Hachiman Hikigaya might have managed to make friends with Yui and Yukino, but if he won’t stop being so inward-looking, he’ll force a rift between them that he doesn’t want himself. Even so, he does like to carry on with his nonchalant shtick, disregarding how the two care for him. He plays aloof, taking his usual place at the opposite end of the table in the Service Club room, while they try to involve him with strained smiles and attempted conversation. He’s avoiding the issues piling up in his own head, maintaining a routine that only exists to numb his panic.
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!, more so than the first series, weaves an intricate telling of high school friendships, loves and fallouts. In this enclosed environment, which feels more poisonous as you grow into it, you piece together whole lives through Hikki’s unwelcome chats with classmates. Body language and the deception of words come into play more often than not, and as people misunderstand each other and fall over themselves to make their feelings known, this series proves itself to be a romantic comedy in the Shakespearean sense.
Now we’re in the depths of all these relationships and non-relationships, SNAFU is a fantastic drama. It’s become a lot more complex than problem presents itself, problem solved. Things linger, in some cases almost all the way through the series, and with the student council presidential election looming, it gets a whole lot more political between Hikki and Yukino in particular. He still needs to learn that what she says, what she wants and what she does can be in conflict at the same time. It’s all part of the issues of isolation they share.
Everyone’s keeping up appearances at this time in their life. Public perceptions form and it becomes harder and harder to break out. Some are trying, even Yui is learning to assert herself, and it seems that her example gives Hikki the most drive to change. But the dread of this prospect is expressed even in the colours around him as the weeks pass with good intention, but little progress. You feel the air get colder and the days grow shorter as Hikki becomes more troubled by his lack of responsibility. Christmas lights glow against the deep blue dark, endless entwined light bulbs of epiphany. His precious non-identity is Macbeth’s dagger of the mind. His self-righteousness has always been to the sacrifice of anyone who means something to him. Well, except his little sister. We see here too that this love will last, even if he finds a thousand others.
After a year spent grinding his friends down with his cowardice, we see him drop his pretences at last. He chooses to have faith, in the patience and trust Yui and Yukino have shown him, and that he’ll be able to rely on their support even when he lets them into his vulnerability. There couldn’t be a better allegory for high school than that – choose, or don’t, but that choice in itself will impact the rest of your life. It’s about taking the awkward leap now, so the embarrassment will fade over having to carry regrets to the grave.
He’s still the same old Hikki by the end, and that’s testament to the writing headed up by Shoutarou Suga and the personalities you’ve seen evolve equally in studio feel’s animation. In such artistic complexity, just a smile can betray every thought. And seeing Hikki smile says the most of all.
For our review of season one, click here.
Clean opening/closing animations, special opening animation and also available from Sentai Filmworks.