Good evening. This is Wataru Watari. Today, as always, I am sending you this afterword from the fifth floor of Shogakukan, Jinbo-cho, Kanda Hitotsubashi, in Tokyo.
This may be sudden, but have you all realized?
As of March 2021, it’s been ten years since the publication of Volume 1 of My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected.
It’s the tenth anniversary! Ten years!
Since it’s the long-awaited tenth anniversary, I considered writing at length in this afterword about my memories of these past ten years, random topics, or behind-the-scenes industry info while dropping insider dirt in a semi-accusatory way, or talking myself up to assert dominance, but if I did that, I’d never get done my whole life. When you talk about yourself, it will always go into a loop at some point. Uh-oh, if you keep me from blabbing about myself to show off and assert dominance, then I have nothing to write about at all… But for now, I’ll write something.
Anyway, when you say ten years, it feels like a very long time, but when you’re in the middle of desperately living it, it doesn’t feel that way at all. I’d even say I’m the kind of cringey old guy who still thinks of himself as being in his twenties, though I am clearly and thoroughly aging, and I feel the cruelty of time. Heart palpitations and shortness of breath—it’s bad.
It really does feel like ten years have passed without my even realizing it, but if I’d been saying at the start “I’ll work hard for ten years zoi,” I’m sure I never would have made it this far. When there’s work in front of me that I have to do, I do it. Once you get that done, the next bit of work is lying there just a little ways away, so you trudge over to that and finish it again. Then there’s some more a bit farther on again and you do it all over, and then before you know it, you’ve come a long way.
My schedule and list of tasks are basically always packed full, and when you’ve got work planned for the next two years or so, you come to spend all your energy on the now, and you don’t have the mental space to think about the future. No time for tomorrow when yesterday was the deadline…
But even so, once you finish a job and reach a break, once you come to a turning point—for just a brief while, in the moment you take that break—sometimes your thoughts turn to the future.
“A year from now…well, work, I guess. In three years will probably also be work. In ten years… I dunno,” I mutter with a wry smile as I once again set to the work in front of me.
It may be that he and she and she, and also he and she as well, are like that. If I can, though, I would like to get a glimpse of him and the girls in the future at some point. In one year, two years, ten years…I wonder how they’ll be doing?
And so, on that note, this has been My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected, Volume 14.5.
It’s been a long time since I last wrote a short story collection, so how has this one, with its sequel-ish sort of stories, been?
There are other sort-of-sequel-like stories like this that I’ve written about in the anthology books My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected: Yukino Side, My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected: On Parade, My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected: Yui Side, and My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected: All Stars. Make sure to read them!
Also, there’s the after story about which I’ve lied that it’s a completely new legit sequel series post-finale: My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected: Shin, and this is a bonus for the TV anime My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected: Climax Blu-ray and DVD release, so please do grab that!
And then and then, being published simultaneously with this volume 14.5 is the My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected: Ponkan ART WORKS, what you’d commonly call an art book, of holy Ponkan ’s artwork! I would absolutely love it if you were to get this to look back on the ten-year history with. You know, if I might also add, a talk between holy Ponkan and myself is also in there! So please do!
Also, just between you and me, I’m working on a new project called Oregairu Ketsu. Nobody in the world knows the details about this yet, but I very much hope you will wait for more news. I want to talk about it soon; I want to talk ASAP about the things that often come up in that project.
So anyhow, I would be glad if you would stick with me a little while longer in this world as it expands a bit more.
And below, the acknowledgments:
Holy Ponkan . My god! You’re always so godly. Thank you for your work as usual, and for putting out the art book at the same time. It really makes me feel once more the weight and accumulation of ten long years. Thinking back on it, we’ve known each other for a long time, and I will be counting on you for a long time to come, too. Thank you very much.
My editor, Hoshino. Look! We had plenty of time this time, too! Ga-ha-ha! What can I say about it but “Ga-ha-ha, ga-ha-ha!” I dunno anything about plans for next time, but we’re definitely totally fine for then, too! Ga-ha-ha! I’m obliged for your efforts, thank you very much. Ga-ha-ha!
To everyone involved with each part of the media franchise: You’ve helped me with so much different media, with the Kan anime first and foremost. This content continuing over ten long years is thanks to all your efforts. Truly, thank you very much. I will continue to count on you in the future.
And to all my readers. I am able to write stories about him and the girls again like this because of all your support. And it’s not just for this—it’s through all your support these past ten years that I’ve managed to make it this far, somehow. Honestly, thank you so much. I would be glad if I could receive your support in the future as well. Oregairu exists because of you!
And so on that note, I’ll end it here for now. Next time, let’s meet again in some kind of Oregairu!
On a certain day in March, facing the next ten years, while restoring my energy with MAX Coffee,
Chapter 1 … Always and forevermore, Komachi Hikigaya wants a sister-in-law.
1 “Every New Year is a milestone in your journey to the underworld.” Hachiman seems to be misremembering this poem by Sojun Ikkyuu, a Buddhist monk born in the fourteenth century. Instead of naming the New Year directly, the poem refers to the kadomatsu (New Year’s pine decoration) used as a metaphor for New Year’s. And the “milestone” used in the translation is actually an ichirizuka, mounds of earth separated by a distance of one ri (about 4 km). They often had pines planted on them.
2 The name Ikkyuu could also be read as hitoyasumi, meaning “taking a break.”
3 Godiego is a rock band, and they have a song titled “Beautiful Name” (in English), which repeats the (English) refrain of “Every child has a beautiful name.”
4 “Kya-ha! Lucky me! Time to have another normal year!” Hachiman is adopting the manner of Raki Kiseki from Aikatsu!
5 “Don’t rush, don’t rush, a break here, a break there…” is from the 1970s anime Ikkyuu-san about the life of the aforementioned monk Sojun Ikkyuu.
6 “This purimiamu Japaniizu burando product automatically celebrates the Niuu Iyaa on its own, no mess, no fuss!” The original Japanese here is, more literally, “The Japanese brand flowing through this body celebrates the New Year’s ceremony on its own,” with the italicized words all being English. The particular words dropped—especially “this body”—is a reference to the language used by the TV shopping service Japanet Takata, which overseas audiences might be familiar with from the parody Jikanet Tanaka in the Persona series.
7 “After being swept along in the waves of shrinegoers (without being scolded from a distance)…” This is a reference to the lyrics of “Graduation Photograph” by Yumi Arai: “You occasionally scold me from a distance / when I’m swept along by the crowds and change.”
8 “‘How dare you…’ Komachi muttered scarily like a certain young environmentalist.” Greta Thunberg said this in 2019 at the UN’s Climate Action Summit in New York.
9 “…like Solar Flare… Tien Shinhan…” Solar Flare is a move of Tien Shinhan in Dragon Ball.
Chapter 2 … Nevertheless, Komachi Hikigaya won’t give up on getting a sister-in-law.
1 “You could call that mission complete. You could get a reward to use on a gacha pull.” Complete in a gacha game (using the English term) refers to getting all the items of a random set, after which they give you some of the in-game currency that costs real money. Some kind of rock is typical, which is why Hachiman cites a stone as the reward in the original.
2 “I was just about to attend to some lucky bag gacha…” Lucky bags are common New Year’s items sold in Japan in all different kinds of stores, from clothing shops to cafés. They have a random assortment of items of varying value.
3 “Learn from the prime minister’s cherry-blossom-event invitation list.” The governmental “cherry blossom viewing party” was an annual event that had been expanded every year to invite a variety of politicians and influential people, all on the taxpayers’ dime. In 2019, it came under fire for lack of transparency about who was invited and was canceled.
4 “Hey? Could you stop talking about my marriage like this is a duel? Even if you send your big bro to the graveyard, you can’t summon a big sister.” Hachiman is referencing the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game here.
5 Treasured Tool is a term for special weapons in the Fate universe.
Chapter 3 … And then the festival ends, and a new festival begins.
1 “…or get on a portable shrine and call out wasshoi, wasshoi like Mirai Moriyama in Moteki…” This is a reference to the opening of the drama Moteki in which the protagonist, played by Mirai Moriyama, is raised up on a mikoshi (a portable shrine used in festivals) by a bunch of girls.
2 “Chiba is famous for festivals and dancing. There are idiots who dance and idiots who watch, so if you’re an idiot like the rest, you’ve got to dance and sing a song.” Calling back to the cultural festival in Vol. 6, this is a variation on “Chiba Ondo,” punning on the ending with odoranakya sing-a-song instead of odoranakya son son! (you miss out if you don’t dance).
3 “I’ll power-snooze my way through it just like Meng Haoran!” Meng Haoran was a Tang dynasty poet. Hachiman is probably referring to the poem “Chūn Xi o,” meaning “Spring Dawn,” which, translated roughly, goes, “I enjoy sleeping comfortably through the spring dawn / I can hear twittering of birds here and there / It reminds me I heard awful wind and rain last night / I wonder how much the flower petals have fallen?”
4 “Rarely but often happens” is the familiar meme from the famous FFXI player Buronto.
5 “Ah-ha, so she’s the type of umamusume who’s good taking the lead from behind? She totally blew right past me at the end.” Umamusume: Pretty Derby is a cell phone game about racehorses reincarnated as pretty girls in another world. There’s also an anime.
6 “…and Yukino Bijin from Tracen Academy.” Yukino Bijin is one of the girls from Umamusume.
7 “ …GoYuu are basically already together…” Satoru Gojo and Yuji Itadori are a popular ship in the anime Jujutsu Kaisen.
8 “Like the Glay two-hundred-thousand-person concert.” Hachiman is referring to Glay Expo ’99 Survival. Glay is a rock band that’s been active since 1988, too.
9 BanNam Fest (Bandai Namco Entertainment Festival), Anisama (Animelo Summer Live) and Lantis Matsuri are all otaku-related music events.
10 “…they call the first song ‘Daihatsu.’” This is a thing with Aikatsu! concerts—they play a song called “Diamond Happy” first because it can be abbreviated to “Daihatsu,” which could also mean “first thing.”
11 “…just emotional. Ah, soooo eeeee…eeeemo…” This is based on an Internet meme, what you’d originally expect from the drawn out eeeee is ero (sexy).
12 “…eating the emo-emo fruit…” This references the devil fruit from One Piece, which grant people special powers upon eating them. They’re usually called things like gomu-gomu fruit or mera-mera fruit.
13 “But it’s only me, Bump of Chicken, and people on drugs who try to see things that cannot be seen.” “Trying to see things that can’t be seen” is a line from Bump of Chicken’s song “Tentai Kansoku” (Observing heavenly bodies).
14 “…makes you feel like the protagonist of a Makoto Shinkai film. You get theme music in your head and everything.” In the original, he specifically mentions Masayoshi Yamazaki, who did the theme song “One More Time, One More Chance” for Makoto Shinkai’s film 5 Centimeters per Second.
15 “Like Vaaanilla Vanilla Vaaanilla whoo whoo sorta thing?” Vanilla is the name of a recruiting service for sex work businesses. They park their trucks in downtown areas and have barkers that call out “Vaaanillaaaaa!” In some regions, the Vanilla truck doesn’t appear, depending on local noise / public nuisance bylaws.
16 “…it’s that thing where you go “Umapyoi! Umapyoi!” in a winning live…” A winning live is the scene at the end of an Umamusume playthrough once you’re done raising your horse girl, and they do an idol-style dance with a pop song. Umapyoi is a word made up by Umamusume that means a variety of things, but it’s also in the lyrics of some of the songs and is used as a fan chant.
17 “One, two! Yeeeah, yeeeah, yeah yeah yeah!” This chant—Hai, seeno! Haaai haaai hai hai hai!—is used mostly for idol groups such as Nogizaka46, Sakurazaka46, and Hinatazaka46. They’re similar to AKB48.
18 “Whoaaa! Queeeen!” Here, Tobe actually says “Toutomi Hideyoshi,” which is a play on the word toutoi. Literally meaning “precious,” toutoi is generally used in a similar manner to the more dated moe—just a word you say about your favorite character or idol in an otaku context. Toyotomi Hideyoshi is a famous general from the Sengoku era, and using his name is just a form of net slang that was popular around the time this book was written.
19 No reply. It’s just a corpse is a standard dialogue line when investigating dead bodies in the Dragon Quest series.
20 Spelunker is a 1983 platformer, originally on the Atari. Like many games of the era, there was a lot of dying.
21 “…a radio that’s breaking down and you can’t hear anything from is somewhat preferable… Wait, if you can’t hear anything from it, that’s not breaking down. Isn’t that just broken?” This is a reference to the lyrics of the 1990 pop song by Hideaki Tokunaga, “Kowarekake no Radio.” He’s misremembering them, though, since in the song, it isn’t the radio you can’t hear anything from, but himself: “My body won’t hear anything, won’t listen to anything… Teach me true happiness, radio that’s breaking down.”
22 “Oh-hooo, verily sooo?” Ee, hontou ni gozaru kaa? is a quote from Sasaki Kojirou / Assassin in the Fate franchise.
Chapter 4 … Nonchalantly, casually, Iroha Isshiki assembles a future.
1 “I Want to Make Miracles with You” is the title of a pop song by the band Sambomaster.
2 “So you’re Machi Tawara, huh?” Waaaay back in Volume 2, Hachiman brought up this tanka by the poet Machi Tawara: “So you said to me, / ‘I like this flavor a lot,’ / so, well, that means the / sixth of July is now the / salad anniversary.” This line is also worded like the Pop Team Epic meme “So you’re an anti, huh?”
3 The Straw Millionaire is an old folktale, probably written in the Heian period, about a poor man who starts with a piece of straw and trades up over and over until he becomes wealthy.
Chapter 5 … But surely, the girls will also continue to go wrong.
1 “…on the metaphorical conveyor belt of conversation…” The original line here was “finding the right moments to place [words from] the sa column like a work operation.” All his stock replies in Japanese start with sa, and he’s also punning “sa column” (sagyou) with “work operation” (sagyou). As you can imagine, this is wildly untranslatable.
2 “The most popular is, of course, this one, Komachi Hikigaya and She’s the classmate I’m most looking forward to seeing more of! I hope she gives it all she’s got! and then she’d be the favorite to win the race.” This is probably a reference to the idol game Umamusume.
3 “Since both our parents have the inheritance factors ‘Corporate slave ,’ at this rate, I’ll wind up inheriting that, too.” More Umamusume. This is part of the inheritance system, where a girl can become a “parent” to a trainee who will inherit her traits.
4 “Wow, that Okome-chan nickname has actually stuck… Maybe I’ll call her Rice-chan at home, too! But Rice-chan won’t call me ‘Brother’ in that refined and respectful way.” Isshiki calls Komachi “Okome-chan” because of the brand of rice (okome) called Akita Komachi. But here Hachiman is talking about a character from Umamusume, Rice Shower, who calls the player onii-sama, a respectful term for “big brother.”
5 “Komachi is simply conducting herself as the club president. Komachi wouldn’t designate this as an impression of Yukino.” “Ohhh, you nailed it—she does talk pretentiously like that.” In Japanese, Komachi ends both sentences with nodakeredo, which is Yukino’s verbal tic in Japanese, but it has no direct meaning in English; it does communicate a certain haughty formality.
6 “…Komachi briskly poured the black tea into the cups—she was hardly green at this, after all (ha-ha).” The original line here is “briskly poured it (since it’s tea),’ punning “brisk” (chaccha) and “tea” (ocha).
7 “Mm, I’m feeling great today, and the tea is, too…” “I’m feeling great today, and this cigarette tastes good” is an old ad slogan from Ikoi brand cigarettes, which sold tobacco products in Japan from the 1950s to 1970s. Hachiman is being a little witty here, because the word commonly used to take a puff of a cigarette (ippuku) is also less commonly used for taking a sip of tea.
8 “She was shrugging like Tora-san going, If you’re gonna tell me that, it’s over.” Tora-san is the protagonist of the long-running film series Otoko wa Tsurai yo (It’s tough being a man) from the 1960s, last referenced in Vol. 9. “If you’re gonna tell me that, it’s over” is the line he says in every film once his uncle finally snaps at him, and he leaves on a journey.
9 “Oh my, all aboard the SS KomaIro!” In Japanese, Hachiman is literally saying “Oh my, how nice,” but in a very feminine manner, referencing a meme for what yuri fans say when they see yuri content.
10 “After seeing his footwork, [the shoryuuken] was easy” is a quote from the fighting game legend Daigo Umehara.
11 “…yesterday that our drum-type washing machine has a mysterious ‘air iron’ function. Oh look, another function I won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.” The original Japanese for this last line is punning on kinou (function) and kinou (yesterday).
12 “Third year of middle school—in other words, fifteen years old—is the age when you race out on a stolen bike and go around breaking the windows of the school at night.” The first half of this is referencing the previously mentioned lyrics of the song “Juugo no Yoru” (A Night at 15) by the late Yutaka Ozaki, which describes racing out on a stolen bike at night when he’s fifteen, as well as other delinquent behavior. He does not talk about breaking windows, however.
13 “But what does it all meeeeean?” This line from Naruto was originally just Naruto saying, “What do you mean?” but then it turned into a meme on Futaba Channel. There were a number of nonsensical memes only understood by insiders (“It’s Izanami”; “It’s become a sacrifice”), prompting people who weren’t in on the joke to respond with this line, which then became a meme in its own right.
14 “…got herself pumped up. Zoi!” This references ganbaru zoi, the cutesy but meaningless sentence-ending zoi from the protagonist of the manga New Game! when she tries to get herself motivated for her day.
15 “Komachi and Isshiki both went ‘Mumu!’ like the Rakuten Card Man, attention fully on me.” This is from an ad campaign for the online shopping site Rakuten. The Rakuten Card Man has cards for eyes, staring straight at the viewer as he goes “Mumu!”
16 “This is the birth of the Full-Wallet Alchemist.” The original Japanese here was kogane no renkinjutsushi, meaning “pocket change alchemist,” in reference to the manga by Hiromu Arakawa, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi (Fullmetal Alchemist).