Yahari Ore isn’t the first anime to tackle the anti-social protagonist, but it certainly captures it perfectly with its characters and deadpan writing. Like others have said before, you may go into this expecting a typical rom-com but will instead come out of it lashed by the harsh views of our characters. This, however, is why these types of anime stand out from so many in the genre. It’s charming, funny and yet bluntly realistic. Far too often rom-coms get stuck in the fairy tale realm of romance stories or get too wrapped up in the emotional drama/turmoil that can be present in youthful romance. Those elements are fine. But what about the bitter, and rejected? Or those that aren’t allowed to fit in, or who choose not to fit in.
Not everyone, of course, has had this experience, but it’s certainly something that people experience. And so this is what Yahari Ore does best, it gives us a perspective of those in school who have been rejected so much, they decide to play by their own rules, and that, of course, is excluding everyone else from the game. After all, it’s much easier to get on by when you only have yourself to rely on.
This anime doesn’t preach to the audience. And certainly, the viewpoints of these characters are sometimes flawed. But it’s an interesting look at how some people deal with their failure to connect to others. Yahari Ore also looks at it from the other perspective and isn’t trying to paint one side as the victim/aggressor. We get a look at how mean and cruel we can be to each other when trying to fend for ourselves by fitting to the status quo. But this is true of both the rejected and those that reject.
At its core, this show is very funny. The MC’s biting sense of humour and harsh views of the world is hilarious (even if it always has an underlining seriousness to it). And to be clear, this isn’t a serious drama. However, my praise focuses so much on the serious elements of the show, because I think that is what elevates this to a truly great Anime vs. a typical comedy. There is a lot of truth to this show, and it feels very realistic. Through the lens of the MC’s harsh view on the world, we get a deep look at social behaviours and how often everyone is just trying to be something that won’t be shunned from the pack.
If you are someone looking for a romance anime to watch, this might not be it. The romance in this anime isn’t non-existent, it’s actually well written in a realistic manner. However, if you are looking for romance with a lot of action, then you might be let down. The romance in this anime is more about feelings, and how they can grow towards others. This is to say, the romance feels like something special here, but you will not get any closure or sweeping action between specific characters (maybe later in the LN or if we get a season 2). Although I don’t think that’s what this anime is about, as ultimately its focus is more on how people internally deal with their emotions, and the fear of sharing them with others.
Yahari Ore is an example of why comedy is such a great asset to art. Comedy allows us to look at aspects of life that aren’t always good and allows us to examine the darker aspect of our humanity, and laugh while also getting a better understanding of it. Yes, this is a comedy that is for the most part, snarky, sarcastic and deadpan. But it’s also a very interesting perspective on how we treat other people, and how those that don’t fit in, (or those that choose not to play the game and try to fit in), deal with a world that heavily relies on being social.
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