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)

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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 – 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 – 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.

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 – 03

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Kyousuke, Kiriko and Ruri visit Saori’s house for a surprise birthday party, and she arrives home from school out of her otaku disguise. We flash back to when her sister Kaori first introduces her to her otaku friend circle, “Pretty Garden.” The desperately shy Saori makes friends there and has fun, but when Kaori suddenly ups and leaves, the other circle members drift apart until Saori is alone. She promises she’ll show her sister up, doing so by starting a new circle. Back in the present Kaori and her friends have reunited, and give the older, taller, more sociable Saori their regards.

Ayase was the focus last week, but this week she’s absent as the focus is entirely on Saori Bajeena, AKA Mikishima Saori, a very rich, high-class, beautiful young lady who presents herself to her otaku friends as a lurchy otaku dork with oversized novely glasses. They don’t even recognize Saori when they see her. Now that we can see her eyes, face, and hair properly, it’s like we’re meeting the character all over again, only now she’s on more of an equal footing with Kirino and Kuroneko. And hey, it turns out she’s an imouto too!

Her backstory is one of her older sister practicing tough love: introducing her into a sink-or-swim situation where she must show her face to people and talk to them, and once she’s comfortable there, indirectly breaking up the circle, removing the proverbial training wheels from Saori’s social development. It’s sad, but people grow up and move on; it doesn’t mean they’re not still friends. And Saori’s experiences gave her the strength and wherewithal to find her own circle of friends, and the cycle continues. We liked learning more about this non-bespectacled Saori, and hope to see more of her.


Rating: 8 (Great)