“I hate nice girls.
Just exchanging greetings with them will get them on your mind.
Start texting each other, and your heart will be set a flutter.
If they call you, you're done for.
Enjoy staring at your logs and grinning like a fool.
However, I won't get fooled again. That's what your kind calls kindness.
If you're nice to me, you're nice to others.
I always end up nearly forgetting that. Reality is cruel,
So I'm sure lies are a form of kindness.
Thus, I say kindness itself is also a lie.
I always ended up with these expectations.
And I always ended up with these misunderstandings.
And before I knew it, I stopped hoping.
A highly trained loner is once bitten, twice shy.
As a veteran on this battlefield of life, I've gotten used to losing.
That's why I always hate nice girls. — Hachiman Hikigaya”
Oregairu Season 1 Episode 5: “I hate nice girls”
The Hikigaya Hachiman that plays the part of the self-deprecating loner is nothing but a farce. Almost all the characters in Oregairu begin by displaying a personality artificially constructed or projected onto them by others because these are the rules we expect this story to play as. In reality, Oregairu is a microcosm of complex human relationships that is rarely done with such elegance that is seen here. Our protagonist Hikigaya Hachiman is an excellent example of an unreliable narrator and warps our own understanding of the events in the story. His infamous monologues serve to illustrate the various states of mind he is at during any given moment in his journey through youth. The excellence of Oregairu lies within the bluntness of such monologues that manage to offend as many people as it resonates with. Getting into the mind of Hachiman, and to that extent, any of the other characters in this series often requires looking at yourself and asking yourself difficult questions, and as a result becoming more cognizant of your own faults. Today I want to discuss the infamous “I hate nice girls” monologue from the perspective of knowing future events and examining what Hachiman was trying to express.
I get the impression that the vast majority of people misinterpret this monologue. They easily dismiss this from the opening line and pass Hachiman off as an edgy misogynist kid who thinks he’s better than everyone else, or misuse it out of context. In actuality, that’s a half-truth and partially the reason why this monologue is important. It’s often brushed off in the anime for comedic relief, but it’s heavily implied that Hachiman has a darkness to his heart in the light novel, and isn't made obvious until Zoku, hence the tone shift. In the past he has dealt with rejection, depression and isolation. These difficult times are referred to as “emotional landmines” where he literally has to tread carefully in order not to intentionally hurt himself in the process. What Hachiman will pass off as a joke should not be taken as such since they’re often ridiculing himself in the process to lessen the emotional weight within his heart. This is the practice of beating others to the punch by putting yourself down before they have a chance to. As he became used to this lifestyle he began self-identifying as a loner who internalized his insecurities and turned his existence into a comedy. As such, his youth romantic comedy was misconstrued from the start. The Hachiman he presents is simply what he has become as a result of his interpretation of his past failures. Rather than persist to make friends and fail, he instead began to tell himself something along the lines “I don’t even want to be friends with those losers anyways!” which, instead of feeling sorry for himself, he convinced himself that the people around him weren’t worthwhile because he was better. Consequently, raising himself above others he began to feel the “overlooking view[a],” essentially oversimplifying the world around him and reducing people to archetypes.
This skewed perception of reality is expressed in this monologue in a rather indirect way in which Hachiman inadvertently voices discontent with his current understanding of reality. Hachiman hates nice girls because they were the same people who unknowingly forced him to become a cynical loner, he hates nice girls because even now they forced him to reconsider his character for a brief moment, and most of all he hates obligatory kindness. In middle school he misinterpreted socially obligated kindness as genuine kindness but it was more accurate to call it pity. People, especially in Japan’s polite social culture, are generally hard pressed to be direct about expressing their unfavorable opinions to someone’s face. As a result, not being experienced with these unwritten rules can lead to being burned later on. Hachiman got his hopes up due to naively misinterpreting others' kindness.
Obligational kindness is much like giri choco where you can easily get the wrong idea, but in actuality the situation only exists for the giver to feel better. Giving away kindness makes people think that perhaps they are a good person, which is why obligational kindness is something Hachiman cannot stand. It’s entirely hypocritical because of this. The act of tossing around “kindness” with ease makes genuine kindness harder to comeby and many take this for granted since the naive will confuse giri kindness with something it never was. For Hachiman, he cannot see these girls as anything besides people acting upon social obligation because of his perceived low-social-rank where he lowered himself to. He knows that those of higher social standing such as Yuigahara Yui are likely only paying him any heed because of this aforementioned obligation.
Hachiman knows “anyone nice to me is nice to others too.” So instead he gives up hoping for real kindness when he says “at some point I stopped hoping.” Hoping for something “real.” This monologue is a precursor to the plea for something genuine. Here, Hachiman accepts his life as it is when he remarks how “When it comes to losing, I’m the strongest.” Because he accepted his just desserts without complaint and adjusted his mindset to avoid self-destruction. However, this mindset is not exactly viable. This monologue is indirectly advancing Hachiman towards understanding his wish as his own contradictions and lies are pushed to the breaking point. He is simultaneously getting too far into his head and bridging the gaps between him and other people. This conflict forces Hachiman to either accept the present or reinforce his tired ideals even if he knows he will be lying to himself based on his current understanding. Eventually, Hachiman reaches his breaking point. This is why in Zoku, when he pleads for something genuine, he is tired of forcing himself to change his view of the world and desires to change it himself. You can either change the world or submit and change yourself, and Hachiman realized that he was tired of being the only one changing. So he decided to change his “world” of those closest to him. Because even if the truth is harsh, he would rather seek that instead of the lie of kindness.
[a]muh kara no kyoukai philosophy