A Look-back on OreGairu and Watamote – Sociological Approaches of Hachiman and Tomoko
OreGairu is an anime released way back in 2013, and was infamous with it’s cynical deconstruction of the romcom genre. Because it’s second season was announced (April 2015, I think), I figured it was about time to rewatch the first season and meanwhile, do a writeup on the interesting Hikigaya Hachiman (and a little bit of Tomoko of Watamote due to slight relevance of the topic at hand) as well.
I always thought that OreGairu and Watamote are very similar in nature-dealing with absolent societal issues of introverts. Other than different main character genders, there is a key difference however-acceptance. Hachiman is someone who had went through all the social bumps Tomoko experienced throughout Watamote, and had accepted the loneliness as a part of him. Tomoko, on the other hand, reject loneliness and wanted friends and companionship.
The problem here is this very acceptance. While of cause with the facade of acceptance, Hachiman was able to stay away the norms of society, and observe from afar. This makes him very observant about other people, and does not mind shoving truths down to their very throats, while bearing all the hate, which is a stark contrast to Hayama, who would prefer a more idealistic solution-this is most prevalent during the Sagami scene. Now, I’m not too well-versed in the psychology of superheroes like Batman or Superman (I’m not too keen on them now, and only watched a few of them when I was a kid, and being a snot-nosed brat at the time, there’s no way I would think about something like psychology), but I had seen comparisons to them respectively. From the little of my knowledge, there are of cause, fair comparisons.
Hachiman is a dark knight of society. He’s someone who had experienced all the issues of society-being shunned and rejected throughout his life. He is always pessimistic, and doesn’t mind being a social scapegoat-in due part because of his acceptance of loneliness. If you were to put Tomoko in the same shoes, I would assume that she, who had been trying earnestly (and failing miserably) to fit into society, will not do anything like that which pretty much equates to social suicide. Hachiman is no role model, and we of cause shouldn’t view him as one. His distorted views and mindset all stem from his acceptance of loneliness; and while the things he claimed may seem logical, it is but a facade, and Hachiman knew deep down his ideology is skewed.
The thing about watching both Watamote and OreGairu is that they are both uncomfortable and even painful experiences to watch for an introvert like me; since Tomoko and Hachiman both uncannily represent different phases of my own social life. The societal issues they are suffering, are also ones I “was” suffering from, and in some aspect, “am” suffering from as well. I personally consider acceptance of loneliness a questionable mindset, so I obviously can’t agree with Hachiman’s views, but I relate the hell out of them and can see where he is coming from. Hachiman’s fortunate though, since despite his flaws and negative tendencies, he DOES have friends, even if one of them is a snarky ice queen. Looking at Hachiman, I’m always stuck on two sides-I agree and disagree with him at the same time. Some of his quotes really strike a chord to the introvert side of me. The other side of me is still a Tomoko, rejecting loneliness and seeking companionship. Watamote ended in a somewhat “positive” note, showing Tomoko that “she no longer cares as much” in the last episode. This is a clear hint to the beginning phase of Hachiman’s ideology though, which I’m not too sure is a good thing. Though Watamote stopped right then and there and we haven’t heard of a second season or anything (I’m not reading the manga myself).
Last but not least, I would like to point out that in the end, I like Hachiman as a character. He’s no role model for sure, but his pessimistic views provide an interesting outlook to the genre. He’s also a very complex character if you scrutinize; an invisible dark hero, who saves the day, bear the hate, and fade into the background once more…
..Yup, he’s Batman all right.
Anyone looking forward to OreGairu second season? I’m looking forward to April myself. Speaking of April.. they better don’t pull an April’s Fool joke on me…