I feel like my brain is about to explode. If not from the meta-referential ouroboros anime-in-an-anime avalanche, from the preposterous kawaii of Kuroneko. I want to loathe myself for going ga-ga over her and this series, but I can’t – both of them just have too much smarts and charm.
I loved the first half of this episode especially. From the moment Kyousuke walked in and saw Kuroneko on his sofa, it was a hilarious ride. I’ll never get tired of listening to Kirino and Kuroneko bitch at each other about Maschera vs. Meruru. We’ve seen this kind of self-parody in anime before, but rarely has it achieved the balance between affection and ridicule this show has – and the two spokesgirls could hardly be better archetypes. I’ll also never get tired of seeing Kyou haplessly thrust in the middle of his sister’s lunacy. This time he appears to have been set up by Saori (could she really be 15??) trying to broker a cease-fire between Kirino and Kuroneko by staging a screening of Meruru – that she promptly bails on, ending up “watching” from a speaker phone.
The cause of this fight? Each girl roundly ridiculing the others novel – which features the other being raped, murdered or used as a sex slave. Ah, the innocence of youth… This leads is to the deeply Freudian second half, which features Kirino manufacturing a scenario to get Kyou to take her on a Christmas date – as payback for his surfing porn on her laptop (a great revelation for Kyousuke’s character). During this date she asks him to commit suicide by throwing himself in front of a car, buy her a $350 ring, pours water on herself, and checks them into a love hotel where she promptly showers and parades about in a robe in front of him. And by the way, indirectly tells him she loves him. All in the pretense of “research” for her “Imouto City” novel – the sequel to one that may miraculously be published (and if the next episode title is accurate, turned into an anime!).
All that, of course, walks a dangerous and potentially icky line. It could be argued that this is the only way the socially barbaric Kirino can bring herself to tell her brother she cares for him – but the suggestion of something more here is unavoidable and surely intentional. Kyou’s character is walking a fine line too – between being good-hearted and being a doormat. He continues to allow Kirino to abuse and take advantage of him, with only the mildest of rebukes – yet it’s undeniably hilarious to watch him twist in the wind. And Kirino continues to straddle the line between simple brattiness and outright unlikeable. She’s playing a role here – she’s not supposed to be a sweet little princess. We see her, warts and all, and that’s good – but at some point doesn’t she have to be a little more sympathetic? All of this calls out the risky course of this show – it’s incredibly sharp and interesting, but it could go careening into catastrophe at any time. I have no idea what’s going to happen but I look forward to finding out.
As for the Mereru vs. Maschera civil war, call it a draw for now. While Mereru got an OP inset into the show, Maschera got the ED, performed by Kana Hanazawa (Kuroneko). And while it was short, it was phenomenal (see above).