After sending off Komachi to her high school exams, the episode solely focuses on the relationships of the service club’s three members. Yukinon attempts to express her feelings to Hachiman, while Yui ignores her own and tries to leave the two alone. Both fail, fearing the pain they would inflict on each other. Stuck in static relationships again, they are tiptoeing around each other’s emotions unable to move forward. But Yui has learned from this past season, and she takes the situation into her own hands. Ready to give her ultimatum, she invites the club on a date to the aquarium of metaphors.
Studio Feels uses the image of the nursery fish overlayed by the service club to show their similarities. The nursery fishes’ habit of living in muddy streams without swimming much, represents the stagnant relationships of Yui, Yukinon, and Hachiman. The three are unable to swim past the “mud” in their relationships, and for Yukinon it is emphasized. She has a similar problems with her family and instead of discussing the issue, Yukinon shuts them out. The penguins embody the other dilemma they face. Just like how the penguins have one partner for life, Hachiman can only choose one. Yui attacks the issue head on, giving the handmade cookies to Hachiman and finally fulfilling the request from the first season. Handing the cookies to Hachiman in front of Yukinon was Yui’s way of encouraging Yukinon to do the same. But again, Yukinon is unable to address her own emotions and refrains from giving her gift to Hachiman.
Though everyone understands the problems, the issue still isn’t overt. So, Yuigahama states her ultimatum, “when I win, I’ll take it all”, throwing it all out there. Yui is willing to hurt Yukinon to get what she wants, and by using the contest it takes away the pain of making a decision from Yukinon. But this isn’t the genuine thing Hachiman has been searching for. He doesn’t want the choice to be made by a contest. Their emotions must be the decider to form something truly genuine. Hachiman has finally broken the illusion he has had of Yui and Yukinon. And though Hachiman might not fully understand them yet, he will continue on with the resolve to find his answer.
“because every time we go wrong, we’ll continue to look for the right answer”
Over the two seasons, I have developed a connection with these characters and love to watch them grow. This season in particular had a spectacular cinematography by studio Feels, elevating this franchise to another level. I’m satisfied with the ending, but it’s sad to know that Oregairu will never get another season. The author has already stated that the series will end with the twelfth or thirteenth light novel. Since this season covered all the way up to the eleventh light novel, there won’t be enough content to have another full season. An OVA or a movie would be great, but there have been no announcements yet. Saying goodbye to a show of this caliber is always a little melancholic, so instead I’ll say, see you later. I’m sure I will visit this series again, and have no doubt, Oregairu Zoku will be a contender for anime of the year.