I totally empathise with Hachiman here. I would ship myself with Totsuka too. He is everything you could possibly want in a woman.
Before I elaborate on my views on these two, I have a quick word about OreGairu in general. It was pretty hard to pick one pairing to be the focus of this post because I have a vested interest in pretty much every potential pair in this show. The interactions have a lot of wit and spark to them – and for all the archetypes the characters fall into, they feel genuine too. OreGairu is basically what you get when you take a bunch of LN trope characters, put them in a high school hierarchy and apply real world logic to it. To me, at least, it strikes the delicate balance of having enough sharp, cutting insight into how teenage social relations work to make it memorable, while keeping enough of a silly anime romcom vibe to remind me pleasantly that this is all fiction and that I don’t have to take it all so seriously. It’s good stuff.
What this means, in short, is that I ship everyone with everyone. Every pair of interactions has a completely different vibe to it and I’m interested in seeing how all the relationships between the characters work out. In the end, I picked Hachiman and Totsuka to be the frontispiece of this post, mostly because that’s the pair that I would most like to see happen in the actual anime. And, as usual when it comes to my favoured ships, it’s the pairing that will probably never happen.
I’m utterly amused by how Hachiman, who actively resists all ideas of youth romantic comedy, is completely unable to resist Totsuka’s charm. Part of this has to do with Totsuka’s prevailing kindness, which is enough to win over even a practiced cynic like Hachiman. But mostly, it’s because he’s just that adorable. In an anime where the character designs are pretty sloppy at best and hideous at worst, Totsuka’s cuteness is a real sight for sore eyes.
I’m not really a fan of BL as a rule (unlike our resident fujoshi Hina) but I would legit be interested in seeing an anime that actually treats the gender-ambiguous character as a serious love interest, rather than just as a joke. The bloggers at Random Curiosity were discussing this on their podcast the other day, so it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks this way!
The cool thing about OreGairu so far is that Totsuka makes as much sense as anyone for Hachiman’s romantic partner. This series has solidly refused to pursue the romance track with anyone. Much is made, too, of Hachiman’s negativity and his social awkwardness. He’s not ready for friendships, let alone a girlfriend, and the series is aware of this. The fact that Totsuka is able to break down his barriers at all really says a lot.
Now let’s put ourselves in Hachiman’s shoes. In his eyes, he’s been rejected by so many girls he just doesn’t want to get his hopes up over anyone anymore. He wouldn’t get quite as hung up over a boy. The fact that Totsuka acts so sweet and ladylike makes him pretty much the ideal girlfriend. A girlfriend who is not actually a girl, and therefore is incapable of hurting Hachiman like a girl can. Reading the progression of Hachiman’s character, you almost really could make a legitimate case for this pairing without even taking Hachiman’s sexuality into account here.
And come on, even if you did support him with one of the girls, you’d have to admit that Hachiman totally digs sweet young Saika-chan still. Truly a love story for the ages.
The Purpose of Totsuka’s Character
I’d always taken it for granted that Totsuka would have a little crush on Hachiman for teh lulz, but this series may actually make me turn around and reevaluate that. When it comes to the relationships, this series has always been a little off-beat, striking the same chords with a slightly different resonance. Well, what can you expect from an anime called My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong As I Expected?
By now it should be pretty clear that in the anime at least, Totsuka is a comic relief character. My interpretation is that his role is used to highlight just how wrong Hachiman’s high school life is. The truth is that there are many standard romcom situations and characters popping up in Hachiman’s life – Totsuka being one of them – and Hachiman acknowledges these but refuses to accept them.
Totsuka’s there to say that hey, high school life isn’t that bad at all. He’s there so we can question Hachiman’s philosophy and it all adds to its depth and nuance. It’s actually hard to tell if the series is ultimately condoning or condemning Hachiman’s attitude. He closes himself to a lot of possibilities, but he’s also happy with himself in a way, not concerned with fitting in. Time will tell where this will go.
I doubt that anything that will happen in later episodes will change my opinion of Hachiman x Totsuka as the number one ship in this series, unless it is something really major. Still, I’ll probably end up updating this post if we do get to see a little more of what makes Totsuka tick because just having Hachiman’s perspective isn’t quite enough for me to fully endorse them as a couple.
These shipping posts have been unexpectedly getting me quite a lot of views from Google searchers. Anyone who finds this post by searching Hachiman x Saika or something like that is instantly my Internet bro. You have classy tastes.
Oh, and to those who are curious: what other pairings from this series do I like? Yukino x Yui and Yukino x Yumiko, for starters. The latter reminds me of Yozora x Sena from Haganai, if they were both more intelligent and more subtle with their insults. Catfighting makes the best kind of yuri.
Speaking of Yumiko, I also like her with Hayato. I think Yumiko is a well-written fictional character, but she also reminds me vaguely of this girl I used to dislike back when I was in high school. Back then, I used to find the idea strange that anyone so detestable and outright scornful of others could actually succeed in finding love. I thought only nice people could be loved by others. But the side she showed with her boyfriend was her much gentler and more pleasant side. I definitely couldn’t hate her after seeing her like that. So I hope Yumiko finds love with Hayato, because she takes down her defences around him too.
But anyway, this is all getting off-topic from the original point of my post. So to sum up: Hikki x Saika is the best and I won’t hear anything different.
Damn, I love this anime.