Oregairu is probably one of the biggest names in romance series out there, having spawned all kinds of disputes and concepts rarely seen in ordinary tropes of story. There was a time I myself was also caught up in that storm.
However, as time flew by, what really kept me interested in this franchise is this mysterious being, Yukinoshita Haruno, who also likely is the most divisive character, receiving all kinds of theories from the fanbase:
- Some just think there’s nothing special or deep about her, she’s just as straightforward as she is: mean, selfish, and has an awful lot of free time at her disposal to fuck around.
- Some think she’s filled with malicious intent and has been hatching some sort of 9999 IQ master plan in order to fuck Yukino’s life up for her own personal gain (such as retaking her freedom from the family).
- Some, on the other hand, think she actually loves Yukino and just wants to help her grow and mature but not by spoonfeeding her but with an iron fist.
- Some think she just simply doesn’t want Yukino to end up walking the same “path” as herself which is surrounded by constant streams of lies, manipulation, and facade in order to satisfy people's expectations (this one is quite similar to the previous point but there isn’t as much “love” for her sister as the aforementioned interpretation).
And then there’s the like of me, who actually don’t give much thought about those takes because well, I think her character was crafted with the intention of raising question marks to our audience (“genuine”, “codependency” and “compensation” thingy). On top of that, she herself as a character is also the “question”.
I’ll get back to this point later but first I’ll also join the analysis squad to provide my own interpretation of her character (even though I already said it’s doesn’t matter up there? Yes. Why? Because why not LOL).
What's On Her Mind?
First and foremost I think there’s no denying that Haruno has been up to something throughout the course of the story. She always butts in Hachiman and Yukino’s business always tried to stir up problems and even drama among the trio.
Why is that? I personally do not think the reason is as shallow as “she’s just killing time” or “she’s trying to fuck Yukino up for revenge, envy, etc”. The former is quite obviously bs, and the latter isn’t supported by any concrete evidence and frankly, Oregairu doesn’t follow any sort of common rom-com trope or shounen bs that people usually think (always crack me up seeing people saying something like “YukiMom is gonna be the final boss” or “Yukino needs to surpass Haruno for some reasons”.
On top of that, some people claim that Haruno’s just trying to gain back her freedom, which I strongly disagree with.
As stated in the novel, Haruno doesn’t give 2 shit about her family’s business, meaning that it does not matter who ends up taking over, which is completely different from “It’d be better if someone else takes over so I can go full thug life mode”.
While it’s true that there is evidence of how miserable Haruno’s life had been during the past 20 years of holding the mantle as the heir of the Yukinoshita (constant drinking, lamenting how only feelings of hate looms within her, shit on the concept of love, justice, and sincerity), she chose to compromise because it had gotten way past the point of returning.
And moreover, if Haruno really wants to push all the responsibility on Yukino, for someone with an arguably highest intel stat in the series, she would have pulled that shit long ago.
I mean, she could have just sent a middle finger to her family and gone abroad or some shit (she is 20 and came from a rich family, can’t get any easier than that), because for real, there’s nothing this woman can’t achieve, she’s a bit OP if I have to add.
So then why has she been causing this much of a ruckus to many people? If anything I can agree with many common interpretations that Haruno’s end goal does have something to do with Yukino.
At the end of the first prom, Haruno said she wasn’t convinced with how things played out, and how Yukino didn’t have what it took to take over compared to Haruno’s 20 years of suffering.
This is quite an interesting remark, as that was the first time Haruno lost her cool, so it’s safe to assume those were her genuine words. So then, what’s the deal with her outburst? First I’m gonna try to pull a quick summary of Haruno’s life from whatever is presented in the novel.
- Haruno is hailed as the one who would take over her family, that’s what many people thought, but the truth is that she never asked nor wanted any of it.
- Due to the overwhelming expectations they hold of her, she slowly lost sight of what does it mean to be herself, as she kept lying, fabricating her appearance to please people, she probably buried her true self beneath those superficial facades in order to answer people’ expectations.
- That is when she started developing a pretty twisted hobby, which is toying with what she loves (RIP Yukino’s childhood) but NOT because she WANTED to, but more like it couldn’t be helped given how miserable she already had been.
I ain’t going to use this to justify how she treated Yukino harshly, I admit that it’s quite of an ass of her to do all that but meh, she’s just so based af that I can’t hate her.
From the way I see it, nobody can keep up with Haruno. There is almost nothing that she can’t handle and nothing that she can’t understand, but that’s also why people (in the Oregairu-verse) mistook her character.
She never wanted any of that, but that’s her duty, so she had no other option but to play along. This is exactly why she feels so offended at the conclusion of the first prom, where Yukino just somehow managed to get a “pass” from her mother, because when looking back, Haruno had to go through a lot to get this far, hence she’d never accepted the fact that Yukino managed to achieve the result via something not “genuine”.
To me this is more about Haruno’s pride, she’s kinda like a top 1 player in a league that’s looking for someone worthy to carry the mantle, and can you really imagine some half-ass player just suddenly got a free pass to that position? It might be fair but it’s not “fun” (I think lol).
So to sum all this up, there’s much to Haruno than how she appears to be. While she does “love” Yukino, the “destruction” she tends to cause is inevitable due to the harsh upbringing she had been through (also hinted in the way Hachiman views the Yukinoshita family, they’re just messed up in general from mother to daughters LMAO).
While she does "care" for Yukino’s growth, it has to be “genuine” to live up to what Haruno had carried throughout her 20 years lifetime.
While the conclusion of Haruno’s story in the final volume feels unfulfilled, I do think it’s more of a foreshadow of an endless loop, with her continuing on playing the “villain” just so Yukino and Hachiman can also press forward with their growth and maturity.
As Haruno doesn’t give a single fuck about what people think of her (also ties up to how she has always been alone), playing the bad guy has no impact on her mental life no matter how harshly she should be perceived by people.
What's Her Purpose
So yeah I’ve pretty much finished with how I interpret Haruno’s character, let’s get back to the early point about her being the “question” for us audience. Haruno, in the end, is just the kind of “mystery” that many stories usually possess. She was never meant to be understood by us.
I meant from her introduction till the end of the story it’s always about how Hachiman constantly commenting shit like “That’s just another facade”, “She’s faking this smile”, “I can never understand this woman”, bla bla.
So that’s about it, there’s really no point in trying to decipher her character. Might sound confusing but I just want to say Haruno’s character is probably meant to be interpreted in however we readers choose to believe because there’s so much truth and lies mixed in her portrayal that it’s become a real fucking clusterfuck.
Like, have you ever wondered if it’s the actual opposite? She never meant to fake her smile at all but they were all legit? Because the story was told from Hachiman’s PoV, I dare say it’s probably just him overthinking shit lol, so yeah, it’s just that big of a mess whenever I look back at Haruno’s story as a whole. And I for once, don’t mind any of that at all.
While I really really would love to know more about her, I guess unsolved mystery has its own charm as well. That’s how I truly feel about Haruno, she will always remain a question mark, always be there to fuck shit up without having single care about the world.
Due to her restricted life, she never had a chance to enjoy the kind of freedom that Yukino has, it’s probably fair from my point of view for her to enjoy those little moments of being unbound by anything, that’s the way of Yukinoshita Haruno.
Whew, been a while since I’ve written this much crap, but hey take this long essay as a grain of salt, I’ve just marathoned the last 3 volumes so I really feel like dumping my thought somewhere.