Oreimo – 4

The 3 episode prologue – and a humdinger it was – out of the way, Ore no Imouto is free to commence the “proper” story with episode 4. The parents are nowhere to be found this week, so it appears that subplot is either finished or tucked away for safekeeping. Instead, the focus again turns to Kirino’s attempt to separate her two worlds and to her relationship with Kyousuke.

Herein lies one of the problems with this show, as rock-solid as it is so far. Kirino’s relationship with Kyou is at the heart of the story, and it’s built around the dismissive attitude she has for him. But as of this moment her character is on the knife-edge of being downright unlikable. There relationship is so uneven – he treats her so much better than she him – that she risks becoming a totally unsympathetic character. Hell, not only did he trick their father into letting her keep her hobby, he even took a punch for her. And despite the one “thank you” she gave him at the end of episode 3, still treats him like dirt. The act she put on in front of her friends at the house was borderline sickening, frankly. At least her whining at Comiket was more along the lines of simple childish petulance – I like her much better with that group surrounding her.

And ah, Comiket – that was well played. I attended TAF last March at Big Sight, and while it’s reportedly not quite the nuthouse that Summer Comiket is, it gave me an idea as to what these events are like. Most of my favorite moments of the series have involved the otaku gang, and this was no exception – I just flat-out adore Saori, and the scenes between Kirino and Kuroneko are never less than hilarious. Kirino didn’t exactly show up well here either, though. Kuroneko won her the beloved Comiket Special eroge disk she craved, but she couldn’t even muster a proper thank-you.

The ep ends on a cliffhanger, with Kirino’s “normal” friend Ayase spotting her leaving Comiket with Kyou and the otaku pair. Ayase had been at the house during the worst of Kirino’s display earlier and more or less took Kyousuke’s side, even exchanging email addresses with him on her way out. Worlds are colliding, of course, with her spotting Kirino in this setting and that’s drama enough. But others have noticed and with the benefit of their keen eyes I have as well – something’s not right with this girl. I sense “stalker” vibes, now that my suspicions have been triggered. Given that this show has shown itself quite willing to deal with serious issues in a serious manner, that sort of development wouldn’t surprise me at all.

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