Disclaimer: The first part of this post is going to talk about the final episode, so if you are worried about spoilers and just want my overall review of SNAFU Too, please scroll down.
Episode 13: So it’s halfway into the summer season and I am just getting around to discussing the last episode. While it’s true that I have been busy, it’s also true that I have been putting this off a bit. As much as episode 12 was a fluff ball, this episode was heavy.
Imagine Yui’s dilemma: You like someone, but they have been burnt in the past and won’t open up to anyone. Over the course of a year, you manage to stay close enough to this turbulent and sometimes abrasive personality that they finally start opening up to you. Unfortunately, at almost the same time he starts showing an interest in spending time with you, you also notice some awkward chemistry between him and your best friend. Your best friend, for her part, is another awkward social disaster who also can’t make her own decisions. You’ve been holding things up a bit because you feel bad for her, but you liked him first. You’ve been waiting for almost a year for him to open up and now he looks like he may be falling for your friend. So what do you do? Well, you need to stay true to yourself and that’s what Yui does. She sets up one last day together. A nice three way date to the aquarium. After savoring their friendship for as long as she can, Yui does something she nows might smash it to pieces. Looking serious and trembling, she gives Hachiman her homemade cookies and gives Yukino an ultimatum. “If we each find out how the other feels, I don’t think we’ll be able to stay the way we are. So this will be the last help we give.” In other words, Yui isn’t going to hold back anymore. If Yukino isn’t going to try to get closer to Hachiman on her own, Yui isn’t going to keep giving her space. “If I win, I’ll take everything.” After Yui asks if that is OK, Yukino starts to cave, as Yui knew she would (that’s why she says it’s unfair). Hachiman steps in and says that Yukino has to make her own decisions. Yui knew he would say something and in doing so he saves the girls relationship for the moment. It’s a beautiful scene, but is also just “kicks the can down the road.” Nothing is really resolved here. Yui likes Hachiman and Yukino likes Hachiman. Hachiman likes them both. The only thing that has changed is that Yui isn’t going to prop up her friend anymore and help her take the heart of the guy she loves. Yui has told her that she is giving her cookies to Hachiman, whether or not Yukino has the guts to give him what’s in her bag. And then ED starts.
This is the problem with this season, and it was the problem of the first season as well. The show just stops. This isn’t an ending. It is doubtful whether we will ever get an ending. Perhaps someone is planning a movie or something, but it doesn’t seem like there is enough left in this story for another whole season. If this was supposed to be an open ending, it was a very unsatisfying one. Another issue is that the final scene was very open to interpretation. I’ve given my impression of the scene, but there are other explanations that also have merit. That kind of ambiguity is a sour note to end the show on.
The way the season ended was really a downer for me. SNAFU Too spent most of the season being good or even great, but the last scene was convoluted. Even worse, it didn’t actually wrap things up in any way. “Everything will be different now, but we aren’t going to show you that, because the show is over.” What they did they largely did well. Things did get a bit rushed in the last few episodes, and that was even more aggravating considering that they were rushed to fit in this non-ending, but the quality if the show is still high. I like this show and I really want it to be good in the end. A well done ending will elevate this into a contender for one of my all-time favorites. As it stands though, it’s just a very good show. That might be good enough if the potential for greatness wasn’t so strong with this one.
9 out of 10
The State of the Service Club:
I already gave my interpretation of the ending scene. So here, taking the LNs into account is where I think things stand.
Hachiman is opening up to the idea that Yui likes him. I don’t think he loves her yet, but he is open to dating and spending time alone with her. He is also crushing on Yukino. Yukino’s big advantage over Yui is that she needs him. That’s powerful stuff. The two are so awkward though that it’s hard to see a way forward for them.
Yui‘s gambit placed the ball squarely in Hachiman’s court, so what she will do next is a bit of a mystery. Despite her declaration, I have a hard time imagining what her going all out to win Hachiman’s affection will look like. His verbal rescue of Yukino was a setback, even if she expected it. Given how awkward he gets when Iroha toys with him. It is hard to imagine our protag holding out against a sustained effort by Yui during a date.
Yukino has a lot on her plate. In addition to her family troubles, she has to be aware of her feelings for Hachiman at this point. To avoid heartbreak, she will have to move forward and be honest with herself. She can’t rely on her best friend for too much help, as she is a rival for the affection she desires.
Iroha is the wildcard. She’s a cute girl with a crush on Hachiman (I think it’s fairly obvious now) who is comfortable enough and direct enough to make a move at any time. She might make a move in response to Yui or Yukino or she might not. (in volume 10.5 of the novels, which wasn’t adapted, she cons him into taking her on a date.) Even if the other girls were content to keep things as they are, she will provide the pressure to keep things moving.