Oreimo 2 – 06

Kousaka Kyousuke, Gokou Ruri

Kirino introduces Kyousuke, Ruri, and Saori to Mikagami Kouki. Ayase invites Kyousuke to her house and handcuffs him until he explains the photo of him and Kirino on a date. While walking to Kyousuke’s house, Ruri confesses her love to him again. The after-Comiket party turns sour when Kirino forcefully announces she’s dating Mikagami. Ruri leaves in disgust, and Kirino and Kyousuke fight. The next day Kirino brings Mikagami to her house to meet her parents, but her dad retreats to his room to drink.

Kyousuke is hostile towards Mikigami and gets slapped by Kirino. After spending some time with his dad, he returns and apologizes, then lets Kirino know his honest feelings: he doesn’t want her going out with other guys. She and Mikagami reveal they’re not really dating; it ws a ruse to make Kyousuke feel what she feels when he’s flirting with Manami or Ruri. Kyousuke meets with Ruri to invite her to a new party, and learns she and Kirino have made up. Ruri then asks him to go out with her.

Kousaka Kyousuke, Kousaka Kirino, Mikagami Kouki

Both Kyousuke and Kirino seem to find peace in their bond as it stands, and whenever another variable enters their orbit, one of the other is unsettled, starting off a “commotion.” This time, it’s Kirino who is none to happy about Kyousuke’s inroads with “The Plain One” (Manami) and “The Black One” (Ruri). She cannot hide her contempt about another girl stealing his dear brother away, so she attempts to turn the tables of jealousy on him by pretending she has already replaced him with a rich, talented, attractive Mikagami. Here’s the thing, and we want to be clear on this point: it would have been better if Mikagami were her real boyfriend. If she had someone all her own to lean on.

That would finally free Kyousuke to pursue relationship with another girl who isn’t his sister. Ruri is ready, willing, and able to be that girl, and her moments of barely-restrained overflowing lovesickness are some of the highlights of this episode. But after Kirino laid out her distaste for Kyousuke getting too close to another girl, particularly that girl, we simply can’t see anything other than Ruri getting her heart broken yet again. We hope we’re wrong, but considering the track record of this series, pairing them up seems  unlikely. We’ve always preferred Kuroneko to Kirino, to the point where sometimes we think we’re torturing ourselves watching a show that will always put Kirino first.

8_great
Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • While one can kinda justify Kyousuke’s meeting with Ayase as providing evidence Kirino was lying about having a boyfriend (Ayase would be the first to know such a thing) the scene took away time better spent on the Kirino and Ruri storylines, and felt extraneous.
  • Saori briefly takes off her disguise for Kyousuke! We had hoped she’d do away with it altogether, however.
  • It was nice to see the two Kousaka men commisterating, but we like how Daisuke’s pathetic behavior spured Kyousuke into going back downstairs to settle things.
  • Kyousuke shows some spine this week, but he still doesn’t pass up any opportunity to grovel before his sister, does he?
  • Ruri continues to exude critical levels of cuteness. Though she may be slight in stature, she dominates every scene.
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Chihayafuru 2 – 18

Ayase Chihaya, Yamashiro Rion

Chihaya overcomes her injury to cut down Rion’s lead, but it’s still nagging her. Nishida is desperate for a win after two girls injured themselves giving it their all. After mis-analyzing his hair blowing, Tsutomu loses to Yamai, who energizes Rion, whom he secretly admires for her beautiful play. At the third-place game, Akashi and Hokuo continue to play hard, disgusting Shinobu, who suddenly remembers how she was isolated to strengthen her. Tsukuba loses to Ichimura, putting Mizusawa down 0-2. Nishida, Taichi and Chihaya will all have to win their games to take the championship away from Fujisaki.

Arata nudged Shinobu into sitting in on the karuta game, but not just to fulfill her duty as queen, but to try to change her mind about team karuta. She wasn’t very moved last week, but this week as the games intensify, like the Grinch, she starts to feel something in her she doesn’t recognize: excitement. Interest. Well, maybe. There’s a lot of conditioning to cut through to get to Shinobu’s soft side. After all, she was kept away from others her age so she wouldn’t ever go easy on anyone. The idea was, the more alone she was, the stronger she’d get. She is a strong karuta player – the strongest, but she’s a terrible queen and her social development has also suffered.

But back to the game: while Mizusawa had five chances at three miracles against Fujisaki, two of those chances go quietly into the night. We don’t mind Tsutomu and Tsukuba losing so forcefully; no amount of fighting spirit could overcome the sheer gap in ability and experience. By episode’s end we only know that Taichi is four cards down against Eroga, not a great place to be but not hopeless, while Chihaya and Porky’s scores remain a mystery. Mizusawa’s back is definitely up against the wall, but their three strongest players still stand, and there’s still a chance they can pull out a win. If not, we’ll be sorely disappointed. We already saw them lose in the last series. We want a win.

7_very_good
Rating:7 (Very Good)