If the truth is a cruel mistress, then a lie must be a nice girl.Hikigaya Hachiman
Youth. It is time when young teens experience and are forced to deal with a variety of emotions and situations thrust unto them. Their awareness grows, their relationships change…
It is a turbulent place where we each look for something to grab on to. Friends, hobbies, aspirations…no matter what it is we find, there are bound to be times when the ledges give out beneath our feet. There are times that we decide to let go of one handhold to hold onto another. And there are times that we refuse to move from the ones we are holding onto.
I think that Hikigaya Hachiman’s iconic “I hate nice girls” speech stems from such a situation. He rejects Yuigahama’s friendship in order to stay true to the person he established himself as and his rejection of superficial relationships. Thus, in the final scene in episode 5, Hikigaya cuts off his relationship with Yuigahama, under the pretense that she was being kind to him out of pity and that Hikigaya did not want such a relationship.
This was one of the most important scenes in the story, as it showed how Hikigaya afraid of kindness and friendship. Using this scene, I will be exploring Hikigaya’s personality and his ideals at this point in the series.
Before we explore further, let’s talk about context. The monologue takes place soon after Hikigaya learns from his sister that Yuigahama was the owner of the dog he had saved on the first day of school. Sable, Yuigahama’s dog, was nearly run over by a limousine but Hikigaya protected the dog, getting injured in the process.
Having learned this, Hikigaya connected the incident with Yuigahama’s kindness towards him. Due to his injury, Hikigaya missed the first two weeks of school and was unable to fit into the class. He believed that Yuigahama had only befriended him because she felt that she was responsible for Hikigaya’s lack of friends.
At least, that is what Hikigaya believes Yuigahama’s motivation is.
We don’t actually know why Yuigahama decided to befriend Hikigaya. It was likely a multitude of reasons, and Hikigaya might be right, to some extent. However, it is hinted that Yuigahama may actually have romantic feelings for Hikigaya. In the very first episode of the show, we saw that Yuigahama wanted to make cookies for ‘someone’. We never found out who this person was exactly, but we do see her give heart-shaped cookies to Hikigaya. Moreover, in Episode 6, Yuigahama hints that she has another batch of cookies she wanted to give to him. Maybe I’m grasping at straws here, but at the very least, it hints that Yuigahama thinks of Hikigaya as a friend.
Or maybe she was trying to poison him.
Well, the show is quite subtle about these kinds of things. But ultimately my point here is this: I don’t think Yuigahama was kind to Hikigaya simply because she felt guilty or because she felt like she owed him something, but rather, she thought of him as a friend.
And So I Will Forever Hate Nice Girls
I hate nice girls.
Just exchanging pleasantries with them makes me curious, and texting each other makes me feel restless. If I get a call, for the rest of the day, I keep checking my call history with a stupid grin on my face. But I know the truth. They’re just being nice. Anyone nice to me is nice to others too. But I always find myself on the verge of forgetting that. If the truth is a cruel mistress, then a lie must be a nice girl. And so, niceness is a lie. I would always hold expectations. I would always misunderstand. At some point, I stopped hoping. An experienced loner never falls for the same trap twice. A lone warrior, surviving hundreds of battles. When it comes to losing, I’m the strongest. That’s why, no matter what happens, I will always hate nice girls.Hikigaya Hachiman
This monologue tells us a lot of things about Hikigaya; it further develops what we already know about him, and shows us the experiences that made the Hikigaya we now know.
In the past, Hikigaya appears to have fallen victim to his own delusions. A ‘nice girl’ talked to him, or called him, and he immediately became unable to control his excitement. Even if he knew it was nothing to be excited over, he still held onto that hope, that maybe that girl really did like him, that her kindness was more than pity.
To Hikigaya, hope was something he held onto and it betrayed him. Hope is a source of motivation, but also the mastermind behind delusion and desperation.
And Hikigaya, after seeing his belief in that hope fail over, and over, and over again, became afraid to hope that he would make any real friends. That is why Hikigaya gave up on others, and became a loner. That way, Hikigaya would only rely on himself (and his trusty imouto, Komachi). Believing in others was too unreliable—that is the conclusion I believe Hikigaya came to.
Thus, Hikigaya hates nice girls, although to no fault of the girls themselves. It is simply that their kindness gives Hikigaya hope, and Hikigaya has experienced this hope be crushed many times. Hikigaya doesn’t want to be hurt again, and so he is afraid of hoping that he’ll be liked by a girl. So instead, he slowly builds a new way of living in which he convinces himself that he doesn’t want friendships, love, or any kind of relationship with others.
And yet Yuigahama continues to talk to him, wait for him, and even try to help him to interact with others. Yuigahama, to Hikigaya, might be a little like an apple to Tantalus (a Greek mythological character). Having failed to reach the apple for as long as he has tried, he firmly believes that it is hopeless. Yet the apple dangles a mere centimeter away from his fingertips, as if mocking him. Telling him to hope, inconsiderate of the pain he’s felt, and the wall he erected around his heart through his experiences. It must be frustratingly annoying for him.
If the truth is a cruel mistress, then a lie must be a nice girl.Hikigaya Hachiman
This one line, one of my favorite quotes of all time, sums it up. That girl’s kindness is not kindness, because she is acts that way with everyone. She’s not acting this way because of who I am, she’s acting this way because of who she is. I’m sure that’s the kind of idea behind this quote.
I love this scene because it simply shares so much about Hikigaya, gives him so much depth, complexity, and relatability (is this a word?). Oregairu is ultimately a story about a jaded, cynical loner who slowly warms up to his peers around him. It’s a story about the difficulties and the small things that affect the nuances of a relationship. It’s a meditation on what it means to be a genuine friend. This scene is ultimately the first scene in which we can catch a glimpse of all of this, and so I like to think of the end of Episode 5 as the thesis of the entire series.
Not to mention the soundtrack (I put it at the top of the post) describes that lonely, melancholy feeling perfectly.
It is probably one of the only reasons I didn’t drop this anime during my first watch through, and it while I didn’t understand it all when I first watched it seven or so months ago, as I finished the anime, and then read it from the beginning in the light novels, I found that this scene really resonated with me, and helped me organize and understand some of my own feelings.
And that just about concludes my analysis.
I’ve now come to really love Oregairu for its naturalistic depictions of relationships between teenagers, and its meditations on friendship, dependence, aspirations, and various other things, all of which resonate strongly with me.
That’s it for today, and sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been busy this summer, and I also worked really hard on this analysis to make it more suited to the kind of content I wanted to post on this blog. But ultimately it was my own laziness that I haven’t posted. Gomen’nasai! I hope it was enjoyable to read! Thanks for your time.
WhoAmI, signing off.
P.S. Not set in stone, but I recently watched Madoka Magica and K-On, so I might review those sometime?
P.P.S. I am keeping up with the current season, and it’s a pretty good season so far. I’m keeping up with Vinland Saga, Dr. Stone, Fire Force, El-Melloi, and I might watch Given too. I’m also watching Demon Slayer from last season. I’ve gotta say, that last episode of Demon Slayer was amazing!