Hello again everyone. Welcome to my first ever OWLS post. I joined OWLS around a week ago now, and if you want to hear the full version why I joined this wonderful group of individuals, then you can read my recent blog update here.
As a short recap for those who don’t know what OWLS is, OWLS stands for Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, and they are a group dedicated to promoting acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability.
This month’s theme is pride, as described down below:
In honor of “Pride Month,” we will be discussing the word, “Pride” and its meaning. We will be exploring pop culture characters’ most satisfying and joyful achievements or skills that they possessed and whether or not these qualities could be seen as a positive or negative aspect in their personal lives and/or society.
Before you get into my post though, I would highly recommend you check out yesterday’s post from OWLS member Naja, who wrote about the characters of Piano no Mori. You should also look at Marth’s post for today as well.
The pop culture figure I have chosen to focus on is one that has had a fair bit of impact on me, ever since I watched the show he comes from. Today, I’ll be talking about Hachiman Hikigaya.
Walking into a room full of unknown people can be hard. Glares from eyes that may or may not be looking come crashing down like a ton of bricks. Taking a seat reveals that isolation is your only friend. No one in the room is familiar, and everyone is talking to someone else, except you. You have been gone from school for three months, because of an accident that wasn’t your fault. The room, however, does not know or care. They only continue to ignore.
That is the situation of Hachiman Hikigaya, a student at Soubu High School. Lost in the flood of cliques and friend groups that he had no ability to become apart of, Hachiman, at the start of Oregairu, is alone. A limousine hitting him while he tried to save a passerby’s dog left him in the hospital for three months, unable to return to school and interact with others. These three months away from people during his first year of high school had a profound effect Hachiman, leaving him cynical and uncaring about the world around him. In this way, Hachiman’s pride was a burden, as he was unwilling to admit that he was lonely and wanted interaction with others.
His teacher, Shizuka, recognized his god complex right away, and after he turned in a terrible paper, she decided to punish, and help him, by forcing him to join the service club, with the only other member being Yukino Yukinoshita, another girl who seems to have emotional retreated from the world around her. Hachiman, instinctively, let his pride bury any chance to form a meaningful relationship with Yukino. He resists with all of his being any willingness to be friends with Yukino.
The same happens later on with the show’s third main character. After finding out that Yui was the owner of the dog he saved, he immediately lets his pride take over, assuming that the only reason Yui decided to hang out with him, and by extension join the club, was out of pity. Hachiman lashes out, and tells Yui is she should just leave him alone if all she is doing is pitying him.
Sure, eventually Hachiman is fine. He lowers his guard, realizes that there was no need to isolate himself, and allows his trust to be tested. But for a time, there was a benefit to always carrying a shield around.
Admittedly, it is hard to trust people sometimes, especially when your in high school. There are those that only seek to take advantage of you, like what happened to Yui. Sure, maybe when you hould your shield out in front of you all the time, you can never see the faces of the the ones in front. But, at least you know you are safe. When someone swings, there will be no pain, only the momentary ping of avoided conflict.
Hachiman is also not like others. While he may have longed for the need of a real relationship with people, there are others who do not need it. The moment people forget that being alone and being lonely are not the same is the moment reaching out with a weapon in your hand looks the same as an attack.
Pride is a Double-Edged Sword
Pride, like a double-edged sword, is a contradiction. We expect it to protect us, but in reality it can be our greatest downfall. Pride is like bending yourself to your own will, and in Oregairu, that is exactly what happens. Despite a brief protection from the outside world, Hachiman’s pride eventually came to hurt him. The more he struggled to be released from social obligation, the closer he became to them, and the more he realized that he wanted them.
This is not to say all people who put up barriers, or in some cases fortified military bases, are secretly desperate for attention. But, when it comes to the destructive power of pride, it is important to remember that sacrafising yourself is not the same as protecting others.
How have all of you been celebrating pride month? What did you guys think of this short dive into Hachiman as a character? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!
Oh, and here is the schedule for the rest of the month.