Oreimo 2 – 14

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Some time after rejecting Ayase, Kyousuke hangs out with Ruri more. But with Christmas approaching, he decides its time to tell her he can’t go out with her either, as he loves someone else. Ruri tears up the Destiny Record, lifts her curse on him, and transforms into the angel of revenge, “Yamineko,” cursing him, all those who love, and the whole world. Kyousuke asks Kirino to go on a Christmas Eve date in Akiba, and she grudingly agrees. Later in the evening, after a failed attempt and a chase (aided by Saori in Kaori’s car), Kyousuke confesses his undying love for Kirino and wants her to stay in Japan and marry him.

Christmas came early this morning, in the form of the extra Oreimo episodes. The last season’s extra eps told an alternate story and changed the ending, but this episode progresses the story past the pleasant status quo by having Kyousuke go against all common sense and decency and destroy all his potential relationships with girls not related to him by blood so he can tell his own little sister he’s in love with her. He knows it’s ridiculous and creepy, but he can’t help it. At the end of the day those are his feelings, and he’d never be able to live lives with the other girls having never acted on those feelings.

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Breaking up with Ruri takes just five minutes, but they’re a damned rough five minutes. Hana-Kana knocks it out of the park as usual with her powerful, multi-faceted, scorched-earth response. Though Kyousuke’s rejection didn’t take her by surprise, when the reality of what was happening started to sink in, she got more and more worked up, abandoning all propriety, and screaming and cursing everything and everyone. In the past we’d be booing at the television (we were always rooting for Ruri), we understood that this was the way the plot was progressing, and Kyousuke’s motives made sense, so we went with the flow here.

Which brings us to Kyousuke’s potentially self-destructive decision to finally confess to Kirino. She tries to run from the truth (and she’s a good runner) but Kyousuke’s pals (including the scorned Yamineko) support him in his enterprise by giving him a lift (in an Itasha Nissan Cube) and broadcasting a recording of his rejection speech to Ruri. He puts it all out there, and while Kirino’s initial response is of revulsion and hatred, he presses the issue, proposes, and her armor finally cracks. But there’s just one slight problem: you can’t legally marry your little sister in Japan…or anywhere else, for that matter. Don’t go Yosuga no Sora on us now, Oreimo!

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • This episode was well-prepared to stick the knife in and twist it during the Kuroneko break-up. Not only was it preceded by some of the most adorable scenes between the two (him teaching her how to swim, her feeding him in full cosplay regalia), but also showed flashes of their entire relationship as she brutally tore her Destiny Record to shreds.
  • Hell, they even cut to her little sisters wondering if/when Kyousuke would come back to visit…poor kids! T_T
  • Kirino wears the same outfit to her Akiba date with Kyousuke as she did last year, including pink Uggs, which not just anyone can pull off.
  • Kyousuke and Kirinos were no doubt both encouraged and a little scared when they saw Akagi in line with his little sister Sena pretending to be a couple to get deals on BL eroge.
  • We have no idea where that tiny little “Yes” by Kirino is going to lead them…which is why we’ll have to watch the next episode immediately.

Oreimo 2 – 13 (Fin)

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Kirino used to adore her big brother, but as he grew older they grew apart, and as she strived to surpass him, he stopped seeming as amazing as she once deemed him. She suspects Manami’s influence, but Manami tells her the amazing Kyousuke Kirino loved never really existed. Kirino made a friend in Ayase through modeling, and also discovered siscon eroge, which she had to keep a secret, until it grew out of control, and she finally had to ask her average, unremarkable brother for advice, and he performed his brotherly duty admirably, if not as cool and confidently as he once did.

The last episode of Oreimo for some time serves as a prequel to everything we’ve seen thus far, and documents the evolution of Kirino’s feelings for her brother, leading up to their current, cordial relationship. Basically, the younger she and Kyousuke were, the more amazing she thought he was, and the more he was willing to spend time with her. But he eventually outgrew that arrangement before she did, leading her to aim to surpass him. So we can imagine her disappointment when Kyousuke devolved from the driven, talented, cool brother she once knew into a lazy, unmotivated layabout. The person who drove her to become better than she was had gotten worse. Since the very beginning, it’s been clear that Kirino is a big, hopeless otaku, but this episode finally confirms why: she was seeking the ideal brother Kyousuke no longer was.

She shunned her real brother in exchange for the brothers in the games she played, who would always do what she said and be with her no matter what and be just as amazing as she wanted them to be. But they were no more real than that youthful ideal of her real brother. Kyousuke is and always has been Kyousuke, and regardless of how much he disappointed her, he was always going to protect her, as he does when he passionately defends her hobby to their fatheer. Now Kirino is mature enough to realize that Kyousuke may not be perfect or even particularly cool, but he’s her brother; her only brother. He’s all she’s got, and he’s really not all bad, as big brothers go!

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Oreimo 2 – 12

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All of the girls in Kyousuke’s life attend his moving-in party and eventually start bickering over who is going to take care of him for the rest of the month he’s living on his own. Kirino breaks up the fight and makes the decision for him: Ayase. She does his cooking, cleaning and laundry. Ruri’s sister Hinata stops by and they must explain it’s not what it looks like. One night, Ayase apologizes for mistreating him for so long, knowing that he’s really a good, kind guy. Kyousuke passes his mock exams, and he moves out of the apartment. Ayase stops by once more to confess her love for him, but he rejects her, saying there’s someone else he loves. Ayase eventually accepts, and after a surprise parting kiss, departs.

We’ve always found Ayase a bit troublesome, due to the way she always insulted, mistreated, and physically abused Kyousuke, when we knew she was doing it out of frustration for not having the balls to tell him how she really feels. As a result, after her transformation from the generic sweet cute girl the first time we met her to the more complex, often unhinged, potentially dangerous cute girl, she grew a bit one-note, though Hayami Saori’s velvety voice  was always a pleasure to listen to. Handcuffs, drop-kick, unreasonable accusations of sexual harassment. This Ayase could do well to visit Academy Citythat’s where she’ll find some real harassment (seriously, what is with the roving gangs of would-be rapists? Sorry, wrong show.)

But hey, guess what? After this episode, we like her a hell of a lot more, because she finally did find the courage to say the things she needed to say. There was never anything unreasonable about her fearing rejection, but she took it too far and lashed out at Kyousuke mercilessly, repaying his honey with vinegar every time. No more. She tells him the truth: she loves him, a lot, and wants him to be hers. We both love and hate that Kyousuke is so direct with her; “No”, “Sorry”, “I love someone else”, “I’ve made my decision”...after Ayase’s tearful confession, it’s hard to watch these daggers fly at her one by one, but then, just when you think she’s going to give him one last drop kick, she kisses him. This episode is almost enough for us to wish we hadn’t gotten so invested with just Kyoususke and Kuroneko. Almost.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Wow, that party was some kind of harem nightmare! Even Saori entered the fray. Kyousuke, like us, are like “What? you too? Arrgh!”
  • Amazingly, it’s Kirino who breaks everything up, having not participated in trying to tear limbs from Kyousuke. Their exchanges this week are markedly cordial.
  • So every Japanese kid requires his own apartment and servant to pass a mock exam? Those must be some tough exams.
  • Ruri’s little sister Hinata – what is she, ten, max? – and she’s presumably taken a train (or trains) to Kyousuke’s apartment at night, by herself? What kind of society is this?!

 

 

Oreimo 2 – 11

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Kyousuke and Kirino’s mom is suspicious of their sudden closeness. Their father isn’t worried, but he does want Kyousuke to ace his mock exam, and so arranges him to move into his own place to study in peace. The first night, Kanako stops by with food she made, as she wants to set things right with her parents. Early the next morning Ayase stops by with a housewarming gift, a kitchen knife. Kuroneko also pays him a visit, and she and Ayase immediately clash. Kuroneko assures Ayase that whatever her relationship to Kyousuke, his soul is hers and hers alone, and would love him even if he slept with Kirino. After Ayase leaves, Kyousuke tells Kuroneko he needs time to settle things with Kirino before dating anyone; Kuroneko concurs.

It’s perfectly reasonable to see Kyousuke putting his happiness on hold for his little sister’s sake, because that’s what he’s always done, but that oversimplifies matters. The truth is, he himself would never be happy if his happiness comes at the cost of Kirino’s. So he figures he has to find some way of “settling things” with her before deciding to date Kuroneko again. Kuroneko is also very reasonable and patient in this instance, partly because she’s in this for the long haul (her feelings for Kyousuke haven’t changed), and partially because she considers herself Kirino’s very best friend.

Preceding this week’s very welcome appearance by Kuroneko (in her new uniform, bearing an impeccable lunch) is a somewhat awkward family meeting in which Kyousuke and Kirino’s mom comes right out and voices her…concern over her kids’ behavior towards one another (Maybe she’s seen Yosuga no Sora?). Kanako’s drop-in was kinda random; fleshing out her story is all well and good, but we’re hardly invested in her this late in the series. As for Ayase, it was good to see her mendacity and facades butt up against Kuroneko’s brutal, divine honesty (the two even come to arms in an excellent fantasy battle scene). She even calls Kuroneko a pervert, but Kuroneko doesn’t care. “What of it, bitch? I’m in love!

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Oreimo 2 – 10

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Kyousuke visits Ayase, who is worried that now that he has a girlfriend, she won’t be able to confide with him about Kirino. When she hears they broke up, she’s worried that she was the reason, but he assures her it isn’t. She invites Kyousuke to Meru-fest where Kanako will be playing. They meet up and hang out with Kanako and Bridget before the show, but Kyousuke gets a call from Kirino saying she’ll be late, and he borrows a pornographic bike to pick her up.

As our favorite character was absent from this episode, we found this episode to be a return to mildly pleasant but comparatively inconsequential events that transpire in the life of Kousaka Kyousuke. Basically, it feels like Kuroneko moved away so that other girls could come in and have arcs: Ayase in the first half and Kirino in the second. Unless there are extra blu-ray episodes like the first season, there are now only three episodes left; not much time to start any fresh romances, but adequate time to touch base with the other women in Kyousuke’s life after the “thieving cat” dominated his summer. We’re not the biggest fans of Ayase because she’s so erratic and unreasonable – often moreso than Kirino.

Sure, she’s cute, but she’s also dishonest about her feelings, and takes it out on Kyousuke. She calls him a criminal and a pervert when in reality it’s her choice to maintain a friendship with him, something she could walk away from if she really felt the way pretends to feel. To his credit, Kyousuke doesn’t really take her seriously anymore. The second half of the episode was Kyousuke picking up his sister in a very inappropriate bike censored by lens flares. Kyousuke in a black suit and tie with Kirino – wearing a torn wedding dress – holding onto him from behind as he peddled up and down steep hills during a particularly beautiful sunset, made for a remarkably bizarre sequence, but we liked it.


Rating: 6 (Good)

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.

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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.

Oreimo 2 – 02

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Kirino gets hooked on an innovative new dating sim called “Love Touch,” in which you can interact and text your lover in realtime. Worried she’s losing her friend to a video game, a desperate Ayase approaches Kyousuke for help. After a talk with Kirino, she gives the game to him, and he plays it thoroughly. Kyousuke reports that the character his sister likes looks and sounds very similar to Ayase, so she should try talking and acting like the character to win Kirino back.

Kyousuke can’t win for losing. Ayase tolerates and trusts him enough to come to him when she needs advice, and even affectionately calls him “Onii-san”, but when he offers the very advice she ultimately uses, she slugs him and runs off yelling “pervert”. Kirino is short and hostile with him until he mentions the new game she’s playing, and it’s like a personality switch is flipped in her head. When he obeys his sister and plays the game, Manami bursts into his room and then she’s on his case. Okay, he’s an ass to Manami. We guess he should count himself lucky he doesn’t have to deal with Kuroneko this week; his plate is full enough.

We know Kyousuke is a selfless kinda guy, so it’s not surprising how he takes all of this abuse in stride. Kirino and Ayase tell him they hate him and want him to die, but then always come back to him for help, advice, or support, and he always gives it. At this point he should know better than to push Ayase’s buttons; she packs a wallop. Or perhaps he likes her angry violent side. As for Love Touch, well, it looks pretty lame but it’s not our cuppa tea; we can still see people like Kirino getting addicted. But we liked how Manami and Ayase demonstrated how creepy it is when real people start acting like virtual characters.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • The episode’s opening shot looks a lot like a confession. Too bad for Kyousuke he doesn’t know any normal girls who’d do that.
  • Ayase may have romantic feelings for Kirino.
  • Manami actually stands her ground against Kyousuke this week. She and Ayase apparently have an alliance to keep him in check.