minami, the nominal culture festival organizer, ended up dumping everything on Yukino—and Yukino, in turn, accepted all the additional work without complaint. Why didn’t she say anything? Mostly, it’s due to her refusal to rely on others, and Yukino overworked herself to the point of illness as a result.
Luckily, things seem to be going differently! Yukino is willing to accept other’s help when it is offered this time around—thanking Hachiman when he comes to help with making the advertising video for the prom. More than that, she’s willing to be proactive and ask those closest to her for help with the hardest jobs—like being the main on-screen characters in the commercial.
The biggest difference here is that, despite the workload being similar, Yukino looks far happier. She’s in the midst of forming her own path. Not only is she doing something her sister didn’t do, she’s doing it because she wants to as well. No one guilt tripped her or pushed her into the role. And best of all, the prom will become something of a legacy that will leave a lasting effect on the school for years to come.
Although most of the major changes made in the planning of the event is due in part to Yukino’s own evolution, there is one other major factor we mustn’t forget:
From the way most people see them, both Minami and Iroha are popular girls pushed into their roles by peer pressure. However, when Minami recognized her inadequacy, she ran away from it—pushing all the decisions and responsibilities onto others.
Iroha, on the other hand, took a completely different outlook—by taking a leading role in the Christmas event and Valentine’s Day event—and she’s pretty confident that everything will go according to plan with the prom. However, as Hachiman points out, just because it’s going well doesn’t exactly mean that it’s going well because of Iroha. While it’s important to rely on others, as Yukino has learned, it’s also equally as important to pull your own weight—especially when you’re the one at the top.
And so, when Iroha notices how many mistakes she’s making and how much she’s beem relying on the others, she immediately reflects on this and vows to do better. For the rest of the episode, we can see her making the big decisions and making sure things run smoothly while let Yukino focuses on implementing her ideas. At the end of the day, she may be a bit embarrassed by her mistakes but she is committed to putting on the best prom she can. Well, partly because she loves the idea of a prom in general, but partly because she wants to look good in the eyes of Hachiman.
Which brings us to Hatchiman’s latest issue. In his attempts “to find something real” between him, Yui, and Yukino, he is subconsciously emulating the “realest” relationship he has by acting around the girls he trusts as if they are his sister.
Now, I’m sure it’s clear to everyone that Komachi and Hachiman have a pretty close relationship. She accepts his honest confessions and thoughts without judgement. For years she has been his safe space and the one member of the opposite sex he fully trusts.
So Hachiman defaults to this way of acting and speaking with Yui, Yukino, and Iroha is perfectly understandable. However, as Iroha puts it, most girls do not want to be treated like a sister—with the not so hidden implication “especially by the guy they like.” Without even meaning to, by treating the girls around him like his sister, Hatchiman is basically sending the message that they don’t even register to him as datable women.
Most of this stems from Hatchiman’s own deep-seated fear of rejection. He’s afraid to view them as datable—especially as they’ve grown so close. Having Yui or Yukino reject him would hurt a billion times more than it did with his middle school crush. Unfortunately, he hadn’t realized that preemptively rejecting them could be hurting them too.
And so just as Iroha listens to his advice, he listens to hers. When Yukino is self-conscious about how she looks in a suit, he gives a heartfelt compliment. And when its later brought up that Yui may have trouble walking in her dress and heals, he lends her an arm (a classic romantic gesture if there ever was one).
All in all, this episode shows promising scenes of character development in a way that’s convincingly done and gets the message across. We’re looking forward to the next episode!