I usually review most anime (if I choose to) immediately after watching it for the first time. This not only allows me not to forget major plotpoints but it also lets me have an accurate reading of my true impression which I fear might get lost after too long a time period. But I have to make an exception in this case. My first experience of watching Yahari ore no seishun love comedy wa machigatteiru came at an unfortunate time so I was obviously forced to rewatch this magnificent show to actually give you an accurate glimpse into my opinion. And what a great decision this was. I am now of the opinion that rewatching this show is almost a prerequisite if one wants to have a deeper understanding of it (at least if you don't want to pause the dialogue every five minutes). Both in regards to enjoyment but even more so in the perspective and position that the viewer takes while watching it. No show has ever provided me with quite the same experience as this. But let's get this show rolling.

First I suppose we should get the obvious and mandatory criteria of every anime analysis out of the way.

Art & Animation:
Many people argue that the artstyle taken by Brain's Base fits the tone of the show way more than the look of the second season and I am tempted to agree. At least I personally prefer the rougher artstyle although I guess it'd be more accurate to say that I prefer a rougher look for season one and a slightly more polished one for season two (more about that when I get to that review though). The style not only accentuates hachiman's famous "Dead Fish-Eyes" excellently but also represents rough stones at the beginning of their journey. And knowing the plot of the story this theme definitely fits season one. The facial animation is definitely rather expressive at times which is mandatory for a show that so heavily relies on psychological and sociological themes (as Hachiman even says body language makes up the most part of interpersonal ommunication). But it's not all sunshine and roses. Many conversations have the characters standing around not moving at all and I really mean not moving at all. At certain times it was even hard to notice the lip movement and I would have liked to (for aforementioned reasons) see a bit more care put into the conversations of the main cast as they are detrimental to the plot and the worth of the show as a whole.

I don't have a lot to say other than it's a mix of what you usually get for highschool anime aka cheery upbeat tones and rather glum sounding tunes. It therefore really fits the show. It provides a sufficent variation of instruments (specific to the atmosphere this particular piece of music is meant to help facilitate) and you will probably never experience being taken out of the immersion by misplaced soundtracks. The show seems quite careful in choosing the right music for the right atmosphere and it definitely succeeds in that regard.

OP & ED:
Neither the OP nor the ED provide the viewer with jaw dropping visuals or amazingly abstract vision. But this is really not the show for this kind of design, The simplicity is rather appealing in my opinion as it fits the grounded, down-to-earth style and tone of the show as a whole. One might therefore be tempted to disregard any potential for interpretation in the opening and ending. But that is simply not the case. From the choice of flower colors and screen composition/visual devices in the OP and a rather interesting setting choices in the ED the show definitely manages to feed those of us hungry for interpretation and foreshadowing at least a hand even if not an entire arm.

But enough of this almost standardized procedure. It's time for the main attraction: The characters and plot.

Let me start by pointing out that the relative plethora of character analysis videos/posts on this particular bunch is not without reason. The personalities of our main trio (and to a lesser extent of the secondary characters) and their interactions grant the show its appeal. Without them the whole concept and setting would crash and burn in forgotten obscurity. And that wouldn't even be surprising. After all the premise of "loner is forced to join a club -> meets beautiful girl(s) -> Rehabilitation -> Relationship?" is definitely not something new, but the way the show plays with these expectations and flashes out the characters taking part in it, is. As the title already suggests, there's really not that much of a romcom going on here. The show knows how to break up the aforementioned premise and structure expertly. We are being given a MC who shouldn't be relatable to a whole lot of people but probably is to a lot of people watching the show. And while it does show us tangible explanations as to why he turned out like that (cynical, wallowing in self-pity, unhealthy martyr-complex, ...) the show never treats him as the one we should be rooting for. No it's not his actions we are supposed to be rooting for but his possibility for change which only slowly manifests itself over the course of both seasons. The show manages to create someone that puts up a mirror to those who can truly empathize with him (a rather small amount of the population) while not ostracizing the audience that can't empathize with him (as the whole point of the show lies in Hachiman Hikigaya being wrong). A masterful example of a deeply flawed character.
But he is far from the only one suffering from deeply rooted character flaws. While the (more or less relatable) flaws and issues of our main trio (Hachiman Hikigaya, Yukinon Yukinoshita and Yui Yuigahama) without a doubt occupy the main stage, the secondary cast doesn't get out of the show's developments without harm either (and by harm I mean exposing their flaws). If anything the show resembles an expedition into a jungle full of insecurities and traumas where the goal seems to discover and overcome them through the realistic lens of trial-and-error.

Any more from me would probably ruin the show for you though and as one can never be sure how many people reading this have actually completed the show I'm gonna leave this review at that. Watch the show (more than once)! If you are sucker for social commentary and snark it's honestly a must.

91 /100
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