Oreimo 9

This nice, quiet little episode had a very slice-of-life feel, as Kyousuke, Kirino, Kuroneko and Saori were all in their respective habitats, each doing their own thing while thinking about the others. Kirino is playing a highly-anticipated new eroge while Kyousuke is studying in his room. One of the imouto characters treats her very similarly to the way she treats Kyousuke; with an air of superiority and unpredictable bitchiness. The parallels between this character and the game’s narrative aren’t lost on Kirino, who seems simultaneously annoyed and guilty about it.

Meanwhile, we see the home version of Kuroneko – without her gothic dress or red contacts, keeping her cute little sister (she has one!) entertained while sewing away. Suddenly, she gets a call from Kyousuke. It’s great how he just called her out of the blue, and they proceed to have this very genial, natural conversation. With everything these two have been through together – often in Kirino’s shadow – it’s not surprising that they’d end up as friends.

Finally, we have Saori…whose face isn’t ever shown in her one scene, but we discover that she is a tall, prim, proper, filthy rich aristocrat who has multiple servants. She has prepared three maid costumes for herself and her two otaku friends. Interesting twist, but not as interesting as Kyousuke and Kuroneko’s interaction in this episode…mad props to Kana Hanazawa for delivering an excellent voice performance. As for Kirino, well…let’s just say she’s definitely got some things to work out. Rating: 3.5

Psychic Detective Yakumo 9

Finally, the payoff: this episode puts to rest the mysteries of who killed the Nanase family and more importantly, why Yakumo’s mother tried to kill him. There’s adequate suspense and action, but also lots of lengthy scenes of people explaining things, which is kind of an undesirable by-product of creating such a complex story fraught with twists and turns. Still, I’m glad things were cleared up; my mind was glazing over with all the connections.

First of all, Miyuki herself killed her family. She went all O-Ren Ishii on them to be precise; having simply had it with them all. Takeda, who proposed to Azusa just before the murders, was framed for them, sending her into a spiral of depression and confusion. The glasses-wearing guy everyone calls “That Man” exploited that, driving Azusa into even deeper despair. Her attempt on Yakumo wasn’t an act of hate, but desperation. Her spirit confirms this; having shot out of the red pendant he gave Haruka, which gets them out of a pickle.

With this new knowledge of his mother’s feelings, and the temporary retreat of Nanase and “That Man”, Yakumo opens up a bit more, now cognizant that far from being alone, he is in fact connected to gobs of people – living and dead – who truly care about him; especially Haruka. With a more clearer picture of his past and his place in the world, he seems to be on a path of caring about her in kind. Rating: 3.5