My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong As I Expected, Vol. 7

By Wataru Watari and Ponkan 8. Released in Japan as “Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatte Iru” by Shogakukan. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jennifer Ward.

After the bleakness of the last volume, it’s good to see that this one is at least slightly more light-hearted, though as always the author can’t seem to resist ending on a downhearted note. That said, things are a lot warmer here, and the extra side-story that adapts a drama CD even tries to retcon the last book by showing that Hachiman was eventually roped into an after party anyway. This brings together most of the main protagonists, and features what may be the funniest part of the book, where Hachiman’s “hobbies” are found to be wanting (people watching doesn’t count) and they try to find him some new ones. It does reinforce a running theme of this series, though, which is that as much as Hachiman wants to push everyone as far away from him as possible, there is a growing core of people who worry and care about him. The trouble is, some are also falling for him, and at this point, that’s not a good thing.

It’s time for the traditional trip to Kyoto, with temple visits galore, something that has most people excited, even Yukino, who seems to be far more into the trip than she pretends. That said, the Service Club also has a new request, and it puts the “romantic comedy” back in the spotlight. Tobe, best known so far as “Hayama’s #2”, is in love with Ebina, best known so far as “that BL fangirl”, and wants to ask her out, but is nervous, so wants to enlist the help of Hachiman’s group. Needless to say, given this group, this involves 2/3 crushing verbal abuse and 1/3 sympathy, and even Yui is finding it hard to bring the sympathy. The trouble is, as it becomes apparent, Ebina does not want that sort of relationship – not now, and not with Tobe. And that makes everyone nervous, because the way Hayama and Miura’s cliques are set up, if a confession results in awkwardness and pulling away, it will destroy both groups.

If you guessed the solution to this was “Hachiman taking things on himself so as to deflect everything to him”, then congratulations, you are familiar with how this series works. That said, much as it was interesting to see a more serious and even poignant side to Ebina, the “main” romance is mostly there to highlight the main love triangle of Hachiman, Yukino and Yui. There’s plenty of ship tease between him and both girls here, as he holds Yui’s hand as they go through a dark and creepy temple set, and sneaks out for ramen with Yukino and Shizuka (a chapter that features Yukino at easily her cutest and most vulnerable in the series to date). But, just as everyone knows with Ebina and Tobe, the reader is aware that if the love story advances further, the core friendship of these three is going to be broken. Especially if Hachiman keeps up his “please crucify me” solutions to everyone’s problems.

So the question is, what’s next? Can the Service Club maintain its status quo? Well, my guess is yes, as the next volume is “7.5”, and is a collection of short stories. (Note that unlike, say, Devil Is a Part-Timer, these .5 volumes were not released as DVD extras, and are therefore able to be licensed here.) That said, this seventh volume of OreGairu is a bit less bleak, but you’re starting to see that the train is rushing forward towards a final destination that may simply be “crash”.

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