Oreimo – 3

The intensity was ramped way up in the third episode of Ore no Imouto. We had an interesting structure here – no OP, with the entire episode building up to Kyousuke blurting out the title, then a jump to the ED. Almost as if the entire first three episodes were the preview for the rest of the series.

We were treated to more hugely enjoyable conversations between Kirino and Kuroneko regarding their relative favorite series – two on the phone, and one at another meetup with Saori in Akiba. Kirino seems to have embraced her new lifestyle full-force – she still hides it from her model friends, but can’t help but crack a small grin when she hears the otaku in her class debating earnestly. There’s something very real about this “dual-lives” scenario that some teenagers deal with. Meanwhile, Kyou is spending time with neighbor-girl Manami, blissfully unaware of her interest in him and thinking his work is done as a life counselor for his sister.

What follows is a little heavy-handed, I admit. Kyou and Kirino’s father finds one of her eroge and pops a vein, forbidding her from all otaku-related activities. After she flees the house Kyou chases after her and soon realizes it’s up to him to try and salvage the situation. His speech to their father – a rather long-winded and theatrical speech about individuality and identity – is melodramatic to say the least. But there’s inherent power in the situation that transcends the somewhat clumsy writing. He is, once again, standing up for the sister who treats him like garbage, and the merit in his argument is obvious. But here’s where it gets ugly – when their father agrees to let her keep everything except the R-18 eroge – something even Kyou admits he’s right about – Kyou pretends the games are his. And what does dear old Dad do? He punches his son in the face.

Now, I know some would call me a prude and oversensitive for being offended by this. But in a series that (very effectively) goes for a realistic look at adolescent existence and being true to yourself, the idea of a father punching his son is downright repugnant to me. Say what you will about the father’s motivations or his overall position – I happen to think he was about 90% wrong from the beginning and handled himself like a complete tool – there’s no way in hell I condone what he did. And I think it was glossed over a little too quickly in the episode.

In the end, Kirino finally does thank Kyousuke for what he’s done – leading to the aforementioned utterance of the series title – but that’s the very least she could do. He’s one hell of a brother, this guy, and GAR to boot. Though there’s very little evidence that he and his sister have been close and she generally treats him like a dog, he puts himself out for her time after time – until the very end of this episode with no thanks whatsoever. Despite being an invisible man in his own house and barely a blip on his family’s radar, Kyou takes it on himself to look out not just for her welfare, but Kirino’s happiness too. In it’s unglamorous way that’s as powerful an expression of familial love as we’ve seen this season. The depth of this series I expected to focus on incest-related fanservice continues to impress me.

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