It’s kinda rare for this sort of light novel series to feature male supporting characters of any real consequence. Usually, they’re either the MC’s generic friend, a joke character or some moustache-twirling villain.
It’s rarer still for a mainstream light novel series to depict a nuanced relationship between the male MC and another male character. I mean, it’s rare for the relationships with the female characters to be all that nuanced either, but at least the girls get attention. In light novels, it’s like there are no guys but the MC. I know I’m painting LNs with a broad brush here and that there are plenty of exceptions (Eugeo x Kirito, anyone?), but let’s face it. No one reads LNs for the BL.
I personally think that this is unfair. I demand equal representation when it comes to shipping!
That’s why I thank God for Oregairu. Since most of the characters, including the male ones, are extremely well-written, it is possible to ship BL without sticking two cardboard cutouts together.
I used to ship Hachiman x Totsuka, but their relationship ended up becoming stale, so I had pretty much abandoned ship entirely by the time season 2 started. Hachiman x Hayama is superior in every way because the two characters change as people and challenge each other in meaningful ways. Their rivalry reminds me of something from a shonen manga, and we all know that people read shonen manga for the BL.
These kids are so awkward that they can barely handle regular friendships, let alone romance, so I honestly can’t imagine what would happen if they started dating. I’m not just talking about Hachiman here, by the way. I love how Watari Wataru doesn’t conflate “genuine human connection” with romance, even when it’s evident that the relationships between some characters are not platonic either. It’s genuinely interesting how this series goes to great lengths to show why people choose not to be in a relationship despite wanting connection.
This is why I like the interactions between Hachiman and Hayama. Hachiman is the loner while Hayama is the popular guy, but they’re not so different at heart. They both reject intimacy while simultaneously wishing for something “genuine”, even if they act on their desires in completely different ways. Hachiman plays the villain while Hayama plays the nice guy, but they’re both desperately doing this to preserve the status quo. And they both resent each other, or at least can’t bring themselves to like each other even when they admit their respect. It’s a really fascinating dynamic.
I think in any other show I would have shipped the hell out of them, but it doesn’t feel quite right here either. But, well, what do you expect from a show called My Teen Romantic Comedy is Wrong as Expected?