My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong As I Expected, Vol. 14

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.

I will note that the ending to this series feels very much like you’d expect. The whole thing has involved people avoiding the subject, ducking the real issues, and trying to take care of everything without getting anyone else involved – all things that are impossible if you want to be an actual romantic couple. So somebody is going to have to take a step up here. It’s not going to be Yui, who communicates her feelings to Hachiman in the best “Hachimanese” she can, but he knows and won’t say anything. It’s also not going to be Hachiman, who will never do anything the honest, straightforward way if he can possibly duck out of it. No, it’s going to have to be Yukino, still trying to get the approval of her mother, and putting on a very nice compromise prom that has no problems… but still is not good enough. It’s going to require working together to get a happy ending… and possibly an actual confession.

So yes, they have the prom, and it goes well. Yui gets to dance with Hachiman. Yukino gets to validate herself in front of her family. Iroha gets to feel important and be really annoying. It’s good… but is it good enough? There was a bigger, cooler prom that got shot down, right? Shouldn’t they have fought harder for it? What’s more, it involved another high school, and they’re busy asking “hey, what about that joint prom?”. It’ll take a lot of work to fix this, as well as some brazen lying and bluffing. Fortunately, they have someone who is fantastic at hard work and someone who is fantastic at brazen lying and bluffing. Unfortunately, they’re both acting as if, once this is over, they’ll drift apart and never see each other again. Can Hachiman and Yukino be kicked in the ass enough to confess to each other?

This doesn’t spoil too much (if you think it’s a spoiler Hachiman and Yukino are the final pairing, I urge you to reread Vols 1-13), but it feels absolutely right that Yukino is able, after the 2nd prom, to finally come out with a sincere “I love you”, but Hachiman’s confession to HER is about as oblique as “the moon is beautiful tonight”, basically saying that he wants to continue to get involved with her problems and be in her life. But that’s huge, for him. He wants to be close to someone. He even admits he’s going to get a job after college, rather than the bullshit “househusband” thing he’s always said before. As for Yui… I’m sorry, this is not the sort of series that was going to end with an OT3, though at least she is still trying to stay friends with them. In the end, the only one who exits the story here is Shizuka, who gets transferred to another school, but not before one last dance with her favorite student.

This is the final volume… except there’s a short story collection coming after this. It’s mostly “bundle up the short stories that came out with Blu-Ray boxes”, but has one taking place after this book. In the meantime, this feels like a very appropriate ending for the series.

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