My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong As I Expected, Vol. 10

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

This may be a first for this series. For the first time, I got through an entire volume without wanting to throw Hachiman out a window. This isn’t to say that he’s all smiles and warm fuzzies, but his cynical “this is what teenage life is really ,like it’s a jungle out there man” monologues are kept to a minimum and his attempts to solve the problem of the book involve actually talking with people about the problem rather than, say, throwing himself under the bus again. This volume was adapted into the final chunk of Season 2, so also is probably the calm before the storm that will be the final arc of the series. Things are moving pretty slowly – you can tell the author wants to wrap this up before they become third years – but we are starting to think about the future, which in Japan means what “track” will the kids be taking, arts or sciences?

Haruno is on the cover, and actually has a significant presence in the book as the “not quite evil but close” antagonist. The main focus of the book, though, is Hayama, who is the perfect boy that everyone wants to hang out with/date, but he’s refusing to say whether he’s taking the arts or sciences track, which has thrown his group into turmoil. Particularly Miura, who has a crush on him but is also concerned for his well-being – nearly everyone by now can see that Hayama is wearing a mask to hide his real self. She asks our heroes to find out what his choice is, which proves to be a very tough nut to crack, and mostly involves Hachiman doing a lot of detective work. In the interim, though, there is an ominous cloud on the horizon, and we see part of that cloud here, as we meet Yukino and Haruno’s mother, who is exactly what you’d expect she would be like. Oh yes, and there’s a rumor that Hayama and Yukino are going out which has spread like wildfire.

It’s pretty clear that Yukino’s family issues are gonna be the series’ endgame (which is bad news for Yui, and indeed she once again doesn’t have much of a role here – this love triangle is a bit imbalanced). For the moment, though, we’re dealing with Hayama, whose feelings for Hachiman are very conflicted – at one point he holds out hope that Hachiman is concerned about him as a friend, only to realize that it’s for his Service Club after all. It comes to a head in the school’s marathon, where Hayama bluntly talks about how he hates Hachiman, who may be Hayama’s opposite but also has managed to draw people to his actual self, crappy though that self may be. I was also very amused at the discussion of arts vs. sciences, some of which is “what am I best at” but a lot of which is also “how can I improve my social image?”.

So yes, this was a strong volume in the series, and I also really love the brother/sister relationship between Hachiman and Komachi, which is realistic and sweet. I am totally ready for Book 11. Sadly, the author is not, so get ready for 10.5, more short stories, next time.

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