Eromanga-sensei – 11

No Emily and no Muramasa this week: it’s just Masamune and Sagiri, with the latter trying so hard to welcome the former home in the foyer (and in a swimsuit), only to retreat to her room at the last minute. When the launch date of the novel they collaborated on arrives, Masamune takes a trip to the bookstore in Akiba with Sagiri in tow—in the form of a streaming tablet; a “sibling date” as Masamune puts it.

That journey becomes the vehicle for some pretty hefty reminiscing for both Masamune and Sagiri. After his mom died, Masamune decided writing stories online was the thing that made him happy, which made his family happy.

The reason writing made him happy? There was someone who found his stories interesting and would chat and text with him about it all the time. That person was Sagiri, but he didn’t—and still doesn’t—know that. Meanwhile, Sagiri, who had no dad, found drawing fun because someone liked her illustrations—Masamune, natch.

He even helped motivate her to go back to school and ask her mom to teach her more about illustrating, as both basically agreed to cut off their ephemeral relationship to realize their mutual dreams to become professionals in their respective arts. And they did!

That’s all well and good, and it is nice to see Masamune and Sagiri getting on so well while not technically related by marriage, though that’s what happens later on. These are two people who have always, at the end of the day, relied on one another to fill the hole of praise and support left by the absent parent in their lives, as well as serve as catalysts for their growth as writer and artist.

What I’m a little dubious about is that Masamune started writing these stories when he was only eleven damn years old, and Sagiri started reading them and drawing when she was only seven. That’s…really frikkin’ young to be having such a nuanced online relationship of mutual creative support with someone.

Then again, these two aren’t your normal youths. Also, a big chunk of the cast of Oreimo pops up at the end, with Kirino and Ruri debating the potential of Masamune’s new novel. Even Kyousuke and Masamune’s eyes meet. But just hearing such enthusiastic discussion about his work makes Masamune happy, which was the whole point of this all along. And when he comes home from Akiba, Sagiri does manage to greet him in the foyer.

Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 05

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Brynhildr does not have an auspicious cold open, consisting of a pointless comparison between the girls boob sizes. After the OP Kazumi starts sexily teasing Ryouta again. Then something unexpected happens: Ryouta actually calls her out on it. I for one appreciated the show acknowledging the fact Kazumi was trying way too hard.

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Kazumi’s response is telling: she tries her hardest at everything; including, er…romance, apparently. Ryouta, meanwhile, has something less romantic in store for his new club-mates: a stargazing party. Sure, the girls are being hunted, and will eventually run out of life-giving pills again, but that’s all the more reason to live their lives to the fullest, while they still have them.

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The trip is a success, with everyone getting way more into the astronomy than they thought (even Kazumi), right until Kana starts having visions: first of newbie Kotori standing over a dead Neko, then of a dead Ryouta. Meanwhile, another B-rank witch Shino is on the run from an AA+ named Kikako (looking like a character out of Kill la Kill), and Neko insists on helping, out of loyalty to B-rankers.

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Kotori is the one everyone suspects of being the murderer, but Kana doesn’t actually see her killing anyone, suggesting Kikako is the true culprit. Shino doesn’t last long against Kikako’s huge mouth-cannon, and since Neko gave away their position, either she or Ryouta will be the next targets, if they don’t find a way to change Kana’s predictions.

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Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 04

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Brynhildr continues to suffer from a highly erratic tone that shifts jarringly from one scene to the next, to the point where it even seems to be confusing the characters. To whit: Ryouta stabs Saori in the heart like it’s the most natural thing in the world for an ordinary high school student to do. After Saori hangs up and is ejected, turning into a mass of organic goop, revealing a horrifying-looking parasite, only then does Ryouta react viscerally, stomping it out like a bug.

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Ryouta has gotten mixed up in some extremely awful, bloody, amoral, supernatural shit…but aside from that one little yelp, he doesn’t seem the least bit traumatized by what he’s seen and done. The episode’s attempts to lighten the mood with some fanservice-laced mixed onsen nonsense and domestic issues fail, because the gap between the two moods is too wide. The show yanked me from unspeakable horrors to oppai-grabs with whiplash-inducing speed.

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Mix two tones on the exact opposite moods too carelessly, and they’ll compromise each other, resulting in an impotent neutral mood, or just outright confusion. As it stands, it feels like two different shows in one, both of which would be better if the opposing tone was removed. I’m more interested in Ryouta’s resolute leap into the dark, messed-up world of the lab girls, not a half-assed high school harem. Here’s hoping new addition Takatori, an AA+ witch sent to eliminate the others, steers things more towards the former.

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Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 03

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One thing you have to hand with Brynhildr: it’s not laying the peril on thin. The present situation of Neko and Hana on the run escalates into a crisis when Ryouta learns they need to take a “death suppressant” pill every day or they’ll die horrible deaths, and they only have five days of pills left. Then the crisis escalates into disaster when Neko leaves a pot of boiling water unattended for ten seconds and burns up their supply.

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Just like that the five days are pared down to one, and then even less than that when Hana starts to bleed, having gone almost a full day since her last pill. The overarching mission, then, which provides this episode with thrust, is clear: find more pills, or the girls die. Ryouta, having already forfeited his life by getting involved, decides to take it upon himself to find a way to make it happen. Our main gripe with the plan is that the pills the girls need are commercially produced, rather than a top-secret proprietary drug formulated by the lab.

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Then again, the evil guys in white coats at the lab may be morally bankrupt butchers, but they’re butchers with scientific backgrounds, so it’s not totally ridiculous the drug would have a code Ryouta could memorize. That tiny code is the single clue that gives them any chance at all, and also reveals that Ryouta is the opposite of Neko in that he’s able to remember everything, even the things he’d rather forget.

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Neko, meanwhile, loses memories when she uses magic, even those she wants to remember. This proves important when a conveniently-placed slash by Saori (another, far higher-level witch sent by the lab to kill her) reveals that Neko has the same moles as Kuroneko after all, they’d just shifted to her boobs once she grew some. It isn’t as if I thought they weren’t the same person all along—why beat around the bush?—but this seems to confirm it for certain.

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Seeing those moles fills Ryouta with joy that his friend is still alive, but now he knows why she doesn’t remember him. If only he could give her some of his ability to remember, he could help her, but I’m not sure the rules of this show work this way. Then there’s the fact that his joy is immediately stomped out when Saori slices Neko into several pieces. Again, the show doesn’t hold back in tormenting its characters and kicking them while they’re down.

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I assume all this torture is meant to toughen them; if they can survive this, then they stand a chance against the lab. All the girls sport “hahnests” (…harnesses?) on their necks with three switches: one prevents them from using magic for a day, one terminates them (last week’s WTF moment), and the third does…something else; something “worse than death”. Ryouta’s hoping that something else is the key to saving Neko

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Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 02

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Brynhildr alternates between silly and dark, intriguing and repetitive this week, and a familiar pattern emerged: Vexed by her resemblance to Kuroneko, Ryouta tries to make nice with Neko; Neko rejects him and tells him to stay away; Ryouta persists and learns more about her; rinse, repeat. I was annoyed with Ryouta because he was being nosy, but I was also annoyed by Neko’s feeble attempts to keep him away, since at the end of the day she’s probably glad to have an ally.

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Frankly, if I was saved from dying by someone using magic who resembled an old friend whose dead body I never saw, a few “Go Aways” wouldn’t be enough to discourage me from trying to get some answers. That might be a selfish position to take—don’t worry about how you were saved, just be grateful and move on—but it’s a human one. Sometimes it isn’t enough to know something, we have to know why, even if knowing that isn’t in our best interests.

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And if there’s one thing the episode makes nice and sparkling clear, it’s that Ryouta would be better off turning around and forgetting about everything he’s seen these first two episodes. Neko, her paralyzed companion Kana, are military experiments on the run from their tormentors. One of their friends was captured (or two, as we get a look inside the transport) , and when she doesn’t talk, they eject her neck plug and she liquifies in a cloud smoke, which…eww.

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In one of the stranger juxtapositions of tones I’ve encountered in a while, the episode shifts from horrifying flesh-melting to Neko and Kana oging pastries Ryouta has brought them, which Neko proceeds to whiz in a blender so Kana can swallow it. This is more than a little jarring, but also shows that Neko’s determination to keep Ryouta out of her business was weak enough to be forgotten with sweets.

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That should be a little worrying for Ryouta. It’s nice that he’s helping out these girls and all, but I’m not sure he’s aware of just what a nasty business he’s stuck his nose into, and from which there’s probably no going back at this point. I did like how he experienced firsthand the satisfaction of having saved someone, and came to understand how Neko would feel responsible for deaths she knew would happen but was too late to stop.

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Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 01

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With an odd name like “Brynhildr” in the title, I couldn’t help but to investigate, hoping the name had some significance and wasn’t just chosen because it sounds cool. And while I know my multiplication tables—I got a great deal on one at Ikea!—my knowledge of Germanic mythology is lacking, so I hope you’ll indulge me.

Brynhildr (one of many spellings) is a shield-maiden and valkyrie, who among other things, was condemned to live the life of a mortal woman for deciding a battle for the wrong king. Kuroha Neko is similarly a being that seems beyond mere humanity, who serves a shield for those prophesied to die, reported to her via walkie-talkie with an as-yet un-introduced character.

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Here’s hoping this isn’t just a show they made because they had a cool CGI model of an observatory telescope lying around, because I liked the mystery that started brewing in the first installment, as well as Murakami Ryouta, an academically gifted lad whose course in life has been defined by the tragic loss of his childhood friend ten years ago.

When Kuroha Neko transfers to his class (a student laughably comments that this is a “rare occurrence”…not in anime, missy!), looking just like that friend, Murakami is hit by shock and hopefulness clashing with facts and logic, but while ten years ago Kuroneko failed to show him proof that aliens existed, in the present he witnesses proof of a whole lot of other things he didn’t know existed.

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While his first meeting with Kuroha results in a slap to the face (you just don’t demand a girl show you her armpits, especially in the middle of class!), their second meeting at the observatory is much more pleasant and cordial, even though it only deepens the mystery of who or what Kuroha is. I enjoyed the subtle and often funny escalation of strangeness, from her apparent ignorance of times tables to strength that should be impossible with such “squishy” arms (Ryota’s term, not mine).

After this episode presented its case to me, a lot of questions popped up in my head about what’s going on and where it’s all headed, meaning the mystery was intriguing enough to hold my interest. As I’d expected, it’s also a very nice-looking show with crisp character designs reminiscent of Red Data Girl. Humor is present and fanservice is retrained; both pluses. I’m looking forward to dancing in the darkness with this shieldmaiden/honor student duo.

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Oreimo 2 – 15

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After Kirino accepts Kyousuke’s proposal, they return to their hotel room to discuss what it means and finish the eroge they started. A couple days later they have coffee with Saori and Ruri, announcing they’ve started dating. Kyousuke leaves to attend Kanako’s Meruru concert, which she invited him to and where she confesses to him from the stage; he refuses and moves on. Later, Kyousuke wakes up with Kirino sleeping next to him, testing for his reaction. While exchanging things to put in each others’ rooms, Kirino lets Kyousuke look at a previously forbidden box containing photo albums of the two of them, along with voice recordings of her past self asking her future self for advice.

Our first thought at the end of the last extra episode was ‘Wow, they finally went there’, but our second thought was a question: ‘Wait, how in the hell are they going to do that?’ The answer is, very, very carefully. Kirino is no longer moving abroad after graduation, which definitely affects the course of her life, if track is what she loves and abroad is the place to train. But she also shows she loves Kyousuke more than track, but in accepting his proposal, and by having plans to confess to him if he didn’t. And as those recordings of her past self indicate, she’d been harboring love for him for a long time, and those feelings survived their “cold war” once she grew up and drifted from him. But they’re still unsure of their next steps; what’s commonplace in eroge is uncharted territory in reality.

Now that they find each other in each anothers’ orbits, however, things are very…complicated. Almost ridiculously notable in their absence are their parents. Kyousuke and Kirino may be able to have a lover’s quarrel and proposal in the middle of the busy Akiba streets, and later announce that they’re dating to their closest friends, there’s no good way to break the news to mom and dad – especially the kind of dad they have. How long can they keep so big a secret from them, and is it even right to do so? Kyousuke paid a price for his actions, but scorning Ayase and Ruri (and Kanako!) is child’s play compared to being the one who essentially stole his own father’s daughter. But frankly, we don’t think the last episode will delve into that pandora’s box. Things are weird enough as it is, right?

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

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 – 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 – 09

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On the first day back at school, Kyousuke finds out Kuroneko has transferred to another school. She’s also moved out of her house and won’t answer her phone. That night, Kyousuke wakes Kirino and asks for advice. When Kirino sees how sad he is, she has to help, and they head to a hot spring town to look for Kuroneko. They find her by chance; she makes Kirino admit she never wanted him to have girlfriend, but she also says seeing how sad he was when Kuroneko left was even worse. Before Kyousuke can tell Kuroneko what he’s going to do, she passes out. When she comes to, she says her family’s only moving to Matsudo, which isn’t that far, so while Kyousuke won’t see her at school anymore, he’ll still be able to see her, as will Kirino.

Well…that was odd…and not what we were expecting at all. But it wasn’t bad, either. Things get pretty bad early in the episode, when we learn that not only did last week’s written break-up stand (begging the question how the two separated that night, which is never answered), but she seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. In the end, Kuroneko’s breakup and departure turned out to be a combination of family circumstances she couldn’t control (dad gets a new job, family moving to company housing) and part of a rather sinister plan to make Kirino tell her her true feelings, not accepting that she was fine with her dating Kyousuke. Still, the stunt she pulls on Kyousuke is cruel and awful, and we’d have trouble letting her off the hook completely. Of course, love can make one very forgiving.

For her plan to have worked, Kyousuke and Kirino had to run into Kuroneko just when they did, while she was on vacation, which has less to do with their determination to find her and bring her back, and less pure dumb luck. Then again, Kuroneko has always believed in destiny; she has a whole journal of her life drawn out, so we’ll forgive that. And the plan does work. Kirino finally tells her she wanted to be the most important person in Kyousuke’s life…but, but…not at the cost of his happiness. At first she was happy when Kuroneko dumped him, but that didn’t last, because it left Kyousuke a wreck (understandably). So now, with Kuroneko moving away, albeit not far, it’s logical to assume we’ll see less of her and perhaps less of her and Kyousuke. And that doesn’t make us happy at all. But hey, at least they’re still a couple…sorta…

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Anything worse than sending a text you really want answered, and it’s never responded to? This is why you don’t text for these kinds of things!
  • Kirino is actually pretty selfless and cool this week, doing everything she can to help Kyousuke, because he helped her so much. 
  • She even tells him its no good for Kyousuke not to date anyone until she dates someone, because that would make him unhappy as she’d be if he dated someone. Oroboros!
  • While it probably didn’t make sense to believe this, we’d always thought Ruri lived alone with her sisters. She didn’t mention a parent until last week, and we’ve yet to see either of them. 
  • More nice symmetry: Kyousuke climbing on Kirino in bed in the night to ask for advice, just like she did to him in the very first episode.

Oreimo 2 – 08

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Kuroneko, now the sacred “Kamineko” goes on her first date with Kyousuke. They go shopping, gaming, and have lunch in the park, and it’s all very pleasant. The next day Kyousuke visits Ruri’s house. After watching an anime, she goes to the bath, and her little sisters meet Kyousuke. The next day Ruri hangs out with Kyousuke at his place. Kirino suspects something’s up and barges in on them, but they’re just playing a game. They also go to see fireworks. With only a few days left of summer, Ruri unveils the last ceremony to perform: breaking up with Kyousuke.

Oreimo giveth, and Oreimo taketh away. Let’s get it out of the way, as surprised as we were that the show did the right thing by making Kyousuke and Kuroneko a couple, we knew, despite our initial excitement, that it probably wouldn’t last that long, so we knew we had to savor the bliss while it lasted. Turns out, barring the first ceremony in Ruri’s Destiny Record to not occur, we were right; this is the only episode in which Kuroneko and Kyousuke are together throughout. And if you’re not a fan of Kuroneko or this new union, then it was a pretty rough and tedious episode to watch. As for us, we loved every last moment.

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The couple takes to dating with gusto, with Ruri even changing her cosplay persona and handle to something less sinister. In her mind, she was once a fallen angel, but Kyousuke raised her up, andthey don’t waste their summer together. They go out a ton, have lots of fun, and Kyousuke ends up learning far more about Ruri and liking her much more than before. We love seeing Kyousuke like this, because lord knows he’s earned the right to have an normal relationship with a smart, beautiful girl who isn’t his sister. Too bad it may be that Kuroneko never meant for their relationship to last past the summer.

Kuroneko is still in love with Kyousuke, but she’s also a good and selfless person…maybe too selfless. When she sees how Kirino reacts to her being in Kyousuke’s room as his girlfriend, and Kirino declares her her friend, and can’t stick around hang out with them, we kinda had a feeling this would happen before the hammer falls in the last moments. Kuroneko’s ultimate goal is for both Kyousuke and her friend Kirino to be happy. She can’t see how Kirino could ever be happy with her friend dating Kirino’s brother, so she can’t keep dating him.

Frankly, if we were Ruri, we’d tell Kirino what she told a bruised Kyousuke in their opening scene: “Deal with it.” Sometimes our own happiness comes at the cost of others.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

  • Kamineko’s get-up is indeed quite audacious, but if we were Kyousuke we really wouldn’t mind either.
  • Kyousuke worries about getting a nosebleed from holding Kamineko’s soft, dainty paw, but it’s Kamineko who gets the nosebleed. Kya.
  • We lost it just as Kyousuke did when she suddenly went to the bathroom. Surely she doesn’t want to move that fast?!
  • Ruri’s sister Hinata is a smart cookie. We hope she’ll scold her big sis for dumping Kyousuke.
  • When Kirino put her ear to the wall and heard Kuroneko say things that could definitely be misconstrued…
  • Bravo to Hanazawa Kana for a surperb, layered performance. Ruri has many different ways of speaking depending on whom she’s talking to and what role she’s playing.
  • Poor Kyousuke. Can he convince Ruri to reconsider? We doubt it.

 

Oreimo 2 – 07

Kousaka Kyousuke, Gokou Ruri

Ruri doubles down on her confession to Kyousuke, telling him she’s sure she loves him more than anyone else. He begs her to let him think about it, and she gives him until tomorrow, after the re-party. Back at home he and Kirino finish making up, and Kirino make shim promise to give serious thought if the “other girl” confesses to him. Manami also tells him to “face Kuroneko sincerely.” After the party, Kyousuke agrees to go out with Ruri. They later plan to meet up in the video game club, where everyone already assumed they’d been going out a long time. After expressing ignorance about what a boyfriend should do, Kyousuke suggests they do what she’s written (and illustrated) in her “Destiny Record”, starting with a first date.

This time, I need to do things right…

Damn straight! What do you know, Oreimo actually surprised us this week! We were fully resigned to Kyousuke further stalling or at worst, outright rejecting Ruri so that he can continue his dead-end quasi-romance with his little sister. Instead, after receiving (sorta)best wishes from both Kirino and his long-suffering betrothed Manami, Kyousuke finally makes the right choice: he chooses Kuroneko. And we couldn’t be happier! Interestingly, this doesn’t mean he’s betraying or abandoning Kirino, just that he’s finally realized they’re two different kinds of love. What’s also great is that while there is some building up, his deliberation doesn’t take up the whole episode. She has his answer by the commercial break. And thus, a huge weight is lifted.

What follows is a second-half that just about makes up for all of the will-they-wont-they torture the last one-and-a-half seasons of the series. Both Kyousuke’s sudden excitement and Ruri’s dilating joy is contagious to behold. She looked as surprised as we were when Kyousuke actually said yes, and the scene when her little sisters see her “break” with giddiness is a lovely, adorable moment. We’re as glad as she is that after creating such a compelling love interest and steadily yet naturally building up her attraction to Kyousuke, the series finally pulled the trigger on a Kyou+Ruri path, and as far as we’re concerned, now that it’s a reality, every minute the happy new couple isn’t on the screen together being awesome is a minute wasted. Sorry Kirino.

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Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • Kirino’s fake boyfriend shows up. He’s useless with advice on boob-touching.
  • Kyousuke, Kirino, and Ruri apologize to Saori for ruining the previous party. As well they should!
  • It sounded an awful lot like Kirino gave Kyousuke her blessing, so we don’t want to hear her complaining next week!
  • Here’s hoping Kyousuke and Ruri start calling each other by name. We know, we’re pushing our luck.
  • This week’s Aku no Hana was so powerful and Ise Mariya’s performance as Nakamura Sawa was so compelling, that we had a visceral reaction when Akagi Sena (also Ise) started talking.