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 – 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 – 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 – 05

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Kyousuke pretends to be Kirino’s boyfriend to convince a modeling agency that she can’t go abroad. It seems to work, but when Kyousuke suggests they go out on a date the next day, they must follow through. After the date, Kirino insinuates she has a real boyfriend, worrying Kyousuke. Ruri tells him she wouldn’t mind if Kirino did. Kyousuke, Kirino and Saori and Ruri go to the Summer Comiket, and they sell out the Maschera doujinshi they made together. While watching a Meruru movie, Kirino is confronted by a young man.

Both Kyousuke and Kirino would prefer to keep everything about their relationship left unsaid between them, whenever possible. The truth is they both care for one another deeply, but neither wants the other to come right out and admit it. When Kirino has said nice things about her brother, it certainly wasn’t when he was present. So when they have to pretend to be a convincing couple (for a pretty flimsy reason, frankly) and they’re asked why they love one another, they’re actually open and honest about it, because they feel they have to be.

That was sweet, and the date is more fun than we thought it would be, but where this episode really shines is pretty much whenever Ruri is on the screen. From her reaction to seeing the “happy couple”, to her unexpected appearance in normal clothes (a Menma-like white dress), to the resumption of talking and having fun with Kyousuke, Ruri proves yet again why she’s our favorite character. That Kirino has a boyfriend neither surprises nor bothers us like it does Kyousuke, because that will just mean he can spend more time with the lovely “Shironeko”.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Both Kirino and Kyousuke clearly have way more fun on their date than either would ever admit.
  • It is nice to see Kyousuke and Ruri acting like a normal guy and gal. There are a couple moments when Kirino is watching them and we can’t help but see the same jealousy she mocked Kyousuke for having when she mentioned her boyfriend.
  • Those Summer Comiket lines look brutal, but we like the rule about closing the gaps!

Oreimo 2 – 01

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Thanks to Kyousuke convincing her, Kirino is back in Japan and catching up with all her friends, but even a year after everything began, she’s back to ignoring him and geting hostile when he tries to talk to her. Kuroneko is also short with him until he asks her what she meant by her kiss, but Sena interrupts before she can say anything. Tomorrow Kirino invites Kyousuke to accompany her on a massive shopping spree at Akiba, and when they return home, more eroge arrives via mail. As thanks, Kirino gives him one to play one through.

Oreimo returns with a reversion of sorts: all the progress Kyousuke thought he’d made in his relationship with his sister seems to be gone, but he continues to obsess over having an active and important role in her life, even as other women he’d be better off paying more attention to hover nearby. We’re not sure quite what kind of clarification he needs from Ruri; the girl kissed him, for Chrissake. What more does he need: an essay with footnotes and a letter of recommendation? She even told him she likes him, as much as Kirino does. But rather than pursue that which could be his – either Ruri or Manami – he remains committed to that which he can’t have.

Yes, she eventually comes around a little in this episode back, but Kyousuke had to do an awful lot of manual labor to earn the smallest token of gratitude. She’s apparently allergic to please and thank you. But Kyousuke is convinced Kirino does care for her, and thinks she’ll be devastated if he chooses another girl. Or hell, maybe he just likes getting trod upon by her, while stringing other girls around. This would be nothing new, and it will be a problem if this new season is simply history repeating itself. The status quo must be challenged.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • The episode starts off with a flashback in which Kirino wants to bathe with his brother, Kyousuke tells her off, and she shows a more assertive side to herself, telling him of right back.
  • Kuroneko’s close-up…there are no words.
  • Sena is an interrupting bitch. And sorry, but no school in the world would allow its students make hardcore homoge for club.
  • Kyousuke and Kirino’s dad gets to belt out a few lines. When’s he going to roll out some Evas for his children to pilot?