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[SPOILERS] Oregairu Volume 12 Summary + Impressions

oregairu volume 12

Was it worth the two-year wait?

My overall impression of this volume is that, yes, this is definitely building up to some kind of climax. It’s just stretching out the development really slowly. Almost everything of note happens in the last 40 pages or so, which is par the course for the Oregairu LN.

In this volume, Hachiman, Yukino and Yui all take baby steps towards change, but in the end, they still need an agitating presence like Haruno to blow apart their relationships and force them into making a move.

The volume ends with Hachiman running off to “save” Yukino, leaving Yui in tears.

yui

I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, so let’s backtrack and talk about the start of the volume.

The story picks up where volume 11 left off, with our main trio outside the aquarium. Hachiman is keenly aware that there are things left unsaid between the three of them. It’s awkward at first, and Hachiman overthinks every damned little thing, but in the end, they have a pleasant conversation looking back on everything that’s happened throughout the series.

At this point, Yukino even opens up a little bit, and mentions that she wants to go into politics and business like her father, but she’ll need to convince her mother to take her seriously for that to happen. Haruno, the eldest daughter, is the one tasked with the responsibilities. Yukino is just “the other child.”

For the first time, Hachiman finds the courage to ask her more about her family situation. This is a big moment, for everybody.

Yukino says that she plans to have a proper talk with Haruno about it. Then she plans to move back into her parents’ house (remember that she’s been living alone in an apartment for all this time) and ask her mother to listen to her. “I have to start by finding out what she thinks for certain,” she says. “This time, I’m deciding it through my own will. Not because somebody told me to, but because I came to this conclusion on my own.”

She confronts Haruno in the very next chapter.

Haruno is still at Yukino’s apartment when they return. She’s been drinking, but apparently she’s not drunk. According to her, no matter how much she drinks, she can’t get drunk.

haruno

In typical Haruno fashion, she wriggles her way out of answering Yukino at first. But when she realises that Yukino is serious about what she wants to do, she mutters, “So this is your answer.”

Then she says, “I’ll help you out.”

Haruno insists that she’ll help Yukino try to convince their mother. “She won’t change her plans so easily,” Haruno explains, “so you’ll need time, right? I’ll say my piece too when the timing’s right.”

And so (with Yui’s help) Yukino moves back into her parents’ house.

And then life goes on.

Yukino’s subplot is put on hold until the very end of the volume, and so from this point onward we see other characters take the stage. At this point, the secondary theme of this volume emerges: The “distance” between brother and sister.

This is shown, firstly and most obviously, through the relationship between Hachiman and Komachi. As you may remember from the anime, Komachi is taking the entrance exam for Hachiman’s high school. In volume 12, we find out that she’s managed to pass the exam. Congrats, Komachi!

komachi

At first, Komachi tries to carry herself like an adult. When she’s nervous about finding out the results, she tries not to show it. Hachiman senses that something has changed about their relationship – the siblings are beginning to drift apart.

But then Komachi finds out her results and she can no longer hold her emotions in. She cries and clings to her brother, the same way she did as a child. “The day we siblings drift apart will come,” thinks Hachiman. “But today isn’t that day.”

This is what the relationship between siblings is like, and it’s impossible for Hachiman to project those feelings onto anyone else. Iroha calls him out on this later, when he claims to see her as a little sister. “You should stop doing that,” she says. “No girl likes being treated as a little sister.”

iroha

This conversation is played off in a light-hearted fashion at the time, but Iroha’s sentiments come back to haunt Hachiman in the end. When he insists that he’ll “help” Yukino, even when she says that she can handle things by herself, Haruno points out how inconsiderate he’s really being.

“Are you playing the big brother again?” she asks him, cuttingly.

To that, Hachiman can’t really say anything.


The primary conflict in this volume centers around the high school prom. This is a hare-brained scheme that Iroha cooked up after watching American movies, thinking that she’ll get to be the prom queen. She brings this request to the Service Club, and although Yukino and the others hold some reservations about Iroha’s motivations (“Is she really doing all of this for herself?” they wonder), they eventually decide to help her out.

At first, I thought that this would lead to a retreading of earlier conflicts in the series, where Yukino tries to organise a large-scale event by herself and encounters problems. Anticipating this, Yui tells her from the start: “Don’t overexert yourself.”

yukino

As it turns out, there are no problems from Yukino’s side. No, the problems actually come from Yukino’s mother herself.

Yukino’s mother is, let’s say, one of those “concerned parents” types. She’s literally a member of the parents’ association. She wants to halt the prom because she finds it too “scandalous.” Literally all of her arguments are stupid, but she never changes her mind. She just smiles and pretends to listen to you and then gently reprimands to make you feel like the bad guy.

Yukino, who is obviously used to her mother’s style of argumentation, insists that she’ll be able to negotiate with her mother. Cut to the next chapter, however, and we find out through a phone call with Hiratsuka-sensei that Yukino has failed miserably at the task, but we’re left hanging about the details. According to Hiratsuka-sensei: “I’ve been compelled not to tell you. It’s Yukinoshita’s wish not to tell you.”

Then she asks, “Do you still have a reason to help out with the prom?”

This is the big moment for Hachiman. Even if it’s against Yukino’s will, does he still have a reason to help her, to rush to her aid?

He thinks that: “All of my reasons are linked to work, the club and Komachi. Even if I change the words and the way I say it, I realise that everything ties back to that.”

Haruno called his relationship with Yukino a “co-dependent” one, but for him, that’s not a reason either. “Co-dependency is the structure of a relationship. It’s not an emotion. It could be used as an excuse, but it could never become the reason.”

After thinking about every emotion in his heart, after squeezing himself dry, there is only one feeling left. A feeling that he cannot, does not want to verbalise.

But I have to say it, he thinks. If I don’t, nothing will progress.

And so he says, “I promised that I’d save her one day.”

Trite, hackneyed words without any rhyme or reason. He hates saying them.

But Hiratsuka-sensei accepts his reason. “Come immediately,” she tells him, so he leaves right away.

Yui waves him off.

“If you go to her, things will work out,” she insists brightly.

yui again

As soon as he’s gone, she bursts into tears.


There are three cryptic interludes inserted at different parts of the story. Each one is apparently told through the point of view of Hachiman and Yui. Fans have already attempted to translate these, and you can find them on the Oregairu Reddit or 4chan or wherever.

In the first interlude, the writer (Hachiman?) admits: “I don’t want something genuine if it’s only going to be cold, cruel and sad.”

The second and third interludes appear to be written by Yui. In the second interlude, Yui discovers a photo of Yukino and Hachiman from Destiny Land. She notes: “It would be cruel to ask her feelings. It would be cruel to say my feelings. But I’m scared of knowing his feelings. And putting the blame on her would be the cruelest thing of all.”

And in the third interlude, she says: “I couldn’t blame everything on her. Just like she depended on him, I depended on her. I was the one who pushed everything on others.”

Everyone is afraid. What does it mean to move forward? What will happen when the status quo finally shatters? I think of this situation as a love triangle, but it’s also deeper than that. I think that this story is about the basic fear of being emotionally vulnerable.

There are little signs scattered throughout this volume that, despite the fact that they have known each other for a year, there are basic, essential things that these characters have not grasped. They are still afraid of asking personal questions. And Hachiman has never once touched the key for the Service Club room.

How will these trio of misfits truly break out of their shells and learn to relate to each other? Volume 12 completed the setup for this conflict. In volumes 13 and 14 (which are set to release at the same time at an unspecified date), we’ll see where the dice falls.


(Photos of the illustrations are from this imgur folder uploaded by dvdtely.)

EDIT: Added some clarification about the second interlude. Commenters are right – it appears to be told from Yui’s perspective.

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Posted on September 27, 2017, in Editorials and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. I’ve been waiting for this! I remember what Hayama said back in the second season (which volume is it, I have forgotten…) that “That is why, I will not choose.” Since Watarin loves to foreshadow stuff… maybe what Hayama said back then had its significance and that significance has shown in the volums 12’s ending. Hachiman is opposite to Hayama, so maybe he’ll choose…? And what he’ve chosen is clear in the ending, or so, that’s just me speculating things… (my other part of my brain tells me that Hachiman will choose both otherwise)

    The second (as well as the third one) interlude is probably one of my favorite moments in the series. Also, that’s obviously Yui’s interlude as that person in that (second) interlude refers herself “atashi” and doesn’t use big words. Anyways, while I was reading the second (and third) interlude (which were the only ones I’ve read and surprisingly easy to read than the rest of volume 12 lol), I was impressed. Such easy words can turn into heavy ones—it’s strucked my heart.

    Thanks for the summary, Frog-kun! Few stuff made a lot of sense to me now. You see, even if I’m a bit knowledgeable in Japanese, I just couldn’t bring myself to read volume 12 because Hachiman’s (I attempted reading it) perspective is full of kanji’s I’m not aware of.

    • Ah, good point. Second interlude could be Yui as well. It repeats a lot of the same ideas as the third one, plus she refers to herself as “atashi” like you mentioned.

  2. I’m sorry, I can’t look at the pics or read it cause spoils! Is this the light novel or the manga?

  3. Thanks for the review. It is a refreshing read after all the troll-spoilers and false flagging that’s been floating around the ‘net since Vol 12 dropped.

    Despite the (not so) surprising fact that there would be 14 volumes, I think Watari sensei still manages to capture the essence of the Youth RomCom incredibly well. The first chapter to me was nostalgic, it is like a reunion with an old friend that you haven’t met in ages and are just catching up on old times.

    From your review, the plot makes a lot more sense now, and I am confident that he’d be able to come up with a non-asspull conclusion, since everything has been deliberately foreshadowed and the feelings and motivations of the various parties are finally coming to the surface.

    I liked your description of the interactions with Komachi and Iroha. That tied in naturally to the nature of familial vs. romantic love and how Hachiman needs to understand the place for both in his life. And it takes a third wheel (Iroha) to teach him that lesson in a non threatening manner. I’m not into shipping personally but I can understand why Iroha is one of the more popular characters despite being properly introduced only in the latter half of the novel.

    As a final note, I guess it must be bittersweet for Watari sensei that his other projects didn’t pan out so well. This is probably going to be remembered as his magnum opus and he has redefined the Youth RomCom genre so much that copycat novels have sprung up. (I wonder if you’ve read any of them and if they are as cliched as their titles suggested).

    • Thanks! I was partly inspired to write a detailed summary after seeing the misinformation being spread about this volume. For example, I was surprised that people thought Komachi failed the exam. It’s not a small detail that’s easy to misinterpret as you’re reading.

      As for the copycat titles… no, I haven’t read any of them yet. I was thinking of it, though. I had to laugh when one of them was being advertised in the leaflets that came with my copy of Oregairu volume 12. I’m talking about “Seishun Zettai Tsubusuman na Ore ni Sukui wa Iranai”, which is also published by the GAGAGA imprint. I wonder what Watari thinks of it.

      • > “Seishun Zettai Tsubusuman na Ore ni Sukui wa Iranai”
        Yep, that’s the one which came out in April during the time we expected Vol. 12. We thought it was Watari sensei trolling us…

  4. Hmm…. I think both second and third interlude were Yui’s.

  5. Is it true that yui found the picture of hachi and yukino? the one from destiny land (the water ride) that yukino bought.

  6. Hello.
    does anyone have a link of a translation of the v12? i tried to find it without being spoiled.
    thank you.
    i will read the review after reading the v12 :)

  7. Thank you so much for your very informative summary. It was highly appreciated, specially considering all the rumors being spread about the content of this volume.

    It definitely seems that we’re building up to a big climax. I hope that whoever translates this, takes their time and care. It seems to me that just a litte nuance caught wrong could create a big misunderstanding.

  8. Just out of curiosity, how did they pronounce themselves in the first interlude? If it was watashi or atashi it’d be yukinoshita or yuigahama. If it was ore it’d be hikigaya right? I just though that since the first, second and last interlude all relate to the same problem it could all be yui’s. I dunno

  9. Is it true that yui saw the saw the photo of hachiman (roller coaster scene) in yukino’s apartment?

    Thanks for the summary btw!

  10. Thank you very much for sparing your valuable time to share this information, Frog-kun. We really appreciate it.

    I do wonder how Watari Wataru changed as an author and also as an individual over the journey of writing Oregairu. This has been quite a long but fulfilling journey.

  11. is that shot of Hachiman and Yui in prom clothing legit?

  12. Great post. I’m glad you’re posting new content. For a while you were re-posting Crunchyroll articles. Are you interested in doing a written interview for Akibento?

  13. I’m very disappointed this wasn’t the last volume it was hyped up to be.

    Thanks for this frog kun. Looking at the first interlude I guess Hachiman might take the solo route if choosing(*cough* *cough* *Yukino* *cough*) will just end up hurting everybody. I really want him to choose, no matter who it is.

    The wait and delaying of this volume was just torture, I hope we won’t wait this long again for the next volumes. And thanks again for this

  14. It’s really confirmed that the series will end in volume 14?

    • Yes, it was announced at the GAGAGA 10-year anniversary event: http://yaraon-blog.com/archives/113662

      • Thanks for the answer, very excited, scared and anxious xD

        But I still have another doubt.
        If there are three interludes wouldn’t make more sense if were about the three protagonists? The last one could fit pretty much in Yukinoshita, since she relies on her friendship with Yui quite a lot and really make the others carry some burdens because of her (even if it is involuntarily).

        Or else, all them could be about Yui, since I don’t think this first one make sense for Hachiman’s character at all, and Yui already said in the previous volume “The truth is, I don’t mind if isn’t something genuine”, right? Don’t you think so?

        • From context, it’s clear that Yui is the narrator for the second and third interludes. In the second interlude, she’s helping Yukino clean her room, and in the third interlude, she’s talking about not wanting to cry just as Hachiman has left.

          The first interlude, though, I’m not sure who it is. It could be Yui as well – who knows?

  15. YUKINO END.
    YES.
    THIS IS ALL I WANTED.

  16. The volume ends with Hachimand going help Yukinoshita? I though the volume ended with Yukinoshita refusing his help… is that a misunderstanding too? Also, very happy that Komachi did it, I really couldn’t understand why she would fail at the exame, thanks for all clarifications.

    • Yukino refuses Hachiman’s help, but he comes running to help in the end anyway.

      I’m not sure why people thought Komachi failed the exam. Apparently, 4chan was spreading misinformation.

  17. Hum, from the beginning, I also though the first interlude was from Hachiman. However, after finishing the LN and reading it again, I think it is from Yukinoshita.
    Based on how the scene was described (falling snow, street lights, …), it happened right at the park from the start of the volume. Thus, the “long talk” indicates their reminiscence about past events. Then, the “pause” must be when the conversation changed to Yukinoshita’s family problem. And the owner of the interlude was expected to continue the conversation with her/his “answer”. Was it Hachiman when he decided to ask about Yukinoshita’s problem? Or was it Yukinoshita when she told those two about her wish?
    Firstly, the word “希望” in the interlude makes me think it belongs to Yukinoshita due to “私の将来の希望” and “雪の下の希望”.
    Secondly, at the end of the interlude, the sentence “such cold and cruel genuine thing with only sadness, I don’t want it” does not align with Hachiman character. This will go against what he said at the end of vol 11. Especially in vol 9, when he told his request in the club. He clearly stated he wanted that “sour grape”, even if it was cruel or even if he was left with nothing. So he couldn’t change his mind in just a few hours (though it was 2 years for us lol.)
    Finally, the owner of the interlude reached his/her answer. And through the whole volume, Yukinoshita has shown her determination along with the answer which she though was right. She acted alone and did not want to rely on Hachiman or Yui. Thus, she brought their codependent relationship to an end. Is this why it’s cold and cruel?
    On the other hand, Hachiman has not reached his answer yet. At the beginning, He still didn’t know the right distance between him and the two girls. At the end, he mistook the real reason why Yui started crying. And by “三角関係”, did he really think it’s a “love triangle”? Or did he simply mean a triangle relationship ̣̣̣(the good one, the bad one, and the normal one)?

    Btw, at the end of vol 11, Yui clearly said that their last request was about themselves. But, in this vol, we have Irohasu’s request, which I guess her real motivation will be revealed at the end of vol 13. So I was like “WTF Wataru, did you change your mind and decide to go for an unplanned ending?” and “Oh it’s end here, but there are still 40 pages left. WTF 40 pages of ads!!! The conclusion for the last arc my ass.”

  18. 8 is getting better in his illustrations, IMO. Yui looks stunning in her prom dress(Though Haruno looks a little chunky, lol). I’m hoping that 12 is the setup volume, 13 will be the “dark” volume, and 14 will be the “light” volume(If a good end for all involved is even possible.)

    Thank you for the review; I figure it will be a few months before a fully translated version will be available.

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